Chaplain Scott Squires: Setting the Record Straight | First Liberty

Setting the Record Straight

First Liberty Attorney Mike Berry
Explains the Facts on the Chaplain Squires Case

First Liberty is first in the fight to defend Army Chaplain Scott Squires, whose career is in danger of being ruined because he followed Army regulations, along with those of his endorsers, the North American Mission board (NAMB) and the Southern Baptist Convention. To prevent Chaplain Squires military career from potentially ruin, First Liberty Institute sent a letter to the U.S. Army urging it to reverse the investigator’s conclusion and recommendation of disciplinary action.

Read the full letter here.

However, some say “there’s more to the story” about this decorated chaplain who has served his country for 25 years.

Now, you can get the facts directly from First Liberty Deputy General Counsel and Director of Military Affairs, Mike Berry, on why no chaplain, including Chaplain Squires, should have to give up their first amendment rights and be punished for acting according to their sincerely held religious beliefs.

However, under federal law and Department of Defense regulations, the military may not take adverse action against a chaplain who acts in accordance with his or her religious tenets.

Read the official guidelines from the U.S. Army Chaplain Corps.

Additionally, First Liberty attorney Mike Berry notes that the Army investigator’s report clearly documents how Chaplain Squires complied with Army regulations. The report states that Chaplain Squires developed multiple alternative options, including finding a Chaplain that could support the Strong Bonds event.

Although Squires successfully ensured the soldier was placed in the next available Strong Bonds retreat conducted by another chaplain who could facilitate the event without restrictions, the investigator concluded Squires’ conduct was discriminatory, and recommended that Squires be reprimanded.

Read the full report from the Army investigator.

Scott Squires has served his country for 25 years, first as an enlisted soldier, and now as a Chaplain in the United States Army.

No chaplain in the military can serve without an endorsement by a recognized religious organization. The North American Mission Board (NAMB) of the Southern Baptist Convention (SBC) is the endorsing agency for Squires and many other chaplains across all branches of the military. Both the NAMB and the SBC forbid their Chaplains from facilitating marriage retreats that include same sex couples. Doing so would violate the Southern Baptist Church’s beliefs on the institution of marriage and could result in a chaplain losing his endorsement. Army regulations also require Chaplains to adhere to their endorsing agency’s rules and religious tenets. As an officer, Chaplain Squires understands the importance of following orders.

When Squires learned that a soldier in a same sex marriage wanted to attend a marriage seminar, Squires took the appropriate action required by his church and the Army. Squires made sure the soldier was included in the next seminar being conducted by a Chaplain without restrictions. When the soldier filed a complaint, the Army launched an investigation into Squires’ actions.

Under federal law and Department of Defense regulations, the military may not take adverse action against a chaplain who acts in accordance with his or her religious tenets.

“Chaplain Squires should not have his career ruined for following the rules of both his faith and the Army,” said Mike Berry, Deputy General Counsel and Director of Military Affairs at First Liberty. “We’re only asking the Army to follow the law just as Chaplain Squires did. Chaplains should not have to give up their First Amendment rights in order to serve.”

Following First Liberty’s letter to the U.S. Army asking to rescind the recommendations for reprimand, Chaplain Scott Squires’ case has garnered considerable attention from national media. Below are some of the news stories covering this important religious freedom case.

Lawmakers Say Army May Have Violated Law by Targeting Baptist Chaplain

Todd Starnes,  May 1, 2018

OPINION: The U.S. Army Is Actually Punishing Military Chaplains For Their Religious Beliefs Now

Mike Berry, Opinion Editorial in The Daily Caller, April 21, 2018

Army chaplain under fire after refusing to facilitate a marriage retreat for same-sex couples

Albert Mohler, President of Southern Seminary & Boyce College, The Briefing Podcast, April 20, 2018

Army chaplain faces same-sex discrimination claim; lawyer says he was following Army guidance

Kyle Rempfer, The Army Times, April 19, 2018

Army chaplain faces punishment for following religious beliefs

Todd Starnes, Fox News, April 18, 2018

Could Military Chaplains Be Stripped Of Their Religious Freedom?

Mike Berry Interview on Fox News Radio, April 17, 2018


First Liberty | Support Chaplain Scott Squires | Sign the Petition
Stop Sonntag From Ruining Chaplain’s Career!

There is a deep and pervasive problem inside our armed forces. Anti-religious hostility and bias are festering inside America’s military – and there should be no place for that kind of intolerance.

The latest case in point: decorated service member and chaplain Scott Squires, who followed his duty to God and country, yet his career is on the verge of ruin.

Chaplain Squires has served his country for 25 years in the U.S. Army both as a soldier and a chaplain. But today, he continues to be under investigation. He is accused of “dereliction of duty” and faces the possibility of a court martial and confinement in a military prison for adhering to his religious beliefs.

But those claims simply aren’t true. What’s more, they actually violate federal law.

Chaplain Squires – as a committed soldier – followed Army regulations and the teachings of his church. He followed the rules and fulfilled his duties, yet his exemplary military career is still threatened by these shocking accusations.

No chaplain should face the specter of a court martial or military prison – much less have their career ruined – for following the rules of their faith and the Army.

This has gone far enough and it’s time that we hold military leaders accountable.

The Army, or Congress, must hold Maj. Gen. Kurt Sonntag – Chaplain Squires’ commanding officer – accountable. He must take immediate action to reject this investigation, if any chaplain under his command is to have the confidence that he or she will be protected when following military policy.

This type of aggressive, anti-religious bias and hostility cannot exist in our military. Today, military leaders must do what’s necessary to restore and reaffirm religious liberty in our armed forces.

Join us today and show your support. Help save Chaplain Squires career!

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As a grateful citizen, I support your effort to honor those who have fallen in battle and to keep the Bladensburg WWI Veterans Memorial standing as a visible reminder of valor, sacrifice, endurance, and devotion.

Veterans memorials like the one in Bladensburg, MD are symbols reminding us of the sacrifice of our service members and the cost of war. Tearing down the Bladensburg Memorial would erase the memory of the 49 fallen heroes of Prince George’s County—like they never even existed.

We cannot allow the Bladensburg Memorial to be bulldozed.

Please know that you have my support and backing in your petition to the U.S. Supreme Court.