When President Trump signed his executive order on religious liberty at the beginning of the month, most of the criticism (as the President seems to attract much of it) was focused on the IRS and enforcement of the Johnson Amendment.
A few sites, however, took issue with his reference to religious liberty in the US military. During his Rose Garden announcement on the National Day of Prayer, President Trump said (video):
Just one example, people were forbidden from giving or receiving religious items at a military hospital where our brave service members were being treated and where they wanted those religious items.
Though he made no direct statement, that clearly seems to be a reference to the December 2011 controversy in which Walter Reed updated its visitor policy to say Read more
An official DoD article describes the voluntary use of yoga at Walter Reed National Military Medical Center for its psychiatry patients:
It appears centuries-old practice involving postures, stretches, meditation and breathing provides benefits today at Walter Reed National Military Medical Center…
The author may not realize it, but by acknowledging yoga as “ancient” the DoD is acceding to yoga’s spiritual elements, as only in recent years have some tried to disconnect the physical aspect of yoga from its spiritual side. On the contrary, it seems Walter Reed is counting on the “mental” side of yoga as well: Read more
The US Army War College published a monograph on the core topic of the US military’s “evolving culture of hostility toward religious presence and expression.” The authors were Don Snider, a Senior Fellow in the Center for the Army Profession and Ethic (CAPE) at West Point and an Adjunct Research Professor in the Strategic Studies Institute at the U.S. Army War College, and retired US Army Col Alex Shine of the War College.
The paper, entitled “A Soldier’s Morality, Religion, and Our Professional Ethic: Does the Army’s Culture Facilitate Integration, Character Development, and Trust in the Profession?“, is clearly meant to be academic, but at 30 pages makes for a fairly easy – and worthwhile – read.
The authors focus on the influence of changing social values on ethics within the US military, as demonstrated in the increasing secularism in American society that is essentially hostile to religion: Read more
FoxNews commentator Todd Starnes reports on a LifeWay survey that says 59% of Christians believe they are losing the “culture war.”
“Ten years ago we were talking about who would win the culture war and now we’re talking about how will Christian rights be protected after the culture war,” Ed Stetzer, the president of LifeWay Research told me…
Starnes lists examples of “religious persecution in the United States,” and he starts with the US military: Read more
Chuck Norris recently cited “36 examples of religious liberty assault” (in Part 1 and Part 2) to defend an assertion that religious liberty is under attack in America. About a third of his examples involved the US military, all of which have been discussed here before (amplifying remarks follow):
- Culture and courts are also trumping citizens’ First Amendment rights who are refusing on religious grounds not to support or participate with groups and events that run contrary to their faith and practice. As a result, wedding cake bakers, T-shirt makers, bed and breakfast owners, pastry shops, high-school teachers, military chaplains, restaurant owners, photographers, parents, churches and others have been harassed, bullied, suspended, fired and sued for merely exercising their Christian beliefs. [As described by CARL.]
- A three-judge panel of the U.S. Court of Appeals for the Ninth Circuit ruled that a cross displayed as part of the Mt. Soledad Veterans Memorial in San Diego, Read more
Senator Jim Inhofe of the Senate Armed Services Committee “respectfully requested” that Secretary of Defense Leon Panetta explain why members of the US military were authorized to wear their uniforms in a homosexual “pride” parade in San Diego.
In a letter to Panetta, Sen. Jim Inhofe of Oklahoma said department rules bar service members from participating in political activities while in uniform and pressed Panetta on why a waiver was granted, who requested it and why it was considered over others.
The Congressmen also noted that other military members have been punished for doing what the DoD authorized in this instance: Read more
The Family Research Council has joined with Judicial Watch in filing a lawsuit against the US Navy seeking access to documentation over the Walter Reed policy that “banned” the Bible.
The FOIA lawsuit…seeks access to records concerning a policy announced in a September 14, 2011, memo issued by the Commander of the Walter Reed National Military Medical Center banning the use and/or distribution of Bibles and other religious items during visits with wounded, ill or injured patients.
The Navy has reportedly failed to respond to the FRC Freedom of Information Act (FOIA) request within the time required by law. Walter Reed rescinded the policy as insufficiently reviewed after intense media coverage.
Joining the theme of Rick Perry’s statements that President Obama had a “war on religion,” Tony Perkins of the Family Research Council called the Obama administration “hostile to Christianity.”
“You can’t judge what’s in somebody’s heart or their administration, but you can judge them by the fruits of their labors,” Perkins said. “The fruit of this administration shows it is hostile to Christianity.”
He was referring to the Walter Reed policy banning religious items (specifically, Bibles) within the US military medical facility. By contrast, the Washington Times noted the government goes the extra mile to make sure detainees at Guantanamo have access to the Koran.
We shouldn’t really be surprised when a bureaucrat tries to bar Bibles in a U.S. military stateside hospital while other bureaucrats make sure terrorists in Guantanamo Bay, Cuba, get copies of the Koran.
You almost have to feel sorry Read more