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Military Chaplains...

I was just reading an article about Retired Soldiers fighting for Pagan Rights in the Military... The article stated that "Part of the problem, according to Cooper, is that there are no Pagan chaplains in the Army, and without a chaplain, Pagan soldiers don’t have a set space to worship. Despite being recognized by the federal government as a legitimate religion, the Army has yet to budge on allowing Pagans and Wiccans their own Chaplains."

Now, I'm highly uneducated on Military anything... So my question is why the need for a Chaplain? Most Pagans I know are solitary and don't need a set space or group to practice. Is the Chaplain simply someone who will make a point to enforce equality, or is there another point?

Seriously, this is something I know NOTHING about, but it was posted on FB by one of the Equality groups I'm a member of...

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Asked by SabrinaMBowen at 7:55 PM on Oct. 29, 2010 in Religion & Beliefs

Level 40 (122,988 Credits)
Answers (19)
  • Personally, I think its just about feeling equal in all things. Every other faith gets a chaplain so why cant the pagans...that type of thought.

    I dont think its a big deal because, like you said, most are solitary and prefer doing things on their own.

    Answer by Amaranth361 at 8:05 PM on Oct. 29, 2010

  • lol, like one man said (and i love this quote) "I've never met an athiest in a foxhole"

    I've no idea...most people in the military, in my experience from people i know anyway, all believe in God. just different religions. Chaplains are just there for spiritual guidance, if any of them need help on the spiritual side of things. like trying to balance God and work...sometimes that's a hard thing to do when in the military, especially during a time of war. i'm assuming it's an equal issue, because i see no reason for them to have one, IMO. but then again i know nothing about paganism. if pagans don't have any "laws", if you will, and don't sin (i'm assuming?) than why have a spiritual guide if they don't need to balance work and the 'higher power'?

    man i hope i make sense lol

    Answer by Anonymous at 8:08 PM on Oct. 29, 2010

  • I was under the impression that pagan worship didn't have a set "leader"? Maybe I'm wrong about that, feel free to correct me if I am, but in that case there would be no need for a chaplain, just a meeting place. And military chaplains are non-denominational and often lead services for more than one flavor of christian, and some military installions will have Islamic and Jewish services as well as Christian. It all depends on what there is a need for at that particular place. There have even been Buddhist weddings here at some of the installations on Oahu. The current US military is very accomodating of non-Christian worshipers, you just have to know who to ask and where to go.

    Answer by rhianna1708 at 8:31 PM on Oct. 29, 2010

  • not all military chaplains are non denominational, i've known like 2 or 3 chaplains just for our religion alone. also, like the navy has a chaplain room where they have set church times on the ships, so people can go and worship the way they believe. they don't necessarily need a chaplain to lead it. if there is a certified preacher in the navy, then they can lead the service. probly doesn't need to be certified, i'm not sure on that....

    Answer by Anonymous at 8:44 PM on Oct. 29, 2010

  • I was in the Air Force and I remember while going through basic training, that they offered some kind of "service" for Wiccans. The only reason why I knew about it, was because one of the girls in my basic training flight was a Wiccan. I can't elaborate on specifics since I never went, and never talked to her about it. I had also been involved with the Chaplaincy program, and the Chaplains were supposed to be educated in alternative religions so that they could assist service members who didn't follow conventional religions. I think it was done in order to be sensitive to all religions and not look like the government was sanctioning any one (or certain kinds of ) religion. I had heard a story about some pagan group (don't know specifically what they were) who wanted to have a ceremony at the flag pole that involved animal sacrifice. They had to go through the Chaplaincy program because it was a religious issue.

    Answer by Gal51 at 9:40 PM on Oct. 29, 2010

  • Here's the article... I completely understand what the man is saying about Pagans needing the same equality and acception that other groups get, but since I don't know how the point of a Chaplain, I'm not sure really if there is a point in having one vs not... I'm thinking it's just about having someone who will stand up and give them the equality, but like I said, I don't understand what Chaplians do... Are they like priests? Or are they more like a go between for the soldiers and the military on religious matters? If they are more of a go between, then I completely understand the need, but if they are more like Priests, I don't see a point.


    Comment by SabrinaMBowen (original poster) at 9:42 PM on Oct. 29, 2010

  • "I've never met an atheist in a foxhole" ... I like this quote too.

    Answer by Gal51 at 9:47 PM on Oct. 29, 2010

  • The Chaplain is supposed to offer spiritual guidance and is also a confident. If person needs emotional/mental/spiritual help, they two options - either go to a mental health clinic (where everything will be documented and put into their permanent file) OR they can go to a Chaplain who keeps those conversations private and confidential so long as no one is in any immediate danger. I think the point of having pagan Chaplains is so pagans can have a spiritual confident just like those who follow conventional religions.

    Answer by Gal51 at 9:50 PM on Oct. 29, 2010

  • "I've never met an atheist in a foxhole"

    You know, I actually know 2 different people who left for Iraq devoted Christians, and came back Atheists... I think they would be the first to disagree with this statement!

    Comment by SabrinaMBowen (original poster) at 9:54 PM on Oct. 29, 2010

  • You know, I actually know 2 different people who left for Iraq devoted Christians, and came back Atheists... I think they would be the first to disagree with this statement!

    There was a report that came out about year ago, that the number of Christian baptisms taking place in the field (in Iraq and Afghanistan) were increasing by the droves. Of course people can loose faith in battle, but the majority of people do start looking for a higher power and often come to faith rather than loose it.

    Answer by Gal51 at 10:05 PM on Oct. 29, 2010

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