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Public Statements

Department of Defense Appropriations Act, 2014

Floor Speech

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Date:
Location: Washington, DC

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Mr. COLLINS of Georgia. I appreciate the gentleman yielding time.

Mr. Chairman, this is an interesting amendment, especially for me, because I am currently a chaplain in the United States military.

I appreciate the arguments that have been made here, but let's just bring back something that needs to be made. When we deal with this in the contradiction of terms, a chaplain is there to provide services and spiritual guidance and a guiding hand, if you would, to all--those of faith and those with no faith. That is done in a confidential setting, and it is done in a way in which the person who brings to the chaplain their feelings, their needs, and their conversations are kept in that inviolate conversation.

What I'm here to do is to support this amendment because I believe it attacks the basis of the chaplaincy, it attacks the chaplaincy as a whole, this introduction into the DOD to bring an atheist chaplain to, really, the heart of the chaplaincy itself.

I think it is beyond more than just do those who have no faith have a place to go. It's not about that. I believe it's about the faith of the chaplaincy as a whole and the standards that have been set up.

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Mr. COLLINS of Georgia. Mr. Chairman, if a chaplain is doing their job right, then all feel welcome.

When I was in Iraq, I would go across and see everyone at night. I had many times those who profess no faith at all who would come to me and say, Chaplain, I don't believe there is a God, but I have a wife at home that I'm having trouble with. Can you talk to me? That's what a chaplain does.

This amendment reaffirms the establishment of our chaplaincy, and I believe that is what it protects; and it protects those with faith and those without faith and those who are somewhere in between. This amendment needs to be approved.

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