Below is a message I sent to the Secretary of State for Defence, Des Browne MP.
The Royal Army Chaplains' Department are very restrictive in who they see as being eligible to become a Chaplain, and in so doing I believe that they are breaking European Discrimination Laws as well as U.K. Discrimination Laws.
If you check out their site:
You will see that only mainstream clergy are accepted, as well now as 1 Muslim, 1 Hindu, 1 Buddhist, 1 Sikh and 1 Tri-Service Jewish Rabbi.
But no Pentecostal Padres. Why not? The site below shows the break down of who supposedly is of which denomination and the number of Padres from each of the acceptable denominations.
Something like 5.5% of the soldiers questioned claimed to be Unspecified Christians - these soldiers do not have their own Padre. Why not?
Why can the RAChD continue to get away with breaking the Law?
At 54 years of age I am not looking to be a Padre with the regular Army. I've done my time a quarter of a century ago.
I was ordained in 1989 after I left he Army. I am accepted by the Registrar General General of Scotland to perform marriages, I am good enough to officiate at a Remembrance Sunday Service for Scottish Government Civil Servants at St. Andrew's House at the request of Permanent Secretary Sir John Elvidge.
But sadly because of the RAChD being allowed to continue to break the Law, I am barred from serving as a Padre to the Lothian and Borders Army Cadets Force, which has cadets in both of your Constituencies. http://edinburghnews.scotsman.com/latestnews/City-honour-for-soldier-killed.4076456.jp
When will the Government who pays for the RAChD and its' staff, step in and stop them breaching Discriminations Laws?
The Pentecostal Church is the largest growing CHRISTIAN movement in the whole of the U.K. But the U.K. Government sit back and allow the RAChD to actively discriminate against Pentecostals. They also force non believers to go to church or stand outside in the rain.
YES they do actually do that. I went to church in the Army because I wanted to. I also help with Sunday Schools and Boys Brigade Units where ever I could whilst in the Army, including whilst in service in Northern Ireland in the 1970's.
So when I was ordered to go to church on a Friday morning to please the C.O. I stood outside in all weathers refusing to enter because I saw this as a breach of my civil rights. I am an Ordained Christian not a Religious bigot forcing my beliefs onto others.
So when will the Government step in and change this illegal practice, or will the Royal Army Chaplains' Department have to be taken to court? Causing grief for them, the Ministry of Defense, and ultimately the Government as their employer.
My application to join my local Army Cadet Force as an Adult Instructor is in the pipeline. I know they are in need of a Padre, so when will the Government allow me and others at present barred illegally, to apply for the post?
As a Member of the British Society of Criminology, I may just put this topic forward for discussion at our next mail shots. Under the heading:
MoD breaking Discrimination Laws???
When will this active discrimination end? Not for me but for the others that come after.
I look forward to your replies.
Rev Dr W.K. Mackie