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Southern Baptists issue guidelines for military chaplains

Chad Groening   (OneNewsNow.com) Wednesday, September 04, 2013

The head of an alliance advocating for the religious freedom of military chaplains says he is pleased that Southern Baptist chaplains have been given strong new guidelines on how to deal with the problem of same-sex marriage in the military. 

The Baptist Press reports that the North American Mission Board, which is responsible for the endorsement of all Southern Baptist military chaplains, recently issued its new guidelines in light of the U.S. military's recognition of same-sex marriage.

Retired U.S. Army Colonel Ron Crews served as a chaplain for 28 years and now serves as executive director of the Chaplain Alliance for Religious Liberty. He says the guidelines give cover to chaplains who may be pressured to compromise their beliefs. 

Crews, Col. Ron (Chaplain Alliance)Crews said of the guidelines: "Their chaplains can take them to their commanders and supervisory chaplains to say this isn't just me. This is my denomination. This is the faith stance from which we come.”

The guidelines reiterate Southern Baptist doctrine and the expectation that SBC chaplains will not participate in or attend wedding ceremonies for homosexual members of the military.

Crews says while Southern Baptist and other evangelical chaplains might face some persecution because of their stances, God is in control of promotions.  He suggests there could be “consequences” for chaplains taking a stand for traditional marriage.

"We're going to believe that the Lord will protect our young men serving as chaplains and that they will be able to serve throughout their career if that's God's plan for their lives,” Crews tells OneNewsNow. “And that God will honor them and that they'll do such an outstanding job that they'll get those promotions even in spite of some."

Crews says other evangelical denominations are issuing similar guidelines which will result in close to 50 percent of the chaplain corps taking the same stances related to marriage as Southern Baptist chaplains.           

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