Back in May, 2006, the Egg mentioned Gordon Klingenschmitt, a US Navy chaplain who didn't like the Navy's (admittedly strange) policy regarding where, when and how he could pray. So he disobeyed them, and was facing charges. The right wing webmedia turned him into a hero, making all sorts of righteous noise about freedom of conscience. We felt then, as we do now, that people who don't like the military's policies are free to disobey them -- as civilians. But as a commissioned officer, Klingenshmitt had signed on to follow orders.
We also suggested that Klingenschmitt was part of a series of lawsuits and other challenges to the standards of military chaplaincy, all coming from the Christianist right in an effort -- apparently a successful effort -- to take power away from the mainstream denominations.
At the time, a reader wrote in with great hostility, told us we didn't know what we were talking about, that we should make a point of being better informed, and assuring us that Klingenschmitt's trial was going to be a slam-dunk victory.
Bottom line: We were right, the reader was wrong. Klingeschmitt lost his military trial. The Navy later kicked him out, for other reasons. But that's not, and never was, the point. The point was and remains that if there is going to be a military chaplaincy, the chaplains have a duty to follow orders. Slam-dunk.