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May 10, 2011

Navy’s Same-Sex Marriage Allowance Draws Complaints

The Navy’s plan to allow chaplains to perform same-sex marriages in military chapels has led to opposition.

Last week, Family Research Council (FRC) president Tony Perkins tweeted, “Hearing Navy chaplains are now being trained to perform same sex weddings following [Don't Ask Don't Tell (DADT)] changes. Major religious liberty implications.” Later, Perkins reported on the FRC website that the Navy had “jumped ship on DOMA.”


The memo to Navy chaplains posted on the FRC website states that chaplains are not being trained on how to conduct marriages, nor will they be forced to conduct weddings. Instead, the training on DADT now allows chaplains to conduct same-sex weddings if the chaplain serves  in a state where same-sex marriages are legal. In addition, military facilities (that allow weddings on base) must be open to same-sex weddings.

“Call it what you will, but that's not a change to 'training'--that's a circumvention of U.S. law,” said FRC's Perkins.

Rep. Todd Akin (R-Mo.) and 62 other Members of Congress also object to the new policy. They sent a letter to the Secretary of the Navy accusing the Navy of violating federal law.

"We find it difficult to understand how the military is somehow exempt from abiding by federal law. Not only does this document imply recognition and support of same-sex marriage in opposition to DOMA, it also implies that the Navy will now perform these marriages so long as they do not violate state statutes,” Akin wrote.

The Navy has responded by saying that the new policy does not violate DOMA. Defense Department spokeswoman Eileen Lainez sent an e-mail stating that DOMA only defines federal marriage; it does not make any policy regarding religious ceremonies, which would include weddings.

“DOMA does not limit the type of religious ceremonies a chaplain may perform in a chapel on a military installation,” Lainez said, according to the Navy Times. “Chaplains are authorized to perform religious ceremonies consistent with the practices of the chaplain’s faith group in chapels on military installations.”

In training for changes in DADT, chaplains are being told that they are not being asked to compromise their beliefs or practices because of DADT. “Chaplains who preach at base chapels that homosexuality is a sin are entitled to express their beliefs during worship,” the Associated Press reports. Col. Matthew Goff, a Southern Baptist Convention army chaplain, recently told CBN that the SBC is encouraging its chaplains to stay in the military.

"[Chaplains] are a protected group among all other soldiers, if you will, and there's really no pressure point to make us violate who we are how we understand Scripture to be and the practice of that in our own lives," Goff said. "Once we're in a chapel setting and I'm the chaplain in charge, we're free to preach as God leads us to preach."

Update (5/11): The Washington Post reports that the Navy is reversing course.

The Navy is revoking guidance to its chaplains about conducting same-sex marriages at military chapels following an uproar by Republican lawmakers and social conservatives claiming the move would violate a law prohibiting federal recognition of gay marriage.

Despite the decision, military officials said Tuesday night that the Defense Department may still eventually permit gay troops to use military chapels in states that recognize homosexual marriages for same-sex weddings after President Obama lifts the ban on openly gay service members known as “don’t ask, don’t tell.”


Read the fine print in the statement: "Chaplains who preach at base chapels that homosexuality is a sin are entitled to express their beliefs during worship." Are they allowed to make the same statement when not behind the pulpit on Sunday morning? Do they lose the freedom to speak out against the sin of homosexuality when they are inc conversation with other service personnel or when they are off-duty? My bet is that the chaplains are being set up for punishment and removal from their position in this subtle maneuver that looks good on the surface, but has some serious implications when you read the statement closely.

As a man of God, a Chaplain should be free to speak, teach, and preach his own convictions.

All of the 65,000 bisexuals, lesbians, and gays now serving in the armed forces have a legal right to a same-sex religious wedding ceremony in all 21 states that have some form of marriage equality (same-sex marriage, civil union, or domestic partnership): CA, CO, CT, DC, DE, HI, IA, IL, MA, MD, ME, NH, NJ, NM, NV, NY, OR, RI, VT, WA, WI.

The U.S. military is commanded, staffed, and funded by the American citizenry, and on 18 March 2011, ABC News and Washington Post reported that 53% of Americans support marriage equality for lesbian/gay couples.

Because the DOMA law must respect religious freedom, it allows same-sex religious ceremonies in private chapels in 21 states.

The DOMA law is in the process of being repealed by Congress and/or ruled unconstitutional by the courts because it excludes same-sex couples from the 1,138 federal benefits automatically available to opposite-sex couples.

Maybe Winston Churchill was right:"Don't talk to me about naval tradition. It's nothing but rum, sodomy and the lash." Only now it has govt. approval.

And just as I wrote elsewhere, California is signing it into law that little children will be taught "gay history". It is a sick, revolting practice which is an abomination before God, no matter how many people say otherwise. What matters is what God says. People have been brainwashed so much that they have lost their brains, and any kind of common sense. When I was little, it was considered a sick, disgusting practice, but that was back in the days when most families still went to church and tried to follow the Bible. Today, people try to follow the god of political correctness, and they'll receive their reward when the God of the Bible comes to judge.

I wonder if the chaplains who adhere to the one man/one woman version of marriage will be passed over for promotion?

Let us pray.

Over 50 years ago, Billy Graham, in one of his crusades, made the statement "If God does not judge America, He will have to apologize to Sodom and Gomorrah!"

Oddly enough, Jay Leno, in one of his monologues 10 or 15 years ago, made the very same statement, without attributing the statement to Graham or to anyone, and the audience responded with much laughter and guffaws.

If I remember correctly, wasn't Billy Graham on the ground floor of the beginnings of Christianity Today?

The Report of the Comprehensive Review of the Issues Associated with a Repeal of 'Don’t Ask, Don’t Tell'; Nov. 2010, reported that there was little chaplain opposition to integration in the military following Truman's military integration campaign. This despite there being much more opposition by the general public to that then there is today to Gay/Lesbian integration.

I don't even know of an employer that hasn't offered, for 10-20 years or so, domestic partner benefits to employees doing what we do where I work (I'm guessing that some don't).

Are there any significant differences between the chaplaincy then and the chaplaincy today? Differences such as denomination/religious affiliation, theological training, regional upbringing, other education, ethnicity etc.

If any differences were taken in account, such as denomination/religious differences, would the chaplaincy, in general, still seem be so upset? What are the stats by denomination/religious affiliation and chaplain opposition to Gay integration?

From the Report: "In drawing parallels to racial integration in the 1940s and 1950s, there are similarities and differences between that experience and repeal of Don’t Ask, Don’t Tell today that we must acknowledge."

"First, skin color and sexual orientation are fundamentally different. That said,the concerns expressed in the 1940s about the effects of integration on unit cohesion and effectiveness sound much the same as those voiced in this debate."

"Second..." (What I've just discussed on chaplaincy opposition and integration then and now.)

So people WANT the Military to tell clergy what they can and cannot preach? They WANT to prohibit the clergy from performing a church ritual that they don't agree with? Huh?

My partner and I were married. By a rabbi. In a mainstream Jewish temple.

Conservatives WANT to prohibit rabbis and other clergy from exercising their freedom of religion?

Or is it only when they want to prohibit what THEY disagree with?

Hollywood, Wall Street, US war-making foreign policy, the Supreme Court, the legal system, mainstream media-management, the universities and the radical feminist and pro-abortion and pro-gay movements, are all over-Edomed. A century before the birth of Christ, a people utterly condemned by all the major prophets, the Edomites, were converted as a group to become 'Jews'. According to Josephus the early Jewish historian, 'They (Edom) were hereafter no other than Jews' (Antiquities of the Jews, XIII ix 1; XV vii 9). The Jewish Encyclopedia says 'Edom is in Jewry' (Volume5 p41). The aim of the Jewish ADL is to establish the federal government as the pro-homosexual educator and punisher of Christian opponents of Edomite-promoted sodomy at every level, even of public schooling. They seek federal endorsement of adolescent homosexuality as a legitimate, normal alternative and to flood government-sponsored educational programs into public schools to promote homosexuality.

Just in on Fox News: "Navy Nixes Same-Sex Unions Plan"

"...there were 76 "inerrant proof text" Bible verses that proved that race segregation was God's Law." Don't believe everything people tell you that's in the Bible.
""Chapter and verse" is mostly a modern era cultural artifact of which I don't all that much approve." I guess you wouldn't since you can't defend homosexual behavior by the word of God.
"Historical and intratextual contexts, on the other hand, are very important and illuminating...and fun. I'm not likely to trade."
And a lot less morally demanding.

I see the post Dan is responding to has been removed. Of course I don't believe everything that people tell me about the Bible. I didn't believe his claim that segregation is God's law ...not with my family. (I can't find his source in a quick internet search. I may not remember the number correctly as it was many decades ago. I did find a disgusting website claiming over 200 verses. He's quite wrong as well.)

Of course, especially today, most conservative Evangelicals are against racism, but...racism is deeply intertwined into the cultural, political and intellectual fabric of America. Not being racist requires much more than just saying that one is for Black equality. Trying not to be racist requires a whole different way to read...well, everything, including the Bible. Being ever mindful of historical and intratextual contexts of the text, whatever the text is, is but a start. A start that conservative Evangelicals have yet to do, I think. (But, prove me wrong, please.)

It's good that mostly all conservative Evangelicals support Black equality, but...stop talking about other groups of people the way racists use to talk about Black people.

The conservative Evangelical racists (and a couple of Catholics), with their chapter and verse citations, are why I became skeptical about what religious-right sources in general have told me about "homosexuality" and the Bible, or...most anything and the Bible. If one talks the same way about one group the way one talks about another group...it's not wrong to be skeptical about the integrity of one's information.

Not that they are always wrong, that would be impossible, if nothing else, but verify verify, and verify again. It's in the motivation to verify what I read or hear from religious right sources, that I learn what I want to learn from them. Besides, it's fun to be a contrarian. It's only in religious-right circles that I can be that, though.

The books and letters in the Bible were not originally put down with chapter and verse headings.

Chapter and verse numbers should be studiously ignored except when using a concordance or something to refresh one's memory about a book or letter. Chapter and verse reductionism (if that's the right concept) distracts from the book's contexts. Without that context, a verse or two is just a sort of word mirror. It reflects you, not the significance that it had for the ancients, or its history since then.

God may not change (I wouldn't presume to tell God what to do), but words, social constructs, languages, meanings, climates, migrations, contacts with other peoples, fashions, priorities, economies, politics, technology, reliable knowledge, bodies of theory, theologies, "common sense," identities, communities, opportunities to deepen understandings of the Golden rule and so modify practices...they do change.

Oops, got to go. Don't have time to reread what I've written, but I'll be brave and post it anyway. Likely will be removed anyway. Thanks for the brain stimulation.

Who am I? A DOMA riddle by Kenny Merriken// I put military chaplains in a bind,/ I set the standard for all mankind,/ But my words, are no longer followed,/ Yet to some chaplains I am hallowed.// What are GI chaplains going to obey?/ I declare that marriage is but one way./ Will Davey Jones locker be my end? / Do Navy SEALS have me to defend?// No, PTL, the battle is mine to win./ I will have Victory forever in the end./ Just open and read my pages out loud,/ I will erase this foolish marriage cloud.// The WORD said to satan "It is written"/ In the end that ole serpent, was smitten/. Chaplains, of Navy, Army, and Air Force,/ Read me to GIs with power and force.// I can straighten up this marriage mess,/ Start where I begin in Genesis./ Look the President square in the face,/ Tell of Christ's love and amazing grace.// If you've not discovered who I am,/ Then pray to the Lord, God's Holy Lamb,/ I am more quick that two edged sword,/ Who am I? I am the Written Word. //

"Homosexual relationships do nothing to serve the state interest of propagating society, so there is no reason for the state to grant them the costly benefits of marriage, unless they serve some other state interest. The burden of proof, therefore, is on the advocates of gay marriage to show what state interest these marriages serve. Thus far, this burden has not been met." Oh, snap!


I think, it is high time to ask, which forces in the background try to promote gayness. We should not speak of a development of society. There are single people, promoting gayness and they are responsible for the bad development. It would be very interesting to know the names of the promoters of gayness and what they gain by that. Any financial profit? Just demonic pleasure? Silliness? I don't know the answer. I only know, it is a historical fact that the God of Israel has wiped out whole peoples, because they practised sins like homosexuality (besides they had intercourse with animals and relatives, etc.). Not every dry spell or flood is a judgment of God. Nobody knows it, concerning a certain case. However, can we pray to God for help, when we violate His commandments in such a way??? Maybe the mass media have managed to spoil or minds. Let us turn away from television set to the Holy Scripture and Jesus Christ will heal us.