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OutServe Magazine | Last Updated June 29, 2015

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Air Force Issues New LGBT Guidance to Chaplains

September 3, 2013 |

The chaplain’s memo seems to begin and end with a commitment to honoring LGBT service members and their families…yet some of the guidance issued seems to alienate some LGBT couples based on the sole discretion of various endorsing agencies.Read More

NDAA: A Fight for the Right to Discriminate

December 22, 2012 | Comments

Despite the rhetoric from both the right and left on the National Defense Authorization Act debates, it turned out to be much ado about nothing, yet solely reading much of the commentary from some LGBT media and advocacy groups, it is difficult to understand that the final bill changed nothing for chaplains.Read More

Chaplains: Force Multiplier or Force Distracter?

November 23, 2012 | Comments

Guest blog by Vicki Hudson

“I will seek to provide pastoral care and ministry to persons of religious bodies other than my own within my area of responsibility with the same investment of myself as I give to members of my own religious body. Read More

“It Still Is Not Safe, David.”

October 10, 2012 | Comments

Each chaplain I spoke with said almost the same thing: they would be willing to share their experience with me, and open to my writing in their stead, but they were not willing to write even an anonymous article for fear of it being connected back to them.Read More

Oh, So THAT’s “Religious Freedom?”

July 30, 2012 | Comments

By Brenda S. “Sue” Fulton
Communications Director for both OutServe and the Forum on the Military Chaplaincy

Over the past several years, right-wing so-called Christian groups like Chaplain Alliance for Religious Liberty, Alliance Defending Freedom, and Family Research Council have been warning usthat the repeal of “Don’t Ask, Don’t Tell” represented a fundamental threat to military chaplains. Now we finally see what they mean.

Air Force Chaplain (Colonel) Tim Wagoner, after close to thirty years as a Southern Baptist Chaplain, parted ways with the Southern Baptist Convention (SBC) after he was publicly called on the carpet. His offense? Sitting in the back of his own chapel while one of his chaplains conducted a same-sex ceremony for one of his Airmen. Although Chaplain Wagoner insisted that he did not “personally condone” same-sex weddings, he insisted on being a good leader by supporting both his subordinate chaplain and his airman.

U.S. Air Force Chaplain (Col) Timothy Wagoner sits in the McGuire AFB chapel at Joint Base McGuire-Dix-Lakehurst in Wrightstown, N.J. Wagoner has left the Southern Baptist Convention after the conservative denomination publicly questioned his decision to attend a same-sex civil union ceremony at his base in New Jersey. Wagoner is remaining on active duty and has received an endorsement from the Cooperative Baptist Fellowship, which has more moderate views on homosexuality and some other issues than the Southern Baptists. (AP Photo/Mel Evans)

The North American Mission Board of the Southern Baptist Convention is notoriously hard-line in its anti-gay positions, and published a “clarification” of Wagoner’s views, along with a stern warning to all Southern Baptists about their doctrine.  A few days later, they gleefully reported Wagoner’s departure from their denomination.

So what do we have here? A denomination sending a message to all Southern Baptist chaplains that they don’t dare even give the APPEARANCE of supporting their gay and lesbian troops, lest the SBC withdraw their “endorsement” – and since all military chaplains must be endorsed by an approved body, this could end their military career.

So apparently DADT repeal did carry a threat to military chaplains. A threat coming from people like the Southern Baptist Convention.

The military chaplaincy exists to ensure that military members have access to religious services – not for chaplains to seek converts. If the sponsoring denominations cannot accept the necessary limitations on a chaplain that require him to “perform or provide” for   ALL service members, regardless of belief, then they shouldn’t be sponsoring military chaplains. Read More

Social Experiment or Constitutional Mandate?

July 30, 2012 | Comments

The harsh and insensitive rhetoric trivializes the lives and families of America’s service members, and tramples on their First Amendment rights. The elite alliance of retired chaplains and denominational endorsers have lobbied relentlessly to violate “free exercise” by restricting the ministries of chaplains whose religious beliefs aren’t anti-gay enough for them. Read More

Chaplains’ View: Same-Sex Marriage

June 25, 2012 |

Military Same Sex Marriage as a Religious Rite and Right: A Chaplain’s View

by Paul W. Dodd, Chaplain (Colonel), U.S. Army (Ret) and
Tom Carpenter, Esq. (CAPT USMC 1970-1982) and Elder, Presbyterian Church (USA)
Co-Chairs, Forum on the Military Chaplaincy

Tech. Sgt. Umali and Mr. Behrens’ wedding photo

A wedding took place this past weekend at Joint Base McGuire-Dix-Lakewood in New Jersey, a state that allows civil unions.  An Airman and his civilian husband, Tech. Sgt. Erwynn Umali and Will Behrens, were the proud couple.  Navy Chaplain Kay Reeb, who performed the ceremony, is endorsed by the Evangelical Lutheran Church in America.  The chaplain was performing the duties required of her by the Consitution and in conformity with the traditions of her denomination. Clearly, there will be major pushback from those opposed to marriage equality and who claim to believe in the exercise of religious freedom, so long as the relgion is theirs.

Last month an enlisted soldier and her partner were quietly blessed in a private religious ceremony at an Army chapel.  Word leaked out, however, unleashing a vociferous attack by Republican congressmen and  others, who condemned the “marriage-like ceremony” as illegal and a desecration.

That religious ceremony marked the first known use of a military chapel for a same-sex couple, a highly charged political issue.  The service – at an installation chapel at Fort Polk, La., – had no legal effect as Louisiana does not recognize gay marriages or civil unions.  It was solely a religious rite under the auspices of their religious denomination – a simple expression of their free exercise of religion.

“It’s outrageous and illegal,” crowed Rep. Todd Akin (R-MO), a member of the theologically conservative Presbyterian Church in America, and the chairman of the House Armed Services Committee who has introduced several bills to prevent such ceremonies. Read More

Military Chaplains + Their Gays

March 29, 2012 | Comments

LGBT service members and civilians alike, who have been raised in traditional communities of faith, have long experienced the sting of rejection by members of the clergy and by those who should love them most – their families and friends. Religion is often cited to justify hate crimes, bullying and bigotry. It forms the rationale for reparative therapy or transformational ministries (the pseudo-science of changing one’s sexual orientation).Read More