There is a clear and present danger to religious liberty within the military, says a coalition of groups who believe the Obama Administration is pushing a secular, anti-religious culture on the nation’s armed forces.
“Christians who choose to live out their faith find themselves incompatible with the secular view of this administration,” said Tony Perkins, president of the Family Research Council. “We’re establishing a beach head for religious liberty and the evidence points to a very deliberate attack.”
Representatives of 14 groups concerned about religious liberty joined Reps. John Fleming R-La., Jim Bridenstine R-Okla., and Louie Gohmert R-Tex. on Capitol Hill to urge support for Fleming’s military religious freedom amendment to the National Defense Authorization Act.
The amendment protects the rights of servicemembers to not only hold religious beliefs but to act on them and speak about them. Fleming’s amendment has bipartisan support but the Obama Administration issued a statement “strongly objecting” to the legislation.
The amendment comes as more than 170,000 Americans signed petitions calling for Defense Secretary Chuck Hagel to protect the religious liberties of military personnel through policies that guarantee those liberties.
“We want to make this the first key battle to restore religious liberty back to the American people,” Fleming told Fox News. “It sets the tone for a broader war to fight back against this government that is infringing on our religious liberty.”
Perkins and Lt. Gen. (Ret.) Jerry Boykin, the FRC’s executive vice president, released a nine-page document detailing anti-religious behavior in the military.
“Unfortunately, pressures to impose a secular, anti-religious culture on our nation’s military services have intensified tremendously during the Obama Administration,” the FRC report states.
“We will stand with servicemembers who wish to exercise their First Amendment rights of religious liberty,” Boykin said. ‘We must do all we can to ensure that our servicemembers have the right to practice the very freedoms that they risk their lives to defend.”
The Family Research Council said it is evidence of an attempt to “scrub the military of religious expression, through which the chilling effect of punishment and potential career destruction lie at the back of everyone’s mind.”
The document, titled, “A Clear and Present Danger: The Threat to Religious Liberty in the Military,” dates back to 2005 when Mikey Weinstein became a major critic of the United States Air Force Academy.
Among the incidents: