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defending the First Amendment against the Christian right ...

Jews On First!

... because if Jews don't speak out, they'll think we don't mind

Congressional conservatives want to lift chaplain limits

By Judy Holland, The Houston Chronicle, September 23, 2006

WASHINGTON Religious conservatives in Congress want to cancel new Air Force and Navy guidelines that limit chaplains from invoking the name of Jesus Christ at public events.

Evangelical Christian groups and their allies in Congress say the guidelines infringe on religious liberty and that military chaplains should be able to pray according to their faiths.

The Air Force and the Navy announced the rules in February in response to a 2004 episode at the Air Force Academy in which cadets accused evangelical Christians of proselytizing.

The rules don't apply to denominational worship services but instead were aimed at curbing chaplains' latitude in delivering prayers at special public events.

House conservatives have drawn attention to the chaplain issue by inserting a provision into a defense spending bill that would cancel the Air Force and Navy guidelines.

The provision sponsored by Rep. Todd Akin, R-Mo., and other conservatives would grant chaplains "the prerogative to pray according to the dictates of the chaplain's own conscience."

Akin says chaplains have been "muzzled" because the military has "institutionalized political correctness."

Chaplains should be able to pray to the god they worship, he argues, contending that it is "un-American to censor them."

Robert Boston, a spokesman for Americans United for Separation of Church and State, says military chaplains are government employees charged with providing for the religious needs of soldiers of different faiths and they "are not supposed to be proselytizing on the taxpayers' dime and seeking new converts for their denominations."


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