Monday, 10 October 2011

Evangelical, Orthodox, Catholic Chaplains United in Refusing “Gay Marriage”

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More than 2,000 Christian U.S. military chaplains have joined their Catholic colleagues in refusing to perform wedding ceremonies for homosexual soldiers who want to “marry” their partners. According to CNSNews.com, the evangelical and Orthodox chaplains are part of the newly formed Chaplain Alliance for Liberty, which will not allow member clergy “to perform same-sex wedding ceremonies under any circumstances.”

Dr. Ron Crews (left), executive director of the group, said chaplains are concerned about the implications of the September 30 directive that allows military clergy to perform same-sex “wedding” ceremonies. The Pentagon memorandum stated: “A military chaplain may participate in or officiate any private ceremony, whether on or off a military installation, provided that the ceremony is not prohibited by applicable state and local law.” The memo added that “a chaplain is not required to participate in or officiate a private ceremony if doing so would be in variance with the tenets of his or her religion.”

Crews, a former chaplain with 28 years of service, told CNSNews: “By dishonestly sanctioning the use of federal facilities for ‘marriage counterfeits’ that federal law and the vast majority of Americans have rejected, the Pentagon has launched a direct assault on the fundamental unit of society—husband and wife.”

He added that while the memorandum acknowledges a chaplain may opt out of a ceremony on moral or faith grounds, “the new policy makes it clear that the Pentagon has placed the military in the midst of a deeply controversial issue during a time of ongoing war.”

Crews told the Christian Post his group is concerned “that chaplains who refuse to perform the ceremonies will not be considered what the military calls ‘a team player.’” He explained: “There’s an unspoken rule that you’ve got to go along with the system if you want to advance, and I’ve already heard rumblings that some chaplains are being reassigned for forwarding certain e-mails on the issue.”

The announcement by the new Christian chaplains group came on the heels of a similar statement by the Catholic Archdiocese for the Military Services, USA, which confirmed that neither Catholic chaplains or Catholic facilities on military bases — specifically the famed Catholic Chapel of the Most Holy Trinity at the U.S. Military Academy at West Point — will be used to legitimize homosexual liaisons. Of the West Point chapel, Taylor Henry, director of public affairs for the military diocese, said: “Holy Trinity is an actual Catholic parish, unlike the non-denominational chapels that are found on other military installations, and the only services held there are Catholic services. The Catholic Church does not perform the sacrament of matrimony for same-sex couples.” As for Catholic clergy, Henry made it clear that “no Catholic chaplain is authorized to perform a same-sex marriage under any circumstances.”

Crew said that the statement by the Chaplain Alliance for Religious Liberty is, in part, a declaration of solidarity with the Catholic military diocese. “They made a very strong statement saying that no Catholic chaplains serving in the military will participate in any same-sex ceremonies at any chapels,” he said. “We appreciate that strong stand, so we just wanted to let the Department of Defense know that it’s not only the Catholic chaplains, but that some 2,000 chaplains who come from evangelical backgrounds are saying our chaplains will not participate in same-sex ceremonies in the military.”

As reported by The New American, the U.S. military’s Catholic Archbishop, Timothy Broglio, denounced the new military policy, noting, reported CNSNews.com, that “voters in 29 states have affirmed marriage as the union of one man and one woman by referendum — and 41 states total have adopted laws or constitutional amendments protecting marriage.”

Broglio pointed out that the 1996 Defense of Marriage Act, which defines marriage for federal purposes as only between a man and a woman, is still the law of the land, adding that the new policy was an attempt to “circumvent the clear will of the majority, whose unquestionable sovereignty has the last word in the system of government enshrined in the Federal Constitution.” The Archbishop recalled that the passage of DOMA “was due to the efforts of a substantial, bi-partisan majority in Congress and to then-President Clinton. As a Nation we walk down a dangerous path when appointed officials are allowed to thwart the will of the people.”

Similarly, reported CNSNews, Crews “said his group is calling on Congress to affirm that the federal definition of marriage — one man and one woman for federal purposes — applies to the Department of Defense and that no federal facilities may be used to circumvent federal law.”

Additionally, said Crews, “we call on Congress to enact a ‘Right of Conscience’ clause in the Revised Title 10 code to ensure that no American, and especially not our service members, be forced to deny their religious beliefs.”