Who’s Threatening Military Chaplains’ Religious Freedom? Southern Baptists

Remember the dire warnings from religious right groups that the repeal of Don’t Ask, Don’t Tell would destroy military chaplains’ freedom of religion and right to follow their conscience on matters regarding same-sex relationships? Turns out they were right, but the threat isn’t from gay couples or the military hierarchy—it’s from the Southern Baptist Convention. Timothy Kincaid at Box Turtle Bulletin recounts the tale of Air Force Col. Timothy Wagoner, who was present at—not even officiating—a union ceremony between two men at the chapel he oversees. “I wouldn’t miss it,” Wagoner told Army Times, “I don’t feel I’m compromising my beliefs… I’m supporting the community.”

That was enough to get Wagoner hauled before the SBC’s North American Mission Board, which emailed a letter to all Southern Baptist military chaplains reaffirming the church’s position on same-sex unions. More is planned, including a videoconference for senior chaplains.

As Kincaid says, “There won’t be any of this ‘getting along with others’ crap. We have conflict to uphold. We have discord to sow. We have the infringement of religious liberties to fabricate.’”

The Associated Press interviewed chaplains of a variety of faiths and found “virtually no serious problems” for chaplains’ freedom or rights of conscience associated with the repeal of Don’t Ask, Don’t Tell.

Col. Wagoner defended his own freedom by leaving the Southern Baptist Convention and joining the Cooperative Baptist Fellowship.

Read the whole piece here.

  • Interested

    Unfortunately, this article fails to make clear that Kincaid and Box Turtle Bulletin are characterizing are characterizing Col. Wagoner’s comments and actions through their philosophical lens rather than determining what were Wagoner’s motives and communications with his endorsing church.