A fight is heating up between conservative Christians and Obama's Department of Defense over the Pentagon's admission that U.S. military personnel could face court-martial for sharing their Christian faith with others. In a statement provided to Fox News, the Pentagon confirmed: “Religious proselytization is not permitted within the Department of Defense.... Court martials and non-judicial punishments are decided on a case-by-case basis.”
The statement follows on the heels of a column by the Family Research Council's Ken Klukowski, appearing on Breitbart.com, in which Klukowski noted that the Pentagon has turned to atheist activist Mikey Weinstein (shown), founder of the Military Religious Freedom Foundation (MRFF) to help the Defense Department “develop new policies on religious tolerance, including a policy for court-martialing military chaplains who share the Christian Gospel during spiritual counseling of American troops.”
According to Fox News, Weinstein and other MRFF operatives met privately with Pentagon officials on April 23 to insist that the Air Force enforce a policy that supposedly bans proselytizing by Air Force personnel. The policy, included in the “Air Force Culture, Air Force Standards” published in August 2012, supposedly mandates religious neutrality among military personnel, particularly officers. Section 2.1l of the standards states: “Leaders at all levels must balance constitutional protections for an individual’s free exercise of religion or other personal beliefs and the constitutional prohibition against governmental establishment of religion.” The policy forbids officers to “promote their personal religious beliefs to their subordinates or to extend preferential treatment for any religion.”
Weinstein and his MRFF agents insist that the policy means military personnel are forbidden from offering any expression of Christian faith, and he is pushing for the Pentagon to get tough on all military persons — including chaplains — from freely talking about their faith. “Until the Air Force or Army or Navy or Marine Corps punishes a member of the military for unconstitutional religious proselytizing and oppression, we will never have the ability to stop this horrible, horrendous, dehumanizing behavior,” Weinstein told Fox News. He added that his group “would love to see hundreds of prosecutions to stop this outrage of fundamentalist religious persecution.”
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Photo of Mikey Weinstein: AP Images