TRENTON, NEW JERSEY — A U.S. Air Force chaplain has announced his departure from the Southern Baptist Convention, after the Christian denomination publicly questioned his attendance at a same-sex ceremony that was performed at his military base.
Col. Timothy Wagoner, a long serving Air Force chaplain, said he participated in the same-sex civil union ceremony as Joint Base McGuire-Dix-Lakehurst strictly as a spectator, and to offer collegial support to the Lutheran chaplain who officiated at the rite.
“I find very little that is more important and nothing that is more exhilarating than providing for the religious freedoms and spiritual care of all service members and their families — and will joyfully continue to do so,” Wagoner said last week in an interview.
Defense Department regulations say that military chaplains are entitled to adhere to the beliefs of their faith, but should show respect for those who hold different creeds.
The Southern Baptist Convention’s executive director for chaplaincy, former Army Chief of Chaplains Douglas Carver, told the Baptist Press that a military chaplaincy is “one of the toughest ministries in the Kingdom of God.”