Tuesday, September 17, 2013

Southern Baptist Convention Increase Anti-Gay Military Chaplain Rules

Since its take over by the far right elements some years ago, the Southern Baptist Convention ("SBC") has become increasingly strident in its anti-gay agenda.  The result has been that congregations - like the one my father-in-law attends - have opted out and become either independent Baptist churches or aligned themselves with less reactionary Baptist affiliations.  But among the "true believers" at the SBC, they prefer to continue to drink the proverbial Kool-Aid and drive away those not so psychologically disturbed and obsessed with gays and gay sex.  Indeed, the new SBC rules (see the guidelines at the end of this post) for military chaplains seemingly make it impossible for SBC chaplains to remain in the military.  Bob Felton at Civil Commotion looks at the SBC's growing batshitery.  Here are excerpts:

I pointed last week toward new guidelines adopted by the SBC’s North American Mission Board, drawing especial attention to the compulsory separatism which proscribes even cooperation with chaplains who are differently-minded in the matter of same-sex marriage. Now comes a Presbyterian elder to say that the guidelines are so out-of-step with military requirements for cooperative activity that SBC chaplains should resign the service outright.
While these restrictions are consistent with Southern Baptist beliefs that hold marriage to be “God’s lifelong gift ‘of uniting one man and one woman in covenant commitment for lifetime,’” in their present form, the “guidelines” are incompatible with military ethics and regulations.
If these Southern Baptist chaplains were civilian pastors, there would be no problem. As civilians, they undisputedly have an absolute First Amendment right to believe, preach and counsel in accordance with their denominational tenets. But they are not civilians, and have a duty to not only God, but also country. It is instructive that they are not salaried by the NAMB but by the American taxpayer.
[ ... ]
It is likely some NAMB-endorsed chaplains do not agree with the position taken by the NAMB. For them, rather than resigning, an alternative would be to seek the endorsement of another denomination or faith group, one that truly endorses inclusion, collegiality and pluralism.
For those chaplains who do support the guidelines and feel compelled to follow them, the only honorable course is to resign from the military chaplaincy and return to civilian ministry.
This is strong language, but I see no defect in his reasoning. It cannot possibly serve the military well for SBC chaplains to refuse to even cooperate with chaplains who think differently in matters of shared interest. What is more, it can only serve to divide service members — a course which makes the SBC the instigator of the very evil it warned against when objecting to open service by gays and lesbians. 

Do we want a military divided on religious grounds even as we fight a global war against religious nutcases?

Personally, I believe that the U.S. military needs to cease funding the chaplain corps.  Let denominations fund these activities.  Better yet, move them entirely off of military bases.

Click image to enlarge

1 comment:

Your host said...

It's time to kick religion out of the forces, there should be no place on a base or in the theatre of war for such diversions and divisions.