On 10/2/06, Brad Pardee <[EMAIL PROTECTED]> wrote:
It sounds to me very much like the Navy has, in essence, said that a person
can only be a chaplain if they act as if they don't actually believe
anything. That doesn't sound like what 200+ years worth of American
fighting men and women were willing to die to defend.
Let's back up this context a bit.
1. Chaplains can privately pray to whomever they want and howsoever
they want, short of interfering with others legitimate activities.
2. Chaplains can hold private services for adherents and pray
howsoever they want, including in the name of Jesus or Allah or
whomever or whatever.
3. Chaplains can hold services open to anyone and pray howsoever they
want,including in the name of Jesus or Allah or whomever or whatever
so long as these services may be fairly characterized as voluntary.
4. When Chaplains are doing official business in official settings or
in mandatory assemblies, then restrictions are placed on them.
5. When Chaplains are in situations where being in uniform would
affect the perception that they are acting in an official capacity,
they need to act in accordance with some restrictions that do not
apply if they are doing the exact same conduct, but not in uniform.
Have I got this about right?
If so, it strikes me that religious freedom is doing quite well by
chaplains in the military -- with broader free exercise being granted
than would be constitutionally required.
Mr. Klingenschmitt's interpretation of Congress's actions seem
erroneous to me and his actions do seem to be more about grandstanding
than religious freedom, but he is certainly entitled to his take on
what religious freedom law should be, and within bounds, as to what it
is. And I take him at his word that he is pursuing his agenda
motivated by a genuine (mis)understanding of what the law requires and
a genuine belief (mistaken by my lights) as to what it should require.
Prof. Steven Jamar
Howard University School of Law
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