Evangelicals Sue U.S. Navy

August 23, 2003

Source: Baptist Press


On August 23, 2003 the Baptist Press reported that "a federal judge recently expanded the scope of a religious discrimination lawsuit against the Navy, further whipping the tempest that threatens to force the sea service into reviewing the promotions of every evangelical in its Chaplain Corps since 1977... The decision effectively doubles the number of former and present chaplains represented in the case to about 2,000 by widening the span of time under scrutiny. A group of evangelicals filed the suit against the Navy three years ago in the U.S. District Court for the District of Columbia, and it has since become a class action... The chaplains claim that the service unfairly promotes Roman Catholics and mainline Protestants ahead of evangelicals, thereby forcing the latter out, and that the resulting mix fails to represent the religious preferences of sailors... Evangelicals complain that sermons have been censored or watered down in the name of pluralism, or cooperation among religions. [Lt. Jon] Spiers, the Navy personnel spokesman, said pluralism is important... 'It's your job to help out everybody, regardless of their faith preference...' Those in the lawsuit say that they'll help everyone, but won't modify their message in the process."