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House Chaplain History Of Discrimination

Yesterday, I wrote about the unconstitutional aspects of the government-established religious position of Chaplain of the United States House of Representatives. In a nation where the Constitution dictates no religious test for public office, and where there is to be no government establishment of religion through Congress, the House Chaplain is appointed on the basis of religious belief to perform official, government sanctioned religious rituals on a daily basis.

I also quickly referred to the discriminatory history of the position of the House Chaplain. Appointments to the position have discriminated against non-majority religions: Every single House Chaplain has been a Christian. It’s been sexist too: There has never been a female House Chaplain.

After I wrote the article, I looked through various historical records, and discovered another aspect of the discriminatory history of the House Chaplain: Racism. Every House Chaplain has been of European ancestry. No African-Americans. No Asian-Americans. No Native Americans. There haven’t even been any Hispanic-Americans in the position.

Take a look at this sampling of pictures of the male, white Christians that have held the position of House Chaplain. Do they really represent all of what America is and has been?

house chaplains

Even if you’re in favor of using the power of the federal government to promote religion, even if you support using the government to promote Christianity in particular, the history of the office of the Chaplain of the House of Representatives makes it clear that when the federal government meddles in religion, it does so only to promote certain kinds of Christianity. Other kinds of Christianity, other kinds of religion, and non-religious groups of Americans are left out in the cold.

This is the kind of position that serves no practical legitimate public function. It only creates inequality, with the divisive impression that the U.S. Congress is an institution only for Christians.

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