I guess we shouldn’t be surprised.
This article throws a spotlight on how rapidly the religious perogatives granted to U.S. military chaplains have been infringed since the repeal of “Don’t Ask, Don’t Tell” which gave the federal government’s tacit approval to sodomy within the ranks of the U.S. armed forces. With that change, 237-years of traditional religious support to U.S. soliders, sailors, and airmen is coming to an end as chaplains find they are being pressured into choosing two options. They must violate their demoninational dogmas and personal consciences to fit political directives, or consider resigning their commissions.
It seems the armed forces have been slow in catching up to civilian society where a secularized culture, institutional policies, and adverse legal decisions often pressure people to leave their religious faith and conscience at home. Decades of court decisions and legislation have placed limits on people’s rights to exercise their faith-based beliefs in the public sphere. This infringement routinely happens in our workplaces, in our schools, and in the course of running our own businesses. In essence, the traditional right to Freedom of Religion has been downgraded into a simple Freedom to Worship and transformed into a revokable privilege. This is a condescension on the part of others to allow people to worship in the cult of their choice so long as they do so privately and don’t drag their eccentric beliefs outdoors.
The net effect of secularization is the same whether found in the military or in civil society, and has similar consequences. People either conform their religious beliefs to secular policies or risk loss of employment, financial hardship, expulsion, crippling lawsuits, and incarceration. The trend of the last two or three generations has seen Western society become intolerant of religion in general, and Christianity in particular. It seems that devout Christians in particular may approaching a time of significant tribulation.
Reflecting on the fact that the last half century has seen American culture becoming increasingly indifferent, if not outwardly hostile to faith, and that Americans who choose to exercise their religious beliefs in public increasingly risk marginalization and adverse personal consequences, the USA of 2012 is beginning to look not so much different from the USSR of 1965. History is full of such ironies.