Capitol Hill Hearing: Religious Accommodations in the Armed Services
(Overview of the discussion on the First Amendment right of conscience and religious beliefs: The line of defense is that military personnel and chaplains do not lose their first amendment rights when they are called to serve. Atheist Mikey Weinstein was present to defend his Military Religious Freedom Foundation. Weinstein’s argument is that non-religious people feel offended, coerced and proselytized by religion.)
In November, Members of the Congressional Prayer Caucus participated in a hearing on religious accommodations within the U. S. Military. It is well worth the time to listen to Members of the U.S. Congress defending religious freedom. Click here to watch the Armed Services Committee hearing:
The hearing was the result of the “whiteboard” incident where an Air Force cadet was told to remove a scripture he posted. This incident resulted in rewriting the definition of religious freedoms in the military and for chaplains, which has not been fully instituted. The Founder and Co-Chair of the Prayer Caucus, Congressman Forbes, made some particularly meaningful statements at the 59:16 mark of the video.
The second part of the hearing was specifically supported by Congressional Prayer Caucus members who have taken a special interest in protecting the rights of our men and women in uniform. These soldiers, sailors, airmen, Marines and National Guard personnel are the heroes who risk their lives every day for the very freedoms we consider so sacred.
Rep. Lamborn, the Congressman representing Colorado’s fifth district where the US Air Force Academy is located in Colorado Springs, spearheaded an amendment to upgrade the National Defense Authorization Act, enhancing religious freedom protections for all service members. Representatives supporting the legislation clearly acknowledge the intent of the amendment is not focused on defending efforts to proselytize or coerce other service members, but to help ensure our dedicated military are not forced to violate or compromise their moral convictions at work or in their personal lives. The point being made that government cannot legislate the human conscience.
The need for such action has been precipitated by a relentless assault from individuals like Mikey Weinstein and his Military Religious Freedom Foundation, seeking to systematically eradicate almost every vestige of our Judeo-Christian heritage among the military community. Sadly, these attacks—often made in the name of liberty—in fact, are tangible steps that actually attempt to strip away real choices. This process results not in a freedom “of” religion, but a restriction “from” religion.
Even a casual review of history gives rise to hundreds of examples where government legislators, presidents, battle-tested generals and many others have staunchly expressed a profound dependence upon God and His providence during times of war and global conflict. Abraham Lincoln, who guided a war torn nation through some its darkest hours, expressed the following in a telegram, “Enough is known of army operations within the last five days to claim our especial gratitude to God; while what remains undone demands our most sincere prayers to, and reliance upon, Him, without whom, all human effort is vain.”
Again, General George Patton, just prior to a campaign, looked heavenward and prayed, “God of our fathers, who by land and sea have ever led us to victory, please continue Your inspiring guidance in this the greatest of all conflicts. Grant to our armed forces that disciplined valor and mutual confidence which insures success in war. Let me not mourn for the men who have died fighting, but rather let me be glad that such heroes have lived. If it be my lot to die, let me do so with courage and honor in a manner which will bring the greatest harm to the enemy, and please, oh Lord, protect and guide those I shall leave behind. Give us the victory, Lord.”
Statements such as these speak to the reality of men and women in combat when putting their lives on the line, are confronted with their own mortality and the potential of eternity before them, offering humble confession to a God they passionately believe in. This is not a government “establishing” religion or compelling worship. What nonsense! This is a freedom of expression. A right guaranteed by the First Amendment to the Constitution.
The Congressional Prayer Caucus Foundation is on a mission to recruit an army of prayer warriors and collectively deploy our time, efforts and resources to safeguard America’s legacy as a Christian nation, including her core tenets of freedom. Together we must go on the offensive and take back ground from the determined few who want to hijack the freedoms for which so many have paid the ultimate sacrifice.
This message is provided by: The Congressional Prayer Caucus Foundation, Inc. is a non-profit organization established to protect religious liberty, preserve our nation’s spiritual foundation, and sustain the elected leaders who are uniting in prayer and calling the nation to action.
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