CNS News: More than 2,000 Evangelical, Orthodox Chaplains Join Catholics in Opposing Pentagon Directive on Same-Sex Marriage

Dr. Ron Crews, executive director of the Chaplain Alliance for Religious Liberty. (AP Photo.)

Here’s one way for the Orthodox to get noticed: do what is right.

Source: CNSNews

( – A national group representing more than 2,000 military chaplains from evangelical Christian and Orthodox backgrounds said on Wednesday that the Pentagon has launched a “direct assault” on marriage, and the chaplains they endorse will not be allowed to perform same-sex wedding ceremonies under any circumstances.

Dr. Ron Crews, executive director of the newly formed Chaplain Alliance for Religious Liberty, said his 2,000-plus membership is concerned about a Sept. 30 Pentagon memorandum that authorizes chaplains and military chapel facilities to be used for “any private ceremony,” a move that contradicts current federal law, the Defense of Marriage Act (DOMA).

“By dishonestly sanctioning the use of federal facilities for ‘marriage counterfeits’ that federal law and the vast majority of Americans have rejected, the Pentagon has launched a direct assault on the fundamental unit of society – husband and wife,” Crews said.

President Barack Obama signs the Don't Ask, Don't Tell Repeal Act of 2010. (AP Photo/Pablo Martinez Monsivais)

Crews further said his Evangelical membership is in accord with the Catholic Archdiocese for Military Service, headed by Archbishop Timothy Broglio, which said on Tuesday that no Catholic chaplain in the military will be allowed to perform same-sex “marriages” and that same-sex weddings would not be allowed in the Catholic chapel on the grounds of the U.S. Military Academy at West Point.

“While the memorandum acknowledges a chaplain’s right to not participate in same-sex ‘marriage’ ceremonies – a right not given by the Pentagon, but rather given by the Creator and protected by the chaplain’s faith group,” said Crews, “the new policy makes it clear that the Pentagon has placed the military in the midst of a deeply controversial issue during a time of ongoing war.”

Crews also said his group is calling on Congress to affirm that the federal definition of marriage – one man and one woman for federal purposes — applies to the Department of Defense and that no federal facilities may be used to circumvent federal law.

“In addition, we call on Congress to enact a ‘Right of Conscience’ clause in the Revised Title 10 code to ensure that no American,  and especially not our service members, be forced to deny their religious beliefs,” Crews said.

Crews is a former Army chaplain, who served with the 82 Airborne and with other divisions for 28 years.


  1. George Patsourakos :

    The Department of Defense ruling last week, which allows military chaplains to perform same-sex marriages, is in fact illegal, because it violates DOMA (Defense of Marriage Act) — a law that was passed 15 years ago, and still remains in effect today. President Obama, however, has instructed his legal staff to ignore DOMA, so that the federal government can allow same-sex marriages to be performed and accepted.

    I wrote an in-depth commentary on this very subject on my Theology and Society blog yesterday (October 5, 2011) titled “Commentary: Allowing Military Chaplains to Perform Same-Sex Marriage Violates DOMA.” AOI Blog readers can read it by visiting

  2. The bigger question is what is any Christian is doing in the US military in the first place. It shouldn’t take this kind of thing to have given a Christian pause about being in a military whose purpose has long since moved very far away from wars of defense.

    Christians are just going to lose this battle, look like busybodies who are far too interested in legislating the moral behavior of non-believers, and miss the opportunity to demonstrate a radically different approach to war and violence.

    The whole “Defense of Marriage” posture is a posture of complete and utter failure. Christians should “defend” marriage by bowing out of state sanctioned marriages and then working on divorce rates in the single digits in order to demonstrate a difference.

  3. Wouldn’t a chaplain already have the right to refuse to marry any (normal) couple for any reason ? He isn’t required to perform any sacrament if he doesn’t think the proper conditions are met. For that matter a Baptist chaplain wouldn’t “have to” celebrate an Orthodox liturgy for a congregation of Orthodox soldiers. I don’t know, but isn’t there a lot of leeway for chaplains to opt out of things?

    • Military chaplains are not and will not be compelled by law to perform religious ceremonies that are prohibited by their denominations whether it’s gay marriage, a remarriage or an interfaith marriage. It is currently legal in Tennessee, Georgia and Alabama (among other states) to marry your first cousin, but no chaplain has ever been compelled to marry first cousins, either. I’m sure a nutty activist or two might try to impose one or more of these, but it won’t hold water.

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