No ‘Mass Exodus’ Of Military Chaplains Post-DADT Repeal

CrossHatWhen the nation was debating whether or not to repeal Don't Ask, Don't Tell, the 90s-era legislation barring gay and lesbian service personnel from coming out, conservative religious leaders warned the law's end would lead to a mass exodus of anti-gay military chaplains. It turns out that's not the case.

From Utah's Standard-Examiner:

[Chaplain Col. Timothy Wagoner], who commands five other chaplains at Joint Base McGuire-Dix-Lakehurst in central New Jersey, said the chaplaincy corps was responding professionally and collegially to what he called a "balancing act" precipitated by the repeal.

[Archbishop Timothy Broglio of the Archdiocese for the Military Services] concurred with the estimates that only a handful of chaplains have left the military because of the repeal. He said "two or three" Catholic chaplains had resigned their commissions in recent months, and guessed that repeal may have been a factor though they didn’t cite that specifically.

Bishop James Magness, the coordinator for about 75 active-duty and reserve Episcopal chaplains, said he’d heard a common, positive verdict about repeal from his more conservative Catholic, Mormon and Southern Baptist colleagues.

"The whole argument about religious liberty is so incredibly uninformed, and inflamed by some of the very conservative legal groups," Magness said. "In reality, there’s been very little if any of the services forcing any ministerial activity on a chaplain against his or her will."

Wagoner described the post-DADT as a "balancing act," one in which gay and lesbian soldiers' lives are just as important as individual chaplains' opposition.


  1. Dale says

    “No ‘Mass Exodus’ Of Military Chaplains Post-DADT Repeal”

    Damn, now we have to try and find something else to get rid of those taliban fundamentalists leaders within our military.

  2. TampaZeke says

    So how many times do we have to demonstrate that anti-gay religious “slippery slope”, gloom and doom, end of the world rantings NEVER come true?

  3. Jonathan says

    “Wagoner described the post-DADT as a “balancing act,” one in which gay and lesbian soldiers’ lives are just as important as individual chaplains’ opposition.”

    This is exactly the problem. There is no balancing act. The lives of gay and lesbian military personnel are much more important than the individual chaplains’ opposition. No one’s asking the chaplains to be gay, merely to minister without prejudice to those who do not share their religious beliefs. Let’s all remember that wonderful MASH episode in which Father Mulcahy performed a bris for the child of a Jewish soldier. No one seemed to be bothered by the fact that by reciting a Jewish ritual, Mulcahy was tacitly denying the divinity of Christ. Certainly treating gay and lesbian military personnel as human beings is within the cannon of chaplaincy ethics.

  4. Bart says

    The sky didn’t fall. Hell didn’t open up and swallow the United States. Life went on. The fringe dwellers of religion may have left…we got enough crazy in the military already, their presence will not be missed. And the world keeps revolving.

    How many times can the far right lunatics call for the end of times before we sweep all of them into a corner and put a fence around the religiously mentally ill. Stop believing the problem is us…in the light of day the reality is, the problem is them.

  5. irony noted says

    Of course there was no mass exodus. It’s a sweet job, no heavy lifting, in fact, no lifting at all. And, most of them want to be surrounded by men, and if that comes to light, now they don’t have to worry about being outed.

    Sweet deal all around. You couldn’t drive them out with a bayonet!

  6. Keppler says

    Since when was the military constituted around the needs of chaplains? This was always a specious argument. Chaplains are there to minister to the needs of the troops, and not the other way around.

  7. andrew says

    Why does the U S government take taxpayers money and give it to men and women to preach religion in the military? Of course they are not leaving the military. They have a soft job that pays them well to preach myths and nonsense. This practice should be ended but unfortunately lip service to religion is part of our American culture.

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