Roman Catholic military chaplains can no longer be “forced” to preside over ceremonies that require acknowledgement of same-sex relationships, according to a new law — and that includes funerals.
We knew already that these chaplains weren’t required to participate in same-sex weddings or unions, but now, chaplains may opt out of participating in a funeral ceremony if the deceased was known to be gay or have a same-sex partner.
"A priest who is asked to counsel non-Catholic parties in a same-gendered relationship will direct them to a chaplain who is able to assist," the announcement read. “Catholic parties will, of course, be encouraged by the priest to strive to live by the teaching of the Gospel. Participation in retirements, changes of command, and promotion ceremonies is possible, as long as the priest is not required to acknowledge or approve of a ‘spouse’ of the same gender.”
A commenter named Mark best summarized my feelings on this:
"There is no legal requirement, just a moral, human one to give comfort or succor to those who are suffering. Any chaplain who cannot do this doesn’t deserve the distinction of being a chaplain, or a decent human being either.”
Intervention in other country’s civil wars is a notoriously risky endeavor with little guarantee of success. The US hasn’t exactly had a good run of it in the past 60 years (the US exacerbated internecine warfare in both Vietnam and Iraq for example) so it’s track record should be taken into account. Secondly, does the US have the moral authority to attack another country for human rights abuses? For anyone with the vaguest understanding of history, the answer is pretty clear. The United States has a pretty horrendous record on human rights, most recently in the wars in Afghanistan and Iraq. Not only did the US illegally invade both nations, it also committed numerous war crimes against their populations. In Fallujah, US forces used chemical weapons (white phosphorous) to flush out insurgents, and in Afghanistan, US soldier routinely committed war crimes against innocent civilians. The Wikileaks leaks showed the extent of US crimes in both countries, evidence that should definitively end the argument that the US wields any sort of moral authority around the world. To boot, America has a history of bankrolling despots (Saddam Hussein, Hosni Mubarak, Mobutu Sese Seko, Mohamed Suharto, Pol Pot, etc etc) all of whom brutalized their own people with little acknowledgment from the American government. Thirdly, what are the actual reasons why the US is considering an attack on Syria? Given there are war crimes being committed around the world on scales far larger than Syria it stands to reason that the US isn’t getting involved due to its compassion for the Syrian people. Although Syria does not have huge oil resources, they are substantial (around 24% of Syria’s GDP, 25% of budget revenues and 40% of export revenues). There are also large untapped oil fields from the Lebanese border to the Syrian coast that, according to reports from Inseis, a Norwegian company, contain an amount of oil “equivalent to all of Kuwait’s reserves”. China and Russia have both condemned the proposed Western assault, clearly a sign that they feel their interests are at stake. The Saudis have apparently just offered Russia a huge oil deal if they back off of their support of Syria, further proof that the world’s interest has little to do with the plight of Syrians and more about their energy resources. If Syria’s main export were bananas, it’s safe to say we wouldn’t be hearing too much about it.