This opinion column originally appeared on townhall.com on 10/08/2013.
On July 23, a bipartisan majority of the House approved amendment 35 to the Department of Defense Appropriations Act, effectively defunding square circles . . . er “atheist chaplains.” The amendment codified current Department of Defense Policy under which chaplains must be certified by a religious organization whose primary function is to perform religious ministries, whose beliefs are sincerely held, and whose practices and rituals are not illegal or contrary to public policy. In other words, a chaplain is to be religious.
That chaplains are religious is not surprising, since Merriam-Webster’s defines a military chaplain as “a priest or other . . . religious leader who performs religious services for a military group.” That military chaplains believe in some outside being is not surprising: after all, the chaplaincy’s motto is, Pro Deo et Patria (For God and Country).