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Public Statements

National Defense Authorization Act for Fiscal Year 2014

Floor Speech

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Date:
Location: Washington, DC

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Mr. HUELSKAMP. I thank the chairman. I appreciate the opportunity to visit here today.

First, I'd like to visit about two heroes in the history of our country. One would be Father Emil Kapaun. I had the honor of being at the White House a couple of months ago where he was awarded the Congressional Medal of Honor for his bravery in action of ministering to the needs of not only men and women of faith, but those who claim to have no faith.

In addition, I have the honor of being the nephew of a 95-year-old Army chaplain who also has been honored for serving, ministering to the needs of men and women in uniform.

One thing I will want to note is, instead of being dismissive of those types of sacrifices, I will read a little bit from the duties of the Chaplain Corps: ``Each chaplain shall hold appropriate religious services at least once on each Sunday.'' Or the Navy and Marines say: ``An officer in the Chaplain Corps may conduct public worship according to the manner and forms of the church of which he is a member'' and ``shall cause divine service to be performed on Sunday.'' It goes on and on. Obviously, that's our understanding of the chaplaincy.

Madam Chair, how is it that one can hold a religious service for an organization, as the amendment puts it, that does not consider itself to be a religion? It's completely contrary to the directions, instructions, and the very definition of the Chaplain Corps, represented by Father Emil Kapaun and numerous others, to extend appointments to groups in manners suggested by this amendment.

When you take away the worship, the prayer, everything that makes a religious service religious, you are left with counselors, as has been indicated. There are humanist, atheist, and ethical culturalist counselors available to folks that serve our country. In addition, I'm certain every chaplain that serves our brave men and women are available for those who do not share their faith, and that's the case.

I urge my colleagues to vote against this amendment and be very supportive of our current brave men and women who serve alongside our members of the Armed Forces.

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