Tuesday, February 14, 2006

Army Chaplain Silenced

From the Washington Times:

An evangelical chaplain serving in Iraq has been forbidden to preach at chapel services after his comments about military intolerance toward certain Christian expressions got him into hot water with the Army.


The chaplain criticized one of his supervisors, Lt. Col. Phillip Wright of Fort Drum in New York, by name and gave details about how chaplains of all faiths were being pressured to offer up only nonsectarian prayers.
People should not over-react to this news, but I think it highlights a basic problem with a society committed to pluralism. On the one hand, we don't want the First Ammendment rights of our soldiers suspended (and the ability to pray in the name of Jesus is reputedly pretty important to Christians :). On the other hand, joining the Army does involve a certain obligation to follow orders and not criticize the leadership. And yet, how could Mr. Stertzbach have called attention to this matter without at least potentially running afoul of his superiors.

It is a difficult question and I confess to not knowing the proper balance. I tend to sympathize with religious freedom end of the spectrum, but I do realize that the Army can't function in war-time insubordination.

Of course, this problem would go away if we just instituted Sharia...

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