SFC lets the ‘Golden Rule’ be his guide to moral dilemmas

| May 19, 2017 | 0 Comments

Sgt. 1st Class Timothy Seppala
94th Army Air and Missile Defense Command

JOINT BASE PEARL HARBOR-HICKAM — Morality is a highly subjective concept that has its roots in a variety of sources.

Some derive their sense of morality from their religious convictions, while others tend to draw on their cultural roots.

The Senior Religious Affairs Specialist (formerly known as chaplain assistant) for the 94th Army Air and Missile Defense Command, Sgt. 1st Class Timothy F. Seppala stands for a photo at Hickam Beach on Joint Base Pearl Harbor-Hickam, July 26, 2016. In his article, "You don’t know what you don’t know about the U.S. Army Chaplain Corps", he writes about some of the lesser known aspects of the U.S. Army Chaplains Corps.

Sgt. 1st Class Timothy F. Seppala

The truth is, morality can come from almost anywhere, and it is unique to each individual.

As you can imagine, having so many sources of morality leads to different views on what is right and wrong. Of course, some moral issues are almost universally accepted. Most people would agree that murder, rape and theft are morally reprehensible. However, it is those issues that most people do not agree on that cause them to protest and riot on the streets of the United States.

Abortion, gay marriage, capital punishment, transgender bathroom choice, or even less controversial issues such as alcohol use, pornography, divorce and premarital sex can all have a dividing effect on society.

Although not as prevalent or vocal, this societal divide does extend into the military, particularly when policies run contrary to the moral system of some of the Soldiers and leaders of our units.

Unlike our civilian counterparts, those of us in uniform are not allowed to speak out against policies that we find run contrary to our moral beliefs. The question then becomes “How do we reconcile our morality with a policy that violates our sense of right and wrong?”

The answer lies in the Golden Rule: “Treat others as you would like to be treated.”

It is OK for Soldiers and leaders to hold onto their belief systems. The Army wants leaders with conviction; after all, a person with a grasp of right and wrong is far better than one who has no moral compass to follow. Just don’t let your views of morality prevent you from treating everyone with the respect and dignity they deserve as fellow Soldiers and human beings.

If you find yourself struggling with a moral dilemma in either your work or personal life, you are encouraged to find a member of the Chaplain Corps. The Chaplain Corps is able to offer you a safe, confidential environment where you can discuss your thoughts and work through your problems without fear of judgment or reprisal.

Chaplains and religious affairs specialists are assigned to every battalion and higher-level unit in the Army, and they are ready to stand by you as you face all of life’s pitfalls.

(Editor’s note: Seppala is a senior religious affairs noncommissioned officer.) 

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