Religious Pluralism in The U.S.Religious pluralism is not merely an academic topic. There are real world consequences when religion moves into the American workplace. Here's what a local television station broadcast in 2007 over the design of a police chaplain uniform patch:
from Letters to the Editor – January 2002 edition of the ICPC newsletter
Dear Editor of ICPC Newsletter,
I just read the December 2001 edition and noted two instances of criticism directed toward fellow chaplains (presumably Christian, but I don’t know) who are apparently in violation by engaging in evangelism. Would you explain this further? Specifically, what did they do that you deem wrong?
When we consider the great privilege that is ours as Christians to spread the Good News of God’s love in Jesus, as the angels did that first Christmas, then we realize that evangelism has always been, and still is, the work of believers as they bring that Good News of the Gospel to people who face sin, death, and condemnation each day.
I hope that the ICPC is not trying to restrict our Christian witness by dictating the content of prayers, conversations, speeches, counseling or other work by chaplains, but by reading your newsletter I can’t help but get that feeling. Being pluralistic means that in our work as chaplains we allow for expression of all religions, including Christianity which confesses that Jesus is the Way, the Truth, and the Life (John 14:6.) It would seem to me that ICPC needs to be less sensitive to those with a distinctive Christian witness and should be more tolerant of their beliefs and practices.
--Chaplain Donald Jordan
Retired Executive Director Dave DeRevere replied:
ICPC does not ask anyone to water down his or her faith. But it does preach respect for all people and their beliefs.
Chaplaincy differs from being a pastor in that it is primarily a ministry of presence. Our role as a chaplain is to serve, not preach. We are a witness to our faith by our doing, caring and loving. When an officer asks why we do what we do, then the door is open to share our faith.