The Air Force, facing a lawsuit over alleged proselytizing, has withdrawn a document that permitted chaplains to evangelize military personnel who were not affiliated with any faith, Pentagon officials said yesterday.
The document was circulated at the Air Force Chaplain School until eight weeks ago. It was a "code of ethics" for chaplains that included the statement "I will not proselytize from other religious bodies, but I retain the right to evangelize those who are not affiliated."
The code was written by the National Conference on Ministry to the Armed Forces (NCMAF), a private association of religious bodies that provide chaplains to the military. It was never an official directive of the Defense Department, but the fact that it was handed out at the chaplains school at Maxwell Air Force Base in Montgomery, Ala., "might have given the impression that it was Air Force policy," said Rabbi...
The quotes show that he hoped that due to the freedom of the press and religion orthodox Christianity would fade away. There is a difference in his public and private writings, for obvious reasons. The bottom line is that the principles which he was promoting are the very ideas which are being used by Mr. Weinstein, PAW, and the ACLU, etc. to silence our brothers at the Academy and elsewhere. We connot escape the historic sequence which has brought us to where we are today. Thank you for your time.
Jefferson had it wrong, but the conclusion that he wanted Christianity quashed is wrong as well. In his public service he upheld the rights of those he disagreed with. That included a hostile press:
"Our liberty depends on the freedom of the press, and that cannot be limited without being lost." And "They (the Federalists) fill their newspapers with falsehoods, calumnies and audacities...I shall protect them in the right of lying and calumniating."
How he felt about the rights of Christians he didn't agree with is exampled here:
"I consider the government of the United States as interdicted by the Constitution from intermeddling with religious institutions, their doctrines, discipline or exercises...I do not believe it is for the interest of religion to invite the civil magistrate to direct its exercises, its discipline, or its doctrines." And: "We have no right to prejudice another in his civil enjoiments because he is of another church. If any man err from the right way it is his own misfortune, no injury to thee; nor therefore are thou to punish him in the things of this life because thou supposeth he will be miserable in that which is to come-on the contrary according to the spirit of the gospel, charity, bounty, liberality is due to him."
I give these quotes only to allow one Founder tell us the type of Christianity he wanted quashed. Even though we all know that the gates of Hell will not prevail against the Church.
Thomas Jefferson: "And the day will come when the mystical generation of Jesus, by the supreme being as his father in the womb of a virgin will be classed with the fable of the generation of Minerva in the brain of Jupiter. But we may hope that the dawn of reason and freedom of thought in these United States will do away with all this artificial scaffolding, and restore to us the primitive and genuine doctrines of this the most venerated reformer of human errors."
Thomas Jefferson: "...the demoralizing dogmas of Calvin: 1. That there are three Gods. 2. That good works, or the love of our neighbor, are nothing. 3. That faith is every thing, and the more incomprehensible the proposition, the more merit in its faith. 4. That reason in religion is of unlawful use. 5. That God, from the beginning, elected certain individuals to be saved, and certain others to be damned; and that no crimes of the former can damn them; no virtues of the latter save. Now, which of these is the true and charitable Christian? He who believes and acts on the simple doctrines of Jesus? Or the impious dogmatists, as Athanasius and Calvin? Verily I say these are the false shepherds foretold as to enter not by the door into the sheepfold, but to climb up some other way. They are mere usurpers of the Christian name, teaching a counter-religion made up of the deliria of crazy imaginations, as foreign from Christianity as is that of Mahomet. Their blasphemies have driven thinking men into infidelity, who have too hastily rejected the supposed author himself, with the horrors so falsely imputed to him. Had the doctrines of Jesus been preached always as pure as they came from his lips, the whole civilized world would now have been Christian."
Thomas Jefferson "But the greatest of all the reformers of the depraved religion of his own country, was Jesus of Nazareth. Abstracting what is really his from the rubbish in which it is buried, easily distinguished by its lustre from the dross of his biographers, and as separable from that as the diamond from the dunghill, we have the outlines of a system of the most sublime morality which has ever fallen from the lips of man; outlines which it is lamentable he did not live to fill up. Epictetus and Epicurus give laws for governing ourselves, Jesus a supplement of the duties and charities we owe to others. The establishment of the innocent and genuine character of this benevolent moralist, and the rescuing it from the imputation of imposture, which has resulted from artificial systems (e. g. The immaculate conception of Jesus, his deification, the creation of the world by him, his miraculous powers, his resurrection and visible ascension, his corporeal presence in the Eucharist, the Trinity; original sin, atonement, regeneration, election, orders of Hierarchy, &c.) invented by ultra-Christian sects, unauthorized by a single word ever uttered by him, is a most desirable object...
"Forasmuch then as we are the offspring of God, we ought not to think that the Godhead is like unto gold, or silver, or stone, graven by art and man's device. And the times of this ignorance God winked at; but now commandeth all men every where to repent:because he has appointed a day in which he will judge the world in righteousness by the man whom he has ordained; of which he has given assurance to all men, in that he has raised him from the dead."
I guess the Apostle didn't get the memo from Mr. Weinstein.
I believe the Founders were trying to avoid the mistakes that England made in setting up a State religion and forcing subjects to pay taxes for its support. They were also trying to allow freedom of religion, which any review of 19th century America will prove that they were mostly successful. If they were trying to quash Biblical Orthdoxy (What is Biblical Orthodoxy?) they must have failed for we see it in thousands of Protestant religions in the US with a thousand different biblical beliefs.
Rob, I am being facetious when I thank the Founders. That is because I believe they were trying to quash biblical, orthodox Christianity in favor of heresy when they set up our constitutional foundations. The Religion which the American Governments subsidize is a constantly mutating form of unitarianism/universalism, which you apparently except as a legitimate position for them to take.
Next time I make a facetious comment I'll end it with a:
I agree that people are allowed to practice their faith as long as they do not force others to practice their faith. The Christian faith happens to be one with a strong sense of evangelism. Others may not be as strong but they too evangelize in many ways. In the end, the Constitution has to deal with a fair approach to all religions and God will deal with the Truth about Jesus Christ versus other truth claims.
Craig, what is the religion that the US Govt is subsidizing?? CH? Judaism Islam? Catholicism? All these are hired and allowed to minister to US citizens who are in the armed forces & have not given up their rights to worship the god of their choice!! And who are the creeds who do not proselyte?? Almost all major religions and many minor ones claim to be the "Only way"! Have you not read about other religion's doctrines? So no one is left out in the cold and even the minor religions, Satanism, etc. will be having chaplains to represent them. As for the original congress, what does relgious history teach us? The Declaration of Independence and Constitution are build on some Christian pillars. The majority of the original lawmakers, in the National Confederation, as well as the Democratic Republic, were Christians, quite a few with seminary background & definitely were representative of those the countrymen of the US. There were many who, though they did not attend church, agreed with the Christian philosophy that created our present Constitution. This was a country founded on Christian principles that still allowed the narrow pluralism of the 1700's and the growing pluralism of today.
James Madison: Is the appointment of Chaplains to the two Houses of Congress consistent with the Constitution, and with the pure principle of religious freedom? In strictness the answer on both points must be in the negative. The Constitution of the U. S. forbids everything like an establishment of a national religion. The law appointing Chaplains establishes a religious worship for the national representatives, to be performed by Ministers of religion, elected by a majority of them; and these are to be paid out of the national taxes. Does not this involve the principle of a national establishment, applicable to a provision for a religious worship for the Constituent as well as of the representative Body, approved by the majority, and conducted by Ministers of religion paid by the entire nation. The establishment of the chaplainship to Congs is a palpable violation of equal rights, as well as of Constitutional principles: The tenets of the chaplains elected [by the majority] shut the door of worship agst the members whose creeds & consciences forbid a participation in that of the majority...