A scholar I wasn’t aware of today but am now tracking is Jacqueline E. Whit, a professor of strategy at the US Air War College and published University of North Carolina Press author, who has written a book on US chaplains in Vietnam that I very much want to read.
Recently she was a guest on the UNCP blog, offering some thoughts on how US military chaplains have adapted to the 2011 repeal of Don’t Ask Don’t Tell, a Clinton-era compromise which tried to protect closeted LGBT service men and women while barring openly gay people from serving. Under DADT, service men and women could only be investigated if there was “credible information” as to their being LGBT, as this training manual from the period illustrates.
In her post, Whitt notes that prior to the repeal of DADT, there was concern among while there was considerable concern that some military chaplains would be forced to conduct services, such as same-sex marriages, that their consciences and denominations were opposed to, or that they would be unable tp make formerly protected religious statements about the sinfulness of homosexuality. In fact, as Whitt notes,while “there have been some reports of conservative chaplains finding new regulations challenging, it seems that the rule of law, professionalism, and military order have won the day”. Chaplains who do not wish to participate in same-sex marriages for reasons of conscience, or whose churches forbid them from doing so, are not obliged to do so. Whitt writes: