Tuesday, September 17, 2013

Albert Mohler's Spittle Flecked Response to Call for SBC Military Chaplains Resign

As noted earlier, the Southern Baptist Convention has adopted rules for SBC military chaplains to refuse to fraternize or cooperate with chaplains from other denominations which do not demonize and seek to make gay service members inferior in their rights and recognition.  This divisive approach prompted a Presbyterian official to suggest that if the SBC chaplains could not or would not follow military rules including those recognizing gay service members and denominations recognizing gay marriage, they should resign from the military.  After all, military chaplains are paid not by their denominations but by rather American taxpayers.  This suggestion caused SBC mullah Albert Mohler to erupt in a spittle flecked shit storm.  Like most Christofascists, Mohler believes his religious beliefs trump the civil laws and the U.S. Constitution.  Mohler fumed in part as follows:

Can chaplains committed to historic biblical Christianity serve in the United States military? That question, though inconceivable to our nation’s founders, is now front and center.

The irony, as blogger friend Bob Felton points out, is that the Founding Fathers did not uniformly support having military chaplains in the first place.   But, it is par for the course that religious extremists like Mohler ignore actual history and prefer to spread the myth that the Founding Fathers were pro-religion and were all too happy to allow it to subsume the civil laws.  Such was not the case and James Madison (the principal author of the U. S. Constitution) was very wary of religion and allowing preachers to gain a role in civil government not to mention the military.  Here are highlights from his writings in 1817:

The danger of silent accumulations & encroachments by Ecclesiastical Bodies have not sufficiently engaged attention in the U. S.

[T]here is one State at least, Virginia, where religious liberty is placed on its true foundation and is defined in its full latitude. The general principle is contained in her declaration of rights, prefixed to her Constitution: but it is unfolded and defined, in its precise extent, in the act of the Legislature, usually named the Religious Bill, which passed into a law in the year 1786. Here the separation between the authority of human laws, and the natural rights of Man excepted from the grant on which all political authority is founded . . .

Strongly guarded as is the separation between Religion & Govt in the Constitution of the United States the danger of encroachment by Ecclesiastical Bodies, may be illustrated by precedents already furnished in their short history.

Is the appointment of Chaplains to the two Houses of Congress consistent with the Constitution, and with the pure principle of religious freedom?

In strictness the answer on both points must be in the negative. The Constitution of the U. S. forbids everything like an establishment of a national religion. The law appointing Chaplains establishes a religious worship for the national representatives, to be performed by Ministers of religion, elected by a majority of them; and these are to be paid out of the national taxes. Does not this involve the principle of a national establishment, applicable to a provision for a religious worship for the Constituent as well as of the representative Body, approved by the majority, and conducted by Ministers of religion paid by the entire nation.

The establishment of the chaplainship to Congs is a palpable violation of equal rights, as well as of Constitutional principles
If Religion consist in voluntary acts of individuals, singly, or voluntarily associated, and it be proper that public functionaries, as well as their Constituents shd discharge their religious duties, let them like their Constituents, do so at their own expence. 

Better also to disarm in the same way, the precedent of Chaplainships for the army and navy, than erect them into a political authority in matters of religion. The object of this establishment is seducing; the motive to it is laudable. But is it not safer to adhere to a right pinciple, and trust to its consequences, than confide in the reasoning however specious in favor of a wrong one. Look thro' the armies & navies of the world, and say whether in the appointment of their ministers of religion, the spiritual interest of the flocks or the temporal interest of the Shepherds, be most in view . . .

As I have argued before, the military chaplain corps needs to be defunded and, if denominations desire to provided chaplains, allow them to foot the entire bill.  And they should do so off site from military bases and establishments.  As for Mohler, the best rule of thumb is to assume that if his lips are moving, he's likely lying.

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