Thursday, May 27, 2010

Proposed Amendment Would Allow Military Chaplains To Close Prayers With Sectarian Language

Rep. Michele Bachman (R-MN) has introduced in the House Rules Committee an amendment to H.R. 5136, the proposed 2011 Defense Authorization Act, that would give all military chaplains the prerogative, if called on to lead a prayer outside of a religious service, "to close that prayer according to the dictates of the Chaplain's conscience." (Full text of proposed amendment.) In the 2007 Defense Authorization Act, the House version included a provision to permit a military chaplain "to pray according to the dictates of the chaplain’s own conscience, except as must be limited by military necessity." (See prior posting.) This did not make it into the final bill. Bachman's current proposal focuses only on the closing of the prayer, not its entire content, and thus seems directed primarily at permitting the phrase "in Jesus name" to be added at the end. God and Country blog reports on the proposed amendment. The Secular Coalition yesterday issued a release opposing the amendment. [Thanks also to Scott Mange for a lead on this.]

UPDATE: Beliefnet reports that on May 27, Rep. Bachman's amendment was rejected by the House as not relevant to the bill.