TOPEKA, KS – After several months of closed-door negotiations, the Chaplain Corps of the U.S. Army has announced that they have finally reached an agreement with the Westboro Baptist Church that will allow its members to serve officially as military chaplains.
Second Lt. Jacob Phelps, a member of the Westboro congregation who was already serving as a non-denominational Christian chaplain, has been officially inducted into the Chaplain Corps. Phelps is himself a pioneer: the first member of his congregation to serve in the U.S. Army.
"I admit it was a little unusual," Phelps chuckled, "growing up protesting at fag funerals for fag soldiers in their fag army. But after a while I thought, maybe the reason they're such baby-killing scum is they haven't been exposed to the good word of the Church and the love it preaches."
In addition to his ministerial duties, Phelps will participate in offering secular advice for soldiers in his unit, including family affairs and counseling services.
"A lot of soldiers have questions," Phelps said. "Why did my wife cheat on me? Why do I have post-traumatic stress? Why didn't all my friends come back? Those questions have an answer: because God hates you."
According to officials in the Chaplain Corps, the main obstacle to a Westboro chaplain was ministering to openly-gay servicemembers, a condition that Phelps said was "laughable."
"At first there were questions about whether I could really be impartial and would be able to minister to soldiers who weren't members of my particular congregation," said Phelps, "but in my eyes everyone is equal: whether you're a pedophile Catholic, Jesus-killing Jew, terrorist Muslim, or just plain old devil-worshiping Pagan, you can expect the same treatment from me."
"My position also does not allow me to discriminate against anyone, regardless of their sexual orientation, and any soldiers should feel free to come to me for assistance," he said before adding, "although once they exit the military, the faggots will obviously burn in hell."
In response to a wave of public outrage, the Chaplain Corps has already released a written statement saying that while it stands by its decision to include the Westboro Baptist Church in its ranks, the decision should be viewed in the specific context of the case of 2LT Phelps. Chaplain Corps officials took pains to stress that the decision would not result in other groups like atheists becoming chaplains, since "the Westboro Baptist Church at least believes in something."
UPDATE: Army officials have confirmed news that only minutes after arriving in Afghanistan, Second Lt. Phelps was killed after his MRAP hit a several-hundred pound IED on the flight line at Herat Airfield. The Army is investigating why no one else was in it at the time.
His congregation announced plans to picket his funeral immediately.