Chaplains and Don't Ask Don't Tell

Dear Chaps,

I read in an NPR article yesterday that several of you, especially those who are evangelical, are very worried about the repeal of Don't Ask Don't Tell. You're concerned, anonymously of course for the active duty chaplains, that it may somehow cost you your career. I think you are right to be concerned about this.  I'm honestly a little put off by the fact that NPR thought this would be news. Did they expect you to go along with this?

I have run through several scenarios in my head and I think that there are several things that could happen here, on a varying scale. On one hand, I think that it will probably blow over in a few years, gays will be serving openly, and you'll simply forward them to another faith group for premarital counseling, etc, leaving your faith intact and your career as well. However, I have seen in my mind that this could actually lead to the dissolving of the Chaplain Corps. At the very least, I do believe this will cost some of you your careers.

Yet I worry that this is your concern. Are you really worried about your career? And if so, is your worry right? I would suggest, humbly, that it isn't. The Gospel should be every believer's concern, and the Gospel teaches us to preach and be prepared in season and out of season (II Tim 4:2).  I would certainly think that the repeal of DADT would mean "out of season" preaching.

And what of it? What if the worst case scenario comes true and some of you are drummed out of the military because of your faith? What a way to go! Jesus will remember, and you are certainly not the first to be persecuted. Matthew 5:11 and 12 says:

“Blessed are you when people insult you, persecute you and falsely say all kinds of evil against you because of me. Rejoice and be glad, because great is your reward in heaven, for in the same way they persecuted the prophets who were before you."

Chaps, you can do this. I know that this is your battle and that I can walk only so far with you in it. Yet I have hope that you will see this as an opportunity, not a threat. I believe the early church was built on opportunities coming from threats, and this is one. I have loved my Navy career and I would hate to lose it, so seeing you in this position is a burden to me. The benefits from my career would be desperately realized if I were to lose them because of my beliefs. I understand your fear and it is valid. Some of you may in fact lose your career. It is a real problem.

But God will provide, both for you and for us. There are many of us, believers, in the military who are capable and can do the work you would not be able to do, and we wouldn't need to do some of the things that might get you in trouble. We will walk as far as we can with you, and pray for you. Even if the worst possible scenario were played out, we would survive, though not as powerfully as if when you were around. We do need you.

Yet I hope you will take heart. The military needs you. You are a strong backbone for us, spiritually, but also emotionally and mentally. The haters who comment on NPR articles about church and state, etc, don't realize the numbers of people you serve without wearing your faith on your sleeve. You are a constant friend to every service member, and I pray this would continue if DADT is repealed.

I will pray for you. I've received some of the best counsel in the world from Navy chaplains. But you can do this, Chaps. God will provide a way.

God be with you, Chaps.

Dan

2 comments:

Anonymous said...

Wish all my chaplain friends could read this. Thanks, Dan, for your supportive, insightful words. Barb

Dan said...

Thank you Barb! Feel free to forward this link to them!