‘What about us?’

An Army chaplain I know took part in a battle simulation exercise prior to his unit deploying overseas. He entered a tent where four supposed bodies were lying, and checked their identification discs. Two indicated the wearers had religious affiliations and the other two none. So he said prayers over the first two but not the others. As he got up to leave, the two soldiers who didn’t get prayed for sat up and said: ‘What about us?’ My friend said: ‘But you say you have no religion and I thought it would wrong for me not to respect your wishes.’ Well the outcome was that at the end of the exercise those two, and a number of other troops applied for new identity discs. Even though they professed no interest in religion, they still wanted a padre to pray for them if they were facing the end… Interesting!

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