Ban Islamic Chaplains in the Military?

Here’s a comment thread that’s somewhat interesting on the title topic. The genesis of the comments seems to have been a radio discussion by Don Brown, a former Navy JAG and now, evidently, a christian author.

The basis of his argument seems to be that we are at war with Radical Islam (his capitals, not mine) and, therefore we can’t

fund its propaganda ministers in the form of military chaplains to espouse a philosophy that calls for killing Christians and Jews, to stand in the midst of our soldiers, sailors, airmen and marines and not only espouse their anti-American philosophies, but actually recruit service members into it?

He dismisses the “fairness” of his idea by saying

Although that may not seem “fair,” “fair,” is irrelevant in the military.

I think he misses the boat on the fairness argument. It’s not about fairness to the military members so much, but rather that an arm of the government would be specifically excluding a major religion from service that all other major religions can participate in. That’s an issue of fairness to the country and 1st Amendment, not just the million or so Americans that wear a uniform.

You know, in my experience, chaplains in the military are more counselors than they are propagandists for their actual religion. They are compassionate, well-meaning folx who just try to get young Americans through tough times when they arise. As a defense counsel, chaplains are useful because they have legal privilege for my clients that the base mental health counselors do not. Other than that, my personal need for them is zero and the military could probably work something that would get rid of all of them. But I think it’s a bad idea to say we should exclude muslim chaplains as a rule. Stupid ideas like that make me glad Mr. Brown is an Ex-JAG.

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