Homosexual “Christian Embassy” Unlikely to Face Criticism
A few years ago, Michael “Mikey” Weinstein filed a complaint about a promotional video for Christian Embassy, a ministry that seeks to serve senior level government officials, including military leaders. The gist of the “problem” was that uniformed military officers appeared in the video speaking positively about the role of Christian Embassy in their lives.
The result was an investigation by the Inspector General that determined the officers improperly implied military endorsement of Christian Embassy because they appeared on camera, in uniform, and spoke highly of the organization.
While Weinstein was disappointed that his primary complaint had been ignored (he claimed the officers were illegally promoting religion, and the IG disagreed), he was pleased that they’d been found ‘guilty’ of something. He and his assistant Chris Rodda would continue to cite this case and the ‘wear of the uniform/endorsement’ mantra for the next several years. Each time, they made the case that a Christian could not speak of his faith in uniform, because to do so was to imply government endorsement.
In the intervening years, another organization has arisen that has discovered the power of the military uniform.
The American Military Partner Association (AMPA) has used uniformed military members to advocate for legislation as well as “endorse” their organization on a regular basis. With their upcoming “gala” (which is sponsored by AAFES), AMPA has been running a series of uniformed military members saying they’ll “be there! Will you?”
They also put out a call for videos looking for praise for their organization — specifically from uniformed military members [emphasis added]:
“What does being a member of AMPA mean to you?” In a few short sentences, please send us a video with your response. (Bonus points if you and/or your spouse are in uniform while you film.) Please email your video directly to firstname.lastname@example.org.
It seems likely that the AMPA will produce a montage of “testimonials” to present at some point during their event, and the video may make its way other forums as well.
Which is precisely what happened with the previously mentioned Christian Embassy video, as well.
So, will this “endorsement” of a homosexual non-Federal entity receive the same treatment as the “endorsement” of a religious non-Federal entity?
Given recent history, it seems unlikely. (For one thing, the AMPA was essentially endorsed by the DoD at this same event last year.)
To be clear, the issue isn’t that uniformed military members are speaking positively of an organization that has helped them and could potentially help others similarly situated. The issue is the possible perception the military enforces the issue of “endorsement” only when the speaker says something about faith. (A Congressman once implied this apparent disparate treatment between religion and homosexuality might be somewhat more widespread.)
While Christians have been publicly investigated or sanctioned for appearing in uniform and speaking positively about religious organizations, those representing other causes have not — even when they have done so blatantly and repeatedly. Aside from the AMPA “endorsements,” for example, even General Marty Dempsey, Chairman of the Joint Chiefs of Staff, has “endorsed” a non-Federal entity while in uniform and on film. To be fair, not every example of a Christian speaking publicly in uniform about his faith has resulted in sanction, but based on comparable public incidents, it is difficult to draw a line that consistently demonstrates the DoD’s policy.
In an ideal world, there should be nothing wrong with praising an organization that has done much for someone personally in the military — or, in General Dempsey’s case, for the military as an institution. It would seem that the US military agrees…sometimes.
For the time being, it appears military members speaking in support of Christian Embassy will be sanctioned, while those speaking in support of a homosexual activist group will not.