I few weeks I posted the story of James Caldwell, a Revolutionary War Chaplain who handed out hymnals written by Issac Watts during a Revolutionary War battle. The goal was to supply paper wading to the Continental Infantry who were engaged in a fire fight with British Regulars. The Continentals were running low on paper wadding so Caldwell supplied the hymnals for a paper substitute and uttered the words, “Give them Watts boys” or something to that effect.
In was General George Washington who established the military chaplaincy and until recently it was presumed that military chaplains had freedom of religion and the freedom to share their faith.
We’ve come along way since the Christianized American culture of 1777 to the “don’t you dare offend me with your religion” culture of 2013. Sadly, the American military is leading the charge (with the Obama Administration working behind the scenes) to start a war to suppress religion freedom. This trend has been well documented in a recent issue of World Magazine, article titled, Holding the Line.
Perhaps the oddest tidbit in the story was the US Congressman Jared Polis (D-Colo) proposing that the military add “atheist chaplains.” It did not pass but 150 Democrats voted for it and the Administration uttered not a peep in protest.
So one one hand the Administration via it’s control of the military is seeking to ban some expressions of religious freedom but on the other hand empower other expressions of religious freedom even if “atheist chaplain” is an oxymoron.
None of this really surprises me. What threatens the Administration is not religion or the lack thereof, but the gospel and the exclusiveness of it. The gospel is not pc and that makes Christians who believe it, “extremists.”
In years past I had considered becoming a chaplain as another ministry to the one I already had. I didn’t have the military in mind because at the time I was too old and I had served long ago in another capacity.
I had thought of a prison chaplaincy and/or hospital. My thoughts were those were two likely places people would be most likely to want to hear the gospel.
So, I spoke to a chaplain who was from a Nazarene background as I recall. I asked him if he was free to share the gospel. It was a Catholic Hospital so you’d think it was a no brainer. He said no, he would have to be asked first. I said then what do you do? He said he would ask people how they were doing, leave encouraging materials (what could be more encouraging than the gospel?) and basically just be friendly hoping someone would ask him stuff.
I gave the man credit for sticking with it. He said most of the other chaplains were theological liberals and with them there was no chance to hear the gospel whereas with him, a slim chance if a person asked.
On the other hand he could not freely share his faith and the hope within unless asked. I guess it would be one thing if the recipient told him he didn’t want to hear it and leave, but it’s quite another to have a rule that prevents one from freely sharing the basis of one’s beliefs. It certainly seems the Administration has little regard for the Constitution and this is now reflected in the US Military.
There is an old saying “there are no atheists in foxholes.” The reason for that appears obvious. It raises the question that if Atheist Chaplains were allowed in the military what would they do? Why would an atheist need a chaplain?