A coalition of conservative leaders and congressmen gathered on Capitol Hill July 9 to lend their support to an amendment, offered in the National Defense Authorization Act (NDAA), that is designed to protect the religious freedoms of U.S. military personnel. The effort was led by the Family Research Council, which recently released a report documenting incidents of hostility toward religious expression in the military.
FRC President Tony Perkins noted that an ongoing campaign of intimidation against religious freedoms, which was initially launched against the Air Force in 2004 by atheist attorney Mikey Weinstein, is now “bleeding over into every branch — leading even military chaplains to wonder about their security in referencing the Bible.”
Perkins said that in a military culture where evangelical Christians are increasingly being targeted as extremists, “the pressure to impose a secular culture on our nation's military has intensified tremendously during President Obama's time as commander-in-chief. His administration, whose primary goal seems to be opposing Americans' conscience rights, is continuing that attack on a military culture defined by a long tradition of faith.”
The NDAA religious freedom amendment (Section 530), offered by Rep. John Fleming (R-La.), would expand the “protection of rights of conscience of members of the Armed Forces and chaplains,” according to language in the amendment, giving them the freedom both to speak and act in accordance with their beliefs.
Speaking at the press conference, Rep. Fleming said that “there’s a long list of things that have been happening in very recent years that for those who do the most for us — uniformed members — who put their lives on the line and who have done that over 237 years, those who have fought for our religious liberties the most are the ones today who are having those very liberties taken from them.”
Among the long list of documented attacks against religious liberty in the military offered in the FRC report:
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