A couple of months ago I brought up the hypothetical situation of a state department employing a chaplain, like the Legislature does. Just today I found out about the case in Indiana where the Family and Social Services Administration (FSSA) has been employing a chaplain for the last year, for $60,000. The Freedom From Religion Foundation (FFRF) has filed the case in U.S. District Court in Indianapolis on behalf of four Indianapolis resident (only 4!).
This is exactly the thing I was worried about with the trickle-down justification of mixing religion and government. The Congress does it, so state Legislatures feel they can do it, so city governments feel they can do it, and so on... One of the justifications for the program by a FSSA spokesperson was “The U.S. Congress has had them forever.”
The only response from FSSA Secretary Mitch Roob – who is named in the suit – was, “Sometimes you know you’re right by who opposes you.” That's the best justification he can come up with for why the program is legal...this case should be easy. I've been asking since Easter for a good justification for chaplains in the legislature other than 'historical tradition', and I still haven't heard anything.
I hope that this works its way up to the Supreme Court and a ruling is made about all chaplain programs in positions other then the military, prisons, etc (which I mentioned where in a different category).