US Representative Walter Jones had some strong words this week about requiring nondenominational prayers among military chaplains.
Jones, a Republican from Farmville, forecasted dire consequences if chaplains can’t offer prayers specific to their own religion.
“If we’re going to start challenging people of different faiths and religions, we’re headed toward the end of the world,” Jones said in a Congressional hearing on the matter this week.
Jones said he was upset to hear from an Army chaplain who’d been told by a superior to remove the phrase “in name of our lord and savior Jesus Christ” from a prayer at a funeral service.
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“If that’s the American military, I’m sure George Washington would be very disappointed,” Jones said. “God forgive us because we’re not protecting freedom in America.”
Jones stressed that he thinks chaplains of all religions should be allowed to include prayers referencing their own faith. “I would fight for a Jewish rabbi chaplain’s right to close a prayer as they see fit,” he said.
Two Jewish veterans testified at the hearing and said sectarian prayers shouldn’t be allowed in the military when service members of multiple faiths are present.
Video from the hearing – at the military personnel subcommittee – is below. Jones’ remarks begin around 36:35.