Thursday, February 9, 2012

Censorship over military chaplains...

Unless I have the details of the story wrong, the Roman Catholic Archbishop who oversees their chaplains had to remove a sentence or two from remarks directed to Roman Catholics at Mass on military posts and had to adapt other points at the request of the military.  All Roman Catholic Bishops directed that this pastoral letter be read at Mass -- including military chaplains -- but the military determined that parts of the letter had to be changed for those who attended Mass on a military post. You can fill in the details but this is the basic story.  It represents the first time that I know of where the government of the USA in any form has censored what took place at a worship service. 

Read one version of the story here.

A statement issued this afternoon from Archbishop Broglio's office acknowledged the interference this way:

Archbishop Broglio and the Archdiocese stand firm in the belief, based on legal precedent, that such a directive from the Army constituted a violation of his Constitutionally-protected right of free speech and the free exercise of religion, as well as those same rights of all military chaplains and their congregants.

Following a discussion between Archbishop Broglio and the Secretary of the Army, The Honorable John McHugh, it was agreed that it was a mistake to stop the reading of the Archbishop's letter. Additionally, the line: "We cannot-we will not-comply with this unjust law" was removed by Archbishop Broglio at the suggestion of Secretary McHugh over the concern that it could potentially be misunderstood as a call to civil disobedience.

I am not sure what is more shocking -- that the government tried to censor this letter or that they assumed the people hearing it were so stupid that they would rise up in civil disobedience and break down the military chain of command.  Clearly, either case represents a scandal.  It will be interesting to find out how this story plays out in the liberal media.


Anonymous said...

Yep, sounds about right.

I heard an interesting interview yesterday with an attorney from the Thomas More Society, a law firm that defends Catholics (and other Christians) from just this kind of government interference.

I also heard that some Imams have stated if Obama tries to pressue Muslims with his HHS agenda they will take it to the streets.

I wonder if the President realizes what kind of a hornet's nest he has created.


Anonymous said...

The archbishop who oversees American Catholic military chaplains worldwide claims the U.S. Army violated his rights by stifling a pastoral letter condemning the Obama administration's contraception mandate.

Archbishop Timothy P. Broglio stands “firm in the belief, based on legal precedent,” that the Army defied his rights to free speech and free exercise of religion, according to a Feb. 3 statement from the military archdiocese.
This was posted on the EWTN news site:

U.S. Catholic military chaplains around the country were initially told to disobey their archbishop’s instruction to read a pastoral letter from the pulpit at all Sunday Masses on Jan. 28-29.

Although an agreement was eventually reached allowing the letter to be read, a key passage urging Catholics to avoid complying with the “unjust law” was removed.

Meanwhile, support is swelling in the House of Representatives to reject HHS. Even Vice President Biden is said to have warned Obama that it could backfire on him come election time.

I also read that Obama made his decision on the HHS mandate based on advice from "mostly female" advisers.

No surprise there.


Anonymous said...

"I wonder if the President realizes what kind of a hornet's nest he has created."

And for what? To give women free birth control? Birth control is cheap if you have a job and free if you are poor. Pretty stupid.

Fallhiker said...

"mostly female" advisors? Yes his wife qualifies as "mostly female"

Anonymous said...

I think the inference is that the female advisors both in the government and private spheres are of the liberal feminist types.

When the government defines "birth control" to include sterilization and chemical abortifacients they are imposing things that are directly contrary to the teachings of many faith traditions.

The global Catholic network EWTN has filed suit in Birmingham District Court against the Obama administration through the Becket Fund, which has defended several Catholic and other Christian organizations and the National Catholic Register has a lengthy article on the various denominations that have come on board to protest this issue (including mentioning Pastor Harrison's fine piece).

The bottom line of this is that churches, synagogues, etc. cannot permit the government to get a foot in the door or this could be the beginning of more to come.


Anonymous said...

People are not stupid. When you push them too far they will pursue civil disobedience even to the point of breaking the military chain of command. IMO that would be tragic in that it would play right into O's hands so he could assume more of a dictatorship role than he already has tried in various executive orders. It is almost beyond understanding why it has take the church so long to wake what it going on in our nation.

Anonymous said...

I am more and more convinced of the truth of an old bumper sticker:

O.B.A.M.A. : One Big A.. Mistake, America

Ted Badje said...


Anonymous said...

The big mistake is greater even than Obama. The bigger mistake is the act of voting. Is not the state an idol? Voting for the charlatan on the right, instead of for the charlatan on the left, changes nothing. In fact, casting ballots has the effect of encouraging and sanctioning their depredations -even when you have voted against the current transitory monster in charge. I'm afraid some here a caught up in the political theatre...

Jkirk3279 said...

Okay, I heard this story at lunch a week ago.

The paranoid spin was that this was an attempt to censor religious speech everywhere.

I scoffed at that. And I explained to the poor fools:

The Military functions on something called "good order and discipline".

Which is another way of saying you don't get to act outside the chain of command or encourage others to disobey a lawful order.

The President of the United States is the Commander In Chief of the Armed Forces.

So he holds the rank of a Five Star General.

Military Chaplains are officers in the service.

They CAN'T break Good Order and Discipline, or they'd be subject to arrest.

The lunkheads just repeated the conspiracy theory that this was intended to create precedent for censoring pastors in civilian churches.

I shook my head and said "if any chaplain wants to have full, unfettered right to preach anything he wants, he can quit his military job, get a soapbox, and stand on the street corner. There, he can say anything he likes. But if he works for the Armed Services, he has to obey orders. This has nothing to do with civilian churches."

Guys, before you repeat conspiracy theories, try thinking for yourselves for once.

Anonymous said...

The good order and discipline does not apply to compromising or being silent about doctrine. No chaplain is or can be asked to act or speak in a way that violates his denominational credentials or conscience. This is the reason why the military cannot make LCMS or RC chaplains commune non-members of their respective churches.