Repeal of DADT actually HAS resulted in restrictions on a chaplain’s religious freedom

Timothy Kincaid

July 30th, 2012

Those who opposed the repeal of Don’t Ask – Don’t Tell, the anti-gay military policy, warned that lifting the ban on openly gay servicemembers would result in chaplains having to choose between their denomination and The Homosexual Agenda! They predicted that chaplains would be forced into positions in which the orders of their superiors would contradict the mandates of their faith.

And they were right.

On June 23rd, Tech. Sgt. Erwynn Umali and Will Behrens stood before God and Country and pledged to love each other and trust in each other and in God. Kay Reeb, a Navy chaplain with the Evangelical Lutheran Church in America, presided. Joyously. And as the ELCA supports same sex couples, Reeb did so with no conflict whatsoever.

But, as it turns out, Reeb was not the only chaplain present. Air Force Col. Timothy Wagoner, a Southern Baptist, is the presiding chaplain at that chapel, and he was there as well. (Army Times)

“I wouldn’t miss it,” Wagoner said at the chapel at Joint Base McGuire-Dix-Lakehurst, days later. “I don’t feel I’m compromising my beliefs … I’m supporting the community.”

Even though he was not willing to conduct the union, he could be there as a sign of support for all of the service members, including Umali (“a comrade in arms”) and Reeb (“she gave a beautiful ceremony”). The article that quoted Wagoner went on to say that the lifting of the ban was a non-issue.

In fact, there’s been no significant exodus — perhaps two or three departures of active-duty chaplains linked to the repeal. Moreover, chaplains or their civilian coordinators from a range of conservative faiths told The Associated Press they knew of virtually no serious problems thus far involving infringement of chaplains’ religious freedom or rights of conscience.

It seems that, unlike their civilian counterparts, chaplains are quite willing to respect each others’ views and to support their service even if their theology differs.

Well that just wouldn’t do. If chaplains are not feeling infringement then they certainly were going to. So the North American Mission Board (the branch of the Southern Baptists that oversees SBC chaplains) called in Col. Wagoner to explain himself. (Baptist Press)

Wagoner assured the SBC that he does not support same-sex marriage or unions. Nor have his theological views changed from the teachings of his denomination. But that just wasn’t good enough.

Carver said, “Our expectations are that military chaplains will continue to uphold the Baptist Faith and Message 2000, which makes it crystal-clear that marriage is the uniting of one man and one woman.”

After the AP article appeared, Carver said NAMB’s chaplaincy office immediately emailed a letter to all its chaplains, reinforcing the Southern Baptist position on same-sex civil unions. A videoconference session for all senior SBC military chaplains also is planned to emphasize NAMB’s expectations for ministry to members of the armed forces.

There won’t be any of this “getting along with others” crap. We have conflict to uphold. We have discord to sow. We have the infringement of religious liberties to fabricate.

“Our chaplains need the assurance of our prayerful support as they fight the good fight of faith with the uncompromising truthfulness and love of Jesus Christ,” Carver said. “We’re going to protect our chaplains and, as they take their stand, they need to remember they’re not alone. We are here to love, defend and support them.”

Kinda like they loved, defended and supported Col. Wagoner.

But I’m happy to report that Col. Wagoner has withstood the pressures placed on him by the lifting of Don’t Ask – Don’t Tell. He faced an infringement on his religious freedom but his faith was strong enough to weather the pressure of the post-DADT military and come out victorious. Col. Wagoner looked religious oppression in the face and fought back. (Christian Post)

Col. Timothy Wagoner, who serves at an Air Force base in New Jersey, left the Southern Baptist Convention and joined the more progressive Cooperative Baptist Fellowship. The long-time chaplain confirmed his switch to The Associated Press on Friday.

“I find very little that is more important and nothing that is more exhilarating than providing for the religious freedoms and spiritual care of all service members and their families – and will joyfully continue to do so,” Wagoner, senior chaplain at Joint Base McGuire-Dix-Lakehurst, said to AP.

Yes, indeed. The lifting of Don’t Ask – Don’t Tell certainly has resulted in restrictions on a chaplain’s religious freedom. By the Southern Baptist Convention. But happily, he rose above.

Craig L. Adams

July 30th, 2012

That’s a very interesting story. Thanks.

Muscat

July 30th, 2012

The SBC, like the Catholic Church, is a denomination that seems to be increasingly isolating itself, even from its own members.

TampaZeke

July 30th, 2012

I’m sure that if you give them enough time they’ll explain to you how that is COMPLETELY different and perfectly OK.

John

July 30th, 2012

Bravo to the good colonel, and shame on the SBC. Minor quibble, though–the colonel’s religious freedom has not been threatened, any more than my free speech rights are threatened by people not agreeing with what I have to say.

Hyhybt

July 31st, 2012

Another minor quibble, though not with this article, but with site functionality: when I shared this on Facebook (by pasting the URL) the result produced the correct title for this article, but the description underneath reads “In this original BTB investigation, we unveil the tragic story of Kirk Murphy, a four-year-old boy” and there’s no way to change it.

Any idea what causes that? It did, very nicely, give a choice of images to place beside the incorrect text… which was actually correct until I actually clicked “post.”

Désirée

July 31st, 2012

The lack of a “share on facebook” button for the site does seem to be a large oversight. Quite frequently I have wanted to share something from here but wind up going to the linked source instead and sharing from there because of the difficulty in sharing BTB pages properly

Timothy Kincaid

July 31st, 2012

Thanks guys. I’ll ask Jim if there is anything we can do

Hunter

July 31st, 2012

Sadly, the blatant cynicism of religious hierarchies yelping about “religious freedom” no longer surprises me — they are, by their very nature, not at all about freedom of conscience. They are all about enforcing orthodoxy. The two are, when you look at them, mutually exclusive.

Russ Manley

August 1st, 2012

Wonderful story, love it. Thanks for posting this.

Leave A Comment

All comments reflect the opinions of commenters only. They are not necessarily those of anyone associated with Box Turtle Bulletin. Comments are subject to our Comments Policy.

(Required)
(Required, never shared)

PLEASE NOTE: All comments are subject to our Comments Policy.

 

Latest Posts

Today's Agenda Is Brought To You By...

Today In History, 1895: Oscar Wilde Convicted of "Gross Indecency"

Today In History, 1913: The Redl Affair

Today in History, 1961: Florida Legislative Committee Calls Schools "Veritable Refuge for Practicing Homosexuals"

Today In History, 1977: Everard Bathhouse Fire Kills Nine

Born On This Day, 1939: Ian McKellen

Born On This Day, 1969: Anne Heche

KKK Circulates Anti-Trans Flyer In Alabama

Featured Reports

What Are Little Boys Made Of?

In this original BTB Investigation, we unveil the tragic story of Kirk Murphy, a four-year-old boy who was treated for “cross-gender disturbance” in 1970 by a young grad student by the name of George Rekers. This story is a stark reminder that there are severe and damaging consequences when therapists try to ensure that boys will be boys.

Slouching Towards Kampala: Uganda’s Deadly Embrace of Hate

When we first reported on three American anti-gay activists traveling to Kampala for a three-day conference, we had no idea that it would be the first report of a long string of events leading to a proposal to institute the death penalty for LGBT people. But that is exactly what happened. In this report, we review our collection of more than 500 posts to tell the story of one nation’s embrace of hatred toward gay people. This report will be updated continuously as events continue to unfold. Check here for the latest updates.

Paul Cameron’s World

In 2005, the Southern Poverty Law Center wrote that “[Paul] Cameron’s ‘science’ echoes Nazi Germany.” What the SPLC didn”t know was Cameron doesn’t just “echo” Nazi Germany. He quoted extensively from one of the Final Solution’s architects. This puts his fascination with quarantines, mandatory tattoos, and extermination being a “plausible idea” in a whole new and deeply disturbing light.

From the Inside: Focus on the Family’s “Love Won Out”

On February 10, I attended an all-day “Love Won Out” ex-gay conference in Phoenix, put on by Focus on the Family and Exodus International. In this series of reports, I talk about what I learned there: the people who go to these conferences, the things that they hear, and what this all means for them, their families and for the rest of us.

Prologue: Why I Went To “Love Won Out”
Part 1: What’s Love Got To Do With It?
Part 2: Parents Struggle With “No Exceptions”
Part 3: A Whole New Dialect
Part 4: It Depends On How The Meaning of the Word "Change" Changes
Part 5: A Candid Explanation For "Change"

The Heterosexual Agenda: Exposing The Myths

At last, the truth can now be told.

Using the same research methods employed by most anti-gay political pressure groups, we examine the statistics and the case studies that dispel many of the myths about heterosexuality. Download your copy today!

And don‘t miss our companion report, How To Write An Anti-Gay Tract In Fifteen Easy Steps.

Testing The Premise: Are Gays A Threat To Our Children?

Anti-gay activists often charge that gay men and women pose a threat to children. In this report, we explore the supposed connection between homosexuality and child sexual abuse, the conclusions reached by the most knowledgeable professionals in the field, and how anti-gay activists continue to ignore their findings. This has tremendous consequences, not just for gay men and women, but more importantly for the safety of all our children.

Straight From The Source: What the “Dutch Study” Really Says About Gay Couples

Anti-gay activists often cite the “Dutch Study” to claim that gay unions last only about 1½ years and that the these men have an average of eight additional partners per year outside of their steady relationship. In this report, we will take you step by step into the study to see whether the claims are true.

The FRC’s Briefs Are Showing

Tony Perkins’ Family Research Council submitted an Amicus Brief to the Maryland Court of Appeals as that court prepared to consider the issue of gay marriage. We examine just one small section of that brief to reveal the junk science and fraudulent claims of the Family “Research” Council.

Daniel Fetty Doesn’t Count

Daniel FettyThe FBI’s annual Hate Crime Statistics aren’t as complete as they ought to be, and their report for 2004 was no exception. In fact, their most recent report has quite a few glaring holes. Holes big enough for Daniel Fetty to fall through.