(Updated) Gov. Palin calls Obama to task on Pentagon’s plan to discipline soldiers for sharing their Christian faith
Posted by Dr. Fay on May 1, 2013
(Four updates below.)
Posted on Governor Palin’s Facebook page today:
Sarah Palin · 3,541,708 like this
President Barack Obama had better clear this up today, right now. Surely he is just allowing his handlers to throw up this kind of ridiculous, amoral, un-American trial balloon. I call on Obama to address this immediately with the American public, clear it up, and renounce these reports as the nonsense they surely in God’s name must be.
– Sarah PalinThe Pentagon has released a statement confirming that soldiers could be prosecuted for promoting their faith: “Religious proselytization is not permitted within the Department of Defense…Court martials and non-judicial punishments are decided on a case-by-case basis…”. The statement, released to…
Here is an excerpt from the article she linked to:
Breaking: Pentagon Confirms May Court Martial Soldiers Who Share Christian Faithby Ken Klukowski 1 May 2013, 8:12 AM PDT
The Pentagon has released a statement confirming that soldiers could be prosecuted for promoting their faith: “Religious proselytization is not permitted within the Department of Defense…Court martials and non-judicial punishments are decided on a case-by-case basis…”.
The statement, released to Fox News, follows a Breitbart News report on Obama administration Pentagon appointees meeting with anti-Christian extremist Mikey Weinstein to develop court-martial procedures to punish Christians in the military who express or share their faith.
(From our earlier report: Weinstein is the head of the Military Religious Freedom Foundation, and says Christians–including chaplains–sharing the gospel of Jesus Christ in the military are guilty of “treason,” and of committing an act of “spiritual rape” as serious a crime as “sexual assault.” He also asserted that Christians sharing their faith in the military are “enemies of the Constitution.”)
Being convicted in a court martial means that a soldier has committed a crime under federal military law. Punishment for a court martial can include imprisonment and being dishonorably discharged from the military.
So President Barack Obama’s civilian appointees who lead the Pentagon are confirming that the military will make it a crime–possibly resulting in imprisonment–for those in uniform to share their faith. This would include chaplains—military officers who are ordained clergymen of their faith (mostly Christian pastors or priests, or Jewish rabbis)–whose duty since the founding of the U.S. military under George Washington is to teach their faith and minister to the spiritual needs of troops who come to them for counsel, instruction, or comfort.
This regulation would severely limit expressions of faith in the military, even on a one-to-one basis between close friends. It could also effectively abolish the position of chaplain in the military, as it would not allow chaplains (or any service members, for that matter), to say anything about their faith that others say led them to think they were being encouraged to make faith part of their life. It’s difficult to imagine how a member of the clergy could give spiritual counseling without saying anything that might be perceived in that fashion.
FRC has launched a petition here which has already collected over 30,000 signatures, calling on Secretary Hagel is stop working with Weinstein and his anti-Christian organization to develop military policy regarding religious faith.
I keep coming back to this prophecy that Pastor Steve Foss relayed before the 2008 election:
I want to put this deep in your spirit. I am speaking as a prophet. The words I’m about to tell you are “thus saith the Lord”. If Barack Obama is elected, the attacks against free speech, against those who believe differently than he does, and the systematic use of the government and laws to silence the voice of fundamental Christians will be unlike anything ever seen in this nation before.
WorldNetDaily posted this late last evening (May 1):
Atheist accuses Christians of treason over beliefs
Argues any military member talking about faith guilty of sedition
That there have been those who oppose Christianity in all its forms and expressions at any time anywhere isn’t new. Those are personalities like Mikey Weinstein, of the Military Religious Freedom Foundation, who recently said, “We face incredibly well-funded gangs of fundamentalist Christian monsters who terrorize their fellow Americans by forcing their weaponized and twisted version of Christianity upon their helpless subordinates in our nation’s armed forces.”
The fact the military is listening to him is new.
That was confirmed in a report by Fox News’ Todd Starnes, who said Weinstein “and others from his organization met privately with Pentagon officials on April 23.”
“He said U.S. troops who proselytize are guilty of sedition and treason and should be punished – by the hundreds if necessary…” Starnes reported.
And the military seems to be listening, he noted, based on a statements obtained from Lt. Cmdr. Nate Christensen: “Religious proselytization is not permitted within the Department of Defense. … Court martials (sic) and non-judicial punishments are decided on a case-by-case basis and it would be inappropriate to speculate on the outcome in specific cases.”
“Someone needs to be punished for this,” Weinstein told Fox. “Until the Air Force or Army or Navy or Marine Corps punishes a member of the military for unconstitutional religious proselytizing and oppression, we will never have the ability to stop this horrible, horrendous, dehumanizing behavior.”
The Washington-based Family Research Council, which recently came under the gunfire of a leftist who said his goal was to kill as many people as he could, said the situation simply doesn’t make any sense.
“Why would military leadership be meeting with one of the most rabid atheists in America to discuss religious freedom in the military,” asked FRC chief Tony Perkins in a Fox interview. “That’s like consulting with China on how to improve human rights.”
Lt. Gen. William Boykin, who retired from the military and now is vice president at FRC, said, “If this policy goes forward, Christians within the military who speak of their faith could now be prosecuted as enemies of the state. This has the potential to destroy military recruiting across the services as Americans realize that their faith will be suppressed by joining the military.”
He said, “Our brave troops deserve better. If chaplains and other personnel are censored from offering the full solace of the Gospel, there is no religious freedom in the military.”
The FRC petition states, “Our brave troops deserve better. Subverting the religious freedom of our troops both hurts the morale of our troops and puts our nation at risk by labeling courageous military personnel as enemies.”
“I urge you to resist the demands of anti-Christian activists who are calling for a court-martial order upon chaplains and service members who share their faith,” it says.
Tens of thousands of Americans already have joined the effort, which was brought about, according to the FRC, because of claims that “religion is one of the chief problems plaguing our troops. … [with] some saying that ‘religious proselytizing’ is at the top of the list of problems in the armed forces – even on par with sexual assault.”
The FRC noted the Washington Post reported that the Air Force had created a document “with the directive that leaders of all levels (including chaplains) may not ‘promote their personal religious beliefs to their subordinates or to extend preferential treatment for any religion.’”
Ron Crews, of the Chaplain Alliance for Religious Liberty, told Starnes, “Saying that a service member cannot speak of his faith is like telling a service member he cannot talk about his spouse or children. I do not think the Air Force wants to ban personnel from protected religious speech.”
However, Weinstein told the Washington Post that such conversation actually is a national security threat and “sedition and treason.”
“He [Weinstein] cites Dr. James Dobson – the famous Christian founder of Focus on the Family – as ‘illustrating the extremist, militant nature of these virulently homophobic organizations’ rhetorically charged propaganda.’ Regarding those who teach orthodox Christian beliefs from the Bible, Weinstein concludes, ‘Let’s call these ignoble actions what they are: the senseless and cowardly squallings of human monsters.’”
Kulkowski continued, “Weinstein then endorses the ultra-left Southern Poverty Law Center, who publishes a list of ‘hate groups. Alongside truly deplorable organizations like the KKK, the SPLC’s list includes a host of traditional Christian organizations…”
In fact, it was the SPLC that was identified by Floyd Lee Corkins II, the confessed terrorist who attacked the FRC, as his source of information about which group to attack.
See our previous article about other recent attacks on the Christian faith in the military. Governor Palin is holding the Commander-in-Chief responsible for these egregrious attacks on the religious liberties of our military men and women.
WorldNetDaily posted more information on this story today (May 4).
A firestorm then erupted amid fears of court-martials for service members who share their Christian faith, and the Pentagon was forced to backtrack in an effort to quiet the protests.
“Service members can share their faith (evangelize), but must not force unwanted, intrusive attempts to convert others of any faith or no faith to one’s beliefs (proselytization),” Pentagon spokesman Lt. Cmdr. Nate Christensen said in a written statement.
That’s not good enough for retired U.S. Army Lt. Gen. Jerry Boykin, who is now executive vice president at the Family Research Council.
“We’d like to get a statement saying exactly what assurances Mikey Weinstein did get from the Air Force,” Boykin told WND. “So we’ll be satisfied as soon as they tell us either that Mikey Weinstein is lying or give us an account of what those assurances were so that we understand the depth of the issue and the depth of the problem.”
Activists like Weinstein argue any Christian witnessing should be off limits, while others say it should only mean service members cannot pressure or coerce others to convert.
Boykin said the FRC strongly agrees that there should be no coercion of anyone to convert to any faith, but he believes there are critical questions still unanswered and he’s seeking a meeting of his own with Pentagon officials.
“If they will tell us that and give us the assurance that living their faith and sharing their faith is a protected right then we’ll be satisfied,” said Boykin.
The general said the concern over an erosion on religious freedom in the military is legitimate because “open hostility” against Christians is well documented and getting worse in the Armed Forces.
Boykin claimed “the administration would be very happy” if the vestiges of Christianity” were removed from the military.
One of Boykin’s greatest disappointments is the absence of high-ranking military officers willing to stand up for their forces and their rights.
“There has not been enough courage demonstrated by the senior leaders. I’d like to see the senior leaders in our military show some leadership, show some courage on this kind of issue.”
If the pattern of religious hostility persists, Boykin says young people and their families will simply decide military service is not worth the assault on their values.
“They will see this as an anti-Christian environment and they will see it as a suppression of the faith of their sons and daughters,” said Boykin.
Jay Sekulow, Chief Counsel of the American Center for Law and Justice, wrote this at FOX News:
Imagine for a moment if Mr. Weinstein had said these things about Islam – even about militant Islam. A military that won’t even attribute Nidal Hassan’s Fort Hood shooting to his jihadist faith would not allow Mr. Weinstein to come within a mile of the Pentagon.
Yet it’s acceptable to slander Evangelicals (Weinstein calls them “dominionists”) even as tens of thousands fight honorably and bravely for their country? What kind of message does that send to America’s Christian officers and enlisted?
Lest you think that Mr. Weinstein’s influence is limited, already the Air Force has put out a statement indicating that any religious speech that makes any service member “uncomfortable” could be banned.
This is a statement that places every single airman’s free speech at risk. Moreover, it unconstitutionally singles out religious speech, granting it less protection than other forms of speech.
The irony, of course, is rich. The Air Force claims to protect service members’ delicate sensibilities, yet it does so by granting high-level access to a man who’s claim to fame lies in sometimes-obscene and always-hateful rants against Christians he doesn’t like.
Last week, while failing to address the Weinstein consulting controversy, Pentagon spokesman Lt. Cmdr. Nate Christensen issued this statement: “The U.S. Department of Defense has never and will never single out a particular religious group for persecution or prosecution. The Department makes reasonable accommodations for all religions and celebrates the religious diversity of our service members. Service members can share their faith (evangelize), but must not force unwanted, intrusive attempts to convert others of any faith or no faith to one’s beliefs (proselytization).”
Of course, the Pentagon is not solely to blame. The Mainstream Media continues to grant Mr. Weinstein access, publishing and airing sympathetic stories they would never air about the Westboro Baptist Church or Terry Jones – despite the fact that he’s a comparable bigot.
Yet the object of Mr. Weinstein’s hatred is Evangelical Christians, and in that hatred he shares the media’s prejudice.
There are many credible and thoughtful civil libertarians the Pentagon could consult as it formulates religious policy. By giving credibility to hate, people of faith lose confidence in the military’s dedication to religious freedom, the Constitution’s first freedom. And in an all-volunteer military serving a nation that is overwhelmingly Christian, that is a dangerous development indeed.
Ken Klukowski at Breitbart News writes about Congress’ response:
Following 59 Members of Congress sending a letter to Defense Secretary Chuck Hagel regarding Pentagon officials meeting with an anti-Christian extremist, another group of 56 House Members has sent a second wide-ranging letter, exploring whether these infringements on religious liberty violate both federal law and the Constitution.
The first letter demanded that Hagel explain why Pentagon brass met with anti-Christian extremist Mikey Weinstein. It highlighted various disturbing statements Weinstein has made—most of which were first reported by Breitbart News—such as calling Christians “monsters,” and claiming sharing the gospel of Jesus Christ an act of “treason” and equating it with “rape.”
Now a second letter has gone to Hagel, co-sponsored by Congressmen Steve Scalise (R-LA) and Doug Lamborn (R-CO). The letter reminds Hagel that—as Breitbart News previously reported—Congress enacted Section 533 of the National Defense Authorization Act (NDAA) to protect freedom of religious belief and conscience for all men and women serving in uniform, with a special focus on military chaplains.
Upon signing the NDAA into law, President Obama said the conscience protections were “unnecessary and ill-advised.” This statement, coupled with recent events, raises concerns that the military is developing a culture that is hostile to religion. A recently revealed power point presentation used in equal opportunity training in an Army reserve unit in Pennsylvania included evangelical Christians, Catholics, Mormons, Sunni Muslims, and some Jews on a list of religious extremist groups alongside groups like Al Qaeda and Hamas. A memo regarding visitation policies at Walter Reed issued in December 2011 prohibited visitors from bringing Bibles and other religious materials on the premises. A particularly concerning memorandum issued on September 1, 2011, General Norton A. Schwartz prohibited commanders from notifying Airmen about Chaplain Corps programs, stating that only Air Force chaplains are trained to provide leadership on religious matters.
This is the same Gen. Schwartz who first met with Weinstein just weeks after President Barack Obama was sworn into office in 2009. The letter continues:
As you acknowledged, these assaults should not be happening. Congress deliberately included religious freedom protections in the NDAA to address this growing pattern of hostility and to protect the constitutionally guaranteed right of religious freedom for our servicemembers and chaplains.
These congressmen reiterate the concerns expressed by the first letter earlier Monday, writing, “We are deeply concerned that the Department of Defense may have consulted with the Military Religious Freedom Foundation, an organization that is focused on silencing religious freedom in the military.”
The letter closes with, “We request the names of all organizations you are consulting in drafting regulations to comply with the NDAA and the date by which you expect to have the regulating protecting conscience protections, as called for under the law, finalized and implemented.”
Video by Matt Barber (h/tp Western Journalism)
Video retrieved from WWWBlog (leftist organization “monitoring” the “extreme Right”)