Last week, 41 veteran chaplains sent a letter to President Obama enumerating the many and serious religious liberty concerns with the administration’s plans to normalize homosexual behavior in the armed forces. Almost immediately, a chorus of critics responded, branding the carefully crafted letter of the chaplains—who have a long and distinguished record of service in the all branches of the armed forces—as “insulting” and “illogical.”
Perhaps such criticisms were made before the critics had taken the time to read the prayerfully considered and carefully researched letter that the chaplains released. Or the three accompanying personal letters written by a few of the signatories briefly outlining what it said. More charitably, perhaps the critics simply don’t understand the chaplains’ letter. Either way, it’s important to ensure no one is misled by the criticisms.
For starters, the letter is not an attempt to protect squeamish Christians from having to deal with people who disagree with them on sexual morality. That should have been clear just by reading the biographies of the signatories included at the end of the letter. These are men who have defended American liberties in almost every major modern conflict, from Vietnam to Afghanistan. They’ve faced snipers’ bullets and terrorist IEDs, so they’re not afraid of ministering to people with whom they disagree. The chaplains said as much in their letter:
“To clarify, we are not saying that active-duty chaplains who share our beliefs would be unwilling to minister to those who engage in homosexual behavior. To the contrary, we believe that God loves everyone, that He desires that everyone should hear of and receive the Truth, and that He calls us to speak that Truth.”