Uphold Religious Freedoms for Military Chaplains
Our beloved chaplains, who provide spiritual support to our troops, are being stripped of their freedom of speech, expression, association, and RELIGION.
Published on October 11th, the Canadian Armed Forces (CAF) Chaplain General, Brigadier-General Guy Bélisle, dropped a literal censorship bombshell on our CAF chaplains:
DO NOT USE PRAYER DURING PUBLIC FUNCTIONS.
This includes our upcoming Remembrance Day ceremonies.
The aim of this directive is to force our military chaplains' language to conform to the secular values of “diversity” and "inclusivity" that are "mindful of the Gender Based Analysis (GBA+)."
This means any mention of “God”, like “Heavenly Father”, and prayers, including the "Our Father", are now off the table.
But it doesn't stop there, as there are plans to replace our chaplains' "Faith Tradition crests" with the secular crest of the Royal Canadian Chaplain Service (RCChS), because some of our chaplains' affiliation with certain religions is a potential source of "suffering and generational trauma."
Finally, this was done without a single consultation with the CAF’s Interfaith Committee on Canadian Military Chaplaincy.
Brigadier-General Bélisle has traded our chaplains' fundamental freedoms in the name of diversity, inclusion, and equity (DEI).
The freedoms that have been traded are:
The Freedom of Speech,
The Brigadier is dictating what they can say in public. He's even preventing them from invoking God during public ceremonies like this upcoming Remembrance Day.
The Freedom of Expression,
Prayer, a fundamental form of self-expression, is being stifled while the chaplains' religious symbols, which represent their faith, are being replaced by a secular military crest.
The Freedom of Association,
Also violated with the removal of faith-based symbols, as it reveals a chaplain’s religious affiliation.
And most importantly, The Freedom of RELIGION.
The cornerstone of our chaplaincy is being undermined. This directive breaches Section 2(a) of the Charter, which guarantees our right to declare and practice our religious beliefs openly.
The initial backlash has resulted in the Brigadier-General allowing chaplains the ability to “opt for the practice of recent years, which included the recitation of a preamble” from 2013. This preamble invites individuals who do not pray to “use that time for silent personal reflection or contemplation as others pray”.
The Department of Defense stood firm on this directive, despite claiming that “CAF chaplains are not banned from prayer on Remembrance Day or at any other time”. However, “[w]here in civic ceremonies… chaplains shall avoid faith specific and exclusive language”.
Finally, Defence Minister Bill Blair discussed this issue, both in the House of Commons and on X (formerly Twitter), and stated that CAF “chaplains are not – and will not be – banned from prayer on Remembrance Day, nor at any other time.”
However, Minister Blair does not appear to stand by his words; since a Conservative motion by MP Blake Richards requesting a motion to study the military prayer ban was defeated by all Liberal, Bloc, and NDP MPs on October 24.
Backtracking lip service does not go far enough, as a leaked email noted some military chaplains had left the CAF permanently because of this new directive.
With MPs, the Department of National Defence, and their own Brigadier-General against them, we are the only ones who can stand up and voice our support to our military chaplains.
Tell Brigadier-General Bélisle, General Wayne Eyre, Minister Blair, and The Department of National Defence that YOU STAND WITH CAF CHAPLAINS and their FREEDOM OF RELIGION.
LifeSite News: Canadian military members speak out after being told chaplains shouldn’t use ‘God’ in public prayers
Government of Canada Press Release: Chaplain General Direction on Chaplain's Spiritual Reflection in Public Settings
Section 2(a) - Freedom of Religion, Charter of Rights and Freedoms
Minister Bill Blair's Twitter/X Comment on The Issue
The Epoch Times: EXCLUSIVE: Military Tells Chaplains No Prayers at Official Events as Remembrance Day Approaches
The Epoch Times: National Defence Confirms Chaplains Can’t Say ‘God’ at Remembrance Day, Other Official Ceremonies
The Epoch Times: EXCLUSIVE: Leaked Email Says Chaplains Leaving Military After New Religious Prayer Prohibitions
The Epoch Times: Minister Blair Says Tories Spreading ‘Misinformation’ on New Military Chaplain Directive on Prayer
The Epoch Times: EXCLUSIVE: Military Backtracks, Will Allow Chaplains to Say Prayer on Remembrance Day
The Epoch Times: Tory Motion to Study Military Prayer Ban Defeated in Committee