Association of Professional Chaplains Says Repeal of &quotDon't Ask, Don't Tell&quot Would Have No B

by HRC Staff

Statement refutes claim by retired military chaplain group that repeal would harm chaplains

Washington - Today the Human Rights Campaign, the nation's largest lesbian, gay, bisexual and transgender civil rights organization, praised a statement from the Association of Professional Chaplains affirming the responsibility of chaplains to serve all service members and refuting the notion that the repeal of "Don't Ask, Don't Tell" would preclude a chaplain from serving "both God and the U.S. armed forces."

The group issued the following statement in response to a recent letter to President Obama from a group of retired military chaplains opposed to repeal:

The largest organization of professional chaplains in the United States, in a statement issued today, says that the beliefs of a faith group about homosexuality do not preclude a chaplain from serving "both God and the U.S. armed forces," as claimed by some retired military chaplains who do not want the "don't ask, don't tell" policy revoked.

Association of Professional Chaplains President, Rev. Dr. David Johnson, D.Min. BCC, says, "All board certified chaplains (BCC) must abide by our Code of Ethics, which requires serving people without discrimination on the basis of sexual orientation. Our Code further prohibits chaplains from imposing doctrinal positions or spiritual practices on those they serve."

Chaplain Valerie Storms, M.Div. BCC, president-elect, says, "Chaplaincy is grounded in the common belief in the dignity of every person and the ability of each person to experience the presence of a loving Creator in a time of crisis, hardship or circumstances that bring them into the presence of a chaplain. We do not work as promoters of a particular faith tradition but as ministers of hope to all in need."

The Association of Professional Chaplains has over 4,000 members in more than 150 faith groups. Professional chaplains are endorsed by their faith groups to serve in diverse settings, including the military, hospitals, civil service, palliative care, businesses, mental health, long-term care, corrections, and hospice. They promote the spiritual health of individuals in those settings.

The association and its members embrace the following values:

The Association of Professional Chaplains is a national, not-for-profit professional association which advocates for quality spiritual care of all persons as an essential dimension of total care and services provided by public and private institutions and organizations.

The Human Rights Campaign is America's largest civil rights organization working to achieve lesbian, gay, bisexual and transgender equality. By inspiring and engaging all Americans, HRC strives to end discrimination against LGBT citizens and realize a nation that achieves fundamental fairness and equality for all.

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