Following the Supreme Court's gay marriage ruling, an activist is calling for the removal of "all homophobic military chaplains" who openly share their biblical views about sexuality, pushing back against claims that gays and lesbians are "sinners" for "choosing" their lifestyle.
Mikey Weinstein, president of the Military Religious Freedom Foundation, a group that the monitors perceived violations of the separation of church and state, originally proclaimed in an op-ed published following last month's gay marriage ruling that chaplains vocally opposed to same-sex nuptials and homosexuality should voluntarily vacate their role, or be terminated by the Department of Defense.
"If chaplains believe that they must preach to their troops a message that their [lesbian, gay, bi] brothers and sisters are 'sinners' because they have 'chosen to be [lesbian, gay, bi]' then MRFF demands that such chaplains either voluntarily leave the military or be immediately terminated," Weinstein said in an email to TheBlaze.
Weinstein argued that anyone who preaches such sentiment in the military — even those who are not chaplains — should also be removed, as he believes that these denunciations are destructive to the cohesiveness, uniformity and morale that is sought within the armed forces.
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"We have many [lesbian, gay, bi] military members in various positions of leadership, even very senior leadership in the military ... some are generals and admirals commanding vast numbers of troops and weapons of mass destruction," Weinstein continued. "Why should we tolerate either a chaplain or any other member of the military who publicly asserts that such fine American military leaders are 'sinners' who 'choose' to be [gay] in direct defiance of their personally favored version of the either the Bible or the Quran?"
Weinstein questioned whether anyone would be willing to tolerate chaplains making similar claims about women, ethnic groups or religious minorities, and said that, in the end, it is the military's goal to maximize "military readiness and mission accomplishment, unit cohesion, good order, morale, discipline, health and safety."
He used much stronger language in his op-ed, though, openly deriding chaplains who vocally oppose homosexuality:
"What truly troubles these cretinous sentinels of vile prejudice and hate-mongering bigotry is the fact that this ruling will go down historically as the watershed moment which may indeed shatter the spine of the religious right in the U.S. military, whose prior viselike grip over the chaplaincy has formed the key obstacle to social progress within the Armed Forces. Cry us a river!
Nobody is arguing that these losers don’t have a right to their religious beliefs – that right is sacrosanct, and is backed by the highest law of the land – the U.S. Constitution. However, as long as these faux “victimized” chaplains insist on accepting a government paycheck from us, the taxpayers, while nurturing and maintaining the state of antagonism between their religion and the sexual/gender identities of servicemembers, then they don’t belong in the military. At this stage, the only honorable thing that these losers can do is to fold up their uniforms, turn in their papers, and get the hell out of the American military chaplaincy. If they are unwilling or too cowardly to do so, then the Department of Defense must expeditiously cleanse itself of the intolerant filth that insists on lingering in the ranks of our armed forces."
But others like Dr. Ron Crews, executive director of the Chaplain Alliance for Religious Liberty, a group that works to protect chaplains' religious liberties, don't quite see it Weinstein's way.
"Chaplains exist to make sure those who serve our armed forces are able to exercise their religious liberty. We have been doing that since July 1775 when George Washington established our chaplain corps," Crews told TheBlaze. "Chaplains must be faithful to their calling and ordination. They must represent those who ordained them and sent them to the military."
He continued, "So, we must allow chaplains who come from faith traditions that hold as doctrine that marriage is the union of a man and woman to preach, teach and counsel from that doctrine."
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Crews said that chaplains who hold traditional views come from evangelical, Catholic, Jewish, Muslim and other religious backgrounds, with each individual ministering from a specific faith tradition; that includes the right to address theological views on same-sex nuptials.
"If a service member is offended by that then chaplains will help them find another chaplain or faith leader who will serve them," he said.
Crews said that Weinstein is wrong to call for chaplains' resignations, accusing the Military Religious Freedom Foundation of failing to understand how chaplains conduct ministry.
"Chaplains have been working together for over 200 years making sure that our men and women in uniform receive the ministry they desire and deserve," Crews said.
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