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Jesus Wears Combat Boots
It seems the military is ripe ground for flock-seeking bible thumpers:

The U.S. Armed Forces have always had chaplains who serve side-by-side with the troops in wartime, offering public prayers and private counseling to all comers, all faiths, believers and non-believers. But with the number of chaplains from evangelical denominations increasing dramatically in the past 10 years, the approach to pastoral care is changing -- causing new concerns within the military community. Last year, Jewish cadets and others at the Air Force Academy complained of proselytizing by evangelical officers, prompting a Pentagon investigation and the drafting of new interim guidelines regarding chaplain ministry. But many, including several members of Congress, felt the Air Force went too far and are now seeking an executive order to protect the right of chaplains to pray according to their faith. What are the limits of proselytizing in the U.S. Armed Forces, and have some chaplains stepped over the line? Deborah Potter reports on this controversy and what the military is doing to resolve this conflict. Professor Kristin Leslie with Yale Divinity School observes, "I think a lot of evangelical conservative Christians see that as the basic work that they are to do -- to bring people to Jesus -- and that's a problem in a pluralistic environment."

Posted by aalkon at January 21, 2006 6:58 AM

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part of the shift, iirc, is that most denominations are having trouble filling their own parishes/churches with pastors, let alone sending them to the military. the evangelical faith, however, is growing.

another detail to note is that they are, uh, more pro-active as well.

the bottom line is that commanders need to ensure that the chaplains know their limits and don't exceed them.

sometimes, you'll get a commander that wants a prayer before every staff meeting (which hasn't happened to me, but i've heard of it). sometimes, you'll spend 8 months without one because your chaplain got sent home early from a deployment for 'health reasons,' but mainly because he couldn't take it (which did happen in my unit).

Posted by: g*mart at January 21, 2006 4:27 AM

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