Wednesday, May 8, 2013

Religious Freedoms and Petitions

Politics on the Maidens' blog?!

I scared you, didn't I?

Have no fear, for this is not so much about politics as it is about defending our religious freedom.
If you have been keeping up with the state of our nation's military, you are probably as disturbed as we are.  Well, here is your chance to stand up for those who sacrifice so much to defend us.

To understand what I am saying, please read this e-mail I received from the Family Research Council's Lt. Gen. (Army-Ret.) William Boykin.

Yes, I know it's a little long, but, I assure you, it is incredibly important.

"The very service members who defend our religious freedom are having their own chipped away.

On April 23rd, anti-Christian activists met with senior Air Force officials to discuss pressing issues in the U.S. Air Force. What issues would be of such importance to gain such a high-level hearing?
According to these anti-Christian activists, religion is one of the chief problems plaguing our troops. As the Washington Post reported, some are saying that "religious proselytizing" is at the top of the list of problems in the armed forces -- even on par with sexual assault.

Over several years, these anti-Christian activists have complained and the Air Force has repeatedly responded by blocking expressions of faith. In a step in that process, the Air Force published a document last summer with the directive that leaders of all levels (including chaplains) may not "promote their personal religious beliefs to their subordinates or to extend preferential treatment for any religion."
Coercion has always been forbidden by military policy, and troops are free to have a faith or no faith. However, this policy is being used to suppress religious expression. For example, an Air Force officer was reportedly ordered to remove a Bible from his desk.

In a speech last week, Coast Guard Rear Admiral William Lee validated that the hostile environment for Christians extends beyond the Air Force. He recounted a story of his decision to violate the rules preventing him from giving a Bible to a service member who had attempted suicide.
Still, secularists are not satisfied, and are now demanding a court martial for those who don't comply with their view of religious speech. Full acceptance of their definition will lead to silencing all people of faith. Join with others now and sign the petition to stand with our troops.
In response to the petition and outcry, the Department of Defense (DOD) has released several confusing statements over the last week in an attempt to downplay the increasing hostility toward Christians in the military.

The DOD claims that it will allow "evangelism" but not "proselytization" and only as long as it doesn't make anyone feel "uncomfortable." That vague standard will confuse and silence. And the reality is that this policy is being used to violate First Amendment rights.
Nearly 150,000 Americans have signed our petition which was an important factor in the Pentagon's back-pedaling last week. However, they still have not clarified what assurances, if any, have been offered to these anti-Christian activists or what is contained in the new Air Force "instruction booklet" that will soon be sent out explaining its policies on religious expression.

On Friday, I sent a letter to Defense Secretary Chuck Hagel requesting a meeting to discuss these concerns. We hope that a meeting will pave the way for a Department of Defense policy that fully protects the right of service members to share their faith. The Pentagon should cease consulting with Mikey Weinstein and publicly declare that they reject advice from someone who refers to Christians as "hideous monsters."
Our brave troops deserve better. If chaplains and other servicemen and women are censored from offering the full solace of the Gospel, there is no religious freedom in the military."

There you have it.
I encourage you to sign this petition, but also, above all, to pray for our troops.  This is a serious problem and only God can help our nation, but we can do what we can to stand up for the rights God has given us.

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