A reader writes:
I really disagree with your post about religious freedom in the Navy at least. I know the AF academy has been in the press about this issue, but my experience after 20 years as a medical corps officer has been very different. I think, though, that the Navy has a long tradition of independence of thought that may not be present in the other services (see Admiral Fallon, perhaps)--I think this is due to the fact that until recently, ships at sea were out of regular communication with HQ and so there may be more delegated authority and decentralized decision making in the Navy than in other services.I am a semi agnostic UCC member and I and have NEVER felt pressured to have more fundamental Christian beliefs.
I was married by a fundamentalist Baptist chaplain who thought my husband and I were a bit nuts with some of our quasi Buddhist beliefs, but he didn't try to convert us. The chaplain with whom I worked closest at National Naval medical center caring for injured marines was a Jewish rabbi. About 10 years ago I was deployed to provide humanitarian assistance to Kurdish evacuees during Ramadan and the chaplain we had with us was Muslim. We made sure all of the food complied with Muslim dietary laws and brought in Lamb for the Eid celebration. Recently I was at a series of classes for retiring military officers and sat next to a Navy chaplain who told me that the most interesting experience he had on active duty was ensuring that the Wiccans on his ship had a place to worship and working with them to ensure that their requirements were met. This is no joke!