Guest / Limited Access /

As evangelicals increase their share of the military chaplain corps, their intent to evangelize more openly is challenging the pluralism promoted in official ceremonies by some other chaplains and military leadership.

The controversy extends across U.S. military branches. Military leaders say there is no problem when evangelicals worship during sacred ceremonies, but they assert that official ceremonies require prayers that do not exclude other major religions.

Billy Baugham, executive director of the International Conference of Evangelical Chaplain Endorsers, told CT that more than 20 chaplains have contacted him claiming discrimination for praying in Jesus' name.

"The pressure to curtail evangelical chaplains from using the name of our Lord is pandemic," Baugham said. "If we can't correct this, there is going to be a class-action lawsuit, and we're going to take it to the courts."

Under pressure from evangelicals and members of Congress, the Air Force issued revised guidelines on religious expression February 10. The new guidelines emphasize the Constitution's free exercise clause more than its prohibition against government establishment of religion.

The original guidelines issued in August discouraged public prayers at routine events, saying that personal expressions of faith could be misunderstood as official statements. They now add that there are no restrictions in situations "where it is reasonably clear that the discussions are personal, not official, and they can be reasonably free of the potential for, or appearance of, coercion."

Disciplined

Navy Chaplain Lt. Gordon Klingenschmitt earned national attention during his 18-day hunger strike that ended January 7. Klingenschmitt, protesting what he called restrictions on ...

Subscriber access only You have reached the end of this Article Preview

To continue reading, subscribe now. Subscribers have full digital access.

Read These NextSee Our Latest
Recommended3 Important Church Trends in the Next 10 Years
3 Important Church Trends in the Next 10 Years
Christianity in the United States may look very different in 10 years.
TrendingWhat to Expect After the Supreme Court’s Marriage Decision
What to Expect After the Supreme Court’s Marriage Decision
We will see more challenges to the florists, the bakers, and the pizza crust makers. And more opportunities for witness.
Editor's PickNepal Christians Return to Worship after Earthquake Turns Churches into Tombs
Nepal Christians Return to Worship after Earthquake Turns Churches into Tombs
Evangelicals bear brunt of Christian deaths.
Comments
Christianity Today
Military Culture War
hide thisApril April

In the Magazine

April 2006

To continue reading, subscribe now for full print and digital access.