The Senate failed to muster enough votes Tuesday to pass an annual military spending bill weighed down by an immigration provision and the repeal of the "Don't Ask Don't Tell" (DADT) policy.

The bill was filibustered by Republicans and earned 56 votes, four short of the 60 Democrats needed to pass the bill. Earlier this month, a federal judge in California ruled that the policy was unconstitutional. The House passed its own repeal in May.

Leaders of all four military branches have asked lawmakers not to act until they finish conducting a survey of military personnel in December.

"I'm rejoicing" that the bill did not pass, said Paul Vicalvi, chaplains commission executive director for the National Association of Evangelicals (NAE). "It will spare a lot of grief."

While most debate has been over what happens in soldiers' close living conditions, that isn't the chaplains' biggest concern, according to Jan McCormack, director of chaplaincy and pastoral counseling at Denver Seminary.

"What I do worry about is what it might mean if a chaplain who had a viewpoint about homosexuality refused to counsel or work with somebody," she said.

If gay and lesbian soldiers receive protective status, McCormack said, how does that affect the expectations of the military's 3,000 active-duty chaplains? "What if a commander decides that I'm supposed to counsel by myself a lesbian female and I don't think I should? I just don't hear Congress thinking about that end of it."

But some denominations are. The Southern Baptist Convention, which has the most chaplains of any denomination at nearly 450, passed a resolution in June against the repeal of DADT, claiming that a large percentage of currently serving military personnel said they would not reenlist ...

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

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

Subscribe to CT and get one year free.
Read These Next
Current IssueWait Upon the Drop
Wait Upon the Drop Subscriber Access Only
Why churches are turning to club music to elevate praise.
RecommendedWhy the US Military Wants Fewer Generic Christians
Why the US Military Wants Fewer Generic Christians
Department of Defense now recognizes 216 religions.
TrendingKay Warren: 'We Were in Marital Hell'
Kay Warren: 'We Were in Marital Hell'
Through God's work in our lives, we've beaten the odds that divorce would be the outcome of our ill-advised union.
Editor's PickFinding My ‘True Self’ As a Same-Sex Attracted Woman
Finding My ‘True Self’ As a Same-Sex Attracted Woman
In my young-adult struggle with sexual identity, both legalistic condemnation and progressive license left me floundering.
Christianity Today
Some Chaplains Plead, Don't Repeal Don't Ask Don't Tell
hide thisAccess The Archives

In the Archives

September 2010

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