Law and the Church, #10

What are the rules regarding outside worship for any local military base, and what happens if a soldier on that base wants access to a priest who is not in the military or not a military chaplain? If there are no local military bases, what are the general rules?

The closest military base is either Camp David in Sabillasville MD, or Fort Detrick in Frederick Maryland.  There are military facilities around Gettysburg, but they are not considered “bases”.

There is very little information to be found about Camp David, which is to be expected since it is such a private institution.  For Detrick, which is known as the center for the creation of Anthrax, does not have any public mandates regarding outside worship.  In fact I cannot find many bases around here that have any sort of official mandate.  I think for the most part those types of laws are regulations are served on an “as needed” basis and by request from the soldier in question who would then filter through the military chaplain.

Further research found mention in the Army Regulation 165-1 mention of Chaplain Activities in the United States Army which has several regulations regarding “Distinctive Faith Groups” (Chaplain Activities in the United States Army).

3–3. Religious services on military installations
a. The Army recognizes that religion is constitutionally protected and does not favor one form of religious expression over another. Accordingly, all religious denominations are viewed as distinctive faith groups and all soldiers are entitled to chaplain services and support.
b. When facilities are shared, scheduling priority will be given to worship services conducted by chaplains and services that minister to the largest number of soldiers and family members. The Installation Staff Chaplain will supervise all worship services held on a military installation.
c. Religious services conducted in military chapels and facilities are primarily for military personnel and authorized civilians. The Army is not required to provide religious support to non-DOD authorized personnel; however, military worship services are generally open to the public.

5–3. Civilian contract clergy
a. The services of civilian clergy may be contracted on an exception to policy basis when the Army is unable to provide a military chaplain, DOD civilian, or volunteer to meet the religious needs of soldiers and their family members. Exceptions must be approved by the MACOM chaplain (see chapters 13 and 14).
b. The services of civilian clergy may be procured by means of a nonpersonal services (NPS) contract with a recognized religious organization.
c. Civilian contract clergy will not function as a military chaplain, wear a military uniform, or be assigned AR 165–1 • 25 March 2004 9responsibilities as a staff officer. Their duties will be solely to provide specific and essential religious services to a distinctive faith group in the absence of a military chaplain according to the terms of the contract.

5–5. Distinctive faith group leaders
a. Distinctive faith group leaders may provide ministry on an exception to policy basis when military chaplains are not available to meet the faith group coverage requirements of soldiers and their families.
b. Distinctive faith group leaders—
(1) Are normally volunteers.
(2) Do not function as military chaplains.
(3) Must be sponsored and supervised by an assigned chaplain.
(4) May receive offerings at services they conduct with the funds being handled IAW chapter 14 of this regulation.
(5) Will receive no payment for their services, travel, or other expenses from APF (unless under contract). Military members will not be paid. However, if these leaders are nonmilitary full-time ordained clergy, they may be contracted.
Pay rates will not exceed the contract prices for civilian clergy contracted with APF.
(6) Will not perform collective Protestant services.
c. Distinctive faith group leaders seeking to provide religious services in chapel or unit facilities must submit an application (to be resubmitted for approval upon change of sponsoring chaplain) to the local installation chaplain for approval. The prospective leader must—

(1) Be approved by a religious organization recognized by the AFCB or recognized as a tax-exempt religious organization by the Internal Revenue Service (IRS). In the latter case, the prospective distinctive faith group leader shall submit a letter of approval by an authorized leader of the distinctive faith group with a full description of the group. This will include its origin, the length of time it has existed, and the number of members of the parent faith group.
(2) Establish the need for the requested distinctive faith group service.
(3) Provide a list of those persons requesting the service.
(4) Provide an explanation of why the service cannot be conducted by a military chaplain.
(5) Provide reasons why the local chaplain-led services cannot meet the specific theological/denominational requirements of the group.
(6) Establish with the installation chaplain that the proposed distinctive faith group leader is qualified for the position.
d. Distinctive faith group leaders will not conduct services before approval by the MACOM/STARC/USARC MSC Staff Chaplain.

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