American Family Association Brings Military Religious Freedom Issues to America’s Attention
Army Chaplain is Under Threat of Court Martial for Following His Beliefs, While an Air Force Base Commander Takes It Upon Herself to Remove the Bible from a POW-MIA Table
TUPELO, Miss.—The American Family Association (AFA, www.afa.net) is educating the country about two instances of religious liberties being compromised in the American military.
First, AFA sent an Action Alert to its more than 1 million friends and supporters about an Army chaplain at Fort Bragg in North Carolina who could face a possible court martial and even military prison because of his views on marriage. After being asked to conduct a marriage retreat that included same-sex couples, the chaplain simply explained that his religious beliefs would not allow him to do so, according to his attorneys.
According to Fox New commentator Todd Starnes, an Army investigator under the command of Major General Kurt Sonntag recommended that Chaplain Scott Squires be found guilty of “dereliction of duty” for taking three business days to reschedule the “Strong Bonds” marriage retreat after Squires said he could not conduct it.
“Military chaplains shouldn’t be punished for following their faith,” said AFA President Tim Wildmon. “Our brave military fight daily for our freedoms, yet these same liberties are not being afforded to the men and women who make up our military.”
Squires is endorsed by the Southern Baptist Convention’s North American Mission Board (NAMB), whose policy clearly states that “endorsed chaplains will not conduct or attend a wedding ceremony for any same-sex couple, bless such a union or perform counseling in support of such a union … nor offer any kind of relationship training or retreat, on or off a military installation.”
Squires even went as far as to reschedule the conference so a lesbian couple could be served by a chaplain who would accommodate them. However, the same-sex couple chose not to attend. The investigator’s findings and recommendations clearly violate the 2013 National Defense Authorization Act, which states, “no member of the Armed Forces may require a chaplain to perform any rite, ritual or ceremony that is contrary to the conscience, moral principles or religious beliefs of the chaplain.”
First Liberty Institute, one of the nation’s most prominent religious liberty law firms, is representing Squires as well as Chaplain Assistant Kacie Griffin. Griffin is also facing charges because she did not immediately sign up the same-sex couple for the retreat.
AFA is asking concerned Americans who want to support Chaplains Squires and Griffin to send an email to Secretary of the Army Mark Esper. Prepared letters will be delivered immediately to the Pentagon, urging Secretary Esper to stop this violation of the chaplains’ religious rights. A copy of each email will also be sent to Major General Sonntag via the Public Affairs Office at Fort Bragg. Click here to read the military’s investigation and click here to read First Liberty’s response.
Secondly, AFA is also bringing attention to a disturbing matter concerning the Bible and the commander of Warren Air Force Base in Cheyenne, Wyoming, who is refusing to back down after removing it from a POW-MIA table.
In a separate Action Alert, AFA is exposing how Col. Stacy Jo Huser, the 90th Missile Wing commander, surrendered to the demands of the Military Religious Freedom Foundation (MRFF) by removing the Bible.
MRFF had complained that the inclusion of God’s Word on the table was a violation of the U.S. Constitution, according to Starnes. Huser personally decided that the Bible should be replaced with a generic “book of faith” to ensure “the religious and non-religious feel included and cared for.”
The Air Force has specifically directed base commanders to ignore MRFF founder Mikey Weinstein and direct him to take his juvenile complaints to the Pentagon for response.
“This Air Force commander disobeyed this command and cowered to the anti-Christian activist without as much as a whimper,” Wildmon reported.
AFA is asking that those concerned sign a petition to United States Air Force Secretary Heather Wilson, urging her to correct and reverse Col. Huser’s renegade decision to toss the Bible from the POW-MIA table.
American Family Association representatives are available to conduct immediate breaking news interviews via its LTN line at AFA studio headquarters. Contact Media@HamiltonStratetgies.com for more information or call 610.584.1096, ext. 102.