National Guard Chaplain Kurt Bishop built a career on lies about his service, wearing 15 honors and dozens of decorations over 20 years that he did not earn.
But the Christian Science Monitor asks whether that outweighed the good that Bishop–who did not lie about his chaplain credentials–did for others.
If you have some time on your hands *cough-government-shutdown-cough,* sit down with the article, which gets inside the skull of a military faker.
In 2009, a judge advocate general summoned Bishop into his office to tell him he suspected him of lying repeatedly.
“I said, ‘Yes, I did these things,’ ” Bishop recalls confessing, and the National Guard confirms that Bishop from the start collaborated with the investigation. “I felt relief, followed by shame and sheer terror. How am I going to tell my wife?”
After putting their son to bed, Bishop came clean. He told her he had been wearing unauthorized decorations and lying about military training. He told her he had doctored his records to cover his tracks. He told her he had subsequently claimed even more honors and training on official forms, which he then signed, perjuring himself.
Today, Bishop and his wife–hampered by his criminal record–live modestly. Bishop is paying restitution and attends counseling. But he worries that his actions badly damaged the trust that commanders place in chaplains, and that his deceptions have come to define him.
“That tears me up,” he adds, just as when two chaplains said they could not separate Bishop’s deception from their evaluation of him as a chaplain. “If that’s what they use to measure my effectiveness,” he says, “then I wasn’t a very good chaplain.”