WASHINGTON 31Jan2011 — Opponents of the “don’t ask, don’t tell” repeal have long cited the potential negative impact the change will have on chaplains’ religious expression and freedoms, since many mainstream faiths consider homosexuality immoral. But the repeal plan outlined by defense officials on Friday doesn’t contain any extra rules aimed at chaplains, labeling the current regulations “adequate” to cover such changes.
“In today’s military, people of different moral and religious values work, live and fight together,” undersecretary for personnel and readiness Clifford Stanley said in a memo on the repeal. “This is possible because they treat each one another with dignity and respect. This will not change.”
The memo states that the chaplain corps’ “First-Amendment freedoms and duty to care for all” will not change with a repeal, and the department won’t recommend any changes to policies related to chaplains’ role or operations.
“Servicemembers will continue to respect and serve with others who may hold different views and beliefs,” the memo states.
But opponents attacked Friday’s repeal plan, calling it short-sighted and deeply flawed, and have insisted that chaplains will feel marginalized by the military’s official acceptance of gay troops. Officials from the Family Research Council have predicted he number of military chaplains will dwindle in coming years as a result of the repeal.-------------------Used with permission from Stars and Stripes.© 2011 Stars and Stripes.
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