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Christian Prayer Unacceptable in the Military?

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  • Christian Prayer Unacceptable in the Military?

    Really:

    MAAF has obtained a video showing enforced Christian prayer at Air Assault training at Ft Campbell. Trainees are directed to bow their head to graduation prayer and to give a response that sounds like “Amen”. The video below shows a prayer that is explicitly Christian with a quote from Isaiah in an official Air Assault graduation ceremony. This prayer goes far beyond something simply ceremonial, non-denominational, and optional. This is Christian-specific, mandatory, and requires participation, and hopefully Christians will stand up against such bad leadership as readily as non-Christians.

    http://militaryatheists.org/news/201....GDeA1Ebh.dpuf
    But why was the Chaplin service created in the first place:

    Morality in the Army

    Congress was apprehensive about the moral condition of the American army and navy and took steps to see that Christian morality prevailed in both organizations. In the Articles of War, seen below, governing the conduct of the Continental Army (seen above) (adopted, June 30, 1775; revised, September 20, 1776), Congress devoted three of the four articles in the first section to the religious nurture of the troops. Article 2 "earnestly recommended to all officers and soldiers to attend divine services." Punishment was prescribed for those who behaved "indecently or irreverently" in churches, including courts-martial, fines and imprisonments. Chaplains who deserted their troops were to be court-martialed.


    Morality in the Navy

    Congress particularly feared the navy as a source of moral corruption and demanded that skippers of American ships make their men behave. The first article in Rules and Regulations of the Navy (below), adopted on November 28, 1775, ordered all commanders "to be very vigilant . . . to discountenance and suppress all dissolute, immoral and disorderly practices." The second article required those same commanders "to take care, that divine services be performed twice a day on board, and a sermon preached on Sundays." Article 3 prescribed punishments for swearers and blasphemers: officers were to be fined and common sailors were to be forced "to wear a wooden collar or some other shameful badge of distinction."

    http://www.loc.gov/exhibits/religion/rel04.html
    How far we have fallen...
    Atheism is the cult of death, the death of hope. The universe is doomed, you are doomed, the only thing that remains is to await your execution...

    https://www.youtube.com/watch?v=Jbnueb2OI4o&t=3s

  • #2
    Seer, your quotes do not show that the military was required to force all service members to attend religious services, only that religious services were to be provided. "Earnestly recommended" does not equal "required". Chaplains are there to provide religious services and religious counseling for those that want them. Religious functions and prayers should not be a requirement for military members.
    Middle-of-the-road swing voter. Feel free to sway my opinion.

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    • #3
      "Neighbor, how long has it been since you’ve had a big, thick, steaming bowl of Wolf Brand Chili?”

      Comment


      • #4
        Originally posted by Yttrium View Post
        Seer, your quotes do not show that the military was required to force all service members to attend religious services, only that religious services were to be provided. "Earnestly recommended" does not equal "required". Chaplains are there to provide religious services and religious counseling for those that want them. Religious functions and prayers should not be a requirement for military members.
        Right, and no one was forced in the complaint by the atheists:

        This prayer goes far beyond something simply ceremonial, non-denominational, and optional.

        There is no evidence that anyone had to be involved in the prayer. And why does it have to be merely ceremonial? That certainly was not envisioned by the Founders.
        Atheism is the cult of death, the death of hope. The universe is doomed, you are doomed, the only thing that remains is to await your execution...

        https://www.youtube.com/watch?v=Jbnueb2OI4o&t=3s

        Comment


        • #5
          Originally posted by seer View Post
          Right, and no one was forced in the complaint by the atheists:

          This prayer goes far beyond something simply ceremonial, non-denominational, and optional.

          There is no evidence that anyone had to be involved in the prayer. And why does it have to be merely ceremonial? That certainly was not envisioned by the Founders.
          "This is Christian-specific, mandatory, and requires participation..."

          Middle-of-the-road swing voter. Feel free to sway my opinion.

          Comment


          • #6
            Originally posted by Yttrium View Post
            Seer, your quotes do not show that the military was required to force all service members to attend religious services, only that religious services were to be provided. "Earnestly recommended" does not equal "required". Chaplains are there to provide religious services and religious counseling for those that want them. Religious functions and prayers should not be a requirement for military members.
            Judging from the source I seriously doubt that there was any force involved. And no Christian instructs people to respond Amen like that.
            Micah 6:8 He has told you, O man, what is good; and what does the LORD require of you but to do justice, and to love kindness, and to walk humbly with your God?

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            • #7
              Originally posted by Yttrium View Post
              "This is Christian-specific, mandatory, and requires participation..."

              Yes, that is what the atheists are saying. I'm asking for evidence that this was mandatory, and of course it was Christian - just as the Founders suggested.
              Atheism is the cult of death, the death of hope. The universe is doomed, you are doomed, the only thing that remains is to await your execution...

              https://www.youtube.com/watch?v=Jbnueb2OI4o&t=3s

              Comment


              • #8
                Originally posted by seer View Post
                I'm asking for evidence that this was mandatory...
                Oh, that's what you're asking. Misleading OP then. Carry on.
                Middle-of-the-road swing voter. Feel free to sway my opinion.

                Comment


                • #9
                  Originally posted by Yttrium View Post
                  Oh, that's what you're asking. Misleading OP then. Carry on.
                  But I also want to know why can't it be Christian specific and why it has to merely ceremonial?
                  Atheism is the cult of death, the death of hope. The universe is doomed, you are doomed, the only thing that remains is to await your execution...

                  https://www.youtube.com/watch?v=Jbnueb2OI4o&t=3s

                  Comment


                  • #10
                    Originally posted by seer View Post
                    Yes, that is what the atheists are saying. I'm asking for evidence that this was mandatory, and of course it was Christian - just as the Founders suggested.
                    Not sure why you're asking here. You'd need to ask the source for evidence.

                    The source may as well cut to the chase and ask for no prayer at all; they seem to want it to be limited to empty ceremony which doesn't offend anyone (they obviously mean "inter-faith" by "non-denominational"), which is explicitly optional. I was at an inter-faith service after 9-11. It was a nice gesture of solidarity, I guess, but it did absolutely nothing for me spiritually.
                    Enter the Church and wash away your sins. For here there is a hospital and not a court of law. Do not be ashamed to enter the Church; be ashamed when you sin, but not when you repent. – St. John Chrysostom

                    Veritas vos Liberabit<>< Learn Greek <>< Look here for an Orthodox Church in America<><Ancient Faith Radio
                    sigpic
                    I recommend you do not try too hard and ...research as little as possible. Such weighty things give me a headache. - Shunyadragon, Baha'i apologist

                    Comment


                    • #11
                      Originally posted by seer View Post
                      But I also want to know why can't it be Christian specific and why it has to merely ceremonial?
                      Is this going to head to a generic separation of church and state argument? The government isn't supposed to promote a specific religion. It's as simple as that. You may disagree with that, but it's the current rule, and it's backed up by the courts, all the way up to the Supreme Court. When you get a bunch of people in a room in a mandatory function, and start preaching a specific religion, even if the people aren't forced to pray and say "amen", they're a captive audience. Things like that aren't really supposed to happen, although it's often overlooked in the military. Removing the religious influences from mandatory functions doesn't in any way prevent the chaplains from doing their jobs.

                      Personally, I'm not fond of zealously enforcing separation of church and state. However, once people start complaining about being forced to receive a dose of government-sponsored religion, it's going to get attention.
                      Middle-of-the-road swing voter. Feel free to sway my opinion.

                      Comment


                      • #12
                        I experienced mandatory, explicitly Christian religion foisted on me in the service. In addition to the officially non-denominational stuff that was Christian with a wink.

                        It was messed up. It happens all the time and is rarely reported for a variety of reasons.

                        Comment


                        • #13
                          Originally posted by Jaecp View Post
                          I experienced mandatory, explicitly Christian religion foisted on me in the service. In addition to the officially non-denominational stuff that was Christian with a wink.

                          It was messed up. It happens all the time and is rarely reported for a variety of reasons.
                          Can you give some specifics? It was certainly not mandatory when I was serving, and that was prior to your service. For that matter, on the submarine they would have had to do multiple services in order to get everybody in. We had a Catholic service and a Protestant service, both run by lay leaders. I only attended the Protestant one for, um, maybe the last 4 months or so? There was zero pressure to do so, and zero consequences if I didn't attend.
                          Last edited by One Bad Pig; 06-24-2015, 09:57 PM.
                          Enter the Church and wash away your sins. For here there is a hospital and not a court of law. Do not be ashamed to enter the Church; be ashamed when you sin, but not when you repent. – St. John Chrysostom

                          Veritas vos Liberabit<>< Learn Greek <>< Look here for an Orthodox Church in America<><Ancient Faith Radio
                          sigpic
                          I recommend you do not try too hard and ...research as little as possible. Such weighty things give me a headache. - Shunyadragon, Baha'i apologist

                          Comment


                          • #14
                            It's not policy.

                            What happens is individual departments, like mine, would make everyone participate in explicitly Christian group prayers where a chaplain was involved no matter if they were Christian, atheist or Buddhist. Objection would subtly impact your evals. One of my bosses, e5, was so afraid of it hurting his career made me swear to secrecy when he finally talked to me about nonbelief in private (I had a rep as an atheist)

                            Our boss, 0-5, had a huge influence on our careers and proving retribution was hard.

                            It's more common in the air force, plenty of documented stories.

                            If it was policy it'd be easy to fight. The problem is that the latitude of control that the chain has over you and people are too afraid to speak up because it's causing problems with your boss who writes you evaluations.

                            Heck, the public prayer infuriated my friend Espey, a young minister I served with, for being against a good number of doctrines he felt strongly about.

                            But we were e2s. What were we gonna do?

                            Comment


                            • #15
                              Originally posted by Jaecp View Post
                              It's not policy.

                              What happens is individual departments, like mine, would make everyone participate in explicitly Christian group prayers where a chaplain was involved no matter if they were Christian, atheist or Buddhist. Objection would subtly impact your evals. One of my bosses, e5, was so afraid of it hurting his career made me swear to secrecy when he finally talked to me about nonbelief in private (I had a rep as an atheist)

                              Our boss, 0-5, had a huge influence on our careers and proving retribution was hard.

                              It's more common in the air force, plenty of documented stories.

                              If it was policy it'd be easy to fight. The problem is that the latitude of control that the chain has over you and people are too afraid to speak up because it's causing problems with your boss who writes you evaluations.

                              Heck, the public prayer infuriated my friend Espey, a young minister I served with, for being against a good number of doctrines he felt strongly about.

                              But we were e2s. What were we gonna do?
                              My experience in the Air Force was about the same as One Bad Pig described in the Navy. I don't remember any mandatory prayer, and there were even non-Christian chaplains and service options available to people of various faiths in Basic and elsewhere (I recall a number of friends who attended a small Wiccan service). The idea that an E5 or anyone else might fear for their career because of their nonbelief seems incredibly peculiar. Most of the people I knew in the military were either nominally religious or out and out secularists. I served between 99 and 2004, so maybe things were different before then.

                              Comment

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