Some time ago I reported on the action of the U.S. Navy against one of its chaplains. It fined him $3000 for disobeying the order of a superior officer to desist from praying in the name of the Lord Jesus Christ. Congress quickly moved and the Navy changed its policy to allow chaplains to pray according to their convictions. Now it's the turn of the Army. Actually, that's a little misleading because the events we will discuss occurred in August of 2007. They have just recently been made public, hence our interest.
A Fundamental Baptist Chaplain, Captain Stuart Kazarovich ran services for the soldiers at Forward Operating Base Loyalty at which he preached and prayed and answered soldiers' questions in a manner consonant with his Fundamental Baptist beliefs. However, his brigade chaplain didn't like what Kazarovich was telling the men and, when the Baptist chaplain took a break for R & R, he moved to have the services shut down, despite Kazarovich's known intention to arrange for their continuation. Even when he returned from his period of rest Kazarovich was not permitted to resume his services. He was endorsed by the Associated Gospel Churches who have reported that the suppression lasted five weeks. According to Rev. G. William Baugham, the chairman of the AGC's commission on chaplains, it seems it was a representative from another professedly Christian denomination who closed down the service. Chaplain Baugham said that the service appears to have been suppressed "because it was offensive to the brigade chaplain." That brigade chaplain allegedly stated that in the Army there was no room for being born again.
Chaplain Baugham stated, "AGC believes the Army's initial response was slow and ineffective, despite the unprecedented depredation of basic constitutional rights of the fundamental Baptist congregation. In short, this calls attention to the suppression of a Fundamental Baptist service and the command's insensitivity to religious hostility." Thankfully, the soldiers served by Captain Kazarovich would not accept the suppression of their services. They signed a petition, in which they were joined by family members and by some pastors back in the States. The services were restored but the Army has remained silent on the religious freedom issues it raises.
Remember that some time there were reports of issues within the corps of chaplains for the US. Military because some of its members were approved for their posts by Abdurahman Alamoudi, who at the time headed the American Muslim Council, and now is serving a 23-year prison sentence on federal terrorism charges. This is bizarre: a Muslim who was so inefficiently vetted by the military that they failed to discover his terrorist connections was given the power to approve military chaplains while Christian chaplains are being harassed if they even mention the name of Jesus. And their services have, at least in the case of Captain Kazarovich, been shut down because some superior officer despised his message-despite the fact that the men who were going out to face death welcomed that message.AGC has called for a full investigation. I hope they get it and that they are able to root out of the military those who have taken on the task of prohibiting our servicemen and women from hearing the gospel of Christ.