Another military chaplain has gotten into trouble with his superiors because he has refused to go along with orders not to pray in the name of Jesus.
Captain Jonathan Stertzbach is an Army chaplain assigned to the 10th Mountain Division in Iraq. He was recently removed from his chapel after he commented to the Washington Times about how chaplains of all faiths are being told to offer up only non-sectarian prayers.
Chaplain Stertzbach is now under orders not to talk to the media — but his representative, Dr. Billy Baugham of the International Conference of Evangelical Chaplain Endorsers, is under no such restrictions. According to Baugham, Stertzbach was upset at having a prayer censored.
“He was told to write out his prayer,” Baugham explains, “and when they saw 'In Jesus' name. Amen,' his brigade chaplain struck through it and said, 'You're going to have to change it.'”
Baugham says Stertzbach's response was that he cannot pray a prayer unless he uses Jesus' name. The chaplain, adds Baugham, said: “My local church is an independent Baptist church, and that's the way we pray.”
The retired Army chaplain adamantly notes that military regulations forbid restrictions on chaplains' prayers. “There are Department of Defense instructions which state that a chaplain is to adhere to the faith group of his tenets before they do the military,” Baugham says. “[A chaplain] has no authority to pray any other prayer other than what his sending agency or his sending church allows him to pray.”
In short, says Baugham, a chaplain's duty is to represent his faith group. “It's not to represent another faith group, it's not to represent the prayers of the United States government or the United States Army,” he says. “He can only speak for his endorsing agency, be that what it may be.”
Baugham indicates he is working with North Carolina Congressman Walter Jones and others to get Chaplain Stertzbach reinstated to his chapel.
(This article courtesy of Agape Press.)