Military Chaplains: Guns and Faith

August 31st, 2011, by

Around the globe, U.S. military chaplains provide an immeasurable service to the men and women in uniform. Whether in military barracks or out on the battlefield, these religious men and women are looked to for inspiration and relief when times get tough. But, due to current military policies, enemies of the U.S. may see military chaplains as something else: easy targets.

A recent CNN report explains how chaplains in the U.S. military do not carry any weapons on them at any time, including times of battle. Enemies in wartime seldom show a great deal of restraint when it comes to targeting those in combat. And, while the sentiment of peace is a hallmark found in many of the faiths represented in the military, I think the policy could be dangerous for those serving as chaplains.

I can totally understand a chaplain’s decision not to carry a weapon. It’s not the type of image that most people think of when they think of a man or woman of God. But, if for some reason that chaplain did decide that they wanted to protect themselves, they should be given a firearm to do so. Yet, the only other distinguishing characteristic of a military chaplain uniform is a patch indicating the chaplain’s religious affiliation. What chaplains do receive, however, is an assistant who is armed and charged with the responsibility of looking after the chaplain’s safety.

Even with a chaplain’s assistant, I don’t think our enemies would hesitate to shoot someone on the battlefield simply because they are unarmed and have a patch on their uniforms. It would be one thing to say chaplains are safe on a base somewhere, ministering to the needs of others; but, it’s something totally different when you put them in harm’s way with no real way of protecting themselves.

I don’t think this policy sends the right message to our enemies or service personnel. The U.S. military should have another look at this policy and determine if changes, in fact, need to be made.

Share your thoughts.

Has the U.S. military made the right decision when it comes to chaplains and weapons?  Should chaplains at least be given the right to choose whether or not they carry a firearm?

Last modified: August 31, 2011 at 8:38 pm