Army Chaplain Facing Possible Discipline for Declining to Conduct Marriage Retreat After Lesbian Signs Up

FORT BRAGG, N.C. — A Southern Baptist Army chaplain is pushing back after a military investigator concluded that he discriminated against a lesbian woman by declining to conduct a marriage retreat after learning that she had signed up to attend the event with her partner.

According to the First Liberty Institute, the unnamed Army equal opportunity investigator recommended that Chaplain Scott Squires should be disciplined for rescheduling the “Strong Bonds” marriage retreat in February so that another chaplain who doesn’t share his convictions about marriage could oversee it instead.

The North American Mission Board (NAMB) of the Southern Baptist Convention (SBC) specifically prohibits its chaplains from participating in any same-sex “wedding” or retreat that would seemingly affirm homosexual relationships. Chaplains could lose their ecclesiastical endorsement for doing so.

“In harmony with holy Scripture, NAMB endorsed chaplains will not conduct or attend a wedding ceremony for any same sex couple, bless such a union or perform counseling in support of such a union, assist or support paid contractors or volunteers leading same-sex relational events, nor offer any kind of relationship training or retreat, on or off a military installation, that would give the appearance of accepting the homosexual lifestyle or sexual wrongdoing,” the NAMB guidelines state.

Squires had been asked to lead the Army-sponsored retreat, and he initially obliged. However, after learning that a lesbian woman and her partner signed up to attend the event, Squires outlined that he was consequently prohibited by the NAMB from participating, and moved the date so another chaplain could lead it instead, as well as to accommodate the women.

While the lesbians participated in the rescheduled retreat, one of them filed a equal opportunity complaint against Squires for not allowing her to be in the originally-planned event. The Army investigated and concluded that Squires had discriminated against the female soldier.

“The Army EO policy states that no service will be denied to any member of the Armed Service regardless of race, color, national origin, gender, religious affiliation, or sexual orientation,” the investigator wrote, according to conservative commentator Todd Starnes.

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“CH Squires behaved as if his NAMB restrictions superseded [the soldier’s] right to attend the event,” he asserted. “CH Squires should be reprimanded for his failure to include [the soldier] in the initial Strong Bonds Retreat.”

Squire’s attorneys with the First Liberty Institute note that the National Defense Authorization Act (NDAA) specifically prohibits the military from mandating that a chaplain “perform any rite, ritual, or ceremony that is contrary to the conscience, moral principles, or religious beliefs of the chaplain.”

“Chaplain Squires should not have his career ruined for following the rules of both his faith and the Army,” said Director of Military Affairs Mike Berry. “Federal law protects Chaplain Squires and prohibits the military from punishing any chaplain who acts in accordance with their religious tenets.”

“I was shocked the investigator concluded that I should be reprimanded for doing something I’m required to do under Army regulations and my endorser’s rules,” Squires also stated. “I hope the Army sees that I was simply following Army regulations and the tenets of my church.”

Berry has submitted a letter to the Army, requesting that the determination be reversed.

1 Timothy 5:22 teaches, “[N]either be partaker of other men’s sins; keep thyself pure.”


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  • Nidalap

    Tsk. Obvious Christophobic tendencies…

  • “Squires outlined that he was consequently prohibited by the NAMB”

    This statement is actually what saddens me.

    I could care less about the militant behavior of a society that attacks the God I love–albeit saddened by their ultimate demise when they face the God they chose to fight.

    But when the Chaplain mentions being prohibited by a man-based organization; I thought: what about the prohibition of God?

  • james blue

    I thought chaplains were there to administer to the needs of ALL troops.

    • Deplorable Nazarene Zealot

      did you read the article? The ladies went to retreat, just not the one Chaplain Squires was scheduled to perform. Chaplains of all stripes are in the military so that resources are available for many differing faith adherents. A Muslim chaplain is not asked to preach from the Holy Bible.

      • james blue

        Yes I read the article, and your reply to my comment and I only feel the need to repeat my original.

    • His primary job is to see to the spiritual wellbeing of the troops. He did that by not affirming the sins of homosexuality.

      • james blue

        So he would refuse to serve unmarried troops who are not celibate? Married troops who cheat?

        • You’ll have to ask him.

        • RM

          He has that absolute right to tell them that he views them as living in sin, in violation of God’s will.

          • james blue

            That’s not what I asked about.

          • RM

            I gave you a responsive answer to your question.

          • james blue

            You gave a response to a question I didn’t ask.

          • RM

            OK… if you insist on being a pedant… you asked:

            “ thought chaplains were there to administer to the needs of ALL troops.‘

            I answered:

            “He has that absolute right to tell them that he views them as living in sin, in violation of God’s will.”

            So, he did minister (administer) to the needs of the troops, by telling these particular troops that they are living in sin, and that he could not minister to that sinful,lifestyle.That means he ministered (administered) to the needs of these troops, and by definition it means he is willing to do so for all troops. What he is not willing to do is support their sinful lifestyle, which he believes leads to eternal damnation.

            Do you require such explanations to every question you have, or is it you simply can’t understand plain English?

          • james blue

            He is refusing to participate in something because gay troops are participating. In this case a marriage retreat.

            What you actually responded to was –“So he would refuse to serve unmarried troops who are not celibate? Married troops who cheat?” ,

            Forgetting that, The OP and follow up question wasn’t about what he is or isn’t allowed to tell them It was about him refusing to serve them altogether because they are “sinners”

            This site doesn’t allow links but if you go to the ‘goarmy” website the list of duties starts off with “Providing advice in matters pertaining to religion, morals and morale” You cannot do that by refusing to administer to those you feel are sinners.

            Once you are on the site navigate
            HOME > CAREERS > JOBSSEARCH > CAREERS & JOBS >ADMINISTRATIVE SUPPORT >CHAPLAIN

    • RM

      Nope.

      • james blue

        Then perhaps it’s time to end the chaplain service.

        • RM

          Nope. It’s time for everyone to realize that the PC crowd is out to destroy real Christianity in any way they can.

          If people want to live a lifestyle that is considered unacceptable by Christianity, they can do so, but that does NOT mean that such folk can then demand a Christian chaplain be forced to violate their conscience to support them. The law and DoD policy supports the chaplain not having to violate their faith in any way, including ministering to same sex marriages.

          • james blue

            Do you agree with the decision to deny that humanist a chaplain’s position?

            If the idea is to have chaplains to only serve troops who share their own brand of beliefs then there shouldn’t be a chaplains corp.

          • RM

            Yes, I agree that there should be no humanist chaplains. The miltary has plenty psychiatrists and psychologists. Humanists can seek counsel there. Chaplains are in the service to provide religious ministry. Humanism is not a religion. Thruthfully, it is anti-religion.

            As to whether or not there should be a chaplain corps… I tend to agree.

          • james blue

            Okay so we pretty much agree on the existence of the chaplain corps, but you think a chaplain is the equivalent of a psychiatrists or psychologists?

          • RM

            Tending to think that there should be no chaplain corps is not agreeing with you. It merely indicates that chaplain services could be provided in a different manner. Military members will always need religious support.

            Chaplains provide counseling for far more than religious needs. They, however, are not doctors. They can not prescribe medicine, etc. so, no they are not equivalent to psychiatrists or psychologists.

          • james blue

            I think there should be no chaplain corps and troops should attend church as civilians do, I have no objection to this being a minister visiting bases. But if the military is going to be supplying preachers those preachers should administer to all.

            Chaplains provide counseling for far more than religious needs.”

            This is my point, and this chaplain is refusing to do so to gays.

            They, however, are not doctors.

            Okay so why do you say there are psychiatrists or psychologists for the “humanist” troops? Do you think they need doctors to deal with their needs and religious folk do not?

          • RM

            You will remain disappointed. Chaplains, mil or civ, are never going to go away.

            Life in the military is not like being a civilian. There are no churches on battlefields or on ships. So, your suggestion is simply uninformed about the needs of service members.

            All religious personnel have their spiritual needs attended to. Just like military members have a right to medical care, they do not have a right to choose who that Dr will be. It is NO different regarding chaplains. Everyone is cared for, but it may not be the chaplain they want.

          • james blue

            “Life in the military is not like being a civilian.”

            Wow, who knew that ? ………. Thank you

            Indeed there are no churches on battlefields or ships, just like there isn’t always for civilians.

            I’m not arguing that everyone is cared for by the chaplain of their choice, the point was that this particular chaplain is refusing to care for certain “sinners”

          • RM

            Which, again, is his ABSOLUTE RIGHT, BY LAW. Stop whining.

          • james blue

            “his right by law”

            It’s a dereliction of duty and shameful on the chaplain corps and I would support the removal of any chaplain who picked and chooses who he will serve and who he will turn his back on.. He’s in the wrong service.

          • RM

            Congress disagrees with you. As, frankly, does the Constitution. Forcing anyone to act in violation of their conscience is a moral evil. You don’t have to like the facts, but you don’t get to choose your own facts. The facts are, the law and DoD policy provides for chaplains doing EXACTLY what the chaplain in question did. Deal with it.

            Bottom line is this…

            The Army should just follow the law and DoD policy. Clearly the investigating officer was clueless about what law and policy says about chaplains….

            The Department of Defense released, in 2014, an Instruction (Number 1300.17) to implement a defense bill “conscience clause” to protect religious liberty in the military. The January 22 directive referenced Section 533 of the National Defense Authorization Act (NDAA) for 2013, which reaffirmed the constitutional rights of chaplains and people of faith to act in accordance with their beliefs on issues affecting morality and religious beliefs.

            Also, in 1993 the “Religious Freedom Restoration Act” was enacted. But, the services attempted to ignore it. Thus, the law in 2013 and the DoD implementing policy in 2014 to sort the military out on this issue.

          • james blue

            It is our responsibility to work our faith around life, not expect others to work their lives around our faith. If this means some jobs are not suited to us so be it. Chaplains are charged with morale duties for ALL troops. If they cannot do this then they are in the wrong job, they should be seeking civilian sector positions.

          • SFBruce

            Service members also have a constitutional right to religious freedom; therefore, military chaplains have to be prepared to provide religious and spiritual support to all of them, regardless of that service member’s beliefs. It’s just as inappropriate for a Christian chaplain to impose their beliefs on others as it would be for a Muslim cleric to do so. And yes, there are a handful of Muslim clerics in our military. If that offends a particular minister’s conscience, being a military chaplain isn’t the job for that person.

          • RM

            Sigh… you’re wrong. They have a right to support, but they can’t make a chaplain violate their religious beliefs.

            Clearly you failed to read what I wrote above about what the law and policy is. The law and policy doesn’t agree with your POV. You’re simply wrong.

          • getstryker

            Having read your entire exchange with james blue, et al . . I am very impressed with your cogent responses.
            Very well done!

          • RM

            Thank you. It’s easy to stand up for the principles that made, and keep, us free.

  • He is doing the job that God has called him to do. He has done nothing wrong.

  • RM

    The Navy tried to make the same mistake with LCDR Modder, a Navy chaplain.

    The Army should just follow the law and DoD policy. Clearly the investigating officer was clueless about what law and policy says about chaplains….

    The Department of Defense released, in 2014, an Instruction (Number 1300.17) to implement a defense bill “conscience clause” to protect religious liberty in the military. The January 22 directive referenced Section 533 of the National Defense Authorization Act (NDAA) for 2013, which reaffirmed the constitutional rights of chaplains and people of faith to act in accordance with their beliefs on issues affecting morality and religious beliefs.

    Also, in 1993 the “Religious Freedom Restoration Act” was enacted. But, the services attempted to ignore it. Thus, the law in 2013 and the DoD implementing policy in 2014 to sort the military out on this issue.

    • Amos Moses – He>i

      borrowed your quote there …. thnx …………

  • Blake Paine

    What ‘rite, ritual or ceremony’ is involved in a marriage retreat?

    Again chaplain’s serve all personnel not just those of their own sect. Like it or not many Christians believe that marriage is ok regardless of sexes.

    Can’t do the job as required there are plenty of others who would love to do the job correctly.

    • Amos Moses – He>i

      “Again chaplain’s serve all personnel not just those of their own sect.”

      nope ….. they are selected from all denominations for a reason ……

      “Can’t do the job as required there are plenty of others who would love to do the job correctly.”

      He is ………. and that standard has nothing to do with YOUR standard ………

      • Blake Paine

        They aren’t selected from all denominations, often there is just a Catholic and Protestant. Just shows you don’t know how these things actually work.

        Never in the military i take it?

        • Amos Moses – He>i

          you can take whatever you want ……… they have WICCANS and EVERY OTHER SORT in the military ….. and they now want a “HUMANIST” ……. so put your shoe on the other foot ………….

          • Blake Paine

            and even Satanists and a christian Army Chaplain organized the time and place they could hold their services back in the 70’s. I repeat all Chaplains serve all servicemembers no matter their beliefs.

          • Amos Moses – He>i

            a chaplin is an officer …… that is a lifetime appointment ….. he also has a lifetime appointment as a minister of his faith …… the military knew this when they appointed him …… he does not get to “step aside” from either of those appointments ……. and the only advice he would be able to give them is that they need to follow Christ and the bible and acknowledge their sin state ……. and that their “homomirage” is not valid before God and the scriptures ………

          • Blake Paine

            If they can’t do the job as required a Christian would quit the job and minister as a private citizen, right?

          • Amos Moses – He>i

            he IS doing his job as a christian ….. YOU have a problem with the JOB DESCRIPTION ……… his JOB is not to ENDORSE their sin …….

            The Department of Defense released, in 2014, an Instruction (Number 1300.17) to implement a defense bill “conscience clause” to protect religious liberty in the military. The January 22 directive referenced Section 533 of the National Defense Authorization Act (NDAA) for 2013, which reaffirmed the constitutional rights of chaplains and people of faith to act in accordance with their beliefs on issues affecting morality and religious beliefs.

          • RM

            Actually, a chaplain can get out of the service very quickly. All they have to do is ask for their eccleastical endorsement to be revoked. The military is obliged to release them.

          • Amos Moses – He>i

            ok ……. but any officer can be recalled to active duty at any time ….. is that true for the chaplins ………..

          • RM

            No.

          • Amos Moses – He>i

            ok … thnx ………

          • RM

            A minor point… no officer is appointed for life. For the first 6 years of service all members of the military (officer and enlisted) are probationary employees. You only achieve career status after the first 6 years of service. Even then remaining on active duty is dependent on several factors. But, after 6 years it’s pretty difficult to separate a member.

          • Amos Moses – He>i

            i can tell you a Dr. who was 70 years old and retired was recalled to active duty during the Iraqi invasion ………. so apparently it is …….

          • RM

            Thank you for making my point, the recalled issue is on point, clearly he was NOT serving on active duty prior to his recall, though his retirement means he’s receiving reduced compensation for not showing up to work. At that age he had to agree to return to active duty, as the law does not allow for compulsory recall at that age. Retired officers are officers for life. But about 30% ever reach retirement. Other members who serve, but don’t reach retirement lose their status when they separate.

          • RM

            Ypure simply wrong. The law has been changed multiple times since the 70’s to prevent chaplains from being forced to violate their faith.

        • RM

          Clearly YOU don’t know how it works. Every chaplain has to have an ecclesiastical nomination from THEIR church. So, its not just Catholic or Protestant. It is, in fact, Catholic, Protestant, Jewish, Muslim, etc. the Protestants range from all sorts of churches, and in this case, the Southern Baptist Church.

          More to the point the LAW prevents the military from forcing chaplains to do anything that would violate their faith, and that includes ministering to same sex couples.

          • Blake Paine

            Yeah you need to read again. They don’t have to perform a religious rite or ceremony but they can’t refuse to serve any servicemember regardless of their beliefs, eg they can refuse to religiously marry servicemembers but can’t refuse to deal with a service m miner because of their spouse.

          • RM

            You’re wrong. The matter in question is a marriage retreat. The SB minister CANNOT minister to people who he views as not married in the eyes of God. How do you “strengthen” a marriage that you view as not a marriage at all? Again, the law and DoD policy ensures that chaplains do NOT have to violate their consciences and the tenets of their faith, PERIOD. I don’t know why it this is so hard for you to get your brain wrapped around. Likely it’s because you have an ax to grind with conservative Christians who do not support the humanistic view of marriage as being anything anyone wants it to be. In the teachings of God it is between a man and woman. In the Old Testament it was between a man and a woman or a man and multiple woman. But, Jesus reset the bar and said that the original intent is that marriage is between a man and a woman. NOWHERE does God support any other type of marriage. So, Christians, who follow the teachings of God cannot support a relationship that they view as sin, not a marriage. And, again, the LAW and DoD policy support chaplains in this matter. Nothing else matters. The rights of the members are not violated by such a choice. There are enough chaplains who will support such abominations. as is EXACTLY what happened in this situation. Your agenda is clear. But, your agenda doesn’t trump the law. Get over it.

      • TheKingOfRhye

        “Again chaplain’s serve all personnel not just those of their own sect.”

        nope ….. they are selected from all denominations for a reason ……

        “Nope” right back at you. They are required to serve all personnel. This is from the Army’s own website, the section entitled “About Army Chaplaincy”:

        Army chaplains are expected to observe the distinctive doctrines of
        their faith while also honoring the right of others to observe their own
        faith. The Army is a pluralistic environment. Rabbis, ministers, imams
        and priests serve our Soldiers with conviction and commitment. While
        serving their own faith groups in the Army, chaplains also ensure and
        provide the means for others to observe their own faith in accordance
        with United States law.

        I was never in the military myself, but like I said before, I worked at a hospital that had a chaplain, who was Christian, on staff. I remember in the orientation I went through, he spoke to the new employees and said he was there to serve everybody, employees and patients of all faiths and of none.

        • Amos Moses – He>i

          sure …. but i stated that the “advice” he would have to give homosexual “couples” is ….. God does not recognize their status and neither does the chaplin ….. they are asking for something that is reserved for MEN AND WOMEN in COVENANT RELATIONSHIP ….. and homosexuals ARE NOT ………

        • Amos Moses – He>i

          “This is from the Army’s own website, the section entitled “About Army Chaplaincy””

          The Department of Defense released, in 2014, an Instruction (Number 1300.17) to implement a defense bill “conscience clause” to protect religious liberty in the military. The January 22 directive referenced Section 533 of the National Defense Authorization Act (NDAA) for 2013, which reaffirmed the constitutional rights of chaplains and people of faith to act in accordance with their beliefs on issues affecting morality and religious beliefs.

  • This, thanks to the rights culture created by the 18th-century founding fathers when they replaced Yahweh’s immutable moral law (including Leviticus 18:21 and 20:13) for capricious man-made traditions and Biblical responsibilities for Enlightenment rights.

    For more, see blog article “America’s Road to Hell: Paved With Rights.” Click on my name, then our website. Go to our Blog and search on title.

    Then online Chapter 3 “The Preamble: WE THE PEOPLE vs. YAHWEH” of “Bible Law vs. the United States Constitution: The Christian Perspective.” Go to our Online Books page, click on top entry, and scroll down to Chapter 3.

    Find out how much you REALLY know about the Constitution as compared to the Bible. Take our 10-question Constitution Survey in the sidebar and receive a complimentary copy of a book that EXAMINES the Constitution by the Bible.

    • Nick Halflinger

      So by the quotes you chose are you suggesting that instead of canceling the retreat Chaplain Scott Squires should have pulled out his service revolve and followed Leviticus 20:13?

      • Nick, thanks for asking.

        No that would have also been a violation of judicial biblical protocol, and thus also a violation of biblical law.

        What I am suggesting is that had the constitutional framers (like their 17th-century Christian Colonial predecessors) established government and society upon Yahweh’s immutable/unchanging moral law there would no homosexual agenda today because no sodomite or lesbian would dare risk exposing themselves (pun intended) to petition government for their “rights.”

        Some people, of course, prefer homosexuals who would sodomize our sons and daughters to the deterrent effect of Yahweh’s altogether righteous judgments, per Psalm 19:7-11. I prefer the latter.

        • Nick Halflinger

          Well, whatever we may have wished for by the constitutional framers, what we have today, and specifically an issue for Pastor Scott Squires, is two different chains of commandments – United States Army protocol and God’s Word. Yahweh’s moral law has been violated both in Biblical times as well as today. These lesbians did expose themselves; their relationship acknowledged by the aforementioned U. S. Army. Who better to carry out the immutable/unchanging Leviticus 20:13 than a military chaplain?

          I am not sure what you mean by, “I prefer the later” as “per Psalm 19:7-11” which refers to “The law of the LORD is perfect.” So by my reading, you prefer Leviticus, yet you said, “No. that would have also been a violation of judicial biblical … law.” How so, what law?

          • Sorry, “later” should have been “latter”–that is, of the two options that preceded that phrase.

            Thanks for the dialogue. Shutting down for the night.