Two Views of Tradition

Another issue stirring controversy and—according to the New York Timesdelaying action on the 2007 defense authorization bill centers on religion in the military. Proponents of a House provision want military chaplains to be able to pray in their own fashion, whether they are serving over a voluntary or an involuntary function. The Pentagon—and the Air Force in particular which earlier this year developed a new set of religious guidelines—as well as the chief military chaplains association and various church groups say that chaplains should offer nondenominational prayers at mandatory functions. Opponents, including Rep. Duncan Hunter (R-Calif.) and Rep. Walter Jones (R-N.C.), want chaplains to pray however they wish at any time. Both sides of this issue are saying that tradition is on their side.