Update: From First Liberty’s Mike Berry:
At the end of the day, if anyone has been the victim of discrimination here, it’s been Chaplain Squires and Staff Sergeant Griffin. I’m thankful that a two-star general stepped in and corrected things, but it should never have come to that in the first place.
Fox News’ Todd Starnes reports on the First Liberty press release that the Army has rejected the recommendation to punish Chaplain (Maj) Scott Squires for how he handled a Strong Bonds marriage retreat when a homosexual couple said they wanted to come.
From First Liberty Institute: Read more
In an unusual step, the Army officer appointed to investigate a complaint against Chaplain (Major) Scott Squires and his assistant SSgt Kacie Griffin wrote a second, revised report released just last week (the original was reportedly issued months ago). The pair were accused of discriminating against a homosexual couple regarding a Strong Bonds marriage retreat to be led by Chaplain Squires.
It appears the new “do over” report was the result of First Liberty’s rebuttal in April, in which attorney and former US Marine JAG Mike Berry tore into the investigator’s reasoning and conclusions. It seems the new report was intended to defend against First Liberty’s legitimate concerns, including, for example, this admission from the investigator quietly placed in the new report [emphasis added]:
In my prior findings and recommendations memorandum, I stated that when CH Squires informed [redacted] of his restriction that this was a violation of EO policy. This was a misstatement of fact and law. It is not a violation of EO policy to state a fact and CH Squires is protected in doing so…
It wasn’t just a “misstatement” — it was a wholly Read more
US Army SSgt Kacie Griffin has reportedly lost her opportunity to go to college and become an officer due to a recent controversy over homosexuals and a Strong Bonds marriage retreat.
SSgt Griffin was the chaplain assistant to Chaplain (Maj) Scott Squires at Fort Bragg, which was planning the Strong Bonds event earlier this year. A homosexual couple apparently expressed interest in the event; Chaplain Squires was unable to lead a marriage event with homosexuals attending, so he rescheduled the retreat — so the homosexuals filed a complaint. The investigating officer recommended Chaplain Squires be reprimanded.
For her part, SSgt Griffin was handling the administrative part of the retreat:
“Griffin informed Chaplain Squires of the application and informed the applicant that Chaplain Squires would speak with her. For this purely administrative act, an Army investigator determined she ‘gave the impression she was not eligible for the event’ and should be reprimanded for failing to ‘timely answer’ her question,” First Liberty Institute attorney Michael Berry said.
Though the “investigation” was reportedly finished months ago — and despite Read more
In what seems to be second case of Equal Opportunity offices gone wild, another US military EO office has determined that a Christian military officer is guilty of discrimination — and should be reprimanded — because of his religious beliefs about sexuality.
US Army Chaplain Scott Squires was apparently tasked to host a Strong Bonds marriage retreat — and a homosexual couple signed up. Chaplain Squires is a Southern Baptist, and his ecclesiastical endorser has said Southern Baptist chaplains can’t perform ministry that might appear to condone sexual sin. (This would be equally true for any Catholic or Muslim chaplain.) Thus, Chaplain Squires rescheduled the Strong Bonds event to a weekend in which another chaplain — one whose faith group would support a homosexual “marriage” — could host the event.
That wasn’t good enough. The Soldier complained to EO — and the EO office said the chaplain should be reprimanded [emphasis added]: Read more
An unnamed Air Force chaplain sent a formally formatted complaint to Michael “Mikey” Weinstein in early May, claiming the National Guard Bureau had established “Protestant Christianity” as the “official religion” of the Guard’s Strong Bonds program.
As if to reinforce the fact the letter was written specifically for public consumption, just a few hours after receiving it Weinstein sent off his “demand” letter to General Joseph Lengyel, Chief of the National Guard Bureau. Weinstein made no new allegations but asserted those of the chaplain, who had complained about a line from a National Guard MOI on Strong Bonds. Regarding Strong Bonds events, the official Memorandum of Instruction said
One voluntary worship service will be conducted at all overnight training sessions, serving to the extent possible, the largest religious demographic represented in accordance with the Constitutional mandate to provide for the “free exercise of religion”. (See “DODI 1300.17”; “AFI 52-101”).
Military regulations can sometimes be ambiguous, vague, and even self-contradictory, so it is understandable that even well-meaning or intelligent members of the military might misunderstand them.
But even graciously speaking, that’s not what happened Read more
US Army Chaplain (LtCol) Kevin Leideritz is the first permanently assigned chaplain to US Special Operations Command-Europe. A recent article describes his hosting of a marriage retreat at Edelweiss Lodge and Resort in Garmisch, Germany, at the end of January.
Leideritz…seized the opportunity to work with couples to better understand their individual personality traits, their partner’s love languages and ways to enhance a more healthy relationship during the three-day retreat.
In an interesting twist, the article made a couple of references to “strengthening bonds” without using the actual name “Strong Bonds,” the Army’s long-running program of marriage enrichment retreats. It may be an early indicator of what inside sources have already revealed: Strong Bonds is ending.
It seems the chaplaincy resiliency program is falling victim to Read more
The chapel at Ramstein Air Base, Germany, recently hosted Gary Chapman (author of The 5 Love Languages) as part of a marriage seminar for military couples:
The topics discussed during the seminar included how different people give and receive love, common causes of conflicts between couples, and how they can improve communication in order to minimize these conflicts.
Chapman emphasized communication as an indispensable tool in producing a healthy and intimate marriage.
Chaplain (Capt) Kristin Swenson indicated the event was well-received, and it Read more
Last fall, chaplains from the 181st Intel Wing, an Air National Guard unit in Terre Haute, Indiana, led a Strong Bonds marriage retreat called “Laugh your Way to a Better Marriage.” Though they haven’t been in the news much, chaplain-led marriage retreats have been an ongoing source of tension as chaplains and service members try to navigate the sensitivities of ‘other sexuality’ — a point that sometimes taints the “non-event” narrative of supporters of DADT repeal.
The Racers’ retreat highlights from where some of that tension can come: Read more