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Cults & World Religions discuss Jewish Service in the Apologetics Forum forums; Today the post chaplain office is hosting a Torah scroll dedication. A rabbi from one of the nearby towns is coming to do the service. ...

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    Joseph Scibbe's Avatar
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    Jewish Service

    Today the post chaplain office is hosting a Torah scroll dedication. A rabbi from one of the nearby towns is coming to do the service. It is not required but "highly suggested" by those who are over me. I was wondering ho I could go to this but make it clear that I do not hold the same beliefs as the Jews. Is it sinful to do attend. I am not sure how comfortable I feel attending.
    Joseph Scibbe
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    Yes it is. It is syncretism. Judaism and Christianity are different religions.
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    Just my own opinion, but could you go as an observer, and clearly but without fanfare make it known that you are there as an observer?
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    Ask yourself what you would do if it were a Wiccan or Muslim dedication. Whatever the answer it, that's what you should do.
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    BJClark is offline. Puritanboard Doctor
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    I guess I see it differently than others here..

    From my understanding The Torah IS God's Word, just as the Old Testament of our Bible is God's Word..It IS the same book..

    So what would be the problem with going and observing?

    The Jew's take better care of their Torah Scrolls, and have more reverence and care for God's Holy Word, than most people do their Bibles..because it IS God's Word, written to a Nation of People...which Praise God has been passed to other Nations of people.
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    AustinW is offline. Puritanboard Postgraduate
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    Quote Originally Posted by BJClark View Post
    I guess I see it differently than others here..

    From my understanding The Torah IS God's Word, just as the Old Testament of our Bible is God's Word..It IS the same book..

    So what would be the problem with going and observing?

    The Jew's take better care of their Torah Scrolls, and have more reverence and care for God's Holy Word, than most people do their Bibles..because it IS God's Word, written to a Nation of People...which Praise God has been passed to other Nations of people.
    I thought of this too, but here's the problem: The Torah we believe in is not a Christless Torah, which is what is being promoted here. I am not saying at this point whether I think the OPer should or should not attend - I just want to make it clear that we do not believe in the *same* Torah.

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    The most important and authoritative literature of the Jewish religion is the Talmud, not the Old Testament. That was the main argument that Jesus had with the Pharisees. They based their righteousness on the oral traditions of the Mishnah, which perverted the Law of God. The Mishnah later became the Talmud. Any dealings today that Jews have with the Ten Commandments (which Jesus said the Jews nullified with their traditions) or the first five books of the Bible are colored by the Talmud and the oral traditions of their religion. The whole Bible is a Christian book. While we can certainly call the OT scriptures Hebrew, we cannot and should not call them Jewish.
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    Quote Originally Posted by austinww View Post
    The Torah we believe in is not a Christless Torah, which is what is being promoted here. ... I just want to make it clear that we do not believe in the *same* Torah.
    Not sure of whether the above is this true?

    ... Isn't the Hebrew text of the Jewish Torah identical to the the underlying texts of good English translations?

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    Quote Originally Posted by Jim Peet View Post
    Quote Originally Posted by austinww View Post
    The Torah we believe in is not a Christless Torah, which is what is being promoted here. ... I just want to make it clear that we do not believe in the *same* Torah.
    Not sure of whether the above is this true?

    ... Isn't the Hebrew text of the Jewish Torah identical to the the underlying texts of good English translations?
    Christ is God. Therefore, Christ wrote the Torah. After all, it was Christ who said, "Before Abraham was I am."
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    AustinW is offline. Puritanboard Postgraduate
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    Quote Originally Posted by Jim Peet View Post
    Quote Originally Posted by austinww View Post
    The Torah we believe in is not a Christless Torah, which is what is being promoted here. ... I just want to make it clear that we do not believe in the *same* Torah.
    Not sure of whether the above is this true?

    ... Isn't the Hebrew text of the Jewish Torah identical to the the underlying texts of good English translations?
    Yes. I was talking about how the groups interpret the Torah differently. This event is promotes a religion that tries to read the Torah while rejecting and ignoring its central theme - Christ.

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    Quote Originally Posted by Wayne View Post
    go as an observer
    I had to go to a couple funerals for Sisters (OSB) when I was working at a Roman Catholic college. You could go, and just not participate in the prayers, etc. Just stand there quietly.
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    Not going would speak more clearly where you stand. The Jewish belief system, which includes the Torah, denies Christ, the end for which the Torah was given (Rom. 10:4).

    Your going would, in my opinion, lend support to the Jewish system. Remember, they aren't merely neutral in their religious beliefs (Matt. 12:30).
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    IIRC, as a military chaplain are you not called on to handle different faith groups as needed? If so, then going and staying silent would make the most sense. Same goes for dealing with a Catholic mass, an LDS anything and so on.
    Gail

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    This is becoming a problem in the military Chaplaincy.

    I am an Army veteran. Is not the Chaplain's office non-denominational by design? It is. So whether one is Christian, Jewish, Muslim, etc., the chaplain's duty is to permit the practice of these religions even while himself belonging to an other specific denomination. He has no obligation to actively support the teachings of other religions, but he must allow for their practice on the base.

    That being said, as a Chaplain Assistant representing the office, you should attend.
    Last edited by MMasztal; 10-21-2009 at 03:01 PM. Reason: clarification
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    BJClark is offline. Puritanboard Doctor
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    austinww;

    The Torah we believe in is not a Christless Torah, which is what is being promoted here. I am not saying at this point whether I think the OPer should or should not attend - I just want to make it clear that we do not believe in the *same* Torah.

    With all due respect, I would have to disagree with you, the Torah is the Torah, and speaks of Christ whether THEY believe that to be true or not..

    Just as the Bible is God's word in completeness, whether others believe it to be or not..
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    Paul went to Synagogue. He went on Sabbath Days also. I would go. I would even share Christ as the fulfillment of the Law if the situation permitted.

    I would go. I think I would even enjoy it. What an opportunity to enlighten ones self and others.

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    Quote Originally Posted by PuritanCovenanter View Post
    Paul went to Synagogue. He went on Sabbath Days also. I would go. I would even share Christ as the fulfillment of the Law if the situation permitted.

    I would go. I think I would even enjoy it. What an opportunity to enlighten ones self and others.
    Yes, Paul went to Synagogue...as did Christ and called those in attendance to repentance.

    The thing is, if this were a Mormon service or Muslim service or Hindu, I am not sure how much support there would be for attending.
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    AustinW is offline. Puritanboard Postgraduate
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    Quote Originally Posted by BJClark View Post
    austinww;

    The Torah we believe in is not a Christless Torah, which is what is being promoted here. I am not saying at this point whether I think the OPer should or should not attend - I just want to make it clear that we do not believe in the *same* Torah.

    With all due respect, I would have to disagree with you, the Torah is the Torah, and speaks of Christ whether THEY believe that to be true or not..

    Just as the Bible is God's word in completeness, whether others believe it to be or not..
    You're misreading my words. Surely you don't think I believe that the torah ceases to speak of Christ in truth just because the person who reads it doesn't believe that? Not at all. I'm talking about interpretation.

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    There are people at my old church who would love that. They could dress like them and blow a shofar and everything.
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    Quote Originally Posted by Grillsy View Post
    Quote Originally Posted by PuritanCovenanter View Post
    Paul went to Synagogue. He went on Sabbath Days also. I would go. I would even share Christ as the fulfillment of the Law if the situation permitted.

    I would go. I think I would even enjoy it. What an opportunity to enlighten ones self and others.
    Yes, Paul went to Synagogue...as did Christ and called those in attendance to repentance.

    The thing is, if this were a Mormon service or Muslim service or Hindu, I am not sure how much support there would be for attending.
    I guess I am not understanding your support comment. What does support have to do with anything.

    Joseph is a Chaplain's Assistant in the Military (i.e. religious programmer). He is responsible to meet the needs of the Chaplains. It is his job. Either way it would be beneficial for him to go for experience and knowledge. It also helps his knowledge and answers in apologetics. I use to service office Equipment at the North American Islamic Center. I was hired to do service for them. I don't see a difference. His presence might actually allow him to have contact with someone who wouldn't give him the time of day otherwise. Paul went to the Synagogue and was invited to speak. I am not sure he went totally expecting to.

    (Act 13:14) But when they departed from Perga, they came to Antioch in Pisidia, and went into the synagogue on the sabbath day, and sat down.

    (Act 13:15) And after the reading of the law and the prophets the rulers of the synagogue sent unto them, saying, Ye men and brethren, if ye have any word of exhortation for the people, say on.
    Here is Gill.

    the rulers of the synagogue sent unto them; that is, those who were the principal men in the synagogue, the ruler of it, together with the elders; for there was but one ruler in a synagogue; See Gill on Mat_9:18 though there were more elders; and so the Syriac version here renders it, "the elders of the synagogue"; but it may be asked, why should they send to the apostles? how did they know that they were teachers, being strangers? this they might conclude from their outward appearance, their gravity and solidity; for as for habit or dress there was no distinction; or from their sitting down when they came into the synagogue, which was the custom of teachers; or they might have had some knowledge of them, and conversation with them, before they came into the synagogue; for it cannot be reasonably thought that they admitted anyone, whether they knew him or not, to teach in their synagogues:
    I have also attended Catholic Christmas mass with a family of a friend of mine. I didn't partake of the mass. But I went and learned what it was. It actually did me a lot of good to see it first hand in my early Christian life. I saw first hand what the RCC mass was and was able to teach and refute more clearly on the matter of the RCC mass. I was discipling the guy I went with. We were in the Navy together.

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    Support was referring to the attendance of the a non-Christian service. As in I doubt anyone would support a Christian attending a non-Christian service.

    While you make good and valid points about attending certain non-Christian activities, I would like to also premise a caution.

    If we are to not partake of the works or darkness and also we are to abstain from the appearance of evil. How can attending and being quiet and observant during a worship service of a false religion not appear as evil? The very fact the professing Christian is in the midst of those who deny Christ could in fact be seen as a very bad thing. I am not criticizing what you have done and, as I have said, you make some good points.
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    Quote Originally Posted by Bern View Post
    There are people at my old church who would love that. They could dress like them and blow a shofar and everything.
    Ditto.
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    Quote Originally Posted by Grillsy View Post
    Support was referring to the attendance of the a non-Christian service. As in I doubt anyone would support a Christian attending a non-Christian service.

    While you make good and valid points about attending certain non-Christian activities, I would like to also premise a caution.

    If we are to not partake of the works or darkness and also we are to abstain from the appearance of evil. How can attending and being quiet and observant during a worship service of a false religion not appear as evil? The very fact the professing Christian is in the midst of those who deny Christ could in fact be seen as a very bad thing. I am not criticizing what you have done and, as I have said, you make some good points.
    Abstaining from the appearance of evil....

    Well, How do you figure Paul did that by attending a Synagogue? Was he partaking of the works of darkness and in fact going against the scriptures?

    Sometimes I cringe at the declaration that we are commanded to abstain from the appearance of evil. So many have become so Pharisaical in this cry. I fear not being around non Christians who deny Christ. I am the salt of the earth. I am told to light a candle so that others see. Should I only light it in places where it is light already? I guess Jesus should have never went to the Temple. I guess Paul shouldn't have either. Maybe Jesus shouldn't have went to the tax collectors party?

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    So then I assume when you're at Jewish or Romanish services you do as Paul and Jesus and call them to repentance and teach them about Christ?

    The difference is that these men were driven by the Spirit and contended for the faith at these synagogues.

    The problem with attending the service and sitting there is we would just blend in and look like one of them.
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    Quote Originally Posted by Joshua View Post
    My :

    Don't go. For what fellowship hath light with darkness? To appeal to the practice of Jesus or the Apostles as license to do so is just not adequate, IMHO. We are not Jesus, and we are not apostles. A Pastor going specifically to evangelize, I might see. Otherwise, just don't go.

    Just my
    Excellent point Joshua.
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    Please pardon me for chiming in a bit late...

    Didn't Jesus and Paul attend these places so as to confront people and not sit quietly, giving silent credence to the proceedings? We can't go to these things in their specific office, so to speak. A Christian wouldn't be able to confront anyone at a Torah dedication or share the Gospel with a fellow attender outside of a later, informal one-on-one or one-on-two or whatever. A Torah dedication would be the Jewish equivalent of a Catholic "observance of the Blessed Sacrament," or so I surmise. Idolatrous, and one, especially a chaplain's assistant, would be obligated to sit quietly and be respectful.

    Attendance is in the realm of conscience, certainly. Jewish social, quasi-religious events like brises and bar/bat mitzvahs are one thing, but Torah dedications are a bit different.

    (I don't mean to step on any toes... Again, please pardon this post's lateness to the discussion.)

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    We must bear in mind that the synagogue service Jesus and Paul attended is significantly different from the Orthodox Jewish Service of today which is governed by the Order of the Jewish Siddur(Prayer Book). This Siddur is a later development in Judaism and has many ungodly and even blasphemous prayers in it such as cursing the minim(Christians).
    Also when the Jews speak of the Torah they generally mean both the 5 books of Moses and the Oral Torah(Mishnah). They hold that the 5 Books of Moses cannot be interpreted or studied without the Oral Torah. Although they do refer to Torah Scrolls as Torah they will not accept its meaning apart from the Oral Torah.
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    Quote Originally Posted by VilnaGaon View Post
    We must bear in mind that the synagogue service Jesus and Paul attended is significantly different from the Orthodox Jewish Service of today which is governed by the Order of the Jewish Siddur(Prayer Book). This Siddur is a later development in Judaism and has many ungodly and even blasphemous prayers in it such as cursing the minim(Christians).
    Also when the Jews speak of the Torah they generally mean both the 5 books of Moses and the Oral Torah(Mishnah). They hold that the 5 Books of Moses cannot be interpreted or studied without the Oral Torah. Although they do refer to Torah Scrolls as Torah they will not accept its meaning apart from the Oral Torah.
    The answer to that would be that the Oral and Written Law are considered equal in Judaism. That does close a lot of "loopholes" and the criteria for the oral law is pretty sketchy. The problem for the OP is his role as Chaplain's assistant and whether he has a Jew, Muslim or Wiccan soldier in front of him for advice, he is constrained within the bounds of his job in the Army.
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    It is a part of his job. I don't see anyone telling Joe to bow to anything anti-Christian or denounce his Christianity.

    You guys evidently didn't read the Gill quote and the points I made. Paul probably didn't go to be confrontational. I can't believe the apparent fear of this world that is involved with this thread. Jesus went to the party to be a physician to the sick. You can call it confrontation if you want but I don't believe he was being confrontational. I believe anyone who is telling you not to go is just overly fearful and warning you out of that fear.

    I see it also as a part of Joe's job. I have had acquaintance with a lot of RP's (religious programmers). I can certainly tell you that I have met some godly men who were in that position in the military. We are light. Light overcomes the darkness by truth and God's Spirit. What are you guys afraid of? Are you afraid he is going to somehow endorse the Jewish religion by showing up as his job position desires for him to? Are you guys afraid he is going to be caught up in some demonic denouncement of Christianity? Come on. Joe is not stupid. I hope his faith and desire to see evil dead men who curse God come to faith in Christ.

    I am amazed at how some of you are reacting. Maybe I have been polluted. I went to a Mosque in Egypt and I removed my shoes before I went in as being respectful to those who occupy the place. I say that in jest. I don't see anyone telling Joe to bow to anything anti-Christian. BTW, I suspect that much of the news that is placed on the PB is more evil in influence than attending a dedication of the Torah. Come on... The Torah is God's word and we all stand in judgment because of what it contains. All the more reason for a Christian to be present for prayer over those attending it.

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    Quote Originally Posted by calgal View Post
    The answer to that would be that the Oral and Written Law are considered equal in Judaism. That does close a lot of "loopholes" and the criteria for the oral law is pretty sketchy. The problem for the OP is his role as Chaplain's assistant and whether he has a Jew, Muslim or Wiccan soldier in front of him for advice, he is constrained within the bounds of his job in the Army.
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    Harlots dressed in ankle-length cape-dresses are easier to dance with than those in fishnet stockings and miniskirts, it appears.

    We can, even should by some accounts, attend a Torah-blessing. What about a baal-totem initiation ceremony?
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    Quote Originally Posted by MMasztal View Post
    This is becoming a problem in the military Chaplaincy.

    I am an Army veteran. Is not the Chaplain's office non-denominational by design? It is. So whether one is Christian, Jewish, Muslim, etc., the chaplain's duty is to permit the practice of these religions even while himself belonging to an other specific denomination. He has no obligation to actively support the teachings of other religions, but he must allow for their practice on the base.

    That being said, as a Chaplain Assistant representing the office, you should attend.
    That's right,attending does not make you a Jew.
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    Just so you all know I did attend. It turned into a "We can make you go but...you will be there" type of situations. But I also carried my Bible in after taking it out of my backpack witha cross on it and did not wear a yarmukle. I think I made my position.
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    Fort Lewis, WA

    1 Thessalonians 2:4
    but just as we have been approved by God to be entrusted with the gospel, so we speak, not to please man, but to please God who tests our hearts.

    http://twitter.com/just_joe_scibbe

  34. #34
    Jennie is offline. Puritanboard Freshman
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    Wow, this was an interesting discussion. Some of you sounded scared of Jewish services, as if your attendance might turn you into the sacrificial goat.

    I studied Hebrew at a local synagogue (Reform) when my doctoral committee told me I should have a non-IndoEuropean language. Learning Hebrew was a great experience. My teacher was a German refugee who escaped Hitler but whose father died at Auschwitz. I attended several services at the Reform synagogue and later at the Orthodox shul where the rabbi was Hasidic and, I should add, one of the wisest men I've ever met. I went to several of his classes and enjoyed them immensely. He was always ready to talk Torah with anyone but he held tightly to Hasidic custom; he never shook hands with me. Nor did I expect him to.

    Some years ago I had a Korean student who planned to attend an American divinity university. He also had studied Hebrew and we compared our pronunciation. I asked him if he'd ever been to a Jewish service. He hadn't, there being a scarcity of Jews in Korea. So I and my husband took him to the Orthodox shul.

    My husband is, by Jewish law of descent, Jewish; however, he knows no Hebrew and has no idea what's going on in a service. I sat in the balcony with the other women while Hubby and Student sat downstairs with the men. They were constantly confusing the books (the prayer book, or Siddur, and the printed Hebrew/English Torah). I tried to help by holding up the correct book. They remained lost.

    We'd been praying an hour or so when children appeared, passing out candy. I knew what was going to happen, but the guys downstairs were clueless and I was too far away to help them. A member of the congregation had a new baby, and he was called to read Torah. After he read his verses, the entire synagogue erupted into celebration. The new father's family was originally from Iran, and his female relatives leaned over the balcony going "La-Ya-La"--that funny sound with their tongue. At the same time, everyone was pelting the new father with candy (sweetness), expressing joy in the new baby. Two of the rabbis and the new father began dancing around the bimah (the stand where the Torah is read). It was the neatest celebration I've ever seen. My Korean student had a dazed expression that was priceless. My husband wasn't much better. I loved it.

    I've also attended several of the mosques in my city at the invitation of my Moslem students. I found kind, courteous people who answered my questions and served delicious Kurdish food. I stayed for the prayer service. While my Arabic is extremely limited, hearing the Azhan (call to prayer) echoing through the big room was awesome. The Iman gave his weekly talk in English, the only common language among his United Nations congregation, and again I knew I'd found a wise, learned man. I particularly loved a story he related from the life of the prophet Mohammed. Mohammed had been asked about the status of animals and he answered with this story. A dog, almost dead with thirst, tried in vain to get water from a well. A man passed by, saw the animal's condition, and drew up water for it to drink. For this act of mercy Allah forgave his sins. I believe this impressed me because in Southern Baptist Sunday School I was told that animals don't have souls and don't go to heaven.

    How can I possibly leave out the Tibetan monks who visit my city every few years? I never miss them. Again, I'm always struck with their astounding wisdom. Of course they love animals, which they believe do indeed have souls. I took my Lhasa apso, a Tibetan breed, to meet them and they were delighted to play with her. My Lhasa ran straight to them as if she knew them. Tibetans believe that monks who have not attained enlightenment are reincarnated as Lhasa apsos.

    Someone asked the poster if he would attend a Wiccan ceremony. I certainly hope the answer is yes. Wiccans primarily celebrate the connection between humanity and nature, and their ceremonies relate human life with the cycles of the earth. One song especially stayed with me; the chorus went "We are a circle within a circle, with no beginning and never ending." Then everyone danced around a maypole to celebrate the coming of spring and new life to the earth. It was another great experience.

    At some point in the spiritual journey each of us has to decide whether to narrow down or open up. I decided to open and I believe I'm a wiser person for the experiences I've had in different religious traditions. My presence at these services wasn't a declaration of my belief in them; it was a declaration of my desire to learn. This earth has housed a lot of wise people, and I want to learn from all of them.

    So perhaps it's not surprising that my favorite spiritual book is St. Therese of Lisieux's "Story of a Soul". I've read it so often I've memorized some parts. On the centennial of St. Therese's death (1997), she was elevated to the status of a Doctor of the Catholic Church, one of only three women so honored. (I suspect St. Edith Stein may join her someday.)

    Okay, were you really harmed by being at a ceremony that honored the Torah? I doubt it. Maypoles are harmless, too, and St. Therese said that the most important thing we do is to love.

    Could I interest you in stretching?

    Jennie
    Primitive Baptist
    Murfreesboro, TN

  35. #35
    AustinW is offline. Puritanboard Postgraduate
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    I used to have a Lhasa Apso. I can't be sure, but I'm pretty sure she had never been a Tibetan monk.

  36. #36
    CIT
    CIT is offline. Puritanboard Postgraduate
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    from a former chaplain assistant, I say just view it as a military function and go. Don't view it as a religious ceremony.
    B

  37. #37
    AustinW is offline. Puritanboard Postgraduate
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    This thread is old. He already went.

  38. #38
    CIT
    CIT is offline. Puritanboard Postgraduate
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    haha, I guess I should read the thread completely before jumping to the end.
    B

  39. #39
    darrellmaurina's Avatar
    darrellmaurina is offline. Puritanboard Freshman
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    I am a reporter outside Fort Leonard Wood, which is the home of the Army's engineer, chemical, and military police schools, as well as the center for most of the truck driver/convoy training in the Department of Defense.

    If you want an idea of how the military handles religious pluralism, you might like to read these two articles:

    Chaplain explains Army's support for soldiers following Fort Hood attack: from Pulaski County Daily News

    Diversity of worship poses challenges for chaplains at Fort Leonard Wood: from Pulaski County Daily News

    I personally have no problem attending a Jewish service, especially a Torah scroll dedication, though I would have major problems with attending some of the other worship services listed -- especially the Wiccans. Judaism is a special case when it comes to non-Christian religions, and I am personally aware of several U.S. Army chaplains who are Calvinists and specifically asked to be the chaplain responsible for overseeing the lay-led Jewish worship services at their installations. (Army policy requires that lay-led worship services for faith groups that don't have their own chaplain be under the oversight of a chaplain, though that chaplain won't be actually conducting the worship.)

    But with all due respect to some of the brethren posting, when someone joins the United States military as a chaplain (a commissioned officer) or as an enlisted chaplain's assistant, they need to go in with their eyes wide open about the difference between "performing" and "providing for" religious worship. A person who cannot accept that the Department of Defense is providing religious worship for non-Christian religions probably cannot serve in the chaplaincy in good conscience. And that's not a recent development -- it dates back a century and a half to the Civil War era when non-Christian chaplains were first approved for the Union Army and procedures were created to allow Jewish Rabbis to become Union Army chaplains. On the Confederate side, General Lee was also quite helpful in accomodating the religious worship for his Southern Jewish soldiers through civilian Rabbis, though I don't know the details of whether any Rabbis were actually commissioned as Confederate chaplains.
    Darrell Todd Maurina
    Member, Gospel of Grace ARP
    Springfield, Missouri

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