The “First Gay President”, orientation, and military chaplains

A reader sent me a link to a story on Gateway Pundit about the latest moves in what I am convinced is an effort to drive sound military chaplains out of military service.

Obama Continues His Assault on Christians: Will Force Military Chaplains to Marry Gays
Posted by Jim Hoft on Wednesday, May 16, 2012

The first gay president will force military chaplains to perform same sex marriages or face repercussions. This follows the administration’s very public assault on the Catholic Church earlier this year with their mandate that forces religious organizations to pay for employees’ birth control.

Barack Obama will force military chaplains to marry gays.
CNS News reported:

The Obama administration “strongly objects” to provisions in a House defense authorization bill that would prohibit the use of military property for same-sex “marriage or marriage-like” ceremonies, and protect military chaplains from negative repercussions for refusing to perform ceremonies that conflict with their beliefs, according to the Office of Management and Budget (OMB).

In a policy statement released Wednesday, the OMB outlined numerous objections to aspects of the fiscal year 2013 National Defense Authorization Bill (H.R. 4310). The bill was reported out of the House Armed Services Committee last week and is set to be debated in the House, beginning Wednesday

Overall, it recommends that President Obama veto H.R. 4310 if its cumulative effects “impede the ability of the Administration to execute the new defense strategy and to properly direct scarce resources.”

The veto warning is not specifically linked to the two provisions dealing with marriage, but they are listed among parts of the bill which the administration finds objectionable.

The photo with the story is interesting. I am not quite sure what this is, but take note of the orientation of their collective prayer.

I think this may be a protestant communion service of some kind.

They seem not to have a problem with ad orientem prayer.

In the meantime, I note that Fishwrap has not yet said anything about the Obama Administration, Nancy Pelosi, the the inevitable pressure that Catholic chaplains will experience.

About Fr. John Zuhlsdorf

Fr. Z is the guy who runs this blog. o{]:¬)
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  1. AnnAsher says:

    I am the wife of a retired US Army officer. I was brought into the Church by an Army Priest, in an Army chapel. I’ve been involved in a variety if ways with the chapel programs for 15 years. I’m grateful for the good Priests who have touched the life of my family through the military chaplaincy. One on particular, I credit with straightening me out regarding the highly skewed instruction I received in RCIA. I believe I may not be practicing today if it hid not been for Gods hand bringing that Priest. So, that being said, I must also say, with a heavy heart that it has not been my experience for the Military to be anything less than a hostile impediment to the true and full and complete practice of the Catholic faith. I recognize the value of the chaplaincy; I don’t believe saving it in its current form to be an effective goal. It is foundationaly flawed. I don’t think you can keep “state” control out of religion if it is “state” sponsored and supervised and that is the military chaplaincy reality. Please God, let there be a new solution. An Order perhaps whose charism it is to serve soldiers and families or Priests entirely on contract basis. I can only see our rights of conscience being protected if only their Bishop has stewardship of these Priests.

  2. ContraMundum says:

    I see you have a nicer meaning for “orientation” than I had expected. That’s a word that is rapidly becoming sullied. “Partner” is already mostly gone. I find myself hearing someone talk about a “partner” on the radio, and my first instinct is still usually to think “business partner”. That is almost never correct.

    This whole situation reminds me of a question on some psychological test I was given as a part of Duke University’s TIP Program back in the early 1980’s. I was only in 6th or 7th grade at the time, and one of the questions asked if I had a strong sexual preference. At the time I thought it meant blonde, brunette, or redhead, a question to which I had devoted some consideration and come to the conclusion that hair color was not enough information. I thought some things could be taken for granted, though. Later I was quite upset to find out that is not what the question was really asking at all.

  3. St. Rafael says:

    Shouldn’t these chaplains and priests be wearing vestments during Mass? An alb and chasuble?

  4. ContraMundum says:

    Maybe that’s why Fr. Z thinks this was a Protestant minister.

  5. Supertradmum says:

    Since time immemorial, religion and soldiers and sailors have traveled with priests of some sort. To separate out religion from the military would be a departure of some type of natural law, as even the Romans, and further back, such as the armies of Alexander took their priests with them onto the battlefields. That men and women have prayed for success and safety while engaged in fighting is such a common cultural phenomenon, that I cannot imagine a military without chaplains. I suppose a relativistic, new age, totally ecumenical, and therefore, meaningless religious ceremony could be developed by this secular man we call president, and his advisers. There would be other groups who would object to gay marriages, as I noted in the other thread, such as Muslims. This administration is anti-religion, anti-God, and eventually, anti-human.

  6. Bob B. says:

    The picture reminds me of Vietnam, which brings me to a midnight Mass at Christmas that I shall always remember, and then to one of the best priests I have ever had the honor to meet and associate with in Germany. He has since retired from the Army and as an active priest and returned to Boston, but his witness to the Faith will forever be in my family’s memory.

  7. JKnott says:

    It couldn’t hurt to pray to and for the beatification of Military Chaplain Father Emil Kaupaun from Pilson KS who died in a POW in a Korean prison camp in 1950. His cause has gone to Rome

  8. St. Rafael says:


    I saw the Ad Orientem comment above the photo and did not see the Fr. Z’s Protestant comment. It could be a Catholic Mass or a Protestant service. Not easy to tell. I have seen actual photos of a Catholic chaplain celebrating a Mass in Iraq not wearing vestments and wearing his combat uniform like the chaplain above. It’s not the first time. I’m seeing a common practice of both Protestant and Catholic chaplains not vesting anymore.

  9. LisaP. says:

    Wow, that was fast. Evolving from no gay marriage to pro gay marriage to compulsory gay marriage in, what? A week?

    CM, that’s a kick — preference meaning Betty or Veronica!?

  10. Bob B. says:

    Also pray for the cause of Father Vincent Robert Capodanno, who died in Vietnam in 1967. He was awarded the Medal of Honor (posthumously) and was KIA while tending to wounded and administering Last Rites during Operation Swift.

  11. anilwang says:

    St. Rafael, I think given the environment (mud, bombs, etc), it’s likely not practical to vest for every mass.

    Any clean vestment would quickly be sullied and since there wouldn’t be an opportunity to clean up and any white or brightly colored garment would be a clear target for enemy fire.

  12. Suburbanbanshee says:

    Anilwang — But vestments have always been easily dirtied in the field, and bright garments were a risk priests and Catholic soldiers used to take. (And Protestants too — even one who avoided “vestments” usually wore their distinctive gear.)

    These are not new problems. They have solutions that are old and tested. What’s new is how low a priority we put on doing things right for God.

  13. ContraMundum says:

    preference meaning Betty or Veronica!?

    Or Ginger vs. Mary Ann.

  14. Nicole says:

    What is up with Obama being called the “First Gay President”? Is he a homosexual?

  15. AnnAsher says:

    Isn’t there at least a stole for field Masses?

  16. Mariana says:

    They all carry big books, must be Protestant.
    Funny old world, really – as a Lutheran I saw the minister ad orientem, and from the middle of the altar taking a step back, a step to the left, a step forward, and from there reading the Gospel. As a Catholic for ten years now it’s been all towards populum!

  17. St. Rafael says:


    Any priest who stands by himself in front of an altar can be a target. It doesn’t matter what he is wearing. It’s not hard to differentiate the minister from the congregation in liturgical service, vestment or no vestment.

    As for wearing vestments in the field, there are dozens of pictures of chaplains and priests wearing full Roman vestments during World War II in the middle of the dessert or a pacific island. It didn’t matter where they celebrated Mass or even if they did it on a rock or jeep, but the priests dressed with full vestments and maniple beffitting the rubrics, the Mass, their office, and dignity as priests. The worship of God was first priority.

  18. PostCatholic says:

    I am not sure if by “first gay President” the writer is attempting to be pejorative. Depending on how one chooses to view it, it’s either a silly honorific or an unworthy insult. I’m going with silly. Not all supporters of equal rights for gay people are themselves gay, nor does their support make them so. I hope that there’s a worthy first gay President sometime soon in America’s future.

    In any event, the objection the White House and others have raised to the proposed National Defense Authorization legislation is not to the right of chaplains to refuse “to perform ceremonies that conflict with their beliefs,” but that as drafted the language is too broadly written. One can read the OMB statement here:

  19. ContraMundum says:

    This is what I would imagine for a chaplain in a combat zone. Or maybe this or this or sometimes this.

  20. DisturbedMary says:

    The homosexual genie is out of the lamp. What is happening to the miliary is what happened to seminaries once upon a time. Wait till we get openly gay 4-star-generals and colonels running things. The chaplains are in the trenches. The Catholic ones anyway. I hope. War heroes. And who is their military boss?

    In July 2011 Maj. Gen Donald Rutherford became the chief of (all) Army chaplains just before the DADT policy became effective. Fr. Rutherford has a distinguished military career. He also carries the credential of being from the Albany diocese, ordained by Bishop Howard Hubbard, and when his years of service are complete “intends to return to Albany …I’m looking forward to coming back in four years. I’m hoping the bishop gives me a job.”

    Read more:

  21. LisaP. says:

    My assumption has been that “first gay president” is in reference to Clinton being the “first black president”?

  22. ContraMundum says:

    Wait till we get openly gay 4-star-generals and colonels running things.

    Frankly, I’m surprised that hasn’t happened yet. All general officers are politicians, and the pieces of silver are on the table for the first general officer willing to take up the rainbow flag. That officer might even get a spot on the Democratic ticket in 2016.

  23. Bob B. says:

    The services are so political correct it’s sickening (if you want to really know what’s going on, ask the troops). They endorse everything that their civilian bosses have to say. Can you imagine if Patton was alive today? (He never would have been, or remained, a general.)

  24. PostCatholic says:

    Whoa, such fear. I know a bunch of openly gay, high-ranking law enforcement officers and we haven’t had anarchy descend on our domestic tranquility yet. Could it be that gay professionals are just as competent (or not) as straight people?

  25. onearmsteve says:

    another impeachable offense that none will pursue

  26. ContraMundum says:


    1. In law enforcement, you can always quit. In the military, you can’t.
    2. In law enforcement, you go to your own home at night. In the military, you might not get to sleep at all, and if you do, it probably won’t be in your own home.

  27. catholicmidwest says:

    Obama, a gay president? Don’t tell Michelle. She’ll lay a dozen eggs.

  28. Athelstan says:

    Hello Post Catholic,

    Could it be that gay professionals are just as competent (or not) as straight people?

    It could be. Indeed, it has been my experience.

    What they can’t be is proper parents.

    But I think I do agree with you on your assessment of the administration’s position on this. It objected to the entire section, but really because of the ban on celebrating gay marriages on military property. There’s been no specific commentary about forcing chaplains to celebrate such events. I would be surprised if even they thought they could get away with that – at least, for the time being.

    The way to figure this out – to force the administration to clarify its position – would be to pass a standalone version of Section 536 which only speaks to preserving the right of objecting chaplains to refrain from having anything to do with such ceremonies, and see what the White House says to that.

  29. jflare says:

    Um, I’m not so sure that we’re looking at a picture of a Protestant service folks. I don’t precisely see anything that says “definitely Protestant” OR “definitely Catholic”.

    I can’t remember any time I’ve ever seen a Protestant minister offer an ad orientem service or use equipment that had such a distinctively Catholic flair. Most Protestant services that I’ve attended didn’t have quite as much emphasis on reverence for the Eucharist; they don’t believe in the Real Presence, so that makes sense.

    If the priest/minister doesn’t have vestments, I’m not certain that says that much, really. It looks like a VERY tactical environment, meaning that if he’s a priest, he may not have expected to be offering Mass at all, but discovered a need for doing so.

    Keep in mind, I don’t KNOW any of this to be true for certain, but given what I DO remember seeing and understanding of combat operations in this place or that, I wouldn’t be at all surprised to learn that an Orthodox, FSSP, or other order of priest happened to wind up in the right place at the right time, discovered a need for Confession and Mass, and proceeded to offer the same for the 15 or so guys that’re there.
    Likely? I don’t know.

    Possible? I wouldn’t be surprised.

  30. jflare says:

    “Wait till we get openly gay 4-star-generals and colonels running things.

    Frankly, I’m surprised that hasn’t happened yet.”

    It almost DID, some years ago. I want to say sometime around the time of the Persian Gulf War (?). Somewhere around 1999, I saw a VHS movie along these lines, based on real life events. A lady colonel who had begun commanding a medical unit, ran afoul of her chain of command; she’d been married and begun raising a family years before, but had divorced and now meant to pursue a relationship with another woman.
    She described the relationship as an “emotional link” if I remember right, though she DID seem to be hinting in the direction of a lesbian relationship. ..Which got her into trouble, because military policy at the time didn’t look kindly on that.

    I believe the movie makes reference at the end to the idea that the Colonel, though no longer serving by then, continued to be an advocate for homosexual “rights”.

    My point: Don’t be surprised if you see more of this sort of thing. Christian leadership in general, military or civilian, has not been exactly..sticky..on these matters in some time. You can bet that the homosexual lobby will be quite determined at promoting their view of things for a long time to come.

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