Comments about ‘Rhetoric heats up in debate over proselytizing in the military’

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Published: Wednesday, May 1 2013 6:55 p.m. MDT

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Provo, UT

When a shark smells blood in the water, it goes for the kill. The anti-religion faction within this country is smelling a lot of blood. So they're going for the kill. The government is, of course, completely on their side. Higher education is almost hands down on their side. The press is largely on their side. I'm not totally convinced that even those who are on the other side (the vocal advocates for religion) are frequently positioned to line their pockets. While this is a nation founded on Judeo-Christian values, those values seem like a broken down car in the rear view of a speeding race car. They do not appear to be capable of withstanding the onslaught of the vocal and aggressive minority that is driven to destroying organized religion. And the attack is on multiple fronts. I don't personally see a way to stop it, but I do foresee a day when the battle lines will be fully established and each individual will have to decide what side they're on and what they stand for. I guess in that sense Joshua was right. Somethings never do change.

Phillip M Hotchkiss
Malta, Mt

The Service men women fight for our freedom. Is there any way we as civilians can fight for their freedom? To show our thanks for what they do for us.

Bountiful, UT

Probably the reason this is an issue is evengelicals. They can be very annoying and given the way they act many in the military are getting tired of being around them.

South Jordan, UT

Thanks for the startling information! I used the petition link to show my concerns for this grievous effort to stymie religious expression in the military.

Beverly Hills, CA

The story is long on rhetoric but short on facts. I do not feel more informed about this topic at all. Our country was founded on the principle of freedom of religion and freedom from religion. There will always be a balancing act. In terms of chaplains, they are under the employment of federal taxpayers and their roles should be specifically defined.

This story is short on facts but is full of innuendo that that drives distrust on both sides. Give me facts instead of blogger spouting please.

Salt Lake City, UT

Let's see...

Curtail religious freedom
Ban guns
Fill the military with anti-religious policies, then sentiment, then members
Call religious teaching "hate speech."

Yup, nothing to fear here...

Auckland NZ, 00

A bit of a lopsided article here, not just in quoting detractors of Michael Weinstein, but in failing to quote Weinstein himself. Also missed any reference to the widely publicised problems with "forced fundamentalism" at the Air Force Academy and not even a distant allusion to power and hierarchy in the military and how complicates issues of religion just as it does issues of sexual behaviour. Partisan coverage of an issue doesn't have to be meat headed.

Alexandria, VA

A significant reason that this has come to the point where it is at is simply because those charged to be the keepers of the religious values failed to do so. The talked the talk but did not walk the walk and now instead of being willing to sacrifice their time and means to bring the dialogue back to center - they are panicking and blaming the anti-religious factions - no folks - your lack of living the principles you hold dear is the problem and unless you are willing to make significant sacrifices – and change your behavior you are the problem - not the anti-religious factions.

Springville, UT

I was rather fortunate in my military experience to not face being given the "hard sell" on religion. Any discourse I had was civil, enlightened, and begun from a genuine curiosity.
That being said, since my time in the army (22-25 years ago), friends I have still in the military tell me there is a growing aggression among those seeking to spread the gospel. I have been told on more than one occasion their efforts are going over the limits as set down in both regulations of the military and those which would be deemed polite and proper.

The problem from my perspective is unfortunately rooted in the evangelical tradition. More and more evangelical fundamentalists are crying fowl, citing what they believe to be the intent of the founding fathers and God, whenever they do not get what they want. In the military, the regulations don't always make sense, but they are there for a reason. In this case they are there to protect anyone who chooses to not practice a religion from those who might discriminate against others based upon that decision.

Elsmere, DE

Proselytizing, as in sharing religious views with friends, is one thing. Getting in someone's face all the time on military time and space is another. Mr. Weinstein isn't trying to shut churches down, he's asking that they play by reasonable rules. How would you feel if you were trying to walk across college campus between classes and every day someone from some evangelical group was basically pouncing on you? That's what's been happening, particularly at the Air Force Academy.

The Rock
Federal Way, WA

Political correctness is an interesting term. If something furthers the "Progressive Agenda" then it is politically correct. If something impedes that agenda then it is politically incorrect.

Progressives have long looked for a way to change the military from being largely conservative to largely leftist. Banning religious expression is one way of doing this.

The most effective means of driving all Christians out of the military is to go to war against Israel and allow all who oppose that move to leave the military. I can see this President doing that.

Kaysville, UT

Unfortunately I can see a day in the future where Organized religion will be outlawed. the world is changing and the religions of the world are on the losing side it looks like. the next 50 years are gonna be a bit bumpy I think.

Elaine Douglass
Grand, UT

JohnJacobJingleHeimerSchmidt is correct. We need facts, not blogger spouting. The fact is that officer corps of the US military is pervaded by an oppressive Christian fundamentalism--"Dominionism." If you don't actively adhere to it you can kiss your military career goodby. THAT is what is behind this news story. LDS not welcome, BTW.

Stansbury Park, Ut

During my active duty time, many were the times we were ordered to go to the chapel for religious services or we were forced to do some hard labor if we refused. Is this right? Members of minority religions were grossly under represented in the chaplain's corps, religions like Christian Science, Scientology, LDS, Muslim and many others. Practitioners of these faiths often had to sit through the Protestant or Catholic service and then could go to their own services off post. As a member of a minority religion, I was pretty much not allowed to talk about my belief structure. This is a move in the right direction and it has taken far too long to happen. Most military chaplains are alright, some are wonderful and a few are hard liners who will stop at nothing when trying to convert service members. The latter are the ones that need to be stopped.


It isn't "Christianity" that is under attack, it is those advocates of Christianity that are on the attack. It is the same as when the Christians were killing the Saints in Rome, they reported that it was, "Christians being tortured and slaughtered. But in accordance with the revealed word if God, we know the turth now. Nephi said:

"And the angel said unto me; behold the formation of a church which is most abominable above all other churches; which slayeth the saints of God; yea, and tortureth them and bringeth them down and yoketh them with a yoke of iron; and bringeth them down into captivity."(1 Nephi 13:5)

If we don't heed the revealed word of God, we will engage ourselves in useless wars, which have nothing to do with us. This is a result of us not knowing who we really are.

"Now therefore ye are no more foreigners and strangers, but fellowcitizens with the saints, and of the household of God." (Ephesians 2:19)

St Louis, MO

"Let's see... Curtail religious freedom, Ban guns, Fill the military with anti-religious policies, then sentiment, then members, Call religious teaching "hate speech."

Yup, nothing to fear here..."

Ooh, I'm terrified. I must have missed that law being talked about that would restrict you from meeting at the church of your choice and talking about whatever it is you talk about. Ditto for the law "banning guns."

Extreme reactionaries on both sides love to oversimplify complex issues by making nonsense statements like Civil did above. So many of you seem keen adopt this rigid "I know what's right and what's wrong for everyone" stance, crowding out any room for nuance. Try considering the lives, opinions, feelings, situations, etc of other people before resorting to the "the sky is falling" rhetoric.

The one thing Civil implied I agree with is that we're getting too quick to label everything "hate speech."

Ultra Bob
Cottonwood Heights, UT

As one who believes that freedom of religion also means freedom from religion, I object to the proselytizing activities of religious groups imposed on a captive audience such as the military.

I accept the need for spiritual help to be available for individuals in the military but not the use of taxpayer money to support the promotion of religion.

There are other needs and wants that soldiers and sailors might need and want, but the salesmen of those private organizations are not given uniforms and military pay to promote their product.

Government should not be used to promote a religion or even religion in general.

Kaysville, UT

This type of process happens periodically within the military ranks. However, in the past 5 years it has been very tenuous for all involved in the nation that uses "In God We Trust." The term God has been undermined by people that don't know the definition of "is". Politically correct doesn't mean it is God correct. This animosity that has happened in the past 5 years is coming from the minions of the President's side that propose that our country was not founded on correct principles of law and order. He stirs up hatred against our country when he goes around the world not only throwing out what our country has done for the right and good of the world. He throws money around as if it is going out of style for vacations that would make even a rich person into problems. He has money to spare for separate vacations and all the Secret Service agents to cover it with all the planning from the military and state department.

As a chaplain's assistant for awhile, we need chaplains of the various faiths to help our men and women in their great tasks, living and dying for us.


@UltraBob --

"I accept the need for spiritual help to be available for individuals in the military but not the use of taxpayer money to support the promotion of religion.....Government should not be used to promote a religion or even religion in general."

IMHO this is a very important point.

Military chaplains are paid BY THE GOVERNMENT. They are not some independently-operating, noble volunteers. Therefore, any proselytizing they do is being done under the aegis of governmental authority and approval.

And THAT means that their proselytizing can and should be strictly limited.

If a regular soldier wants to try proselytizing his fellow soldiers, have at it -- and see how far he gets before the guy next to him tells him to buzz off.

When military chaplains try the same thing, they do so from positions of authority -- and that is neither fair, nor in accordance with the right to freedom of religion for that "captive" soldier. Thanks to rank and the chain of command, the soldier literally CAN'T tell his chaplain to buzz off. And that, my dear DN friends, is government-sponsored religious oppression.

Hyrum, UT

JohnJacobJingle... falls victim to the fallacy that many other people often misunderstand. He states that the Constitution guarantees "freedom from religion". Absolutely false. It actually guarantees freedom from government sponsored religion. There's a big difference. That difference is one of the most commonly misunderstood tenets of the Constitution. That misunderstanding can actually impede the religious freedoms that our country's founders tried so carefully to protect when writing the Constitution.

When understood and applied correctly, we are actually given more freedom of religion... to worship as we see fit, as long as it doesn't impede on the rights of others. Very few religions advocate teachings that do.

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