by Jorge Gomez & Mia Gradick, Contributing Writers • 3 min read + video
Even as our brave military heroes have stood strong and been faithful to their duty during this unprecedented health crisis, radical groups like the deceptively-named Military Religious Freedom Foundation and even some officials in the DOD are exploiting this vulnerable moment to see if they can push religion out of the military.
Most shockingly, chaplains—whose duty is to provide spiritual care for our troops—haven’t been immune to the All Out assault at the hands of abusive officials.
It seems a rogue faction of officials in the Department of Defense (DOD) persistently take the “old normal” of religious discrimination…and they’re making it part of the “new normal” and the unprecedented reality we’re facing today.
But why? Who in the DOD isn’t getting the memo about protecting religious freedom?
In our latest episode of FLI Live!, First Liberty’s Kelly Shackelford spoke with U.S. Congressman, Doug Collins (R-GA) to discuss this ongoing hostility at the DOD, as well as the history of actions that stand in stark contradiction with federal law protecting religious liberty in the military.
As a pastor and a chaplain in the U.S. Air Force Reserve, Collins understands the importance of safeguarding our First Freedom. That’s why a few years ago he introduced a resolution to make clear that chaplains who’d been furloughed during a government shutdown should be able to continue serving our military. Both the House of Representatives and the Senate passed this resolution affirming military chaplains as essential employees so that they could return to their duties on behalf of America’s service members.
Our most recent FLI Live! broadcast with Rep. Collins is available below:
First Liberty Live!: Why is the DOD failing to protect our service members? FLI President, CEO & Chief Counsel Kelly Shackelford is joined by Congressman Doug Collins (R-GA) with Stuart Shepard as your host.
Posted by First Liberty on Thursday, July 23, 2020
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In addition to this important conversation, U.S. Representatives Collins and Doug Lamborn (R-CO) recently sent a letter to the Secretary of Defense, criticizing the DOD for its failure to protect religious freedom for service members.
In their letter, Collins and Lamborn also called out a recent Navy order that originally prohibited service members and chaplains from attending off-base religious services indoors while allowing social gatherings of any size:
“While we can all agree that the health and safety of our troops is critical during the ongoing public health crisis, singling out religious gatherings while allowing other activities and unrestricted social gatherings to take place is unlawful. To enforce that prohibition under threat of court-martial is unconscionable and provides yet another example of why change is sorely needed at the Pentagon.”
Denying America’s servicemen and women of their unalienable right to religious freedom runs contrary to everything that our nation stands for.
At this crucial moment for our country, America’s military service members need our support more than ever to reclaim their religious freedom. But First Liberty can only keep fighting—and winning—with YOUR support.
Donate today and become a Force Multiplier to reclaim faith and religious freedom for our military heroes.