Contact Senators Burr and Hagan for support
By L.A. Williams, Correspondent
Christian Action League
WASHINGTON — A year after the repeal of the “Don’t Ask, Don’t Tell” policy for homosexuals in the military, more than a few chaplains are finding themselves under increasing pressure to put aside their deeply held convictions — so much so that a pair of senators are proposing new legislation to defend their religious liberties.
The Military Religious Freedom Protection Act of 2012 (S. 3526), introduced by Sens. Roger Wicker (R-MS) and Jim Inhofe (R-OK), would protect chaplains from being forced “to perform any duty, rite, ritual, ceremony, service, or function that is contrary to the conscience, moral principles, or religious beliefs of the chaplain” or the chaplain’s endorsing faith group. The proposed law would also prevent the military from discriminating against a chaplain or denying him opportunities for promotion based on his refusal to take part in such activity or his expression of convictions against homosexuality.
“The Defense of Marriage Act remains law, and as policy changes are implemented by the Department of Defense, the statue must be followed,” Wicker wrote in a Sept. 11 press release, referring to the 1996 law that defines marriage as only the union between a man and a woman.
Inhofe said the president is dismissing his responsibility to uphold the law of the land by “unilaterally deeming the Defense of Marriage Act (DOMA) unworthy of enforcement.”
“We were promised that we would see no change — very little change,” Col. Ron Crews, executive director of Chaplain Alliance for Religious Liberty, told attendees at the recent National Religious Freedom Conference, but he said that promise has not been kept. In fact, panelists at the event said the repeal of DADT, along with White House policies giving the green light for same-sex marriage ceremonies to be performed by chaplains on military bases, have made it difficult for chaplains to read certain Bible passages, or even to use God’s name in public prayer.
“Not only do we pray that this necessary legislation is passed by Congress, but we hope that North Carolina’s own Senators, Kay Hagan (D) and Richard Burr (R), will support it and take a lead role in its promotion,” said the Rev. Mark Creech, executive director of the Christian Action League. “Quite frankly, we expected Sen. Hagan to follow her party and vote for the repeal, but Sen. Burr left us feeling terribly betrayed when he voted to do so. Our hope is that both our Senators, in the aftermath of the repeal, will take this opportunity to champion the religious liberty of those who serve in the armed forces.”
Dr. Creech published an open letter to Burr, describing his vote as a “wholesale abandonment of numerous Chaplains and others in the military who consider it a practice of their religion to be able to speak out against homosexuality as sinful behavior.”
He predicted that chaplains would be placed in a “most precarious and vulnerable position” and that the new policy would “invite reprisals and litigation against them that will violate their religious liberties.”
“Certainly, we don’t rejoice in saying ‘told you so,’ in this situation,” Dr. Creech said. “We challenged Sen. Burr at the time to change directions and lead with a bill to reinstate DADT. Now that the Military Religious Freedom Act of 2012 is on the table, this would be a great place for him to start.”
He said Sen. Hagan should also hear from Christians across the state who want military personnel to keep their religious freedom.
“We cannot be silent on this issue,” Dr. Creech said. “We urge voters to contact both our senators and ask them to support the Military Religious Freedom Protection Act of 2012.”
Read Related Article, An Open Letter to Senator Richard Burr
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