Exclusivity of inclusion initiatives

Written by ECA Review

Dear Editor,

Down the Canadian rabbit hole, military chaplains are now prohibited from praying at Remembrance Day ceremonies.

You might assume that the rationale for such a decision would be impeccable. After all, is prayer not the purpose of chaplains at public services?

Regrettably, rabbit holes are not known for their abundance of reason.

The Epoch Times first covered the story, having gained access to a directive sent out to chaplains by Brigadier General Guy Bélisle. He laid out the new regulations as well as the motive behind them: “…we do not all pray in the same way; for some, prayer does not play a role in their lives… Therefore, it is essential for chaplains to adopt a sensitive and inclusive approach when publicly addressing military members”.

All prayers will be “inclusive in nature”, meaning chaplains must use gender-neutral words (no ‘God the Father’) and refrain from quoting specific religious texts.

The directive also reads, “Chaplains must consider the potential that some items or symbols may cause discomfort or traumatic feelings when choosing the dress they wear…”. In other words, chaplains will now also set aside their personal religious crests — such as the Jewish Star of David — in favour of the Royal Canadian Chaplain Service crest.

No one should be surprised. Last year the National Defense Advisory Panel — tasked with investigating discrimination in the armed forces — recommended this in their final report, regarding the chaplaincy: “Do not consider for employment as spiritual guides or multi-faith representatives Chaplaincy applicants affiliated with religious groups whose values are not aligned with those of the Defense Team.

The Defense Team’s message, otherwise, is inconsistent.” The full report is available online.

Supposedly, these recommendations will allow more people to take part in prayers; to “project” onto them without feeling unable to participate. However, I would point out that there is little value to diversity in thought if it is not allowed to be publicly expressed.

As well as this, praying to every single g/God at once is not a genuine prayer. It is performance.

Thirdly, Jewish chaplains are not there for the sake of Christian members. They are there for the sake of Jewish members, and vice versa. My point is that if anyone has an issue with prayers delivered by a representative of a different faith, the problem is not one of diversity.

The problem is the expectation that at all times, one ought to be catered to by all people.

The hypocrisy is rancid. Somehow I fail to see the inclusivity in forcing chaplains to “pray” to every single g/God at once and forbidding the use of personal religious crests.
Neither can I fail to see the irony in claiming to be against “LGBTQ2+ prejudice” and Islamophobia, while also urging the military to avoid hiring chaplains based on incompatible religious beliefs.

Islam is not famous for its love of gay men. Should Islamic chaplains be barred from service for refusing to condone homosexual relationships? Here, chaplains may abide by whichever religious beliefs they choose, so long as they do not contradict the ultimate authority of Advisory Panel doctrine.

We find here a symptom of a much deeper national infection. Either our governing powers are absurdly idiotic or we are being manipulated. This is an observation, not a conspiratorial sentiment. When in ‘diversity’s name’ federal initiatives so often achieve the exact opposite, we should all be worried — religious or not.

When I say this next thing, I am not trying to diminish the experiences of those who have suffered at the hands of the religious. Such traumas are real and all reasonable people should grieve the fact of them.

However, I can not stress the simple truth of this enough: If our rights and freedoms are hinged on the feelings of others — no matter how valid — they do not exist.

Morrigan Geleynse

Tees, Alta

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