WASHINGTON, October 13, 2011 (LifeSiteNews.com) – A coalition representing more than 2,000 Evangelical Christian military chaplains says its members will not perform homosexual “wedding” ceremonies. The Chaplain Alliance for Religious Liberty announced October 5 that it is joining the Catholic Archdiocese for Military Services to say “no” to the September 30 Pentagon directive authorizing military chaplains to do homosexual “marriages.”
“I was stunned at the memorandum that came out last Friday,” said Alliance executive director Dr. Ron Crews, who served as chaplain for 38 years. “It appears to set the Department of Defense in opposition to Congress in that Congress has passed a definition of marriage that is now federal law.”
The Alliance says that while the Pentagon acknowledges a chaplain’s right not to participate in homosexual “marriage” ceremonies, the new policy has placed the Pentagon “in the midst of a deeply controversial issue during a time of ongoing war.” In its announcement, the Pentagon said homosexual “marriage” ceremonies also could be held at military chapels across the nation.
Last week, the Catholic Archdiocese for Military Services said that no Catholic chaplains serving in the military will participate in such ceremonies at any chapels, pointing out that the federal Defense of Marriage Act (DOMA) remains in effect. There are approximately 300 Catholic priests certified for active-duty military service, according to OneNewsNow.
Congressional Armed Services Subcommittee chair Todd Akin has also said that the new policy allowing gay “marriages” on military bases is in direct violation of DOMA.
“If the Department of Defense decides that they are going to have government-paid chaplains on government property performing homosexual marriages, they’re in direct violation of DOMA,” Akin told CNSNews.com. “When you see essentially laws being created or ignored by the executive branch, that says we are bordering on lawlessness.”
While the Alliance is encouraging chaplains to remain in the military, Crew said there are those who have decided they will walk away, according to WorldNetDaily. The Alliance is calling on Congress to ensure that no American service member is forced to deny their religious beliefs.
In May 2011, Military chaplain agencies demanded conscience protections as the DADT repeal loomed. Twenty-one religious agencies that provide chaplains to the U.S. military sent a joint letter to the military’s chief of chaplains noting that the law designed to dismantle the DADT policy lacked conscience protections.
On October 8, an army general expressed frustration to a conservative audience at the silence of Christian churches when the military’s ban on open homosexuality fell to a repeal effort. Notably, while the Vatican had released a statement in 1992 supporting a ban on open homosexuality in the military, the U.S. Conference of Catholic Bishops remained silent on the repeal effort, leaving military Archbishop Timothy Broglio to defend the ban alone.