Dispatches from the Creation Wars

Here’s an interesting little controversy dealing with military chaplains. The Navy says that Messianic Jewish chaplains must wear the cross lapel pin that identifies them as Christian rather than the Ten Commandments tablets that signify a Jewish chaplain. Jews in Green reports:

Fortunately already a policy in the Army and Air Force, word on the street is that the Chief of Naval Operations has issued a policy that Messianic “Jewish” chaplains will wear the cross and NOT the Jewish chaplain device.

This is marvelous news, as it is a good step in keeping these people from misidentifying themselves and preying (praying) on unsuspecting Jewish service members.


The article cites an article from the Messianic Daily News, which objects to the policy ruling. That article said:

Upon arriving for his first stage of training Michael was told he would have to wear the Cross of Christianity instead of the Tablets signifying Judaism or he could not continue to train until the Naval Chaplaincy Board made a determination as to which lapel insignia should be worn by a Messianic Jewish Chaplain.

Michael notified the Chaplain School command that as a Messianic Jew the proper symbol of his faith would be the tablets of Judaism and not the Christian Cross and requested the Navy reconsider. However, he was told that the decision came from the senior Chaplain Command and nothing at that time could be done. He must don the Christian Cross or go home and await a final decision from the Navy. And so, Michael went home.

The decision requiring Messianic Jews to wear the Christian Cross was made officially on November 26, 2008 by the President of the Navy Uniform Board, Vice Admiral M. E. Ferguson U.S. Navy Deputy Chief of Naval Operations (Manpower, Personnel, Training and Education) (N1)

This decision essentially bars Messianic Jews from serving as chaplains within the U.S. Navy because it would require them to wear an insignia inconsistent with their faith and belief system. As a result of this decision Michael Hiles has had to decline the opportunity to begin the supersession process to become an active duty chaplain within the Navy.

That last part strikes me as rather silly. Messianic Jews are Christians; there is no reason why the cross should conflict at all with their beliefs. The whole concept of Messianic Jews has always struck me as absurd. If you believe that Jesus was the Messiah, you’re not Jewish anymore, you’re a Christian.