A chaplain at Hospice by the Sea in Boca Raton has resigned, she says, over a ban on use of the words “God” or “Lord” in public settings.
Chaplains still speak freely of the Almighty in private sessions with patients or families but, the Rev. Mirta Signorelli said: “I can’t do chaplain’s work if I can’t say ‘God’ – if I’m scripted.”
Hospice CEO Paula Alderson said the ban on religious references applies only to the inspirational messages that chaplains deliver in staff meetings. The hospice remains fully comfortable with ministers, priests and rabbis offering religious counsel to the dying and grieving.
Although it’s another one of those sad “culture wars” kinds of things, it’s also a lesson in absurdity from a place where absurdity is a way of life.
During World War I, the French, in the secularist fit that followed l’affaire Dreyfus, abolished the chaplaincy in the military that went “over the top.” There were Roman Catholic priests and other clergy serving, but they served as regular soldiers, officiating unofficially. And there was plenty of dying going on, to be sure.
In South Florida we have the mirror image of this, the ridiculous spectacle of an institution hiring chaplains but turning around and prohibiting their use of “God” or “Lord.” Worse, out of the seven chaplains working at this place, the other six went along with this! Who needs a chaplain without God? (BTW, that’s one reason why I left TEC, it didn’t make sense going to the trouble of being in an institution where the belief in a real God was so tenuous.)
It’s just too much…