Extracted from Army TC 1-05-- Military Religious Support Mission:
[10 May 2005]
Section II – Mission Origin
The first amendment of the United States Constitution guarantees every American freedom of religion. The RS mission of the UMT is rooted in the free exercise clause of the first amendment and ensures this Constitutional right for soldiers.
"Congress shall make no law respecting an establishment of religion or prohibiting the free exercise thereof…"
First Amendment, U.S. Constitution
The establishment clause of the first amendment forbids any governmental authority from mandating a particular religion as the "official" religion or way of prayer. This means that
many religions exist side-by-side, and that each is equally valid legally in our society. In the pluralistic religious setting of the military, UMTs work to ensure RS for all soldiers in the command. Subject to resource constraints and military necessity, all religions are entitled to RS (except for practices that violate the Uniform Code of Military Justice [UCMJ], Command Policy, or Army Values). Chaplains cooperate in ministry with each other without compromising their own faith, tradition, or ecclesiastical endorsement requirements. Together, chaplains perform and provide RS to ensure the most comprehensive RS possible for soldiers.
The UMT and the chaplain are required by public law to conduct religious services for soldiers in their assigned command.
"Each chaplain shall, when practicable, hold appropriate religious services at least once on each Sunday for the command to which he is assigned, and shall perform appropriate religious burial services for members of the Army who die while in that command."
Title 10 U.S. Code, Section 3547
The free exercise clause of the first amendment guarantees all individuals the right to practice what their religion requires and conscience dictates. In the military, operational requirements can interfere with such free exercise of religion. Potential areas of conflict include worship, dietary, medical, and wear and appearance religious practices. When a conflict occurs, the soldier may ask the commander to consider accommodation of the desired religious practice.
Army Chaplaincy values (SACRED)
Spirituality. The bedrock of all faiths, providing meaning and direction in life.
Accountability. The means to measure how we practice what we preach.
Compassion. The love that sees beyond the surface and discerns our common humanity.
Religious leadership. Interprets the role of leadership prophetically.
Excellence. The standard of staff work and religious responsibilities.
DIVERSITY. Being respectful of different views and ideas that are not like our own.
[Emphasis added by M. Akins.]
The primary mission of the chaplain is to perform or provide religious ministry to soldiers. The chaplain as a religious leader executes the RS mission, which ensures the free exercise of religion for soldiers and authorized personnel. Essential to providing our
Army with the means to practice the religious beliefs of its personnel is the ability of the chaplain to function in the Army's pluralistic environment.