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Military Chaplains are Defenders

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Military Chaplains are the “front-line” defenders of Religious Liberty...

“On 29 July 1775, the continental Congress officially established the Chaplain Corps as an integral part of the U.S. Army.” In an effort to ensure the free exercise of religion, Title 10 of the United States Code tasked Chaplains with the responsibility of protecting the soldier’s right to practice their religious beliefs, while avoiding even the appearance of the establishment of religion.

Why? Perhaps for times such as these…

The word "tolerance" in respect to religion is to respect the freedom of other individuals to follow freely their own religious and spiritual paths, without discrimination and oppression. This is a human right guaranteed by the First Amendment to the U.S. Constitution, and it ultimately leads to peace in a land of religious diversity, and to religious freedom for all.

The U.S. and Canada have 1,588 religious groups of significant size. The potential exists for religious animosities to flare up and develop into serious religious conflicts. This has happened in many other countries of the world. Religious intolerance has lead to mass crimes against humanity and even genocide. We have seen Muslims exterminating Christians in East Timor and Sudan. We have seen Christians exterminating Muslims in Bosnia and Kosovo.

4  Since 9/11, backlash and attacks have occurred against not only Moslems, but Jews as well…recently

o Teachers told a 15-year-old high school student in Biloxi, MS that he was not permitted to wear the symbol of his faith, a Star of David. Pat Robertson spoke out, saying that: "Referring to the Star of David as a gang symbol is either ignorance or religious intolerance. The decision ... to suppress a heartfelt and legitimate public expression of faith is totally inappropriate." The school board quickly reversed its decision.

o Some thugs broke the front window of a house in a town in New England. They broke a menorah - a candle holder which a non-Christian religious minority uses to celebrate their wintertime Festival of Lights. Throughout the town, Christians started to display a menorah in their own living room windows, to show their rejection of religious bigotry, and their solidarity with the oppressed religious minority.

By "religious tolerance" we do not mean that everyone must accept other religions as truth. We can believe that members of another religion are hopelessly deluded, and still support their right to enjoy religious freedom. 

We do not teach that all religions are the same. They are quite different. We do not teach that all religions are simply different paths to the same God. They clearly are not. They teach very different paths to different gods and goddesses. They have entirely different beliefs about deity, religious belief, sexual behavior, family structure, etc.

4  "Religious tolerance is not religious indifference. It consists of valuing the right of another person to hold beliefs that you know absolutely to be wrong." Anon

"The American ideal is not that we all agree with each other, or even like each other, every minute of the day. It is rather that we will respect each other's rights, especially the right to be different..." Arthur J. Kropp, former U.S. Surgeon General  

Alongside the call to Tolerance is the call for JUSTICE — the practice of what is right and just. Justice specifies what is right, not only as measured by a code of law, but also by what makes for right relationships, harmony, and peace.

The concept of justice in the Bible goes beyond the courts of law to everyday life. The Bible speaks of “doing justice” (Psalm 82:3 Be fair to the poor and to orphans. Defend the helpless and everyone in need.), while we speak of “getting justice.”

Doing justice is to maintain what is right or to set things right. Justice is done when honorable relations are maintained between husbands and wives, parents and children, employers and employees, government and citizens, and human beings and God. Justice refers to neighborliness in spirit and action.

Kings, rulers, and those in power are to be God’s instruments of justice (Ps. 72:1), as exemplified by David (2 Sam. 8:15) and Josiah (Jer. 22:15–16). The prophet Micah declared, “He has shown you, O man, what is good; and what does the Lord require of you but to do justly, to love mercy, and to walk humbly with your God?” (Mic. 6:8). The Book of Isaiah describes God’s suffering servant, fulfilled in Jesus Christ, as one whose task as ruler will be to bring justice to the nations (Is. 42:1–4).

The prophets of the Old Testament were champions of social justice. During those days, justice was often perverted through bribery and favoritism (Deut. 1:17; Prov. 17:23).

But God’s rewards come to those who practice justice in all their dealings with others. In the words of the prophet Amos, “Let justice run down like water, and righteousness like a mighty stream” (Amos 5:24).

We understand that God is Just!  His actions and decisions are true and right. His demands on individuals and nations to look after victims of oppression are just demands (Psalm 82).

As Lord and Judge, God brings justice to nations (Ps. 67:4) and “sets things right” in behalf of the poor, the oppressed, and the victims of injustice (Ps. 103:6; 146:6–9). For the wicked, the unjust, and the oppressor, God as supreme Judge of the earth is a dreaded force. But for all who are unjustly treated, God’s just action is reason for hope.

Matt 5: (AMP) Blessed (enjoying enviable happiness, spiritually prosperous—with life-joy and satisfaction in God’s favor and salvation, regardless of their outward conditions) are the makers and maintainers of peace, for they shall be called the sons of God!

 

Psalm 90:1-17

Our Lord, in all generations you have been our home. You have always been God—long before the birth of the mountains, even before you created the earth and the world. At your command we die and turn back to dust, but a thousand years mean nothing to you! They are merely a day gone by or a few hours in the night. You bring our lives to an end just like a dream. We are merely tender grass that sprouts and grows in the morning, but dries up by evening.

Your furious anger frightens and destroys us, and you know all of our sins, even those we do in secret.

Your anger is a burden each day we live, then life ends like a sigh. We can expect seventy years, or maybe eighty, if we are healthy,

but even our best years bring trouble and sorrow. Suddenly our time is up, and we disappear. No one knows the full power of your furious anger, but it is as great as the fear that we owe to you.

Teach us to use wisely all the time we have. Help us, Lord! Don’t wait! Pity your servants.

When morning comes, let your love satisfy all our needs. Then we can celebrate and be glad for what time we have left. Make us happy for as long as you caused us trouble and sorrow.

Do wonderful things for us, your servants, and show your mighty power to our children.

Our Lord and our God, treat us with kindness and let all go well for us. Please let all go well!

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