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Lawmakers Say Army May Have Violated Law by Targeting Baptist Chaplain

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May 2, 2018

The U.S. Army may have violated the First Amendment rights of a decorated chaplain who is facing discipline for not conducting a marriage retreat that included a same-sex couple, according to a letter written by a group of Republican lawmakers.

A military investigation at Fort Bragg determined Chaplain Scott Squires should be disciplined for his failure to include a lesbian couple in the Strong Bonds Marriage Retreat. They determined he had discriminated against a soldier based on her sexual orientation.

Chaplain Squires is endorsed by the Southern Baptist Convention’s North American Mission Board. The Southern Baptists forbid its chaplains from facilitating marriage retreats that include same-sex couples.

Had Chaplain Squires participated in the marriage retreat he would have risked losing his endorsement by the Southern Baptists. Likewise, the Army requires its chaplains to adhere to their endorsers’ rules and religious tenets.

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