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Chaplains seek protection for troops to share views on homosexuality

Navy Chaplain Lt. Timothy Loney leafs through the Bible at the Naval Station Everett base chapel. Navy chaplains may soon be allowed to officiate same-sex civil marriage ceremonies in states where such marriages are allowed.

U.S. NAVY PHOTO

By Published: May 23, 2011

Leaders of 21 religious groups that provide chaplains to the U.S. military want assurance from Congress or the Pentagon that chaplains and servicemembers won’t be punished for openly discussing their objections to homosexuality, in light of the “don’t ask, don’t tell” overturning, according to a story from The Associated Press. 

The retired chaplains sent a letter Monday to the chiefs of chaplains of the Navy, Army and Air Force.

"This is already an assault and a challenge on individual conscience and some soldiers may think it's forcing them to abandon their religious beliefs or being marginalized for holding to those beliefs," said Douglas E. Lee, a retired Army brigadier general and chaplain, whose signature was the first on the letter, according to the story.

Training materials given to Marines state that chaplains who preach at base chapels that homosexuality is a sin will still be entitled to express their beliefs during worship, the story said.

But the organizations say it is not enough to state that servicemembers and chaplains remain free to exercise their faith in chapel services.

"Service members should know that chaplains' ministry and their own rights of conscience remain protected everywhere military necessity has placed them," the letter states.

Read more about the retired chaplains’ letter to the chiefs of chaplains, from the AP.

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