The inclusion of an amendment offered by Representatives Jones and Hunter to the Department of Defense Authorization bill is a hot topic of debate between members of a House-Senate Conference Committee this week.
Language in the House version of the bill declares, “Each chaplain shall have the prerogative to pray according to the dictates of the chaplain’s own conscience, except as must be limited by military necessity, with any such limitation being imposed in the least restrictive manner feasible.”
But some members of the Senate Conference Committee want this language struck from the bill that funds the military. The dispute has attracted tremendous public interest because of the recent court martial of Navy Chaplain Lieutenant Gordon James Klingenschmitt, who was found guilty of disobeying an order by appearing in uniform and praying in the name of Jesus at a March 30th news conference outside the White House.
Hill sources point to Senate Armed Services Chairman John Warner as a main obstacle to the inclusion of the House language.
It would be disappointing to see this language stripped out, as it appears to be just plain common sense. Asking a Chaplain who is a Christian not to utter Christ’s name when he is doing his job is ridiculous.
UPDATE: Red State has more.
UPDATE: I had the sponsors of this amendment listed incorrectly above. The amendment was orchestrated by Rep. Todd Akin. Both Jones and Hunter subsequently suported it.