This year issues of military religious freedom have boiled to the surface in two primary ways: free exercise and public expression.
For example, in its “top ten” list for 2018, The Baptist Joint Committee, a left-leaning group on religious liberty issues, highlighted the Masterpiece Cakeshop at #8 and the Bladensburg Peace Cross at #7. Similarly, Howard Friedman at the Religion Clause put Masterpiece Cakeshop at #1. The resolution of the Masterpiece Cakeshop case, which is arguably still ongoing, is directly related to the military: The case will ultimately Read more
There was surprisingly little media coverage of the wailing and gnashing of teeth from LGBT activists over the decision by the Air Force to reverse the punishment of Col Leland Bohannon. Last October Col Bohannon had a superior officer sign a spouse appreciation certificate for a homosexual subordinate, rather than affront his religious beliefs by signing it himself. The Air Force fired him but now admits it was wrong to do so.
It seems even the general public thought getting a two-star General to sign the certificate was a fair compromise that should have made everybody happy. Showing homosexual activists in a frenzy over this reasonable accommodation might have made them look foolish.
Enter Ashley Broadway-Mack.
Now heading the homosexual activist American Military Partner Association, Broadway — a self-described “devout Christian” — said the Air Force’s decision to defend Col Bohannon’s constitutionally-protected religious liberty, rather than promote her preferred sexual behavior, was “alarming” [emphasis added]:
“This colonel’s action sent a dangerous message to the entire command that he disapproves of every same-sex spouse that supports their service member throughout their military career. That’s a severe failure of leadership.”
Read that again carefully, and consider the ramifications.
“This colonel’s action” resulted Read more
Though it isn’t being reported this way, last Friday President Trump actually rescinded the ban he previously implemented on transgenders in the military last August. The new memorandum (PDF) explicitly withdrew his prior policy:
I hereby revoke my memorandum of August 25, 2017, “Military Service by Transgender Individuals,” and any other directive I may have made with respect to military service by transgender individuals.
The new memo did not institute a new presidential directive. Rather, the President deferred to the Department of Defense — that is, the “independent judgment” of the DoD — with regard to its policies. He said [emphasis added]:
These [DoD-produced] documents set forth the policies on this issue that the Secretary of Defense, in the exercise of his independent judgment, has concluded should be adopted by the Department of Defense.
It’s a clever move. Lawsuits and Read more
Activists for military homosexual groups have filed amicus briefs opposing the Masterpiece Cakeshop in its appeal to the US Supreme Court. The bakery was accused of violating state law when it declined to create a cake for a same-sex “wedding” (see records of the case).
Apparently fearing a victory for Masterpiece Cakeshop would inhibit homosexuals’ rights within the military, Ashley Broadway — a self-described homosexual “devout Christian” — of the American Military Partner Association said (with authority):
A business that is open to the public should be open to public — period. LGBT service members and their families sacrifice so much around the world for our country, and the last thing they deserve is to be denied service here at home simply because of who they are.
That’s great. It also has nothing to do with Read more
Secretary of Defense and former US Marine Corps General James Mattis has been characterized recently as taking efforts to resist or otherwise slow-roll President Trump and his agenda. In one case, he was caught on camera telling US troops they were a model of unity for the country:
“You’re a great example for our country right now that’s got some problems – you know it and I know it…It’s got problems that we don’t have in the military, and you just hold the line my fine young soldiers, sailors, airmen [and] Marines. Just hold the line until our country gets back to understanding and respecting each other and showing it.”
The media portrayed that as a rebuke of President Trump. More recently, multiple media outlets and organizations have said Secretary Mattis “froze” President Trump’s planned ban on transgenders, an apparent rebuke of his boss. But that isn’t what happened at all.
President Trump ordered Read more
Last Friday President Trump issued a formal directive for the Department of Defense to reverse the decision by former President Obama to allow transgenders to serve in the US military. Noting that transgenders had been banned from serving up until just last summer, the reasoning was fairly benign:
The previous Administration failed to identify a sufficient basis to conclude that terminating the Departments’ longstanding policy and practice would not hinder military effectiveness and lethality, disrupt unit cohesion, or tax military resources, and there remain meaningful concerns that further study is needed to ensure that continued implementation of last year’s policy change would not have those negative effects.
The outcry from sexual activists was swift, with Ashley Broadway-Mack — the activist “devout Christian” homosexual milspouse — calling on “Congress or the courts” or just about anybody to “take action to reverse Trump’s policy.”
Of course, it isn’t “Trump’s policy”, as the President’s memorandum notes, and gender-based activists are flailing for a course of action because they likely realize there isn’t really anything they can do. President Obama Read more
Ashley Broadway-Mack of the LGBT-activist AMPA has been at the forefront of claiming US military leadership has “opposed” President Trump’s ban on transgenders in the military. In a recent press release, she repeated the most common refrains — which are the AMPA’s conveniently twisted interpretations of what was actually said:
Military commanders have already gone on the record as being opposed to this move.
That statement is outright false. She does not cite a single “military commander” who is “on the record” opposing the President, and not one has. To do so would have been national news, as a uniformed military officer opposing his Commander-in-Chief is a significant — and potentially criminal — offense. It hasn’t happened, yet Broadway portrays it as foregone. Further: Read more
President Trump recently nominated retired Rear Admiral Anthony Kurta to become the Deputy Under Secretary of Defense for Personnel and Readiness. RAdm Kurta’s name is familiar because he’s been filling in as the Under Secretary for some time, as President Trump’s administration has been slow to fill appointee positions.
And in that nomination, LGBT activists see a ray of hope.
The office of Under Secretary of Defense for Personnel and Readiness is responsible for recruiting, retention, health affairs, “quality of life”, among other colloquialisms for “people”. By virtue of a memorandum issued by then-Secretary of Defense Ash Carter under President Obama, the USDPR is the office tasked with creating, managing, and overseeing the policies with regard to transgender issues. That’s the office currently run by Kurta, and for which he is nominated to be Deputy.
Far from being behind the scenes, Anthony Kurta has been front and center on sexual issues as Read more