Navy Chaplain's Program Embraces Diversity of Faiths Among Militairy Moms

December 11, 2003

Source: Sightings

On December 11, 2003 Sightings published an article by Rev. William E. Middleton, a Chaplain in the United States Navy, on his new program Baby's First Scripture. The program provides mothers of all faiths at the Naval Hospital at Camp Pendleton a book of scriptures for their new-born children. The program seeks to be sensitive to "the rich variety of faiths in our pluralistic military" and provides Bibles as well as Korans, copies of the Book of Mormon, and Buddhist Scriptures to mothers and their children. Middleton writes, "There can be no greater expression of love than new parents sharing their beloved Scriptures with a new child.  There may not be anything more hurtful (or illegal) than an institution insisting that a new family believe a certain way or hold a certain book as Scripture.  To serve in a diverse religious community, a delicate balance must be maintained which is easily managed by remembering two simple guidelines.  First, there is Jesus’ commandment to love our neighbors and, second, the free exercise of religion clause.  These two pillars clearly close the door on religious bigotry and open the door for plurality.  I am proud to be on the frontlines of ministry in our pluralistic age."