Originally posted May 1, 2013 Updated below.
If these fundamentalist Christian monsters of human degradation … and tyranny cannot broker or barter your acceptance of their putrid theology, then they crave for your universal silence in the face of their rapacious reign of theocratic terror. Indeed, they ceaselessly lust, ache, and pine for you to do absolutely nothing to thwart their oppression. Comply, my friends, and you become as monstrously savage as are they. I beg you, do not feed these hideous monsters with your stoic lethargy, callousness and neutrality. Do not lubricate the path of their racism, bigotry, and prejudice. Doing so directly threatens the national security of our beautiful nation.
These are the words of Mikey Weinstein, an anti-Christian bigot who was recently appointed as a “consultant” to the Pentagon, where military policy is established.
Those who serve in the U. S. Military don’t enjoy all the freedoms they defend, e.g., they aren’t allowed to come and go as they please and they do endure certain restrictions on their speech. There things they cannot may not say that civilians may say with impunity, e.g., criticism of the chain of command including the commander-in-chief.
Nevertheless, historically, uniformed personnel have enjoyed basic civil liberties. Among those has been the freedom to talk about their religion with their co-workers. Of course they may not do so in a way that disrupts unit cohesion or interferes with their mission but within those restrictions, those who serve in the military have been free to express their religious commitments. Apparently, there is a move to restrict that freedom and the idea that someone who thinks, let alone speaks, as Weinstein does, has any influence on policy is truly frightening.
According the Ken Kuklowski,
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.
To be sure, those in authority should be cautious about being perceived as forcing those in their command to act against conscience or to attend services or support a religion to which they do not adhere. That concern, however, cannot be used as a pretext to prevent co-workers, colleagues, or even commanders and those in their command from discussing religion.
That such a policy is even being considered—let alone adopted— is stunning.
We should certainly pray for Christians now serving in the military, for their chaplains, and for our elected representatives who will certainly want to consider whether such a policy is in line with the Constitution of the United States.
UPDATE May 8, 2013
Billy Hallowell updates the story at length. He concludes that the original reporting was misleading and sensationalist. He interviews Weinstein for the piece.