The U.S. Army’s Chief of Chaplains, Maj. Gen. Douglas L. Carver, has decided to proclaim today a “Day of Prayer and Fasting” (PDF)
Whereas the Chaplaincy, as spiritual leaders, model faith and belief in the Hand of God to intervene in the course of history and individual lives;
I therefore call the Chaplaincy to a Day of Prayer and Fasting…
It’s not just that an army representative of all faiths and no faith is calling today a Day of Prayer — it’s that he is calling for this day to happen on one of the holiest of Jewish holidays:
One Jewish member of the Army who received Carver’s proclamation said it is “an insult to all Jews.”
“Asking Jewish members of the armed forces to fast on that day displays unconscionable arrogance by the Army Chief of Chaplains,” said this person, who requested anonymity for fear of retribution.
Mikey Weinstein, founder of the Military Religious Freedom Foundation, is taking action by sending a letter to military officials:
We believe the Constitutional difficulty with this particular pronouncement from the Army Chief of Chaplains is its erroneous assumption that a theological unanimity pervades the military chaplaincy and the general military population. This basic error is most notably expressed in the Chief of Chaplains’ “Proclamation to Pray” where he states:
“Whereas the Chaplaincy, as spiritual leaders, model faith and belief in the Hand of God to intervene in the course of history and in individual lives;”
This particular theological assertion is not a grounding belief for all military chaplains nor does it appropriately articulate a core understanding of the practice of military chaplaincy…
… we clearly conclude that it is violative of the No Establishment Clause of the First Amendment to, and Clause 3, Article 6 of, The United States Constitution for the Army Chief of Chaplains to unilaterally dictate a specific ecclesial response (“A Day of Prayer and Fasting”) or to designate a specific day for the observation of sectarian practices outside a particular spiritual tradition.
***Update***: I have to include Richard Wade‘s comment/song here
I am the very model of a modern Major General,
I’ve information vegetable, animal and mineral,
I’m very used to people doing everything I tell them to,
And being Chief of Chaplains, I know more of God than any Jew.
So when I say you’re gonna pray and fast don’t hand me intellect,
Just snap to your attention, and salute me and then genuflect!
The First Amendment can be damned and so will you if you cross me,
‘Cause my religion is the one we’re doing here in this Army!
If Passover is on my Day of Prayer, too bad, you’re in a jam.
You’re gonna burn in hell no matter what, so I don’t give a damn.
You Jews, you Muslims, Hindus and you motherfucking atheists,
You’re gonna pray just when I say, and like it. Now don’t get me pissed!
I know that God is on our side, and He is a Republican.
We’ll conquer heathen nations for His glory and do what we can
To rid the world of evil lib’rals and all those disgusting gays,
So you get started praying, and I’ll think up some more special days!
My Proclamation is not for discussion, I have spoken now,
The Army Chief of Chaplains has the final word on sacred cows.
In short in matters vegetable, animal and mineral,
I am the very model of a modern Major General!
(Thanks to Emma for the link!)