Catholics Support Military Religious Freedom Coalition

Archbishop for the Military Services, Rev. Timothy Broglio, announced his support of the recent coalition advocating for religious freedom in the US military:

The Archdiocese congratulates the Family Research Council and all the members of the Restore Military Religious Freedom Coalition on their announcement of the formation of the coalition.  The Archdiocese looks forward to working closely as an ally as all seek to ensure the continued protection of the 1st Amendment Rights of Free Speech and the Free Exercise of Religion of the men and women of the United States Military.  No one who raises a right hand to defend the Constitution should sacrifice one of its fundamental principles!

“Likewise, the Archdiocese applauds the work of Doctor Fleming and all those Members of Congress who continue to work so diligently to ensure the 1st Amendment Rights of Free Speech and Free Exercise of Religion of the men and women of the United States Military.”

This is particularly notable because the coalition already represented the vast majority of Chaplains in the US military, and Catholic support takes significant wind out of the sails of those who think some Christians are trying to ramrod “a very specific version of Christian culture” into the US military, as Barry Lynn and C. Welton Gaddy recently did:

Putting one’s life on the line in defense of freedom is a sacrifice the rest of us can never repay.

That’s why it saddens us that these very freedoms are being undercut by forces seeking to infuse the military with a very specific version of Christian culture…

The religious right has a skewed definition of religious freedom — and their interest lies only in preserving religious freedom for one very specific sectarian point of view.

Lynn is the President of Americans United for the Separation of Church and State, while Gaddy is President of the Interfaith Alliance — and recently praised the work of Michael Weinstein’s MRFF.  Ironically, Lynn and Gaddy make several statements that most people would support:

Those who choose military service should enjoy the freedom to practice their faith openly and without significant interference from their superiors…

Oddly, the two are opposing legislation intended to ensure that very thing, but that’s largely because they propose a caricature of the legislation:

The far right is making a concerted effort to redefine religious freedom as a catch-all concept that gives “authentic” Christians the right to do what they want, whenever they want, wherever they want. They seek to use positions of authority — including in the military — as platforms to proselytize their faith while seeking to limit the ability of people of other faiths to take a different perspective.

That statement is patently ridiculous, and the opposite of what both the legislation and its author actually say.  To say that one has to be a “far right” extremist to support this effort to defend liberty is also now in conflict with Archbishop Broglio’s statement.

In reality, their position is not unlike Weinstein, who claims to support religious freedom but continually demands the restriction of religious liberty, not its protection, as when he claimed a group of US Marines was aiding the enemy when they had the gall to get baptized.

Back to the point, the timing of Broglio’s announcment will likely be an embarassment for Weinstein, as his research assistant, Chris Rodda, just published a piece claiming the “real” defender of military Catholics was the MRFF.  Rodda was rebutting the claims of Catholic League president Bill Donohue, who came out in support of the Military Religious Freedom Coalition and said he would know about it if Catholics were being persecuted.  She said:

No, Mr. Donohue, the Catholic League would not know about it. Why? Because you do not represent a majority, or even a significant percent, of Catholics…

Rodda claims the MRFF has 8,171 Catholic “clients.”  Since Broglio represents more than 400,000 military Catholics, according to old demographic data, it would seem the MRFF does not repreesent “even a significant percent of Catholics…”

Rodda also claimed that Donohue was

aligning himself with and supporting the very people who are the source of anti-Catholic bigotry…

Somehow, it seems unlikely Archbishop Broglio would “congratulate” and want to be an “ally” with “the source of anti-Catholic bigotry.”  It seems Rodda’s penchant for unsupport accusation has arisen again.

Weinstein will likely have a colorful epithet for Archbishop Broglio, as he frequently resorts to namecalling when people undercut his crusade (Jewish lay leader US Navy CAPT Neil Block, Rabbi David Lapp, pretty much the entire USAFA staff, etc, etc).  The fact remains, though, that groups endorsing the vast majority of chaplains in the US military — faiths representing a vast majority of US troops — have spoken out in favor of religious liberty.

Lynn, Gaddy, and Weinstein seem to be on the wrong side of the US Constitution.



  • How very convenient of you to avoid mentioning Lynn & Gaddy’s specific references to Tony Perkins with the Family Research Council other than as it pertains to the Archdiocese’ congratulations of their policy.

    It’s the Family Research Council with their positions and politics that will keep me, raised Catholic, an active advocate for church/ state separation and the restriction of politicized religion in the U.S.A.

    The degree of proselytizing and the amount of references to Christianity that I see in the public and political realms are alarming to me. Never in my more than 50 years has religion been as prominent and as invidiously infused in politics than now. It’s time for people who are serious about religious liberty to realize that forcing religion into the public sector is today’s greatest threat to religious liberty for all people.

    • @Suz

      The degree of proselytizing and the amount of references to Christianity that I see in the public and political realms are alarming to me.

      Would you have “references to Christianity” banned by law because you find them “alarming”?

      You seem to be confused about what certain words mean. Did you know that “proselytizing” is essentially defined as “gaining converts”? Do you believe people in the “public” should not be allowed to “gain converts”? Where have you seen religious conversions in the “political realm?”

      Feel free to support church/state separation. As the legislation referenced above has nothing to do with that, what is your opinion on the right to free exercise of religion? Based on your criticisms, it seems you don’t agree with the US Constitution in that regard.