Washington – Michael Hiles a Messianic Jew endorsed for service as Chaplain in the United States Navy by the Union of Messianic Jewish Congregations has been recently denied the ability to serve as Messianic Jewish Chaplain.
Having applied to serve as a Messianic Jewish Chaplain Candidate almost three years ago Michael was approved by the Navy to begin training while attending Yeshiva.
Upon arriving for his first stage of training Michael was told he would have to wear the Cross of Christianity instead of the Tablets signifying Judaism or he could not continue to train until the Naval Chaplaincy Board made a determination as to which lapel insignia should be worn by a Messianic Jewish Chaplain.
Michael notified the Chaplain School command that as a Messianic Jew the proper symbol of his faith would be the tablets of Judaism and not the Christian Cross and requested the Navy reconsider. However, he was told that the decision came from the senior Chaplain Command and nothing at that time could be done. He must don the Christian Cross or go home and await a final decision from the Navy. And so, Michael went home.
The decision requiring Messianic Jews to wear the Christian Cross was made officially on November 26, 2008 by the President of the Navy Uniform Board, Vice Admiral M. E. Ferguson U.S. Navy Deputy Chief of Naval Operations (Manpower, Personnel, Training and Education) (N1)
This decision essentially bars Messianic Jews from serving as chaplains within the U.S. Navy because it would require them to wear an insignia inconsistent with their faith and belief system. As a result of this decision Michael Hiles has had to decline the opportunity to begin the supersession process to become an active duty chaplain within the Navy.