View Full Version : Academy to continue noon prayer

06-27-05, 02:32 PM
June 27, 2005
Academy to continue noon prayer
By Christopher Munsey
Times staff writer

When asked about the tradition of having a noon meal prayer at the Naval Academy, Superintendent Vice Adm. Rodney Rempt said the nondenominational prayer will continue.
Board of Visitors Chairman retired Gen. Charles Krulak, former commandant of the Marine Corps, raised the issue during the board’s quarterly meeting at the academy this morning.

Krulak was reacting to recent calls from the Anti-Defamation League that the prayer, conducted on a rotating basis by the academy’s six chaplains, be discontinued. The prayer, given to the Brigade of Midshipmen in King Hall, can be a spoken prayer, a moment of silence or a devotional thought, officials said.

Rempt said Navy legal experts had reviewed the constitutionality of offering the prayer and found that it fit into the academy’s wider mission of “developing” naval officers; those officers routinely support the religious needs of their own sailors and Marines, he said.

“I’m going to continue on that path,” Rempt said.

Rempt said the Academy’s noon meal prayer is meant to assist in the individual moral development of midshipmen, and teach them about other religions, so they have familiarity with other faiths when they go out into the fleet. The prayers regularly include readings from the Koran, the Torah and the Bible.

“Every midshipman is required to be respectful and silent during that period,” Rempt said. “They can pray if they wish, or not, whatever they like to do.”

After the open session of the board meeting, Krulak said the academy should oppose the call to end to the prayer. Religion, he said, is important to many sailors and Marines, especially in times of conflict.

“I think the Naval Academy ought to put a clear line in the sand ... and fight against it like anything else that would come against combat effectiveness,” Krulak said.

In 2003, the American Civil Liberties Union of Maryland also asked that the prayer be dropped, in light of a federal court decision that found a similar prayer at the Virginia Military Institute to be unconstitutional, but took no further action.


06-27-05, 08:11 PM