Protecting Marriage and Religious Freedom in the Military
Intolerance in the Name of ""Tolerance"
In an October 5 Washington Times op-ed, Senators James Inhofe (R-KS) and Roger Wicker (R-MS), explained the rationale behind the Military Religious Freedom Protection Act, S. 3526, which they are co-sponsoring:
· Lifting Obama's Gag Order on Military Chaplains
The illustration accompanying the article reflects reality in the military under LGBT (lesbian, gay, bisexual, transgender) policies following repeal of the 1993 law usually called "Don't Ask, Don't Tell." Rights of religious freedom for chaplains already exist in the U.S. Constitution, but the Obama Administration has infringed the rights for chaplains and people of faith who support traditional marriage.
Liberal chaplains who favor same-sex marriage may express their opinions on that issue at any time, without penalty. But chaplains of all major faiths who support the definition of marriage as the bond on one man and one woman must limit their speech regarding marriage to religious ceremonies only. This mandate from the Department of Defense excludes marriage counseling and other activities with families, which chaplains engage in every day.
The senators' article also highlights a serious incident involving a same-sex "marriage-like ceremony" that occurred in a dedicated chapel at Fort Polk, LA back in May. CMR described this incident in a letter to Senate Armed Services Committee Ranking Member John McCain and committee members Inhofe, and Wicker back in July:
· CMR Letter to SASC Ranking Member John McCain 7/30/12
The letter includes five letters from residents of Fort Polk, embedded at the end, which provide important insight into the issues addressed by the Inhofe/Wicker bill, which incorporates language already passed in the House as part of the National Defense Authorization Act (NDAA).
CMR investigated and found that there was enormous division in the Fort Polk community. Members of the Congregation found themselves quoting religious principles, but the senior installation chaplain, caught in the middle, felt he had no option but to quote Defense Department regulations that are attempting to circumvent the Defense of Marriage Act (DOMA). The incident was even more egregious because it took place in Louisiana, a state that does not recognize same-sex unions.
This is an updated version of our CMR Policy Analysis on the legislation, S. 3526.
CMR Policy Analysis: Military Religious Freedom Protection Act of 2012
Dr. Ron Crews, a retired chaplain and USAR Colonel and Executive Director of the Chaplain Alliance for Religious Freedom, has published an excellent article that explains why toleration doesn't cut both ways:
Homosexuals in the Military Demand Special Privilege
Senators Inhofe and Wicker are seeking more co-sponsors for their legislation, which may strengthen the hand of Sen. McCain when the National Defense Authorization Act is taken up in a House/Senate Conference Committee. Senators on both sides of the aisle can be reached at 202/224-3121, or by checking for information on the website Congress Merge.
Click here for the original article.