Family Research Council Misrepresents Our Military
Don’t be fooled FRC wants Christian privilege, not religious freedom.
After adopting military cast-off and anti-Muslim crusader retired Lieutenant General Jerry Boykin, the Family Research Council is taking special interest in publishing their own special spin on military policy. They recently published a list of offenses against Christianity and their own FRC. But, not surprisingly, they got some facts wrong. Unlike their own list which has no references at all and expects a simple faith-based acceptance of their claims, you’ll find below short references to confirm the stories for yourself.
Of the 15 points most are false, a few are differences of opinion about military policy, and precious few are real and appropriate restrictions on the rampant proselytism going on in our military. No one is out to get the religious freedoms of Christians or other god-beliefs (nontheistic beliefs aren’t so fortunate), but what FRC seems to be seeking the special privilege to spread anti-gay, anti-choice, political and exclusively fundamentalist Christian beliefs using our military and on the backs of our military men and women. I hope we can see other Christians stepping up to denounce this rhetoric and set the record straight.
From the alarmist FRC call to action, with MAAF response and references in quotes:
“The aggressive anti-Christian actions of the Obama administration are real, documented and escalating. We must STOP anti-Christian actions like these:
1. January 2010 — Department of Defense orders removal of tiny Bible references on military scopes and gunsights.
True and appropriate. Unfortunately not enforced. Many evangelical Bible versus were on rifles just last month. http://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Trijicon_biblical_verses_controversy
2. June 2011 — The Department of Veterans Affairs forbids references to God and Jesus during burials at National Cemetery.
False. One VA director told volunteers they couldn’t insert their religion into other people’s funerals. VA relented for the most part. Policy is not enforced.
3. August 2011 — The Air Force stops teaching the Just War theory because it is based on a philosophy of St. Augustine.
False. Explicitly religious-based war theory rejected in favor of just Just War theory.
4. September 2011 — Air Force Chief of Staff prohibits commanders from notifying airmen of religious programs.
True and appropriate. Policy memo remands religious activities to the chaplain’s office to avoid appearance of command endorsement of religion. Policy is ill-applied.
5. September 2011 — The Army issues Walter Reed Medical Center guidelines stipulating that no religious items (i.e. Bibles, reading materials and/or tracts) are to be given to the wounded.
False. WRNMMC issued a policy saying that visitors could not give Bibles to strangers. Don’t proselytize the ill and wounded. WRNMMC relented and as far as I know you can go push your religion on patients at Walter Reed.
6. November 2011 — The Air Force Academy rescinds support for Operation Christmas Child because it is run by Christians.
True and appropriate. The faith-based program was removed from the command chain and remanded to the chaplain corps. The implication that it is somehow unavailable is false. The AFA simply no longer provides official command support.
7. November 2011 — The Air Force Academy pays $80,000 for a Stonehenge-type worship center for pagans, druids, and witches.
False. USAFA built a general-use chaplain facility for all cadets. It just happened to be in the Wiccan tradition instead of the Christian tradition like every other chaplain facility ever built.
8. February 2012 — The U.S. Military Academy at West Point disinvites three-star Army general, decorated war hero, and FRC Executive Vice President, Lt. Gen. (Ret.) William “Jerry” Boykin, because he is an outspoken Christian.
False. Boykin was disinvited because of his anti-Muslim rhetoric and the Academy did not want to give a platform to his discrimination.
9. February 2012 — The Army orders Catholic chaplains not to read archbishop’s letter to soldiers.
True and appropriate. Chaplains prevented from preaching anti-Obama, anti-choice letter from the pulpit – preach don’t politic.
10. May 2012 — The Obama administration opposes legislation to protect the rights of conscience for military chaplains who do not wish to perform same-sex “marriages.”
Unclear which incident they are speaking about. In any case, he did sign it into legislation, see Jan 2013 below. In addition, military policy is clear that chaplains need not perform weddings if they don’t wish to. MAAF would stand up to protect any chaplain forced to perform a wedding against their conscience.
11. June 2012 — Obama administration revokes the long-standing U.S. policy of allowing military service emblems to be placed on military Bibles.
False but they should. One publisher was ordered not to use military emblems on Bibles. It is not a categorical policy so far as I know.
12. August 2012 — Lt. Col. Jack Rich of the U.S. Army emails subordinates saying they should be on the lookout for people who share FRC’s values because they are not “Army values.”
True in that the email went out and that FRC’s values are not Army values. This was a larger email that included FRC among many other groups in many categories. I couldn’t find an Army response.
13. January 2013 — Obama announces the opposition to a provision in the 2013 National Defense Authorization Act protecting the rights of conscience for military chaplains.
False. He did ‘oppose’ it, but he also signed it into legislation.
14. April 2013 — Officials briefing U.S. Army soldiers include “Evangelical Christianity” and “Catholicism” along with the terrorist organizations Al-Qaeda, Muslim Brotherhood, and Hamas as examples of “religious extremism.”
True and resolved. The incident occurred and then the Army apologized publicly, reprimanded the soldier, and took action to prevent issues in the future.
15. May 2013 — The Pentagon meets with Mikey Weinstein and the Military Religious Freedom Foundation (MRFF) to establish new rules which would restrict the religious freedom of Christian and Jewish military personnel.”
False. The Pentagon met with Weinstein but there was no special privilege to Weinstein nor did Weinstein have any desire to restrict religious freedom.