In an interesting commentary during the Family Research Council’s Washington Watch, retired LtGen Jerry Boykin and Richard Land of the Southern Baptist Convention spoke on recent issues of religious freedom in the military. Boykin reminded Christians there’s a correct response to Michael “Mikey” Weinstein, one of the loudest (and most vitriolic) critics of Christianity: Read more
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Despite recent scandals regarding the DoD’s alleged classification of Christians as “extremists” — including an Army-wide standdown in Equal Opportunity training over the controversies — the DoD says it will continue to use the Southern Poverty Law Center as a “reference” in its Equal Opportunity training.
A DoD spokesman answered that while the agency will remove “hate groups” information provided by the SPLC from the training materials used at its Defense Equal Opportunity Management Institute (DEOMI), the DoD will continue to use the SPLC’s data in its “non-federal reference material” for DEOMI.
The SPLC — whose work has been specifically cited in recent Army briefings — is one of several “non-Federal” sources the DoD plans to continue using:
“Some of the non-Federal entities used to inform DEOMI’s training,” said Christensen, “include: Anti-Defamation League; Center for the Study of Hate and Extremism; Know Gangs, Political Research Associates, Read more
Update: The DoD says the SBC website was blocked because malware was detected, but that connection from military servers would be restored “today.” The Southern Baptist Convention weighed in, with a caution not to rush to judgment. Also at the Air Force Times, Christian Post, and Baptist Press.
FoxNews reports that the Southern Baptist Convention website was blocked on military servers — and the military confirmed it:
The Dept. of Defense confirmed to Fox News late Wednesday that the SBC website had been blocked — but not intentionally.
“The Department of Defense is not intentionally blocking access to this site, said Lt. Col. Damien Pickart. “We are working diligently to investigate what might be causing access issues for some of our service members and to correct the situation as quickly as possible.”
Part of the reason the situation requires “correction” is that certain servicemembers need access to the site as part of their function: namely, the many SBC chaplains in the military:
“It’s a concern for the Dept. of Defense to block the website of one of the major evangelical denominations in the country,” Crews told Fox News. “The Southern Baptist Convention has the largest number of chaplains in the military representing Southern Baptist soldiers and churches. Those chaplains need access to their denomination’s website.”
As noted the last time the issue of military internet access came up, it’s not as simple as “the government is censoring/blocking/etc” or being hostile toward Read more
The US Army has received a string of criticism in the days since it was revealed a Reserve Army EO officer included evangelical Christians and Catholics (as well as all of Sunni Islam) in “religious extremism.”
Similarly, another Army email released to FoxNews included copied text from the Southern Poverty Law Center’s “anti-gay intelligence file” mocking the “Christian Right” and its “opposition to equal rights for gays and lesbians.” The author, an Army LtCol, said
just want to ensure everyone is somewhat educated on some of the groups out there that do not share our Army Values.
“Some of the groups” in the SPLC list included the Family Research Council (which has cited ChristianFighterPilot.com) and the American Family Association — two Christian groups villified by the SPLC for their opposition to the social normalization of homosexuality.
The inclusion of Christians and Christian beliefs in an Army email saying they don’t “share our Army values” actually contradicts Army values. The Department of Defense has Read more
Richard Land, president of the Southern Baptist Convention’s Ethics & Religious Liberty Commission, had this to say about the recent decision to allow women into all combat roles:
Land…called the change a “tragic mistake” that will have “grievous consequences.”
“[But] not because women are not capable of performing most of the combat roles to which they will be assigned,” Land said. “They certainly are capable in modern warfare of flying planes and driving tanks Read more
Lost in the recent “scandal” over the revelations that family-run Chick-fil-A supports marriage (shocking, isn’t it?) were the other words of President and CEO Dan Cathy. Cathy expects that Christians will be missionaries to the world wherever they are:
Cathy believes strongly that Christians are missionaries in the workplace. “Jesus had a lot of things to say about people who work and live in the business community,” he said
While representatives of the Military Religious Freedom Foundation will claim this is “code speak” for Christians taking over the world, this is how Cathy explained Read more
Richard Land, president of the Southern Baptist Convention’s Ethics & Religious Liberty Commission, recently received a national religious liberty award at the annual Religious Liberty banquet. In his speech, he reminded listeners of something they should have learned in American government in high school:
“I’m always fond of pointing out to people that when you look at our First Amendment to the Constitution, which is in large part there because Baptists insisted that it be there in order for them to vote to ratify the Constitution, all of the restrictions are on the government, not Read more
A US Army officer “in disbelief” forwarded a Walter Reed National Military Medical Center memorandum regarding patient visitation to the Family Research Council. The memorandum said:
f. No religious items (i.e. Bibles, reading material, and/or artifacts) are allowed to be given away or used during a visit.
The ban was so broadly written it would prevent even families from providing Bibles to their wounded family members, and it banned priests from bringing the eucharist or providing last rites. Notably, while the policy banned all religious items, the Bible was the only religious text specifically mentioned.
Mr. Speaker, these military men and women who are recovering at Walter Reed and Bethesda have given their all for America…They’ve Read more