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Religion and the War
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Jerry mailed me this story, about US Marines being given pamphlets with tear out prayer pledges to mail the White House, indicating that they are praying for George Bush. Great.

At least it was put together by a group called Touch Ministries (nice, huh?), and not funded with our tax dollars.

But this brings up another issue that's been on my mind in the past couple of days, and that's military chaplains. I heard an interview Friday on NPR with a chaplain with the 3rd Infantry (I believe), and another this morning (on C-Span) with a chaplain on the USS Kitty Hawk. In this second interview, the chaplain was asked about the diversity of religious belief among the crew. Basically, he answered that there were three full-time military chaplains, all Christian. He was Methodist, but there was an Evangelical and a Catholic chaplain as well. When asked about other religions, the chaplain said that there were volunteers that acted as religious leaders for those faiths. He mentioned Jews, Muslims, and Mormons.

Now then, these faiths don't have full-time chaplains. They're represented by soldiers or sailors who have other duties to perform. That is, their primary function is not to be a religious leader.

So will somebody tell me why those whose function is to be a full-time religious leader, military chaplains, are not a violation of the separation of church and state.

Why are my tax dollars being spent to pay the salaries of three pastors aboard the USS Kitty Hawk?

I don't have a problem with there being religious leaders to provide psychological comfort in stressful situations, but why can't they all be part-time volunteers from among the other soldiers?

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