Contact theSOPAbout theSOPSupport theSOPWritersEditorsManaging Editors
theSOP logo
Published:May 6th, 2009 09:29 EST
Military Chaplains Proselytize in Afghanistan

Military Chaplains Proselytize in Afghanistan

By Philip Lawrence

A number of military chaplains including U.S. Army Lieutenant Colonel Gary Hensley, the senior chaplain in Afghanistan, who have been handing out Bibles to the Afghan people and otherwise promoting Christianity in the region are currently being investigated to determine whether they are violating the policy of the United States Central Command, the command under which all forces in the region are subordinate, which prohibits proselytizing of any religion, faith or practice.  If so, action may be taken to discipline those involved, according to Admiral Mike Mullin, Chairman of the Joint Chiefs of Staff. 


No doubt these chaplains feel strongly about their faith.  But those of us have served in war and in peace " including these chaplains " took an oath to support and defend the Constitution of the United States.  The First Amendment of that historic document guarantees the right of Americans to worship as they please or not to worship at all if they so choose. 


This and other freedoms " not the promotion of one religion over another " are what we are supposedly trying to bring to the Afghan people and for which thousands of brave Americans have given their lives since the drafting of the U.S. Constitution. 


If these chaplains find that their faith conflicts with their oath and duty to support and defend the U.S. Constitution, their remedy for this conflict is to resign their commissions " after which they can apply for  VISAs to return to the region as civilian missionaries " not to undermine U.S. policy by subverting the Constitution.