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Robins Chaplains support people of all faiths | News

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Robins Chaplains support people of all faiths

The United States military fights for our freedoms: freedom of speech, freedom to bear arms and freedom to worship as we choose.

The Chaplain Corps at Robins Air Force Base protects that religious freedom at home and abroad through ministry.

They defend the right to worship freely, even if other airmen's views conflict with their own beliefs.

At the Robins Air Force Base tree lighting ceremony in early December, you would not have heard utterances of '"Seasons Greetings", no mentions of "holiday trees" or talk about celebrations of a "winter solstice".

That gathering of the troops, complete with hymns and prayers, was undeniably Christian.

Assistant Chaplain Captain Jessica Prophitt said the job gives her the chance to serve her country and her faith at the same time.

Prophitt, a Christian, helped hang the tinsel, trim the tree.

So did Airmen Darrion Sanders, an atheist. Sanders said, "We welcome anybody of any faith."

He said "we", because he is a leader in the chapel program.

Sanders sees no conflict mixing organized religion with his pagan spirituality.

He said, "Even though their guidance may be based off their own faith, they can still offer world wisdom to me."

What's more is that no one on the religious side, sets out to convert him.

Chaplain Lt. Col. Mark Crumpton said, "Diversity can be a strength."

Crumpton, a Southern Baptist, says he's at peace providing people of any faith, or non-faith, the spiritual guidance they seek.

He said, "Individuals can look at my cross and see who I am. They're certainly open to ask questions or seek information, but when they come to me, I respond to them based on what they need. Not on what I feel they should or should not do."

A chaplain for nearly 20 years, Crumpton says he encounters an increasing number of military members, and more of his own staff, with no religious preference.

Staff Sergeant Joshua Manglona plans to make a career in the Chapel Corps.

He said, "I'm here for the long haul, if the Air Force allows me."

Manglona deploys after Christmas to a combat zone, tasked with guarding a chaplain. Chaplains are prohibited from carrying weapons.

He will put his life on the line protecting a person of faith, even though he claims no religion of his own.

Manglona said, "That's what I am here to serve for, and I am going to do my job the best that I can."

That's the sort of religious freedom Crumpton says the U.S. military fights for.

He said, "Giving the absolute freedom to express that in their own life."

It's only fitting that they would show the utmost respect for all its forms of expression.

The Robins Air Force Base Chaplain Corps currently has only Christian ministers on staff.

If someone asks for a religious ceremony that is outside their faith, the chaplains guide them to people in the community to help.


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