I was deeply disturbed by this New York Times article -- Religion for a Captive Audience, Paid For by Taxes -- that described how government money is being used to fund programs that give special treatment to prisoners who are willing to subject themselves to being evangelized. And, forget for the moment, about the troubling fairness, separation-of-church-and-state, and human rights issues involved here -- this sort of thing is also a disaster for the profession of chaplaincy. This is why people mistrust us in the halls of the hospital -- they're afraid that we're doing the things described in this article. That is, that we're using our trusted place as a member of the medical care team to force our beliefs on other people.
These sort of programs really stain the good names of all of us spiritual caregivers who are deeply committed to caring for people of all faiths and beliefs.