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Chaplain Trouble
Further Chaplain Trouble
Continuing Trouble with Chaplains
I just talked to the IG. Went well.

I was scared shitless. I hate talking to people in situations like that, especially higher-ranking ones. I worry about everything I do or say being taken the wrong way, and my fight-or-flight instinct kicks in. Fortunately, she was understanding and cordial and I relaxed pretty soon. I brought a printout of my 14 points, and she read it in it's entirety. Once she'd been filled in on my position from my written words, I became a lot more confident and what speaking skills I have came out strong. Apparently she's the one who has been telling the chaplains to get in touch with me, and they have been saying that I haven't shown any interest in meeting with them, preferring to keep things in email. I explained to her that I'm more comfortable with email, she explained to me that she's more comfortable with face to face, and we went round and round on that part.

On the 14 points, she admitted that I had a point and a legitimate complaint, but she also honestly admitted from the start that she likes receiving the Daily Devotion emails and that she sends them to her husband so they can discuss them. She said that I have two options, and in both cases she is just the facilitator. I can file a formal complaint with the AF IG at Shaw AFB through her, or I can work with her to attempt to resolve the problem here. What is helpful, and what I did not previously know, is that she is the direct superior of both of the chaplains. She explained to me honestly that she has to tread carefully herself, and she does not want to push me one way or the other, but her role in this is precarious because she stands to get burned too. She has told the chaplains in no uncertain terms that they were to stop sending these emails basewide. In fact, when the captain chaplain sent an email out in mid-July asking who wanted to be put on a list to receive the devotions, the IG had thought that they'd done that. This is because she had told them that yes, she did want to continue receiving the devotions. She'd had no idea they were still being sent out basewide, and when she found out that they were, from me, she told them in no uncertain terms that they were to stop sending the emails out immediately, and to compile the list, no matter how onerous a task it was.

I told her that was all well and good and I definitely appreciated her actions, but that the emails themselves wee objectionable. Moreso then it just being a situation of Christian devotions being sent to non-Christians, the emails, which I've reprinted here and which I forwarded to her in my complaint, put forth very questionable ideas. They say that some religions are right and others are wrong, and that just plain isn't appropriate for something coming from a chaplain. I told her that seeing emails like that, being sent from the chaplain's office, make non-Christians very uncomfortable and it makes us feel like we won't be treated fairly by the chaplain. She said her view on it. She said that the emails come from a subscription service and that the chaplain just forwards them to the base. She's been getting them and likes getting them, but every so often she'll get one that she plain disagrees with. it doesn't bother her though, because she doesn't see it as being the chaplain saying these things. I told her that if it comes from the chaplain's office, without any disclaimers or explanations, then it is very easy for people to perceive that it is the chaplain saying it. When somebody forwards something objectionable, without comment, you don't know whether they agree with it or not. I compared it to somebody sending devotions or emails out based on the Qu'ran or on the handbook for Wiccan deaconry published by the Sacred Well circle. I explained to her that, in the position she is in, she knows that the chaplain is just getting these from a subscription service, but other people in the base might not, and it is a question of perception. We left this point where it was and continued on, but it may strengthen an eventual super-official complaint.

The chaplains should be screening the devotions they send out, and not sending out disagreeable ones, it's that simple. If it happens that just about any email is disagreeable to someone, then they shouldn't be sending devotions out at all. They will have to discredit or apologize for the emails they sent out already, or else I will continue to believe that those emails reflect the official view of the chaplaincy.

That'll be my new point #15

So like I said, I was given two options. Escalate it to the central IG at Shaw AFB with a formal complaint, or attempt to resolve it here with her assistance by talking it out with the chaplains. I agreed to take option two, but with a few conditions. She would be the intermediary between myself and the chaplains, and arrange a face-to-face, and I would be able to bring a friend or two with me. If things aren't resolved to my satisfaction, I take it up the chain to the HQ IG. I have a couple friends in mind. One is my coworker, a Christian who also objects to the content of some of these "devotions", and to the way the chaplaincy has treated me, and he disagrees with prayer at mandatory formations, and he definitely disagrees with the emails that have been sent base-wide. The other is a friend and fellow Wiccan, and she is much more critical of the chaplains and no fan of mandatory prayers either. If I can get them both there with me, all the better. But either one or the other will do nicely. The IG kept a copy of my 14 points, and I'm sure she'll be passing them on to the chaplains, which is fine by me.

So, wish me luck, and I will keep you updated.
Update [2005-8-6 16:33:47 by jabbausaf]:
Found an old email from the lead chaplain. Figured you'd like to read it.

In regards to the daily devotions, the vast majority of people of faith (97.5% of those who have a rel pref) are from some form of Christian background. Even those not of Christian faiths find the devotional thoughts uplifting. I want to honor your desire to not get “mailbox clutter,” but I click delete dozens of times a day for information that I do not have interest in, i.e. bingo. The devotions are from a non-denominational source and help the vast majority with their spiritual development. The difficulties of a selective list make pulling one name a little harder, but we will work on it. Since we are currently in a flux with personnel, and spiritual health is so important here, please click delete or read it for information until we are settled in.

Yeah, I sent that little gem to the IG rep soon as I found it deep within the recesses of my inbox.

Originally posted to jabbausaf on Fri Aug 05, 2005 at 09:49 PM PDT.

Poll

What do you think I should push for?

33%13 votes
28%11 votes
28%11 votes
10%4 votes

| 39 votes | Vote | Results

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Comment Preferences

  •  Tip Jar (4.00)
    Reccomend if you want to, I wouldn't mind getting a lot of feedback on this.

    I was at the Army chow hall the other day, which is run entirely by KBR, and at the sandwich bar there's a sign that says "Have it OUR way". Very funny, KBR.

    by jabbausaf on Fri Aug 05, 2005 at 09:50:44 PM PDT

  •  I'd like to vote for (none)
    both of the middle options. I don't know if those don't work well together.

    This woman sounds like she'd really like to help, so that's good news.

    •  I'm not surprised that she is (none)
      She's their direct superior, so any problems here would come back on her. As such, she will definitely be motivated to be sure I'm happy, because otherwise I can file the formal complaint and all three of them will be having problems. And if I'm not satisfied with the results of that, I have the email address of the ACLU and Senators Durbin and Obama, in which case the AF itself will be having problems.

      So I'd say she'd really like to help.

      I was at the Army chow hall the other day, which is run entirely by KBR, and at the sandwich bar there's a sign that says "Have it OUR way". Very funny, KBR.

      by jabbausaf on Fri Aug 05, 2005 at 10:04:45 PM PDT

      [ Parent ]

      •  Are you from Illinois?? (none)
        Just wondering cause you mentioned Durbin and Obama...I don't think I knew that you were from IL. I am as well...if you are, what town? (If you don't mind my asking...feel free to ignore me if you do).
        •  Sure am (none)
          And I'm blue-state proud.

          I hail from Naperville. It's next to Aurora.

          I was at the Army chow hall the other day, which is run entirely by KBR, and at the sandwich bar there's a sign that says "Have it OUR way". Very funny, KBR.

          by jabbausaf on Fri Aug 05, 2005 at 10:16:30 PM PDT

          [ Parent ]

          •  I'm from Evergreen Park (none)
            near Oak Lawn...I live in Southern Ill. now, but my Mom still lives up north. She used to play organ at Our Lady of Hope church in Naperville...its a catholic church. You said you were homeschooled and that your parents were very religious...my first thought was...Wheaton? But Naperville is close...hehe.
  •  Chill Out (2.00)
    If the only thing bad that's going on in your life is email that you disagree with, then count yourself lucky!

    Just delete the message & spend your day doing something more productive.

    Volunteer at a food bank
    Help out at your local "Boys & Girls Club"
    Pick up litter beside the road

    •  Keep that advice for yourself (3.50)
      when the Fundies take over the country and tell you that you are going to burn in hell because you believe in the "wrong" God.

      Seriously, if these people aren't stopped now...then the slippery slope continues until Americans are told that the only "free" people in America are those who are Christians...oh, and only the "right" Christians too.

      •  Thanks for that 2 (none)
        Ranting Roland...let me guess, you disagreed with my post?
        •  Comment (none)
          That smart-ass remark was uncalled for about "keep that advice for yourself"

          And you used one of my favorite neocon phrases...the good ol' "slippery slope".

          If you wanna fight with the creationist people, then have fun. I just don't like personal attacks on posters.

          There is a wisdom of the head, and a wisdom of the heart.-Charles Dickens

          by Ranting Roland on Fri Aug 05, 2005 at 10:36:29 PM PDT

          [ Parent ]

          •  Fair enough (4.00)
            I was being a smart-ass.

            As for the slippery slope reference. I teach argument writing...and the slippery slope fallacy just so happens to be the ones my students use most often...so, slippery slopes are constantly in my mind.

            As for that being a personal attack, that wasn't at all what I was going for. Smart-assed remarks hardly qualify as personal attacks.

    •  Have you read any of the previous diaries? (3.55)
      There's no foodbanks on this side of the wire.
      If there was a local Boys and Girls club it's probably been blown up by now.
      The litter beside the road is used to hide Improvised Explosive Devices.
      I'm in Iraq.
      These are the chaplains for the whole base sending out proselytizing emails.
      I spend twelve hours of my day being productive. Namely, I'm producing a hell of a lot of watts of electricity for the base to run on.

      I do my part for charity, I donate to the ACLU, the Christian Alliance for Progress, the Global Fund For Women, and numerous progressive campaigns.

      I was at the Army chow hall the other day, which is run entirely by KBR, and at the sandwich bar there's a sign that says "Have it OUR way". Very funny, KBR.

      by jabbausaf on Fri Aug 05, 2005 at 10:19:43 PM PDT

      [ Parent ]

      •  Funny-Guy Falwell (none)
        After your mention of the Christian Alliance for Progress I decided to look them up. I had never heard of them before.

        Seems like a very good group. I only read a little & will go back and read more.

        But they got me hooked with the letter from Jerry Falwell. That guy is such a wanker.

        In this letter, he's being critical of the Christian Alliance for Progress and still manages to take a swipe at Howard Dean in the process!

        Christian Alliance for Progress

        There is a wisdom of the head, and a wisdom of the heart.-Charles Dickens

        by Ranting Roland on Fri Aug 05, 2005 at 10:57:10 PM PDT

        [ Parent ]

        •  hence why I donate to them (4.00)
          Progressive Christians who piss off Jerry Falwell? What's not to like!

          I was at the Army chow hall the other day, which is run entirely by KBR, and at the sandwich bar there's a sign that says "Have it OUR way". Very funny, KBR.

          by jabbausaf on Fri Aug 05, 2005 at 10:59:29 PM PDT

          [ Parent ]

      •  I'd like to know who the (none)
        douchebag is who gave this comment a zero?

        "Although some species may be now increasing, more or less rapidly, in numbers, all cannot do so, for the world would not hold them." Darwin

        by dissenter2004 on Sat Aug 06, 2005 at 01:03:55 PM PDT

        [ Parent ]

        •  Name is (none)
          "monkeybiz"

          Yes, "monkeybiz" is the douchebag troll-rater.

          One wonder how they became a Trusted User.

          I was at the Army chow hall the other day, which is run entirely by KBR, and at the sandwich bar there's a sign that says "Have it OUR way". Very funny, KBR.

          by jabbausaf on Sat Aug 06, 2005 at 01:40:08 PM PDT

          [ Parent ]

    •  your comment is as offensive as (none)
      the behavior of the chaplains!

      when someone is the object of religious persecution (a tenet on which this nation was founded) - it is highly inappropriate to tell them to "chill out" and dismiss the overlying issue.

      the takeover of america by the fundamentalists is as damning to this society as the takeover of islamic nations by their fundamentalists.

      religious intolerance has been the basis for a great deal of the world instability and hatred.  think hilter, think bosnia, think middle east, think.... period.

      i commend this diarist for taking a stand for the rights of this nation to be free of religious doctrination - especially for the captive audience that is the military.

      i commend his willingness to stand at great personal and professional risk to challenge the religious facism of one particular cult - evangelical 2005.

      i commend this diarist for his willing to persue justice and american beliefs in separation of religion and state while serving this country and putting his own life at risk by being a member of the military in this time of abuse of the troops by our own corrupt political leaders.

      i thank the diarist for his courage and his beliefs - which i believe are much stronger and sounder than those who simply forward the thoughts of others.

      i commend you, jabbausaf - you make america proud!

      War is Peace. Freedom is Slavery. Ignorance is Strength. Long Live Oceana!

      by edrie on Sat Aug 06, 2005 at 02:40:58 AM PDT

      [ Parent ]

    •  These chaplains (none)
      are supposed to be ministering to ALL Airmen, not sending e-mails that create a hostile environment for non-evangelical Christians.  These Chaplains are the ones that need to chill out.  If some Catholic or Buddhist or Atheist or Wiccan Airman doesnt get the counciling they need from the people that are supposed to be there to provide it because those Chaplains have basically said that they are going to hell if they dont share a specific set of beliefs, then these incompetent chaplins will have blood on their hands if these distraught service members kill themselves or cause harm to others.  Fuck these chaplains, if they cant do their jobs properly, let them find another job.  

      But it does me no injury for my neighbor to say there are twenty gods or no god. It neither picks my pocket, nor breaks my leg.

      by calipygian on Sat Aug 06, 2005 at 06:31:30 AM PDT

      [ Parent ]

  •  I voted for a letter of reprimand or counseling (4.00)
    The chaplain and his supervisor don't seem to understand the role of military chaplains not to mention they disobeyed a direct order from a superior officer.  They should, at a minimum, be reprimanded.  They also need some remedial chaplain training and should be placed on probation until they prove that their evangelical background won't prevent them from doing their job appropriately.  

    If you do meet with them, don't let them engage you in a religious debate.  I would just emphasize to them how uncomfortable the emails have made you and how their actions have given the impression that they do not respect your personal beliefs simply because they differ from their own.  

    •  i agree that you should not be suckered into (none)
      the "debate" - stand above and stick to the main legal point: they are behaving inappropriately by insinuating their particular religious doctrine on members of other or no faiths in spite of directly being asked to cease.

      this isn't about whether their beliefs are "true" or "valid" - i am sure, to them, they are - but the real issue is that the constitution prohibits them from forcing you to partake in their beliefs if you chose not to do so.

      do not - under any circumstances - allow this to become a doctrinal debate.  keep the focus on the real issue: you asked them to stop sending their doctrine to you.  you object to their prosthelytizing their religion in counter to your own.  you are now awaiting confirmation that the indoctrination will stop.  if it does not - then escalate (with an eye on media notification by friend or family who is non-military) to a higher source.  aclu is good - lawyers seriously worry the military structure - combined with notification and questioning from non-military sources (outside their jurisdiction) - so if you can take a "friend" who is not in the military as your witness, all the better.

      i interceded on a friend's behalf with the navy - was able to facilitate her release from the service, even though she was being seriously harrassed and persecuted by her CPO.  when i called the IG and informed them i would be referring her to outside legal sources, i received a call from the captain of the navy at the DLI - the problem was quickly and satisfactorily resolved (and the CPO was ordered not to approach her - period!)

      get legal if necessary - but do it with civilian witnesses!

      good luck and keep the faith (of your choosing!!!)

      War is Peace. Freedom is Slavery. Ignorance is Strength. Long Live Oceana!

      by edrie on Sat Aug 06, 2005 at 02:51:39 AM PDT

      [ Parent ]

      •  I am enlisted in the Navy (none)
        I am a linguist and I have spent a lot of time in Monterey.  Im curious, and Im not asking names, Im asking time frame.  When did this happen?  

        But it does me no injury for my neighbor to say there are twenty gods or no god. It neither picks my pocket, nor breaks my leg.

        by calipygian on Sat Aug 06, 2005 at 06:34:25 AM PDT

        [ Parent ]

        •  How is life at DLI these days? N/T (none)
          •  Not there now (none)
            havent been back there for a few years (since 2002).  Miss it there terribly.  

            But it does me no injury for my neighbor to say there are twenty gods or no god. It neither picks my pocket, nor breaks my leg.

            by calipygian on Sat Aug 06, 2005 at 10:18:48 AM PDT

            [ Parent ]

            •  I was there once (none)
              I went to school for a year to be a Persian-Farsi linguist before I flunked out and they turned me into a mechanic.

              In retrospect, considering that Farsi is the main language of Iran and one of the major languages of Afghanistan, it's probably a really good thing that I'm not a Farsi linguist.

              But I definitely remember fondly all my time in Monterey that wasn't spent in a classroom.

              I was at the Army chow hall the other day, which is run entirely by KBR, and at the sandwich bar there's a sign that says "Have it OUR way". Very funny, KBR.

              by jabbausaf on Sat Aug 06, 2005 at 02:00:21 PM PDT

              [ Parent ]

              •  I tried to get back there (none)
                as a Military Language Instructor just so I could get the military to pay for my masters at the Monterey Institute and then get a REAL job after I retire, but no dice.  I was living in a 450 sq ft apartment for 1000 a month on Lighthouse Ave and I LOVED it.  I desperately want to get back to live there, the most beautiful spot in the USA, but I know I could never afford it, not on E-6 retirement pay.  Sigh....

                But it does me no injury for my neighbor to say there are twenty gods or no god. It neither picks my pocket, nor breaks my leg.

                by calipygian on Sat Aug 06, 2005 at 03:49:55 PM PDT

                [ Parent ]

                •  I know what you mean (none)
                  I've planned to go back ever since I left. I think I'll be hitting it on my honeymoon next summer.

                  I was at the Army chow hall the other day, which is run entirely by KBR, and at the sandwich bar there's a sign that says "Have it OUR way". Very funny, KBR.

                  by jabbausaf on Sat Aug 06, 2005 at 04:32:35 PM PDT

                  [ Parent ]

          •  sigh.... do you know jake? (none)
            another of my young friends - he went to korea october of last year... if you DO know a jake, email me and i'll give you his last name - one of the best kids i've ever met - i got to be his surrogate grrrrr(choke choke choke)anny.....

            [Roxie Hart: I am older than i ever intended to be....Chicago, the musical...]

            War is Peace. Freedom is Slavery. Ignorance is Strength. Long Live Oceana!

            by edrie on Sat Aug 06, 2005 at 05:05:54 PM PDT

            [ Parent ]

        •  last february - she was also in DLI (none)
          but got pregnant, married, harrassed - and finally - CPO said he was having her "driven to san diego" to pick up uniforms by another enlisted - the day before her wedding - even though she had nearly miscarried and was ordered by her doctors not to travel more than an hour away.  this was fri.  sat was wedding, sun at 1am we rushed her to CHOMP in very premature labor where she was airlifted to USF maternity critical care.  while she was there, her CPO called and demanded medical staff brief HIM - they were livid.  

          that's when i called IG and threatened lawsuit if they continued and forced her to lose the child (which, btw, was born two weeks later after she was kept on close monitoring at SFO).

          The legal counsel to the Captain was a woman who was also pregnant - she read the riot act to the CPO and forbade him from contacting her.

          they held a kangaroo court and dismissed her on honorable for "not wearing the proper uniform" - which she gladly took to get the hell out.

          before they were saying that she wasn't going to be released - it took several calls by me to IG and Legal to impress them that they were looking at major discrimination suit if she were kept in.

          she was threatened with having to give over the baby to a family member after six weeks and be shipped out.  her original spouse she divorced for battery and the same CPO promoted him and pulled her from class and tried to put her shipboard.

          it was a mess - but all ended well - so, you see, i DO know something about how the military works and exactly which buttons to push from outside to get them to take note.

          when were you here?  I sold for four years at the farmer's market on alvarado (am taking a short break) - i did the whacky theatrical "magic scarf" demo where i put most of the young newbies in my demo - where they found themselves standing in front of a large crowd wearing a hot pink "wilma flintstone" dress!  Those "no hair touching the ears" kids were great!  nothing like a 6'2" guy in pink!

          (i am always in front of round table when i am selling - you'd know me!)

          stop buy and if you see something funny going on - i'm there!  will soon be selling original artwork giving away "free" scarves with purchase (the lady down the street wants a price war?  she is going to have to pay people to take the scarves if she wants to win THIS one!  heh heh heh.....)

          well, that's the long and short of it - except for thanks - you folks (linguists) are terrific - and we need you - thank you from the depths of my heart!

          War is Peace. Freedom is Slavery. Ignorance is Strength. Long Live Oceana!

          by edrie on Sat Aug 06, 2005 at 04:57:59 PM PDT

          [ Parent ]

          •  I was at the DLI (none)
            From March of 2000 to February of 2001. Started class in April 2000, flunked out in early December.

            yeah, calling the IG and threatening pulicity and legal action tends to make the military change its mind about not playing nice. Most of the time people just go along with whatever happens and don't stand up for themselves. The result of this is that the military is often suprised and confused when somebody does take a stand.

            I was at the Army chow hall the other day, which is run entirely by KBR, and at the sandwich bar there's a sign that says "Have it OUR way". Very funny, KBR.

            by jabbausaf on Sat Aug 06, 2005 at 06:14:43 PM PDT

            [ Parent ]

            •  i started selling at the tues market in 2002 - (none)
              have stayed these years mostly because of the kids at dli - you folks are special.

              it breaks my heart when the military betrays your trust - for that, i am so sorry.

              thanks for being there - it is now up to us to keep you all safe - we're trying.

              i apologize to you for my generation's fuckup that got you where you are - we should have learned from viet nam and the past - we didn't.

              i am so sorry you have to pay for our mistakes.

              take care and stay safe and know that we are here at home fighting to bring you back safe.

              much love and thanks to you!

              War is Peace. Freedom is Slavery. Ignorance is Strength. Long Live Oceana!

              by edrie on Sat Aug 06, 2005 at 10:46:23 PM PDT

              [ Parent ]

              •  I loved going to the Market on Tuesday's (none)
                followed by Trivia night (and beer) at the Mucky Duck...Ah, those were the days....

                But it does me no injury for my neighbor to say there are twenty gods or no god. It neither picks my pocket, nor breaks my leg.

                by calipygian on Sun Aug 07, 2005 at 05:54:34 AM PDT

                [ Parent ]

      •  Don't think that'd work (none)
        Not a whole lot of civilians around here that don't speak Arabic.

        I was at the Army chow hall the other day, which is run entirely by KBR, and at the sandwich bar there's a sign that says "Have it OUR way". Very funny, KBR.

        by jabbausaf on Sat Aug 06, 2005 at 07:11:36 AM PDT

        [ Parent ]

  •  I think you should be satisfied... (4.00)
    if they stop the practice and personally apologize to you.  I don't think publicity or a reprimand are absolutely necessary unless they refuse to stop and don't apologize.  To me, that would seem enough for the chaplains to get the message.  You would know better though.

    Let justice reign though the heavens tremble

    by Viceroy on Fri Aug 05, 2005 at 10:14:29 PM PDT

    •  A reprimand is highly appropriate (none)
      There is a serious Fundamentalism problem in the Air Force right now, highlighted be the problems at the USAF Acadamy in Colorado Springs (James Dobsons town anyone?).  Cadets there were organized into "heathen flights" if they werent Protestant, coerced into attending church and Jewish cadets were called offensive names popularized by anti-Semites in Nazi Germany and the Soviet Union.  These chaplains need to be taught a lesson - there is no place for Fundamentalism in the United States Armed Forces.  

      But it does me no injury for my neighbor to say there are twenty gods or no god. It neither picks my pocket, nor breaks my leg.

      by calipygian on Sat Aug 06, 2005 at 06:37:27 AM PDT

      [ Parent ]

  •  My .02 (none)
    I voted to send the formal complaint in because it sounds like you are getting the runaround.  

    "Free speech is not to be regulated like diseased cattle and impure butter." William O. Douglas.

    by Street Kid on Fri Aug 05, 2005 at 10:28:39 PM PDT

  •  FWIW, You need to work it out (4.00)
    Personally, Jabba, I think you need to work it out with her as the intermediary and your buddies as support.  If they really are just sending out the canned messages and you state your case as you have, which is articulate and well thought out, you may just be surprised by their reaction.

    Give it a try before going to HQ.  I'm a firm believer that people need to be on a level playing field and with your buddies there and her as a mediator, I think it may work. Hell, what do you have to lose by trying it?  

    I wish you luck and please keep us posted!!  

    Watergate wasn't about a break-in, it was about a mentality. Carl Bernstein

    by MarCat on Fri Aug 05, 2005 at 10:30:46 PM PDT

    •  You could be right. (none)
      I have gotten the runaround so many times in my life, I automatically go as high as possible when I have a complaint.  Force of habit, I guess.  Found out that is the only thing that works, but that is when dealing w/non-responsive state agencies.  

      (In MI, no state social service agency actually does anything other than open cases, and whine that there is nothing they can do because of funding cuts.  Sometimes one agency will send someone to another agency that will refer you to another one, that sends you right back to the agency you started with.)

      I have no knowledge at all re:  military, and I have made the assumption that a bureaucracy is a bureaucracy is a bureaucracy.  But, others know more about the military than I do, so...  

      "Free speech is not to be regulated like diseased cattle and impure butter." William O. Douglas.

      by Street Kid on Fri Aug 05, 2005 at 10:47:35 PM PDT

      [ Parent ]

      •  Interesting point, SK (none)
        Wow, the bureaucracy piece didn't even enter my mind and I know even less about life in the military!

        My own experience when dealing with people is to get the folks together and talk it out. It took me time to figure that out, believe me I looked like a raving maniac more than once. ;)

        You may end up agreeing to disagree, but at least you know you gave it your best shot before having to go up the ladder.  

        Besides, I think the hardest part is already done -- meeting with the IG, that would have scared the hell out of me.  

        Watergate wasn't about a break-in, it was about a mentality. Carl Bernstein

        by MarCat on Fri Aug 05, 2005 at 11:01:31 PM PDT

        [ Parent ]

        •  asdf (none)
          Had to call a US Senator because a file was supposedly lost at a social service office.  After a call from the Senator's aide, it suddenly re-appeared! (Have had to do that for numerous other reasons, too.)  

          "Free speech is not to be regulated like diseased cattle and impure butter." William O. Douglas.

          by Street Kid on Fri Aug 05, 2005 at 11:25:53 PM PDT

          [ Parent ]

          •  asdf (none)
            You know that pisses me off, you shouldn't have to go to a senator to get someone to do their job.  

            I'm glad you were able to see results, but it shouldn't have come to that.  Good on you for putting on the pressure.

            Watergate wasn't about a break-in, it was about a mentality. Carl Bernstein

            by MarCat on Sat Aug 06, 2005 at 06:51:29 AM PDT

            [ Parent ]

            •  It's a catch-22. (none)
              If you don't put pressure on, your case gets closed out.  If you do put pressure on, you're a troublemaker, and, you get a referral to a psychiatrist because "It appears you may have a mental health issue that needs to be dealt with before this agency can assist you."  Yeah, I'm getting the runaround again!  (That's another story.)

              "Free speech is not to be regulated like diseased cattle and impure butter." William O. Douglas.

              by Street Kid on Sat Aug 06, 2005 at 01:25:16 PM PDT

              [ Parent ]

    •  Doing it that way (4.00)
      We'll talk to the chaplains and see how that goes first. I'm not going alone though. I'll give this level a try, but if it doesn't work, I will be going to the next level.

      I was at the Army chow hall the other day, which is run entirely by KBR, and at the sandwich bar there's a sign that says "Have it OUR way". Very funny, KBR.

      by jabbausaf on Fri Aug 05, 2005 at 10:52:42 PM PDT

      [ Parent ]

      •  That's the attitude!! (none)
        Give it your best shot, Jabba!  Then you can go to the next level if you need to.  

        Watergate wasn't about a break-in, it was about a mentality. Carl Bernstein

        by MarCat on Fri Aug 05, 2005 at 11:03:32 PM PDT

        [ Parent ]

      •  Definitely have a witness. (none)
        The Christian friend you have would be the best, as he/she is also offended by the emails.  Document everything and keep copies.

        "Free speech is not to be regulated like diseased cattle and impure butter." William O. Douglas.

        by Street Kid on Fri Aug 05, 2005 at 11:28:31 PM PDT

        [ Parent ]

        •  Oh yeah (4.00)
          Been documenting everything.

          Also, my mp3 player records voice. Convenient, no?

          I'll ask my Christian friend in a bit, we're in the same tent. I already asked my Wiccan friend. One or the other is fine, both would be great.

          I was at the Army chow hall the other day, which is run entirely by KBR, and at the sandwich bar there's a sign that says "Have it OUR way". Very funny, KBR.

          by jabbausaf on Fri Aug 05, 2005 at 11:36:04 PM PDT

          [ Parent ]

    •  and, as you know, in the military - you HAVE to (none)
      follow the chain of command upward.  you build your strongest case by going up the ladder and letting each rung collapse under it's own burden, not yours.

      keep us informed, please!

      good luck...

      War is Peace. Freedom is Slavery. Ignorance is Strength. Long Live Oceana!

      by edrie on Sat Aug 06, 2005 at 02:54:33 AM PDT

      [ Parent ]

      •  It's a long slow process (none)
        But fuck it, don't have anything better to do over here ::wink::

        I was at the Army chow hall the other day, which is run entirely by KBR, and at the sandwich bar there's a sign that says "Have it OUR way". Very funny, KBR.

        by jabbausaf on Sat Aug 06, 2005 at 07:14:00 AM PDT

        [ Parent ]

        •  well, you have ONE thing ---- practice (none)
          your "duck and roll" - and be safe!  keep us posted and keep up the good fight!

          if you need any support, you know we're here!

          War is Peace. Freedom is Slavery. Ignorance is Strength. Long Live Oceana!

          by edrie on Sat Aug 06, 2005 at 04:47:37 PM PDT

          [ Parent ]

  •  You're really quite amazing (4.00)
    Being a Catholic-married-to-a-Buddhist in Bible-Belt Memphis, the coercion that takes place when Evangelicals get 'critical mass' (around 35% and above of a group)is really quite frightening.  They have their own echo chamber and life for non-Evangelicals can be pretty tough.  Fortunately, we don't have any children (yet! say a prayer for me and the wife!), but Lord knows I don't want them to go to a public school and be chastised because of their faith.

    It's not that they're mean spirited, but, I must admit there is always going to be tension when:

    1. They believe that they are doing God's work by proselytizing;
    2.  They believe spending ANY time on non-Christian study (such as looking at the tenets of Buddhism, Islam, Judaism, et al.) is a waste of time and, borderline sacreligious;
    3.  The perfect 'targets' for proselytizing are those non-Christians or 'unsaved' in their ranks;
    4.  Diversity in America requires, at least, a minimum level of mutual RESPECT for other's religion or lack thereof.

    I think this is why Evangelicals flourish in certain parts of the country and wherever there is religious diversity, Evangelicals generally believe that they are being persecuted.

    Respect for other religions is going to come to loggerheads with proselytizing.  It's a very difficult situation, but I think what you're doing is right.  Sanctioning certain religions to the exclusion of others is not exactly a team-building exercise.

  •  Are we crusaders? (4.00)
    I'm new to these diaries, jabbausaf, and I'm pretty appalled at what I've read in them.  There you are in Iraq, trying to keep body and soul together and invent some justification for being there.  (Our CinC not providing much help in that regard....)  And you have to put up with this kind of harrassment and propagandizing?

    I thought we were supposed to be there to uphold freedom for the Iraqis (or whatever the reason is supposed to be this week), so WTF are these chaplains doing telling all of you that some religions are wrong?  Any in particular they have in mind?

    Didn't this country learn anything when Shrub put his foot in his mouth about "crusades" like two days after 9/11?  Are your spamming chaplains trying to incite a religious war?

    I'd favor taking this to HQ on this point alone:  such a confrontationalist approach on their part risks further alienating the populace, and places all of you in greater danger.  Of course, I'm not there, haven't been in the military, and do have some appreciation for the personal risk that entails for you.  But if this isn't on your 15 points, consider adding it.

    Good luck.  We're in your corner.

    Lies are the new truth.

    by Dallasdoc on Fri Aug 05, 2005 at 10:54:21 PM PDT

    •  Only problem with that (none)
      The emails aren't being sent to Iraqis, but to military personnel.

      However, it could well be argued that send these to military personnel creates a very undesirable mindset. The Iraqis aren't alienated because they don't see it, but it could well have a detrimental effect on the military people reading it that may spill over into interactions with Iraqis, especially in regards to detainee operations.

      I was at the Army chow hall the other day, which is run entirely by KBR, and at the sandwich bar there's a sign that says "Have it OUR way". Very funny, KBR.

      by jabbausaf on Fri Aug 05, 2005 at 10:58:13 PM PDT

      [ Parent ]

      •  Iraqis don't know this? (none)
        A whole base full of airmen and soldiers, and nobody's blabbing about this to any Iraqis they know?  I'd be very surprised if some locals weren't aware of what the American infidels were communicating.

        The effect on our troops' attitude toward Iraqi Muslims is an excellent point as well.  I'm sure you've got enough fights on your hands over there, without picking unnecessary ones.

        Lies are the new truth.

        by Dallasdoc on Fri Aug 05, 2005 at 11:14:02 PM PDT

        [ Parent ]

        •  We really don't talk to them a lot (none)
          We're pretty sequestered on our base here. We see a lot of TCNs, Third Country Nationals, because they're the ones hired and flown in from Bangledesh and India and what-not to mop the bathrooms and pick up trash and work in the chow halls and all that stuff. I think the only actual Iraqis I've met on the air base itself, not counting Iraqis I've seen in the Army camps in the chow halls there, are the handful that run the drycleaners. Since they have the Lord's Prayer and a cross on the wall, I imagine they don't mind Christian Airmen too much.

          In my time here I have never left the BIAP complex, and I probably won't. The only ones who do are EOD, and the Fire Dept did one time by accident.

          I was at the Army chow hall the other day, which is run entirely by KBR, and at the sandwich bar there's a sign that says "Have it OUR way". Very funny, KBR.

          by jabbausaf on Fri Aug 05, 2005 at 11:22:15 PM PDT

          [ Parent ]

          •  Stay safe... (none)
            ... and best of luck with your fight.  These chaplains know they've overstepped their bounds; it's good to call them on it.  They have no legitimate defense for their actions.  America is not theirs.  It belongs to all of us.

            Lies are the new truth.

            by Dallasdoc on Fri Aug 05, 2005 at 11:28:35 PM PDT

            [ Parent ]

  •  From one Pagan to another (none)
    From one Pagan to another; I wish you all the best. I guess I'm lucky that I have never had to wade into this kind of battle, but that's probably because I live in the don't-discuss-religion belt of Southern Ontario.

    But I know many other Pagans have to stand up to attacks on their beliefs like you are now, and I know that your strong position only helps the whole community, so I salute you! I'm looking forward to hearing how this develops.

    Blessed be, and stay safe over there.

    Although it is not true that all conservatives are stupid people... it is true that most stupid people are conservative - John Stuart Mill

    by Sarkasba on Fri Aug 05, 2005 at 11:00:01 PM PDT

    •  Paganism not even the core issue (4.00)
      The core issue is that these chaplains have sent out emails saying that their religious beliefs is right and other religious beliefs are wrong. Pagan or not, that's not cool.

      But yeah, if I was a Christian I probably would be more inclined to shrug it off.

      Thanks for the support!

      I was at the Army chow hall the other day, which is run entirely by KBR, and at the sandwich bar there's a sign that says "Have it OUR way". Very funny, KBR.

      by jabbausaf on Fri Aug 05, 2005 at 11:23:56 PM PDT

      [ Parent ]

  •  Am I missing something...? (4.00)
    She said the emails come from a subscription service and that the chaplain just forwards them to the base.

    Who is paying for the subscription service??  Taxpayers in this country, I'm guessing here.  But, if that is the case, that one could really have some serious implications/questions raised.

    "Free speech is not to be regulated like diseased cattle and impure butter." William O. Douglas.

    by Street Kid on Fri Aug 05, 2005 at 11:39:33 PM PDT

    •  Footing the Bill (none)
      Aside from possible bandwidth overhead, I would guess that, given the nature of these e-mails, any costs involved in distributing them are borne by the original senders, out of a "missionary outreach" type of fund.
    •  Time to Ask The Senators (none)
      If the U. S. Government is paying for a subscription service to send religious messages to the troops that endorse a specific religious view, then that bothers me.

      I think military chaplains should help fulfill the religious needs of all those who serve.  If a solider is a Muslim, the chaplain should help him or her get a prayer rug.  The chaplains should assist a Jew in observing Yom Kippur.  A chaplain should provide Communion to any soldier who wants it.

      In other words, military chaplains should be ecumenical.  It is not about the religious beliefs of the chaplains or the officers; it is about the spiritual needs of those serving in an area where their faith may be tested.

  •  Apparently (none)
    I have a lot of opinions on this subject.  I wrote this diary to vent more fully on the broader implications of the battle you have engaged.

    Herewith one thought on your specific dilemma.

    You would be letting them off the hook to make this just an issue of taking you off the mailing list.  This chaplain should not be allowed to use his position to further this agenda.  I'm not saying it's your obligation to fight that war--you are sticking your neck out as it is. But recognize that is the cop out with which they hope to defuse your complaint.

    Good luck, you are a courageous dude.

    •  Here's what I'm looking for from them: (none)
      I handed the 14 points to the IG, and I expect the chaplains have already seen them by now. So they know exactly what I found offensive and objectionable. I'm going to ask for what was stated above, a base-wide email with an apology for objectionable content in the devotions and apologizing for sending out emails that disagree with the stated principles of the chaplaincy, therefore creating an uncomfortable environment for non-Christians and non-evangelical Christians. I'm going to ask that they screen the emails they send out. And I'm going to ask for an apology.

      I was at the Army chow hall the other day, which is run entirely by KBR, and at the sandwich bar there's a sign that says "Have it OUR way". Very funny, KBR.

      by jabbausaf on Sat Aug 06, 2005 at 01:57:17 PM PDT

      [ Parent ]

  •  I think what they need to do (none)
    is to send out one more mass e-mail and a little link on the bottom saying, "If you do not wish to be a part of this mailing, please click this link" just like any other spammer.  An opt-out option if you will.  (I would prefer an opt-in option, but I think that opt-out would be more expedient).  That way the people who want to receive "inspiration" will and those that wont, wont.  I think that would satisfy everyone.  If it doesnt satisfy the chaplains, or if they argue that "That would be too difficult" then you know their true agenda.  And that agenda is insidious in the extreme....

    But it does me no injury for my neighbor to say there are twenty gods or no god. It neither picks my pocket, nor breaks my leg.

    by calipygian on Sat Aug 06, 2005 at 03:57:51 PM PDT

  •  WTF? (none)
    "Even those not of Christian faiths find the devotional thoughts uplifting." WTF! Even those of Christian faiths find these emails outrageously offensive and inappropriate.

    Seriously "the emails come from a subscription service." What kind of subscription service is it? Why the hell are they so non-ecumenical?

  •  Wiccan here... (none)
    jabbausaf,
    I was told by Margot (the info about Witchvox) about your problem. I too am Wiccan so she thought I would be interested in your plight. I am...

    Have you contacted any one outside of your local chain? Maybe Lady Liberty run by Selena Fox and Circle Sanctuary? Maybe the HP's of the Sacred Wells could write to the chaplains...? There should not be this kind of problem to begin with...maybe you need to ask if they would like to start getting "Your a Pagan Redneck if...." jokes in their e-mails?

    But seriously, you take care of yourself, I hope you managed to have a great Lammas and will be home soon.
    BB,
    terra

    "I believe that imagination is stronger than knowledge, that dreams are more powerful than facts, That hope always triumphs over experience."

    by terra gazelle on Mon Aug 08, 2005 at 12:42:04 AM PDT

    •  Trying within the chain first (none)
      I want to exhaust my options here before I bring out any big guns.

      I was at the Army chow hall the other day, which is run entirely by KBR, and at the sandwich bar there's a sign that says "Have it OUR way". Very funny, KBR.

      by jabbausaf on Mon Aug 08, 2005 at 12:56:57 AM PDT

      [ Parent ]

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