"To say the dust has settled would be premature," said Air Force Col. Gary Linsky, a Roman Catholic priest who oversees 50 fellow chaplains in the Air Mobility Command. "But I've received no complaints from chaplains raising concerns that their ministries were in any way conflicted or constrained."Of course, the UCC and the Episcopal chaplain groups were fine with DADT Repeal years ago and also reported no problems.
According to the latest Pentagon figures, there are about 2,930 chaplains on active duty, most from theologically conservative faiths and organizations. The Southern Baptist Convention has the largest contingent, with about 450 active-duty chaplains; the Roman Catholic Church is next with about 220.
The Catholic official who oversees those chaplains, Archbishop Timothy Broglio of the Archdiocese for the Military Services, had vehemently opposed repeal of "don't ask, don't tell" and issued a statement after repeal conveying ongoing concerns "in this difficult time. This archdiocese remains resolved in the belief that no Catholic chaplain will ever be compelled to condone even silently homosexual behavior," he said then. However, Broglio said he was unaware of any major repeal-related problems that had arisen for his chaplains during the first nine months of the new era. "There have been no overt difficulties," he said. "It's more a question of what might occur in the future..."
He concurred with the estimates that only a handful of chaplains have left the military because of the repeal. He said "two or three" Catholic chaplains had resigned their commissions in recent months, and guessed that repeal may have been a factor though they didn't cite that specifically.
Another conservative denomination with a large contingent of chaplains 114 on active duty is the Assemblies of God. Scott McChrystal, a retired Army chaplain who oversees them, said the concerns that preceded repeal had not been borne out. "Since the actual repeal, I cannot recall a single instance where I've gotten a call from one of our chaplains who's had a problem," he said. "Our goal as an organization is simply to provide as much help as we can to anybody we can."
Likewise, Frank Clawson, director of military relations for the Church of Jesus Christ of Latter-day Saints, said none of the 42 active-duty Mormon chaplains with whom he works has reported problems linked to the repeal or expressed a desire to leave the service.
Oh, and a retired chaplain group continues to push Congress to protect the religious liberties of conservative religious chaplains by banning gay weddings or family counseling by any chaplain on DOD property regardless of the preference of the chaplain actually providing that service. Because religious liberties are only important for conservative chaplains and not for progressive chaplains and service members. (Keep in mind that no chaplain is being forced to do anything they object to under current rules, so whose liberties are actually being violated?)
So next time you hear somebody complain about chaplains whose religious liberties have been assaulted by DADT's repeal, please educate them. Inform them that the very leaders within each of those conservative denominational chaplain groups are not experiencing problems and they are not seeing exoduses of conservative chaplains. They retain their religious liberties and gay, lesbian, and bisexual service members are no longer at risk of losing their careers now that DADT has been repealed.