This is not the first time that this column has sounded an alarm over the fact that our military men and women are in harm’s way spiritually, while they are in harm’s way physically. I have an acquaintance who recently had to visit a soldier who had been thrown in jail for praying publically in the name of Jesus.
The Family Resource Council and other conservative groups recently appeared on Capitol Hill in tandem with the celebration of the establishment of the Chaplaincy by General George Washington 237 years ago. Below is a portion of the speech delivered, and the call to action addressed to the current Commander in Chief that the religious rights of our troops no longer be curtailed.
“Today is the 237th anniversary of General George Washington’s general order establishing the Chaplaincy,” Rep. Jim Bridenstine (R-Okla.) told the crowd. “In that general order, he stated, ‘The General hopes and trusts, that every officer and man, will endeavor so to live, and act as becomes a Christian Soldier defending the dearest Rights and Liberties of his country.’ Unlike General George Washington, nobody here is suggesting that every soldier be Christian or that every soldier live and act like Christians. But we are suggesting that the President allow Christian soldiers to have the right to live and act like Christians…or whatever faith.”
This is yet another example of the “faith of our Fathers” as originally intended, and proof once again that the re-writing of history that results in a change of policy is as insidious as it is insistent. George Washington hoped and trusted that each soldier would be a Christian, and all these guys who went to Capitol Hill are asking for is that each soldier be allowed to be a person of faith. We citizens, by contrast, are told that such a passionate belief in God was never a part of the Founders’ dream, and are looked upon as though we have three heads for suggesting otherwise.
What is also alarming is to find out, according to the Washington Post, that the Air Force has produced a 27 page booklet that codifies just what it thinks is acceptable behavior on the part of Chaplains, as well as troops. The booklet has not been distributed yet, but it has been prepared.
“‘Leaders at all levels,’ the document says, ‘must avoid the actual or apparent use of their position to promote their personal religious beliefs to their subordinates or to extend preferential treatment for any religion.’ It even suggested that noncompliance could result in court-martial.”
OK, so let’s just take this to the Theatre of the Absurd for a moment to illustrate a point. A Catholic priest is on the field, and there is a heavy firefight. A backslidden Catholic kid has been hit and knows he’s dying. He asks for a priest, he wants to make one last confession, and he wants last rites. Does the priest face a potential court martial for granting the request of the dying soldier? Is he supposed to say to the kid as he bleeds out, “Hey, if I pray in the name of Buddha, are you good with that? I mean, we can’t show any preference, right?”
Now, I am not Catholic, and my personal belief is that when you confess your sins to God, and believe in your heart that He raised Christ from the dead, you will be saved, as the Scripture says. But I am surely not going to rob someone of their blood bought right to the dictates of their faith as guaranteed by the Constitution, and you shouldn’t, either. If this is a fight to which you feel called, contact our legislators and make sure they are backing the military conscience rights amendment that has been included in the Defense Authorization bill. Please, defend the Chaplaincy, Chaplains, and the soldiers they serve.
By: Ali Elizabeth Turner