atheism · Christianity · God · government · human rights · politics · religion · U.S. Constitution

Chaplains told to shut up about God

A new trend is sweeping across the United States in many places where chaplains are employed.  They’re being ordered by leaders in both the public and private sectors not to make mention of God.  As reported on Saturday, March 21, 2009 by Stefan J. Bos of  Worthy News, Virginia State Police chaplains who prayed in Jesus’ name in public settings were dismissed from their jobs.  Virginia lawmakers, with the urging of Virginia Governor Tim Kaine, supported an administrative decision to make it illegal to pray in the name of the Lord Jesus Christ and to dismiss the chaplains based on that decision.hear-no-evil_see-no-evil_speak-no-evil

This move prompted a Florida hospice to order its chaplains not to use the word God in any talks they give to staff members, but they can still say “Almighty God” in private with hospice patients and their families.  The CEO of the hospice, Paula Alderson, is quoted as saying, “The hospice remains fully comfortable with ministers, priests and rabbis offering religious counsel to the dying and grieving. I was sensitive to the fact that we don’t impose religion on our staff, and that it is not appropriate in the context of a staff meeting to use certain phrases or ‘God’ or ‘Holy Father,’ because some of our staff don’t believe at all.”

Mirta Signorelli, a devout Christian chaplain in Florida who ministers to abused and neglected children, was told by her supervisor after she quoted the 23rd Psalm in the hospice chapel to “cease and desist from using God in prayers.”  Signorelli, who eventually resigned, insisted that she was only quoting the Psalm, which is in the Old Testament, “[a]nd I am well aware that there were people from the Jewish tradition in attendance. I didn’t say Jesus or Allah or Jehovah. I used ‘Lord’ and ‘God,’ which I think are politically correct. I think that’s as generic as you can get.”

The number of people in the U.S. who don’t claim a religion is increasing, according to recent religious surveys, and this makes humanists, like chaplain Greg Epstein of Harvard University, rather ecstatic.  Epstein, of Jewish heritage, is borrowing ideas from Jewish and Evangelical traditions to establish “a God-free model of community”, where humanists have local gathering centers all over the U.S. to share their views, reach out to their communities, and “helps humanists increase in numbers and influence.”

In other words, unbelievers like Epstein are hoping to make America a godless society by converting as many people as they can to their way of thinking.  It is striking to me that atheists, humanists, and agnostics always claim they innocently want to improve society when their tactics only make society worse.  The dictionary tells us that religion is “a cause, principle, or system of beliefs held to with ardor and faith,” and that faith is “something that is believed esp. with strong conviction.”  Essentially atheists, humanists, and agnostics are following a different faith or religion from Christianity.  Atheism is the belief that there is no God.  Humanism is the belief that man is the measure of the universe, that humans alone have the capacity to determine their worth, interests, and values to fulfill their highest goals.  Agnosticism is the belief that God’s existence cannot be proven or disproven.  They’re all religions!  Basically these anti-God religions, just like their counterparts in other religions like Islam, want to replace the Judeo-Christian values upon which our nation was founded with their own system of religious beliefs.

What Christian chaplains need to understand is that they have certain rights under the law, and one of those rights is freedom of speech.  For someone to threaten their lives or livelihoods by telling them they cannot mention God, the Lord, or Jesus, is a violation of their constitutional rights and they have the legal grounds to fight for their rights in court.  I know that sometimes as Christians we get caught up in thinking that God will fight our battles and all we have to do is back off, but sometimes in order for God to show us the victory we have to stand up and take action.  When the people in Nazareth wanted to throw Jesus over the cliff in Luke 4:28-30, he didn’t let them do it.  He maneuvered his way out of the midst of the murderous crowd.  When the Roman centurion wanted to inflict corporal punishment on the apostle Paul in Acts 22 without a fair trial, Paul stood up for himself and appealed to his rights as a citizen of Rome, and the centurion backed off.

There are times when we should avoid battles by resigning or not fighting unjust dismissals, but there are also times when we need to stand up for our rights.  This is especially true when grave consequences can come from being passive.  The ultimate danger of letting these people get away with violating constitutional rights is that the violation of human rights will soon follow and no one’s life will be seen as having worth.  Do we have any modern examples of how humanist or atheist or agnostic governmental policies work?  Sure we do.  Just look at North Korea, China, and the former Soviet Union.  Is this what we want for the U.S.?

The U.S. was founded on Judeo-Christian principles because it is the fairest system on which to base any government.  It acknowledges that mankind has the tendency to do evil and sometimes gets away with evil, but gives room for repentance (changing one’s evil policies) when people stand up against evil policies or actions.  It says there is only one way to God, but gives people the freedom to openly disagree with that view.  It also promotes the idea that in life, public or private, there must be some accountability for people’s actions in order to preserve people’s lives since we are all created in God’s image and that we matter from the womb to the tomb.  This is why a constitutional republic was the best fit for our government when it was established since such a republic would allow these principles to shape our decisions.

When humanist, atheist, or agnostic policies are allowed to shape our standards, eventually all of society will suffer wrongs in some way and these religions make it more difficult to bring about positive changes.  The humanist leaders would tell us that “Since I am the Master of my own destiny and the Captain of my own soul, I can do what feels good to me even if it means you lose your livelihood or life.  Only the strong survive and if you aren’t strong enough to survive my decisions, so be it.”  The atheist leaders would tell us “Since there is no God and you are not created in the image of God, the only importance you have is the importance that I decide you should have.  If you have no power above mine, then I have no need to fear you or the retribution of any God you say exists.”  The agnostic leaders would tell us “Neither you nor I can prove or disprove there is any God, so if my decisions cause you any needless suffering, it doesn’t mean my way is wrong.  I don’t have to worry about answering to God as long as I can exercise my will to make sure you don’t try to harm me out of your anger.”  Their government policies would not acknowledge the rights God wants all humans to have for their spiritual as well as physical benefit.

–posted by Harry A. Gaylord–

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13 thoughts on “Chaplains told to shut up about God

  1. And I suppose that if a Hindu Chaplin were praying with state employees, or at the opening of the state legislature, in the name of Vishnu, you would have no problem with it?

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  2. “In other words, unbelievers like Epstein are hoping to make America a godless society.”

    Inaccurate.

    We’re trying to keep America a secular society.

    Chaplains should not be employed by the government. Period. The reason this is an issue is because they’ve allowed the chaplains to be there, and want to figure out some way to keep them without breaking the first amendment.

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  3. Malcolm,

    Apparently some of the people telling Christian chaplains not to mention God are allowing those of other religions, like Muslim chaplains, to mention their gods. This has been reported as happening in prisons and the military. So it’s Christians who are in many cases being singled out. I believe those who are being ministered to have the right to request whatever type of chaplain they want of any religion and all of them have the constitutional right to freely express themselves.

    morse,

    You claim you’re trying to keep America secular, but secularism encourages a godless society. Chaplains should be employed by the government because sometimes people need counsel that goes beyond what secularism provides.

    When people are sick or have sick family members who secular doctors can’t help, although they’ve tried everything, turning to chaplains has often proved comforting and helpful to those individuals. There have been several studies done that show prayer works and in several cases has helped people be healed.

    We are now experiencing what results when secular people are in high places like government and corporations. These are the people who have low or no standards of right and wrong and do anything to get ahead, no matter who it hurts. They can even claim to be Christian, when in fact they’re not because they have no problem with lying when it suits them. Lies from secularists have left us with trillions of dollars in fraudulent mortgages which have had a ripple affect throughout our economy, causing this severe recession we’re in.

    Why would anyone want more of this in any society?

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  4. “Apparently some of the people telling Christian chaplains not to mention God are allowing those of other religions, like Muslim chaplains, to mention their gods.”

    Got a cite for that?

    “We are now experiencing what results when secular people are in high places like government and corporations. These are the people who have low or no standards of right and wrong and do anything to get ahead, no matter who it hurts”

    I bet you say the same thing about Jews.

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  5. Brian,

    One cite is the article I mentioned above. It was only Christian chaplains who were told not to mention their God or to pray in Jesus’ name. Here’s another link you can read– http://www.aclj.org/news/read.aspx?ID=2045 and this article that appeared at WorldNetDaily– http://persuade.tv/Frenzy10/WND16Jul07HinduCommentary.pdf

    No, I’ve never said anything in this regard about Jews. If by chance you’re referring to Madoff, I don’t consider him or those like him to be true Jews. In the same way that there are churchgoers and people in society who call themselves Christians, but are counterfeits, there are those who call themselves Jews, but are not really Jews. The Lord Jesus Christ told us about this in Revelation 3 when he said, “Behold, I will make them of the synagogue of Satan, which say they are Jews, and are not, but do lie; behold, I will make them to come and worship before thy feet, and to know that I have loved thee.”

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  6. Yes, the so-called “non-religious” governments like they have in Russia, China, and North Korea–places where human rights are not considered important. But, as I said, the humanism, atheism, and agnosticism on which secularism is based are a different kind of religion.

    If I have to listen to people using the name of the Lord as a curse word, or if they have the freedom to use all kinds of vulgar language in public including using the name of God to damn other people, then why can’t chaplains be allowed to use the name of Jesus with its due reverence?
    It’s a glaring double standard.

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  7. “Yes, the so-called “non-religious” governments like they have in Russia, China, and North Korea”

    Incorrect again.

    Like the non-religious governments in Scandinavia. You know, those places that are 80 to 90 percent atheist and have incredibly low crime rates.

    “then why can’t chaplains be allowed to use the name of Jesus with its due reverence?”

    Because they’re being paid by the government to do it.

    If they aren’t paid by the government, they can talk about whatever they like.

    As it is, the government is for all of us, and paid for by all of us. And all of us aren’t your arbitrary brand of Christianity.

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  8. Harry, continue doing an awesome job. Every child of God understands perfectly what you are saying and we are in no way influenced to think otherwise by the ones that are lacking in understanding! Our Father spoke of these clearly in Romans 1. You are not casting your pearls to swine but are feeding the journey of many. Great job, our Father is in you and may he continue to bless you with your knowledge and wisdom. I love your blog.

    TL11

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  9. Thank you, Tasha, for your words of encouragement. Pray for me as I will do for you as we, the whole body of Christ, continue to occupy and live the gospel until the Lord comes.

    morse,

    I did some fact checking on your statement about the Scandinavian nations– Denmark, Finland, Norway, Sweden, and Iceland– using the World Factbook, 2008.

    Denmark’s population is 95% Evangelical Lutheran with a constitutional monarchy.

    Finland’s population is 84.2% Lutheran (only 13% claim no religion) and it is a democratic republic.

    Norway’s population is 85.7% Church of Norway (a Protestant church) and has a constitutional monarchy.

    Sweden’s population is 87% Lutheran with a constitutional monarchy.

    Iceland is 85.5% Lutheran (only 6.2% don’t specify a religion or have no religious affiliation).

    Long story short, your information that Scandinavia is 80-90% atheist is wrong. So you either are misinformed or you flat out lied to promote your faulty thinking.

    If the majority of Scandinavia is Protestant Christian, that means they have a lot of Christians serving in their governments. Maybe this explains the low crime rates as opposed to your explanation.

    Just because someone is being paid by the government does not mean the constitution does not apply to them, whether they are on or off the clock. Since their constitutional rights don’t end at the doorway of their workplace, chaplains have the right to say what they wish. If Hindu chaplains and Muslim chaplains are allowed to call on the names of their false gods while on the clock, Christians should be allowed to call on the name which is above every name–the Lord Jesus Christ, the only true God–while they are on the clock.

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  10. Me, from earlier:

    “Apparently some of the people telling Christian chaplains not to mention God are allowing those of other religions, like Muslim chaplains, to mention their gods.”

    Got a cite for that?

    ——————-

    The response:
    “One cite is the article I mentioned above. It was only Christian chaplains who were told not to mention their God or to pray in Jesus’ name. Here’s another link you can read– http://www.aclj.org/news/read.aspx?ID=2045 and this article that appeared at WorldNetDaily– http://persuade.tv/Frenzy10/WND16Jul07HinduCommentary.pdf

    None of your cites back up your claim.

    The original article does not say that the gods of other religions are allowed to be mention, and that would be contradicted by the non-sectarian policy.

    Your ACLJ cite likewise does not mention other religious leaders being allowed to mention their gods.

    Your WND cite doesn’t support your claim either; the example was a Hindu prayer in the US senate, and some Christians in the gallery were trying to disrupt it, so they were stopped. Many prayers opening the US senate have been overtly Christian.

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  11. Try this cite:

    http://www.thevoicemagazine.com/politics/533-judicial-nominee-prayers-to-allah-ok-but-not-to-jesus.html

    [Many prayers opening the US senate have been overtly Christian.]

    So what? The majority of Americans still claim to be Christian and our nation was founded on Judeo-Christian principles, so such prayers have been a tradition since this nation started. It’s those principles that have kept our country strong and have made it possible to change our laws and policies to right past wrongs. Other religions have a bent toward violating human rights.

    Whenever a Muslim prays using the name of God, it’s to Allah, not the one true God. When Hindus pray using God’s name, it’s code for one of their false gods, not the real God of the Bible. This is why Christian chaplains want to use the name of Jesus. And I still say that if people in all public forums can use the name of Jesus as a curse word, chaplains should be able to use the name of Jesus with the reverence it deserves in all public forums.

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