|November 6th, 2006|
Chaplain controversy still simmers in military info
Although Congress intervened this fall, directing the Air Force and Navy to rescind new policies on religion, chaplains on both sides said the action only muddied the waters.
"Congress took action, but who won? I'm not sure. The only thing I can safely predict is, get ready for new controversies over the place of evangelism in the armed forces," said retired Navy Capt. Gary Pollitt, executive director of the Military Chaplains Association.
In the latest lawsuit, an evangelical Christian chaplain is charging the Navy with violating his First Amendment rights by forbidding him to pray "in the name of Jesus" in public ceremonies.
Chaplain Gordon Klingenschmitt filed the lawsuit Oct. 25, alleging the Navy has effectively established a "civic religion" and is "suppressing (his) Christian faith" by requiring him to offer nonsectarian prayers when speaking to diverse groups of sailors.
Meanwhile, ex-White House counsel Michael "Mikey" Weinstein whose lawsuit against the Air Force was dismissed last week, said he intends to refile a broader suit, or possibly multiple suits, accusing all the armed services of allowing evangelical Christians to pressure members of other faiths.