Congress shall make no law respecting an establishment of religion, or prohibiting the free exercise thereof; or abridging the freedom of speech, or of the press; or the right of the people peaceably to assemble, and to petition the Government for a redress of grievances. — The First Amendment to the U.S. Constitution
Rep. John Fleming, R-La. offered an amendment to the latest defense bill that would require “the Armed Forces to accommodate ‘actions and speech’ reflecting the conscience, moral, principles or religious beliefs of the member.” Sounds innocuous, no? After all, freedom of religion is one of the principals this country was founded on, right?
Not according to President Obama. The Administration announced that it “strongly objects” to the proposed amendment to the National Defense Authorization Act on Wednesday that would have protected the religious rights of soldiers — including evangelical Christian service members who are facing growing hostility towards their religion.
The Obama Administration said the amendment would have a ‘significant adverse effect on good order, discipline, morale, and mission accomplishment.’
‘With its statement, the White House is now endorsing military reprimands of members who keep a Bible on their desk or express a religious belief,’ Fleming told Fox News. ‘This administration is aggressively hostile towards religious beliefs that it deems to be politically incorrect.’
Fleming introduced the amendment after a series of high-profile incidents involving attacks on religious liberty within the military — including an Air Force officer who was told to remove a Bible from his desk because it might give the impression he was endorsing a religion.
In other words, as we send people to risk their lives to protect OUR freedoms, the President of the United States does not want to allow them to exercise THEIR freedoms. Some recent incidents include:
- The Air Force censored a video created by a chaplain because it includes the word “God.” The Air Force feared the word might offend Muslims and atheists.
- A service member received a “severe and possibly career-ending reprimand” for expressing his faith’s religious position about homosexuality in a personal religious blog.
- A senior military official at Fort Campbell sent out a lengthy email officially instructing officers to recognize “the religious right in America” as a “domestic hate group” akin to the KKK and Neo-Nazis because of its opposition to homosexual behavior.
- A chaplain was relieved of his command over a military chapel because, consistent with DOMA’s definition of marriage, he could not allow same-sex weddings to take place in the chapel.
- Last month Coast Guard Rear Admiral William Lee told a National Day of Prayer audience that religious liberty was being threatened by Pentagon lawyers and service members are being told to hide their faith in Christ.
The first amendment to the constitution was designed to protect freedom OF religion, it was never designed to offer freedom FROM religion.
Fleming said the purpose of his amendment is to clarify ambiguities in the Pentagon’s policies.
‘The bottom line is the military is bending over backwards to remove – even in the case of chaplains — expressions of faith and conscience,’ Fleming said.
Tony Perkins, president of the Family Research Council, called the Obama Administration’s edict a ‘chilling suppression of religious freedom.’
Even Thomas Jefferson, who spoke of erecting a wall between church and state, was not talking about protecting government from a creeping religiosity, but about protecting religion from government interference (such as the Obamacare regulations regarding birth control).
Call me crazy (and many do) but I believe the heroes in the military who are on the front lines protecting liberty should be the first to be able to express their religious freedom. Even those who are based here in the United States are in constant danger of being attacked (Fort Hood for example) and should have the comfort of connecting with their God.
But this is a progressive government. It does not believe that religion is designed to instruct one how to live his live. It believes religion is fit to be observed and practiced only in a house of worship. Outside of that house of worship, progressives believe that it is the golden calf of government that is a “god.”
If I were a member of the military, not only would I have a prayerbook on my desk, but my T’fillin, Tallis, Torah and a big sign on the wall that said “YEA GOD!” just to make sure. Congress should pass the Fleming amendment and allow the President to “veto the Lord.”