Last week, I documented more than a dozen ways in which, in just the past six months, the Obama administration is trampling on the religious liberties of America's finest military service members. (If you haven't read Part 1, you can find it at creators.com.)
I am very disappointed by the dissolution of religious liberties in the U.S. military. Times have sadly and radically changed since my father served in World War II, since I served four years in the Air Force and since my two brothers, Wieland and Aaron, served in the Army in Vietnam. (My brother Wieland paid the ultimate price there in the line of duty.)
I thank God that I served in the Air Force during a time in which moral absolutes and a deep reverence for God pervaded culture, especially the military. No service member was ashamed or afraid to express his faith in God or his Christian beliefs. In fact, the very thought that service members would somehow have to protect or defend their Christian faith would have seemed ludicrous.
Remember that it was only a few short decades ago when a commander in chief spoke passionately about his Christian faith. President Ronald Reagan said this before the lighting of the national Christmas tree Dec. 16, 1982: "In this holiday season, we celebrate the birthday of one who, for almost 2,000 years, has been a greater influence on humankind than all the rulers, all the scholars, all the armies and all the navies that ever marched or sailed, all put together. ... It's also a holy day, the birthday of the Prince of Peace, a day when 'God so loved the world' that he sent us his only begotten son to assure forgiveness of our sins."
The First Amendment secures our total religious rights and liberties: "Congress shall make no law respecting an establishment of religion, or prohibiting the free exercise thereof." The American Civil Liberties Union and like-minded groups, such as the Freedom From Religion Foundation, are not preserving First Amendment rights; they are perverting the meaning of the establishment clause (which was to prevent the creation of a national church like the Church of England) and denying the free exercise clause (which preserves our right to worship as we want, privately and publicly). Both clauses were intended to safeguard religious liberty, not to circumscribe the practicing of religion. The Framers were seeking to guarantee a freedom of religion, not a freedom from it.