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News Link • Religion: Believers

Serving Two Masters

• By Laurence M. Vance

"No man can serve two masters" (Matthew 6:24).

The fine print at the bottom of the website where I signed up to receive some religious newsletters read: "From time to time you will also receive Special Offers from our partners that help us make this content free for you. You can opt out of these offers at any time."

I never paid much attention to any "special offers" I received in my inbox until I read the subject line of a recent e-mail: "Aim High And Accept The Call To Serve Those Serving." Turns out that the e-mail "was sent on behalf of U.S. Air Force Chaplain Corps."

Here is what it said:

FULFILL YOUR HIGHER CALLING IN THE U.S. AIR FORCE.

In the U.S. Air Force, you'll have the opportunity to care for Airmen and their families at home an in deployed locations. Your pastoral presence will comfort men and women who impact our national security mission.

The U.S. Air Force Chaplain Corps is a diverse team providing religious care and support. Chaplains are commissioned officers who have the opportunity to serve as religious ministry professionals who advise Air Force leadership on religious needs, spiritual care and ethical matters. You may lead a worship service, conduct marriage counseling, help a young Airman far from home or pray a blessing over those leaving for deployment. It's all in a day's service.

You'll be joining a team committed to glorifying God, serving Airmen and pursuing excellence.

AIM HIGH AND ACCEPT THE CALL TO SERVE THOSE SERVING.

Since I write extensively on the subject of Christianity and the military, I clicked the link to the Air Force Chaplain Corps website in order to see more of the Air Force's sales pitch to gullible religious people:

Nothing tests religious beliefs more than many situations our Airmen face throughout the course of their service. Providing pastoral care ministry and counseling to those of faith and those of no faith, Air Force chaplains are religious ministry professionals who support the spiritual resilience of our Airmen all over the world. As spiritual leaders, chaplains are relied upon for faith and personal guidance. They are also advocates for our Airmen and consult with leadership on moral, ethical and quality-of-life issues.

Turns out the Air Force doesn't just take anyone. There are two education requirements:

Bachelor's degree from an accredited institution with a minimum of 120 semester hours

Master of Divinity or equivalent theological degree with no less than 72 hours from an accredited institution

Experience is required to be a chaplain: "Two years of religious ministry leadership experience." However, no statement of faith is required. You can believe anything you want. You can be a chaplain for the following denominations: Christian Protestant, Muslim, Jewish, Orthodox Christian, Roman Catholic, and "other faith groups."

The qualifications to be an Air Force chaplain are stringent:

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