Airport Chaplains

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Flying the friendly skies. . .

Airport Chaplains (NYT)

I support much of this attempt at practical helping where people need some help.  As long as it isn’t sectarian.  As long as it is truly inclusive.  As long as public funds aren’t used.

Once again my suspicions were confirmed when visiting the international website link.  Unfortunately, Chaplain groups continue to be dominated by sectarian Christians.

Note the “Save Our Seafarers” affiliation, the use of God language (and male of course) and emphasis on “prayer,” which would eliminate Buddhists, Pagans, Humanists and many Progressive Christians from membership.

Other than the Chaplaincy Institute and a few others (such as Chaplains Without Borders in Australia), it is rare to find Chaplain Associations that are not packed with preachers-on-a-mission.  One purpose of Secular Chaplain is to balance and level the playing field for those who sincerely want to assist others (to apply Whitman’s standards) without any other agenda other than compassionate presence.  I admit this is my bias, but I have 25 years of experience that taught me this is the healthiest way, and the most appreciated by the most people.

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2 thoughts on “Airport Chaplains

  1. Being “agenda-free” is not just for secular and humanist chaplains. It is the hallmark of ALL professionally trained chaplains! We are supposed to listen to our patients, and help them to articulate their own agendas, no matter how religious they are.

  2. Yes, true, Karen. And no doubt each of us has some kind of “agenda.” As the dictionary puts it, an agenda is: a plan of things to be done or problems to be addressed. How would anyone know how to plan or to address problems without close, active listening? Allowing room for others to “articulate their own agenda” makes great sense. And then, of course, who knows if the plan of action will apply to the next person or not! Chaplaincy is an open (agenda-less) wilderness in so many ways, isn’t it?

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