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Should Military chaplains be allowed to pray in Jesus name?

Posted by truthtalklive on November 28, 2007

Author Don Brown www.donbrownbooks.com  spent five years in the U.S. Navy as an officer in the Judge Advocate General’s (JAG) Corp. He’s the author of Treason, Hostage and Defiance all published by Zondervan.

44 Responses to “Should Military chaplains be allowed to pray in Jesus name?”

  1. Brad said

    Absolutely. To say they can’t, is that not to violate their right to free speech and freedom to practice their religion?

  2. Fred said

    Once again the truth is compromised in favor of rousing the rabble!

    Stu ought to be ashamed of himself. I don’t know, but I’ll bet that this Chaplain they were discussing wasn’t reprimanded for “praying in the name of Jesus”, but for disobeying orders or some other legal charge. Wait a minute…

    …Yep, I thought so, a quick Google search gives us the real reason that Klingenschmitt was reprimanded:




    Also, Stu likes to complain about the ACLU. OK, but don’t misrepresent the facts, Stu. You refer to the ACLU in a sneering, derogatory way with statements like “our Rights are under attack” (paraphrase). What are these lawsuits or other activities of the ACLU that you refer to?

    Truth Talk Live?

    No Sale!

  3. John said

    I agree.

    Who are these sensitive[whiny] people who are so touchy[intolerant?] that they are so easily bothered by these displays of theological devotion? Why is something like this so offensive, such a big deal to such people? To bad nobody of this nature would post here or call in to the show [Would they even listen?Could they bear it?]to give us an explanation.I want to know what the motivation is.
    Would such a person feel and act the same way towards a non-Christian display of theological devotion? And if not, then why?
    I say in the hopes that someone like this may actually be reading and feel inclined to reply. It’s a long shot, true, but not impossible.After all,there are three of US here. So……….

  4. Jeff said

    I’m not a Christian, but I am conservative on many issues. Fred, even I know you don’t know what you’re talking about. The ACLU is out of control.

  5. Don Brown said

    The ACLU has done some good things throughout the course of its history. The problem with the ACLU and a number of liberal jurists on this and issues like it is a fundamental misunderstanding of the First Amendment with regard to church/state issues. To suggest that a chaplain who did what Klinenschmitt did somehow violates the establishment clause, is in my judgment, ridiculous. Having a chaplain pray in Jesus’ name, or citing John 3:36, as the chaplain did — which led to a reprimand — in no way constitutes the establishment of a national religion, which was the sole and only purpose of the Establishment Clause.

    Unfortunately, there’s a lot of ignorance and political correctness out there which has emasculated and contorted the original intent of the Establishment Clause of the First Amendment.

  6. Fred said

    Jeff, how is the ACLU out of control?

  7. John said

    Just so you all know, I was agreeing with Brad[GASP!]in my above statement.Didn’t see Fred’s there at the time.

  8. Brad said

    See John,

    You agreed with me, and you’re still alive to talk about it. It didn’t hurt TOO bad, did it? 🙂

  9. Anonymous said

    “The problem with the ACLU and a number of liberal jurists on this and issues like it is a fundamental misunderstanding of the First Amendment with regard to church/state issues.” – Don Brown

    Fortunately the Supreme Court disagrees with you.

    “To suggest that a chaplain who did what Klinenschmitt did somehow violates the establishment clause, is in my judgment, ridiculous.”
    – Don Brown

    Who is saying that? Did you read the words of Klingenschmitt’s boss?

    More rabble rousing to raise interest in your book sales, Don?

  10. Fred said

    Still no references to an ACLU action that endangers our civil rights? Why am I not surprised?

  11. Jeff said

    I don’t have time to bring every example on here. They’re out of control in the sense that they’re wasting time and money on things that shouldn’t be messed with.


    Karma is real….remember that.

  12. Fred said

    Jeff, never mind.

  13. John said

    Yes Jeff.In my faith it’s known as “The Three Fold Law”.

    Brad, was my pride supposed to have been injured,or something?[snicker, snicker]Because it was not.These are problems that effect people like me too, you know, not just Christian spiritual leaders.Congratulations on saying something relevant to me that I could agree with,for the second time,in a long time[toothy grin].Did it “hurt”?[smile]
    And while we’re “talking”,……..why aren’t you ignoring me?

  14. Jeff said


    I guess one of us needs to use an initial so that folks can tell us apart. Otherwise, you might get me in trouble! 🙂

  15. Don Brown said

    “Stu ought to be ashamed of himself. I don’t know, but I’ll bet that this Chaplain they were discussing wasn’t reprimanded for “praying in the name of Jesus”, but for disobeying orders or some other legal charge. Wait a minute…”

    Jeff, the chaplain was actually reprimanded for preaching John 3:36 at a funeral service. But your are correct. He was court-martialed technically for disobeying a lawful order. So two official actions were taken against him. First, a reprimand, second a court-martial.

    Anonymous, the Supreme Court neither agrees nor disagrees with me concerning this chaplain, because the case hasn’t reached it, to my knowledge. Therefore, no ruling has been made on the constitutionality of the order in question. Now it’s true that the Supreme Court, has at times, streteched the Establishment Clause far beyond the founder’s intent. Of course, any study of Supreme Court history will quickly show the Court reversing itself on crucial issues of importance to the nation’s history. Case in point, Plessy v. Ferguson and Brown v. Board of Education.

    This goes to the heard of judicial philosophy, and the place for judge made law versus an attempt to interpret based upon original intent. I believe in original intent. Judges are to interpret the laws. Not make them.

  16. Anonymous said

    Don, I never said that the Supreme Court disagreed with you on the case of Klingenschmitt. Read my post #9 again, please. The real facts of the case are out there for any one of us to discover. You misrepresented them, and I pointed it out to you.

    Have you read the words of Klingenschmitt’s boss? Or did you not want to discuss it?

    Concerning the Constitution and law in general I am at a disadvantage, so here’s your chance.

    Let’s recap:

    Me: I say that the Constitution describes a secular government that does not favor any particular religion.

    Don Brown: You seem to say that the Constitution describes a government that gives Christianity a special standing amongst the other religions in the eyes of the law.

    Have I got it right?

  17. Don Brown said

    Dear Annonymous, yes, I’ve read the words of Klingenshmitt’s boss.

    The constitution prohibits Congress from passing a law establishing a “national” denomination. The two key words are “Congress” and “establish.” The ACLU and liberal jurists have stretched the First Amendment into something it isn’t. A manger scene in a public square, for example, has nothing to do with Congress or a national religion. Neither does a military chaplain praying in Jesus’ name.

    Take care anonymous,


  18. Fred said

    That’s weak, Don.

  19. Mike Sears said

    That’s weak Fred!

  20. Mike Sears said

    Well… I admit… as measured by my same criteria… so is mine! (weak that is) Fred, What you are pointing out as weak is reading the constitution and it’s amendments for what they “actually say” rather than putting a spin on them like the ACLU and the “Seperation from church and state” fearmongerers do. Shame on you Don!!

  21. Fred said

    Well he hasn’t backed up anything he’s said has he? The case of Klingenschmitt was not what he would lead us to think it was. That is to say, it was not a First Amendment case. It was a case of an officer disobeying orders.

    Chaplains praying in Jesus’ name is not the issue here, and if he has read the words of Klingenschmitt’s boss he understands that. He must be deliberately trying to mislead us, then?

    Manger scenes? Do you know what he is referring to?

  22. We ought to follow our heart and obey GOD rather than man,

  23. Don Brown said

    Dear Fred, I didn’t say that the Klingenschmitt case as a First Amendment Case. I said that the chaplain was court-martialed for disobeying a lawful order. He prayed in Jesus name, yes, but the court-martial was for disobeying a lawful order. That’s what I said on the air. I also said he had previously been reprimanded for citing John 3:36 publicly at a funeral.

    There was some discussion about the First Amendment as it deals with church-state relations, and I’ve taken the position that the Establishment Clause has been misconstrued by liberal jurists, the ACLU and many others, including perhaps the heirarchy of the Navy Establishment, etc. But I simply did not suggest that this was a First Amendment prosecution, or whatever. Really there’s no such thing.

    I do believe that perhaps the Secretary of the Navy and others who issue such orders for “Nonsectarian” prayers may have a fundamental misunderstanding of the Establishment Clause. But the pure First Amendment cases really have been fought in the Civil Courts, and not so much in the criminal courts, at least not to date.

  24. Don Brown said

    Dear Mike,

    Thanks for your reply. Not trying to shed fear, but I’d invite you to read exactly what the Constitution says on the so-called “Church-State” issue. It says this, Congress shall make no law respecting an establishment of religion, or prohibiting the free exercise thereof.

    That’s pretty simple. Congress can’t pass a law making the Southern Baptists, or whoever, the national religion of the United States. Plain and simple.

    With all due respect, I would suggest that the fear mongering comes from well-meaning leftists, who, fearing the Gospel, misconstrue the simple language of the First Amendment to take the Ten Commandments off the walls of courthouses, to remove manger scenes from the public square, to probibit the Bible from being taught in schools while allowing the Koran to be mandatory reading at the nation’s top public university.

    The real fear here, I’m afraid, is fear of the Gospel, with such fear manifesting itself in contorted court decisions and inaccurate and dishonest spin-doctoring on the plain meaning and original intent of the Establishment Clause, which is simply to prevent Congress from passing a law establishing a national denomination. Nothing more. Nothing less.

    Thanks again for your reply,


  25. Fred said

    Don, yes, you did imply that the Klingenschmitt case was a First Amendemnt case. If you didn’t want us to think so, why would you go on and on about it?

    “To suggest that a chaplain who did what Klinenschmitt did somehow violates the establishment clause, is in my judgment, ridiculous. Having a chaplain pray in Jesus’ name, or citing John 3:36, as the chaplain did — which led to a reprimand — in no way constitutes the establishment of a national religion, which was the sole and only purpose of the Establishment Clause.” (Don Brown)

    Again I ask you, who is saying this? It certainly isn’t Klingenschmitt’s boss. Here’s what he had to say:

    “I sent him out in uniform every week to pray at various ceremonies and functions. He always prayed in uniform and in Jesus’ name. He was never told that he could not pray in Jesus’ name. In fact, the issue of prayer had nothing at all to do with his dismissal from the Navy.”

    What do you say to that, Don?

  26. Mike Sears said

    I was actually being sarcastic. I totally agree with you, the left are the fear mongerers i was referring to. I have read the amendments and it is quite evident that they were written to protect the church from government meddling not vice versa. Thanks!! Mike

  27. Fred said

    It’s clear that the First Amendment builds a wall of separation between church and state.

    Speak up boys:

    “…I contemplate with solemn reverence that act of the whole American people which declared that their legislature should ‘make no law respecting an establishment of religion, or prohibiting the free exercise thereof,’ thus building a wall of separation between Church and State…” Thomas Jefferson

    “Strongly guarded as is the separation between religion and Government in the Constitution of the United States, the danger of encroachment by Ecclesiastical Bodies may be illustrated by precedents already furnished in their short history.” James Madison

  28. Mike Sears said

    Yes, Jefferson originally penned the term “…wall of separation between church and state” in an 1802 letter to the Baptist Association of Danbury. His letter was a response to a letter from them espousing concerns that the government would have the power to meddle or intrude or legislate their faith and beliefs. His letter is clear to make the point that this “wall” was to protect the church from the government legislating religion.

    James Madison, another individual that is quoted by the “freedom from religion” camp, wrote on June 12, 1788, “There is no shadow of right in the general (Federal) government to intermeddle with religion…The subject is, for the honor of America, perfectly free and unshackled. The government has no jurisdiction over it.” Yet the liberals today have strayed far from allowing religion to be “free and unshackled”. They have pulled out all of the stops to shackle (mostly Christianity) and disallow any public display of it in government arenas.

    Have you ever visited our federal supreme court and many of the monuments and congressional buildings? Scripture is permanently inscribed all throughout these facilities as it (scripture) was the guiding principle and foundation of this country. If religious expression was supposed to be “separated” why was scripture engraved everywhere?

    In 1802, when Jefferson penned this letter, he went to church at the largest church in America at the time. Do you know where they worshipped? In the chambers of the House of Representatives. Decades later, worship services moved to the Rotunda of the US Capitol. What would the ACLU think about that today? Here is a list of things that Thomas Jefferson promoted while serving as President:
    • Promoted legislative and military chaplains
    • Established a national seal using a biblical symbol
    • Included the word God in our national motto
    • Established official days of fasting and prayer
    • Punished Sabbath breakers
    • Punished marriages contrary to biblical law
    • Protected the property of churches
    • Required that oaths be phrased by the words “So help me God” and be sworn on the Bible
    • Granted land to Christian schools
    • Allowed government property and facilities to be used for worship
    • Used the Bible and nondenominational religious instruction in the public schools, and actually “required” that the Bible be taught in public school. GASP!!
    • Allowed and encouraged public clergymen to hold public office
    • Funded religious books for public libraries
    • Funded salaries for missionaries
    • Exempted churches from taxation

    The REAL Thomas Jefferson is the ACLU’s worst nightmare!! Do your research and you will find that Jefferson believed along with Madison that religious beliefs and expression thereof in both the private and public arenas should be FREE AND UNSHACKLED!!! So shall we one day again be, by the Grace of God!!

  29. Don Brown said

    Great response, Mike. Thanks.

  30. Fred said

    Wrong! You guys seem to love Jefferson, except that he (and others) gave us a secular government that has for 230 years progressed from less freedom to more freedom despite the fact that conservatives always try to stand in the way!

    Ok, I’ll give you the points on the quote mining from the Founding Fathers. We can both come up with quotes that will support our political opinions but why waste bandwidth? We aren’t changing each others minds.

    Let’s let the ACLU speak for themsleves:


  31. Mike Sears said

    So… if you are correct… then ultimately… heading toward more and more freedom… then we can expect to witness blatant immoral behavior in the city streets like what just happened in SF. I think you and the ACLU confuse “freedom of religion” with the desire for “freedom FROM religion”. We certainly would not want to push our morals on someone else by making a law where they can’t have sex in the streets!! That is where things will lead if we keep on this path. Compare what was considered immoral 50 years ago to now and then carry it through another 50 years. Yikes!!

  32. Fred said

    Pure speculation on your part, Mike, and fearmongering, too!

    I have a better notion: let’s look at what was considered moral fifty years ago: If we had your way and turned back the clocks we’d still have segregated bathrooms and the KKK terrorizing the minority communities.


    I’ll pass on that.


  33. Mike Sears said

    Speculation? It’s already happening! Your two examples of 50 years ago are good examples of moral improvement since then. Shackling Christianity in the public square is a reversal of these examples. 50 years ago it would have been a crime to PROMOTE the homosexual lifestyle to our children. But it is actually happening today. The pornography industry has flourished since then thanks to the ACLU fighting for the rights to FREELY distribute their material. But maybe you believe these are actually moral improvements?

  34. Mike Sears said

    A lot of the liberal thinkers have believed that it is a moral improvement to eliminate “guilt” from our psyche. The sexual revolution among other’s flourished as a result of this new FREE thinking. I read a quote the other day that made a lot of sense:

    Atheistic thinker Hobart Mowrer, one time president of the American Psychological Association, committed suicide in his eighties. He was one time professor at Harvard, instructor at Yale, earned a Ph.D. from Johns Hopkins, and he wrote these powerful words: “For several decades we psychologists looked upon the whole matter of sin and moral accountability as a great incubus and acclaimed our liberation from it as epoch making. But at length we have discovered that to be free in this sense, that is, to have the excuse of being sick rather than sinful, is to court the danger of also becoming lost. This danger is, I believe, betokened by the widespread interest in existentialism, which we are presently witnessing. In becoming amoral, ethically neutral and free, we have cut the very roots of our being, lost our deepest sense of selfhood and identity, and with neurotics, themselves, we find ourselves asking, ‘Who am I, what is my deepest destiny, what does living really mean?’”

  35. Fred said

    Mike, fifty years ago it was conservative Christians in the white hoods terrorizing people and keeping Jim Crow alive. It was those dang liberals who fought to put an end to it.

    Who is shackling Christianity in the public square? It’s only government sponsored religion that needs to be shackled.

  36. Mike Sears said

    They may have called themselves Christians just like many ultra right wing extremists and even many “liberals” do today. But Jesus said “For no good tree bears bad fruit, nor again does a bad tree bear good fruit, for each tree is known by its own fruit. For figs are not gathered from thornbushes, nor are grapes picked from a bramble bush. The good person out of the good treasure of his heart produces good, and the evil person out of his evil treasure produces evil, for out of the abundance of the heart his mouth speaks.”

    Do I really need to give you examples? I’ll give you one, right here in my home town, the ACLU has filed suit against our County Commissioners because they allow people to open their meetings with prayer and they allow them to pray however they want to pray. BUT, the ACLU does not like the fact that SOME people pray in Jesus’ name! They want rules put in place to restrict people from mentioning any specific deity in their prayers.

    Constitution = Freedom of Religion

    ACLU = Freedom from Religion


  37. Fred said

    Mike, we disagree again! The government (even the County government) is not free to sponsor Christianity. That’s the issue. You can pray in public all you want, just keep the government out of it. The ACLU supports your right to exercise your religion.

    We can go on and on, but I think we understand each other, don’t we?

    Have a joyous Christmas!


  38. Mike Sears said

    Understand each other? Not hardly. You clearly do not understand the lawsuit nor the issue. The Commissioners are not “sponsoring” Christianity in any way shape or form!! They are simply allowing a member of the community, (no religious affilation or test applied) the opportunity to open the meeting with a simple prayer. And the ACLU wants a law to mandate what can and can not be said in this prayer!

    And yes thank you, I will have a JOYOUS Christmas. Resting in the peace and joy of knowing Christ Jesus my Lord!! I pray that you will do the same!!

  39. Fred said

    Well, let’s not get personal. I do understand the issue as well as you seem to. I do not agree with your opinion. Why insult each other?

    It will be decided by a court, so we’ll both abide by the decision.


  40. Mike Sears said

    I am sorry I insulted you. No intention to. The fingers can drip with sarcasm sometimes. And we’ll see about “abiding” if the courts decide with the ACLU. That is if I ever get invited to pray… I would surely break the law!! Psalm 34. I will bless the Lord at all times… Except sometimes when I fall to sarcasm, sorry again! Mike

  41. Matt said

    I just happened upon this, it seems interesting. If the City will allow the time for all present to pray in their own god’s name perhaps it would be ok. I think it is safest to say this is a government function however. Save the praying for your personal time or Sunday.

    As far as immorality, it’s all relative. Depending on your religion a whole gambit of things is morally valid or invalid. Those who say there are universal moral “religious” truths are not telling the truth. The only largely universal moral concepts are those agreed on by modern society and governments, religion is all over the board. Wiccans have all kinds of moral ideals about sex that are at odds with other religions, and the Mayans and Aztecs had their own beliefs about murder. These aren’t ancient religions, most are still around in some form. The Wiccans seem to be having a revival of sorts and the Central American religions are still very fresh historically. Who knows what will be the world religion in 400 years. We could all be technologists, or Hindu, or scientologists. The Christians that dominate American could simply be a small splinter of people, and they may well complain about not wanting to hear quotes from L Ron Hubbard before their city hall meeting.

    That in itself poses another question, is a religion still just as valid/true even if all of it’s followers are now dead and gone? One reason I’m agnostic.

  42. Mike S. said

    “As far as immorality, it’s all relative”. Oh really? Then what about that statement? That statement is relative on it’s own terms so why should I believe it? Do you believe truth is relative too? Do you believe there is such a thing as absolute truth?

    BTW, yes, the City DOES allow other’s to pray according to their own beliefs.

  43. F. L. A. said

    Matt, perhaps only the Heaven/s and Hell/s part of said obsolete religion.As so long as at least 1 soul knows of a religion or it’s deities, then it’s not really and truly “dead” yet.Of course this is pure speculation on my part, but I believe that the theory is sound.

    At least Matt’s not an atheist.That is worth something Mr.Sears, right[toothy grin]?

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