The Canadian Armed Forces (CAF) has advised its chaplain service religious prayers in official public functions are now forbidden. “While the dimension of prayer may occupy a significant place for some of our members, we do not all pray in the same way; for some, prayer does not play a role in their lives,” said CAF Chaplain General Brigadier General Guy Belisle in a memo obtained by the Epoch Times. “Therefore, it is essential for chaplains to adopt a sensitive and inclusive approach when publicly addressing military members.” In practice, this means a chaplain cannot recite from the Bible or allude to God while participating in ceremonies and public functions. Instead, Belisle said spiritual reflections must be “inclusive in nature and respectful of the religious and spiritual diversity of Canada.”This move is part of the large cultural change process in the CAF implemented by the Canadian government, which aims to put principles of diversity, inclusion and equity (DIE) at the core of it. For public reflections, Belisle said chaplains must be careful in choosing inclusive words and they should use language mindful of the Gender Based Analysis. This prohibits chaplains from referring to a heavenly father. Chaplains are prohibited from wearing their traditional scarves, which bear the crests of their respective religions. Christians have a cross, Jews have the star of David and Muslims have a crescent. “Chaplains must consider the potential that some items or symbols may cause discomfort or traumatic feelings when choosing the dress they wear during public occasions,” said Belisle. The religious crests will be replaced by those of the Royal Canadian Chaplain Service (RCChS). Since DIE principles are influencing the CAF, he said the RCChS conducted an in-depth analysis of a Supreme Court of Canada decision from 2015. He cited Mouvement Laique Quebecois v. the City of Saguenay, which pertains to an atheist complaining about Saguenay city council reciting a prayer before meetings. “The evolution of Canadian society has given rise to a concept of neutrality according to which the state must not interfere in religion and beliefs,” said the Supreme Court. “The state must instead remain neutral in this regard, which means that it must neither favour nor hinder any particular belief and the same holds true for non-belief.”Department of National Defence spokesperson Derek Abma said the directive does not apply to other non-official settings. “In a chapel, chaplains may always offer prayer consistent with their own spiritual and faith traditions,” said Abma. Abma said it does not apply to voluntary settings where CAF members or their families gather for worship or study or seek pastoral care. He did not deny religious prayers are now forbidden on events such as Remembrance Day. “The Chaplain General’s directive on chaplains’ spiritual reflection in public settings clarifies that on occasions where CAF chaplains are asked to address public ceremonies and functions in which CAF members are required to attend, they will offer words of reflection that respect the diversity of belief of those gathered, including those who do not hold religious or spiritual beliefs,” he said.An anonymous CAF military chaplain said the new policy is a violation of a covenant Canadians have with deceased soldiers. He acknowledged certain Canadians would not want to attend a Remembrance Day ceremony where the dead are not honoured in prayer. “As a military chaplain, I believe we have moral and spiritual obligations, we have a covenant with the dead,” he said. “Most of those who fought in the Great Wars did so for God and country and deserve to be honoured in that way. He called this policy “first and foremost a violation of that covenant.”This ordeal comes after the Canadian government’s National Defence Advisory Panel recommended the defence minister redefine its military’s chaplaincy services to prohibit religions that do not support sexual minorities and gender equality agendas in 2022. READ MORE: Government Panel says only pro-(sexual minorities) for Canada’s military chaplainsThe National Defence Advisory Panel said since the Canadian Defence Team and CAF are committed to equality and inclusivity, it is inconsistent to continue employing “chaplaincy applicants affiliated with religious groups whose values are not aligned with those of the Defence Team.”It did not list which religions it deemed objectionable.