The battle over whether chaplains’ and Service members’ First Amendment rights to religious liberty will be sacrificed to make room for normalized homosexuality in the military is reaching a critical phase this week. Despite strong warnings by the Pentagon that a premature rush for repeal should be rejected, the White House and some Congressional leaders are pushing forward with a “compromise” measure that will restrict religious liberty for soldiers in a way that no other federal law affects any other American. The Senate Armed Services Committee is entering a closed session Wednesday morning to consider whether to sneak repeal of the current prohibition on homosexual behavior in the military into the yearly appropriations bill that funds the Armed Forces. And the day after that, the House will be trying to do the same in open floor debate. (An attempt to slide repeal into the appropriations bill while still in the House Armed Services Committee was firmly rejected by Committee Chair Ike Skelton, forcing proponents of repeal into some tricky maneuvering to get it heard on the House floor).
Thankfully, chaplaincy organizations are keeping up the fight. Many of these organizations, which supply the brave men who make up the chaplaincy corps and provide them official endorsement so they can serve as military chaplains, have released strong statements against repeal. The organizations that oppose repeal include the North American Mission Board (which is the endorsing organization for the Southern Baptist Convention), the Evangelical Free Church of America, Grace Church International, and the Conservative Congregational Christian Conference. While certain political leaders may be willing to saddle the military with this social experiment (while fighting two wars and facing the rising prospect of one in the Korean Peninsula), the veteran chaplains in these organizations who have spent decades counseling soldiers in need are not. And they’re making their voices heard.
UPDATE 1: Chaplains across the country are speaking up today—and getting published in newspapers that serve large military communities. Check out Col. Ron Crews’ op-ed in the Fayetteville Observer that was posted just this morning.
UPDATE 2: Veteran chaplains aren’t the only ones speaking out against the rush to repeal: the Chiefs of the Army, Air Force, Navy, and Marines have just issued letters stating that premature repeal would harm the Armed Forces. And a just-released poll shows that the majority of Americans agree this political push that ignores military input should be stopped.
If you’re a military chaplain, active or retired, and are interested in becoming involved in this issue or signing the Chaplains Letter, please contact us with your information.
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