The military isn’t simply a profession””it’s a life. The line between public and private is vanishingly small. (This is one reason why the military can still punish misbehavior like adultery.) Mr. Page therefore has a powerful point when he complains that he had no way to avoid proselytizing comments and prayers by chaplains at formal West Point events. But his Christian colleagues are in a similar bind. There is nowhere else for them to take their faith.
Military chaplains are a key player in this matter. Isn’t it a First Amendment-violating “establishment of religion” for the military to appoint religious officials? No, it isn’t, because if the military didn’t provide chaplains, religious believers would be cut off from public worship in many military settings. The chaplains exist not for the military or the government generally, but to give military men and women access to their religion.
The problem is how to achieve this objective without creating an environment that seems to associate the military with particular religious views.