HRC Blog

Military Chaplains Discuss DADT Repeal

“It’s about time,” Chaplain Paul Dodd, U.S. Army (Ret), said when asked about DADT repeal.  Chaplain Dodd, a member of the HRC Religion Council, was one of the conveners of the 30 members of the Forum on the Military Chaplaincy who gathered at the HRC building on Friday for their fifth annual meeting sponsored by HRC and SLDN.  The diverse group of chaplains, retired and active duty service members representing all branches of the military, and citizen activists for the repeal of “Don’t Ask, Don’t Tell,” discussed implementation of repeal, coming out in the military, and training for chaplains in the post DADT military.

Chaplain Dodd acknowledged there are many people who think “Don’t Ask, Don’t Tell” is just fine and would like to see the law remain on the books.  “Bigotry is not going anywhere,” he said. “But then there are the voices of truth and justice saying this is wrong.  That’s why we’re here.”

Members of the Forum hope to influence more progressive voices of faith to consider military chaplaincy.  The makeup of the military chaplaincy corps has become very conservative in the past decade.  Jerry Falwell's Liberty University, for instance, is responsible for training 1 in 5 current military chaplains.  This has meant progressive faith traditions are outnumbered and the chaplaincy corps’ commitment to religious liberty and pastoral care is under attack.  The Forum is working on strategies to encourage progressive seminaries to train their students for military chaplaincy while simultaneously developing resources for current chaplains to better minister to the needs of LGBT service members.

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