Friday, April 25, 2003

The Army has cleared the chaplain who caused so much controversy a few weeks ago with his clumsy attempt to joke around with a reporter:
The Army has cleared a Baptist chaplain from Houston of any wrongdoing stemming from a published report he offered filthy U.S. soldiers a dip in his 500-gallon pool in Iraq if they agreed to be baptized.

The Army determined that Josh Llano, 32, did not coerce any soldiers into conversion as an April 4 Miami Herald article indicated. The article generated numerous complaints that led the chaplain chief, Maj. Gen. Gaylord Gunhus, to call for an inquiry.
The first paragraph should give a clue that there was never anything to this story in the first place, as I have already pointed out. The very idea of offering soldiers a "dip" if they "agreed to be baptized" just doesn't sound plausible when you are talking about a Baptist. Some Christian denominations believe in baptism by sprinkling -- Catholics, Episcopals, etc. -- and if it were a chaplain from one of those denominations, it might be believable that the chaplain had said, "If you agree to be baptized -- i.e., sprinkled -- I will let you have a dip in the pool."

But Baptists believe in baptism by immersion, i.e., getting fully dunked in a pool of water. Thus, it doesn't make much sense that a Baptist minister would ever say, "I'll let you have a dip in the pool if you agree to be baptized," because being baptized simply means having a dip in the pool in the first place. In other words, the worst that this chaplain can be accused of having said is, "I'll let you be baptized -- and that means having a dip in the pool -- if being baptized is what you really want to do." And I just don't see anything wrong with that.


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