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1. Military chaplain groups debate need for executive order

Two groups that represent military chaplains disagree on whether President Bush should issue an executive order requiring the military to allow Christian chaplains to pray in Jesus' name.

Some chaplains have complained their commanders have ordered them to use only nonsectarian prayers during mandatory military ceremonies. International Conference of Evangelical Chaplain Endorsers executive director Billy Baugham told ct the concerned chaplains may need to issue a class-action lawsuit. These complaints prompted 74 members of Congress to sign a letter to President Bush that was sent October 25, 2005, encouraging him to issue the order.

But the leader of the group that represents most evangelical chaplains says such an order is unnecessary. The Rev. Herman Keizer Jr., chairman of the National Conference on Ministry to the Armed Forces, told The Washington Post the order "would just precipitate more litigation." Keizer's association represents more than 70 percent of the 7,620 chaplains in the military.

Keizer said the military is "now effectively addressing the current religious concerns." As long as a chaplain can decline to participate, the association sees nothing wrong with a commander asking a chaplain to pray nonsectarian prayers at mandatory ceremonies. However, the article does not make clear whether chaplains can indeed beg off these ceremonies. Military spokesman have repeatedly said chaplains can pray however they want in their own non-mandatory services.

2. Gays can't come to Mass. to marry

The Supreme Judicial Court of Massachusetts ruled this week that residents of states in which same-sex marriage is banned cannot come to Massachusetts ...

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March 2006

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