Thanks for your recent coverage about problematic Naval regs
From: (name withheld)
Subject: Thanks for your recent coverage about problematic Naval regs
Date: February 10, 2023 at 4:23:16 PM MST
To: Mikey Weinstein <[email protected]>
Just wanted to write and thank you for the very important analysis of the recent changes to US Navy regs that are seeking to impose upon commanders an obligation to promote “spiritual readiness.”
This public exposure is important because I believe it is happening in the other branches, but I know it is happening in the Army.
I know this because I currently have a client, an Army chaplain who has been a whistleblower (primarily regarding the Army’s prejudicial treatment of liturgical Christians by Evangelical chaplains) and who has been fighting efforts to force him into early retirement because of his whistleblowing. He has for some time been talking about the new moves by the chaplain leadership to promote “spiritual readiness” and to de-emphasize the chaplain’s traditional role (which largely consisted of providing religious services to servicemembers who request said services, but also by providing appropriate referrals to other chaplains for those requesting services that cannot be provided by the chaplain due to the limitations of their endorsing denomination). He argues (and I agree with him) that the only way that the chaplaincy can meet constitutional muster is if the government itself remains religiously neutral.
My client’s perspective is pretty different than mine (I’m a Humanistic Jew and he is a conservative liturgical Christian), but I agree with him that the military shouldn’t be promoting one kind of religious expression (even a supposedly neutral vague “spirituality”) over others, so we are exploring the idea of trying to lobby Congress to overturn these regulations, but also to implement other measures to ensure that the military respects the separation of church and state. I will definitely let you know if we decide to take action, as I think there might be some overlaps between what we might be proposing and what the MRFF is about.
Thanks again for all that you and everyone else at MRFF do to ensure that our servicemembers are protected by the First amendment.
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