Veteran Chaplains Speak Out for Conscience

Chuck Donovan /

A prominent group of retired military chaplains has written a letter to current chief chaplains in the Armed Forces urging them to support conscience protection for currently serving chaplains and service members regarding homosexual behavior. The 22 chaplains, each of whom has held a leadership post as an endorsing agent for military chaplains, called on the chief chaplains of the Army, Air Force, and Navy to “strongly encourage the adoption of broad, clear, and strong protections for conscience,” especially in light of recent confusion over the conduct of same-sex marriage ceremonies in military chapels.

That controversy emerged two weeks ago with reports that the Chief Chaplain of the U.S. Navy, Admiral Mark Tidd, had issued a guidance memo to Navy chaplains advising them that they were free to officiate at same-sex weddings off-base and to conduct them in military chapels in the handful of states where such ceremonies are legal. Publicity about the memo ignited a media firestorm because of its apparent conflict with the federal Defense of Marriage Act and with previous Department of Defense assurances that the repeal of the ban on open homosexual conduct in the military had no implication for the redefinition of marriage. After the public uproar over the Tidd memo, it was swiftly suspended pending further review. (more…)