The Forum on the Military Chaplaincy, a group led by retired chaplains, and including members from many faiths represented in the military chaplaincy, today reacted strongly to the introduction of HR 3828, the so-called “Military Religious Freedom Protection Act.”
“This bill is clearly intended to restrict the Constitutional liberties of gay, lesbian and bisexual service members, said Paul Dodd, retired Army chaplain and co-chair of the Forum. “Not only does it target some of our military heroes, it seeks to disenfranchise hundreds of law abiding chaplains who choose to minister to all service members and their families, regardless of sexual orientation.”
The proposed legislation would prevent chaplains from performing same-sex ceremonies in military chapels, which traditionally serve military members from many denominations.
“In the words of retired Army Chief of Chaplains, Major General Doug Carver, they are to be ‘A house of prayer for all people!’” noted Dodd. Dodd served 31 years in the Army Chaplaincy, including a tour as Command Chaplain for the Army Medical Command.
Army veteran and ordained Christian minister Rev. Elder Ken Martin, of Metropolitan Community Churches, called this latest attack “redundant, inflammatory and demagoguery,” insisting that chaplains who “wish to perform same gender marriages in military chapels should have every right to do so.”
Rev. Stephen Boyd, Minister for Chaplains and Specialized Ministers for the United Church of Christ, said “This bill is redundant. The rights of chaplains are already insured.”