In America, Alex Stoval, one of the candidates running for a Congressional seat in Arizona, has come under extensive scrutiny due to his use of his chaplaincy in political campaigns.
Stoval tweeted, "My name is Alex Stovall. I am Republican. I am 26. I am a Chaplain. I am pro-second Amendment. I am America First. Now, I am running for Congress to take on AOC" in May as part of their starting campaign.
When asked about his work as a chaplain, Stovall identified himself as a "Reservist Chaplain", working for the military reserve force, and noted that his advertising does not mean that the Department of Defense does not endorse him or his position. Military records later revealed that Stovall is registered as a chaplain candidate and has not been fully promoted since joining the military in 2013.
Stovall's decision to note his history as a chaplain garnered him the attention of the US Army Reserve Command, who expressed concerns about how Stovall uses his employment for political gains. Stovall is still under investigation.
The campaign itself says that it has not done wrong, telling the Religion News Service that "The campaign has followed all USAR and DOD regulations. Alex Stovall is proud to be in the (Army Reserves), and he decided to run to serve his country in Congress as well." However, anonymous sources within the military also told RNS that Stovall was not actually a chaplain but rather just a candidate who had not received a full promotion as of June 2021.
Current DOD regulations bar candidates from political representations that "depict or allow the depiction of themselves in uniform in a manner that does not accurately reflect their actual performance of duty. For the purpose of this policy, 'photographs' include video images, drawings, and all other similar formats of representational media."