Item to Share

From: MRFF Advisory Board Member Quentin Collins
Subject: Item to Share
Date: July 11, 2019 at 12:25:52 PM MDT
To: ‘Michael L. Weinstein’ <[email protected]>

Mikey thought you would like this,

So now for the good news.  While here in Palo Alto my wife and two youngest children stay at the Fisher House while I stay at the hospital or the Defenders lodge which is for Veterans and their caregivers.  Anyway, while here I tend to do a lot of Chaplain like counseling.  We had a family arrive last week (from Albuquerque) and the Husband/Father/Grandfather was scheduled for a valve correction on his heart. Unfortunately there were complications and he died this past Monday.  The family (rather large) were devout Muslims.  Now there are some specific cultural issues that takes place when a Muslim Patriarch dies and all must take place within 24 hours of demise.  The Chaplains at the VA gave the typical condolences; but, nobody dove into this families mounting issues.  So the mortuary received the body while his children were trying to find an appropriate Muslim cemetery (found in Livermore).  Now comes the real trick, the family wanted, and were authorized, to have Military Honors at the graveside.  That is where my wife and I got to work.  Within eight hours the family not only had guaranteed an Honors team; but, permission to enter the cemetery (non-Muslims are forbidden from entering the Muslim cemetery).  The VA Case Manager and the other care team members were threatened by the Muslims so it became “the sooner they are gone the better”.  Afterwards the Imam and the males of the family came over to my family and I while we were at dinner and with tears in the eyes of all of them they expressed their deepest appreciation and love for us (we have sort of been adopted by the family).  The Imam then said, “why is it that a minister who is a Chaplain in the Christian Faith, willingly and without any evangelizing or condemnation help a devout Muslim family adhere to their religiously defined rituals?”  I explained that the role of a Chaplain is to ensure the Free Exercise of Religion and it is not our place to condemn, evangelize or avoid situations like this.  The Chaplain is to serve (minister) to all people they are with regardless of religious or non-religious beliefs.  He then embraced me and said he wished “all of the Christian Chaplains would exhibit this kind of love and selfless service”.
I am not sharing this for selfish praise, I am sharing this as a reminder to others and I hope you will find a way to share this story of the true role of Chaplains/Clergy/Ministers and that is to lovingly serve those we come in contact with.  It does not matter what is said by the Clergy person, if the people think you are perfunctory and do not exhibit love.
Thanks Mikey and keep,up,the good fight.


Quentin D Collins
Advisory Board Member, Military Religious Freedom Foundation
US Army Chaplain (Colonel – Retired), PhD, CPC, ELI-MP
Thomas Jefferson Award Recipient (MRFF) 2017
Founder Family Reintegration Associates, Military Endeavor (FRAME) Initiative an Oregon Registered 501 (c) 3 Charity.
Founder Step Out Families, LLC

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  1. Mark Sebree

    If anyone grew up watch MASH, or was a fan of the show, they will recognize the attitude of this Chaplain. THIS is what a Chaplain should be, caring about the people in his/her charge, helping them through crises, and not trying to impose his beliefs on them when they are at their weakest. This is a Chaplain in the mold of Fr. Mulcahy, who everyone loved and trusted to do his best for them and by them.

    We could use far, far more Chaplains of this mold in all the services and VAs.

  2. BF


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