A congressman who has introduced legislation to restore religious freedom to military chaplains says Barack Obama’s decision to permit open homosexuality in the armed forces has created an unconstitutional divide that protects the rights of supporters of homosexuality but disciplines adherents to biblical standards of behavior.
“When President Obama put his hand on the Bible and swore to uphold the constitutionally protected rights of all Americans, no exception was made against those in the military,” U.S. Rep. Tim Huelskamp, R-Kan., said in a statement on his website.
“Whether it is expressing the tenets of one’s faith on the issue of marriage or abortion or contraception, it is a violation of the most fundamental of rights – the free exercise of religion – to coerce a chaplain to act in contravention of the tenets of his faith.”
His statement addressed the Obama administration’s attempt to stifle a statement by Roman Catholic chaplains that the president’s requirement that Catholic groups pay for abortion-causing drugs would not be followed.
His H.R. 3828, the Military Religious Freedom Protection Act, is pending in a House committee and already has dozens of cosponsors.
An analysis of Huelskamp’s bill by the Center for Military Readiness explains that while the First Amendment to the Constitution “guarantees rights of conscience and religious freedom to both chaplains and military personnel” a need has developed to “deter infringements on religious liberty.”
The infringements are the result of the repeal last year of the 1990s-era “Don’t Ask, Don’t Tell” policy under which homosexuals were not removed from the military if they kept their sexual behaviors private.
The bill, according to the CMR’s analysis, “would preserve the status quo prior to repeal of the law.”
“Conscience clauses are common in civilian law but conspicuously absent in the repeal legislation. Under the MRLFA, within disciplinary limits already set in the UCMJ, service members and chaplains would be able to speak openly about their sincerely held religious and moral beliefs at all times, without fear of career reprisals,” the analysis says.
Now, under procedures set up by the Obama administration, chaplains only have such freedom in their worship services, and they could be punished for “resistance” to the indoctrination of homosexual behavior in the ranks.
“Service members deployed far from home have a right to receive counsel from chaplains endorsed by their faith group who are free to express their views on matters of morality at all times, not just during worship services. Religious study groups, the Army’s ‘Strong Bonds’ marriage counseling program, and social, educational, or family/athletic activities frequently involve the expression of sincerely held beliefs outside of worship services,” the analysis says.
Obama’s “new policy takes sides between a minority of military chaplains who have no moral objections to homosexual conduct, and the majority of chaplains who do,” the analysis says. “Absent congressional action, constitutional rights of conscience will be protected for one group but not the other.”
The analysis also points out that the training institute for military chaplains “confirms that chaplains who are unable to ‘reconcile’ their beliefs with the new [pro-homosexual] policy will have to request or accept the withdrawal of official endorsement by their sending faith group. This would trigger voluntary separation if they are not obligated to serve longer,” the report says.
Obama adviser Jeh Johnson “said that the Pentagon expects the loss of an undetermined number of chaplains who are not able to reconcile their beliefs,” the report says.
Johnson, a general counsel for the Defense Department, already has issued a memo authorizing same-sex “ceremonies” on military bases in furtherance of Obama’s plan to mainstream homosexual behavior.
The Huelskamp proposal also addresses the authorization, stipulating that no military installation or its property shall be used for any “marriage-like” ceremony unless the couple is one man and one woman.
The bill instructs that “the sincerely held religious or moral beliefs of a member of the armed forces concerning the appropriate and inappropriate expression of human sexuality shall be accommodated and shall not be the basis of any adverse personnel action, discrimination, or denial of promotion, schooling, training, or assignment.”
Also, “A military chaplain shall not be directed, ordered, or required to perform any duty, rite, ritual, ceremony, service, or function that is contrary to the conscience, moral principles, or religious beliefs of the chaplain or contrary to the moral principles or religious beliefs of the chaplain’s faith group.”
The Center for Military Readiness, an independent public policy organization that specializes in military and social issues, said in a statement, “A minority of chaplains support LGBT (lesbian, gay, bi-sexual, transgender) law and same-sex marriage in the military. They may express their views at all times, but those representing the majority of faith traditions face career penalties for speaking about sincerely held religious or moral beliefs in situations other than worship services.”
In an online column titled “The Obama Abomination,” Huelskamp notes, “In the past month alone the Obama administration has gone guns-a-blazing, full-force against both religion and the Constitution.”
He cited the demand by Obama’s health secretary that Catholic employers pay for contraception, including abortion drugs, even though that’s a sin under church belief. He also cited the demand from Obama’s Army secretary that Catholic chaplains be silenced regarding their opposition to the first campaign.
He said it is “concerning” that Obama is “selective” about which Americans’ rights he wants to protect.
“The men and woman who valiantly and voluntarily defend our nation do so first and foremost to guarantee the protection of the rights we hold dear, including free exercise of religion and freedom of speech,” Huelskamp said online. “Throughout the course of generations, men and woman have given their lives defending those rights. Now, they find those rights under siege not on a foreign land, but right here at home.”
The Center for Military Readiness was the group that revealed the government manipulated data to suggest that most members of the armed forces thought the change to allow open homosexuality would impact either neutrally or positively.
CMR President Elaine Donnelly uncovered an inspector general’s report marked “For Official Use Only” that describes how numbers apparently were leaked to the media to support a statement that “70 percent” of the nation’s military members believe change would have either “a neutral or positive impact on unit cohesion, readiness, effectiveness and morale.”
However, the IG, in documents uncovered by Donnelly, revealed the actual figures for military members were: those who believed the change would impact units “very positively” (6.6 percent), “positively” (11.8 percent), “mixed” (32.1 percent), “negatively” (18.7 percent), “very negatively” (10.9 percent) and “no effect” (19.9 percent).
The only way the 70 percent figure can be reached is to combine “very positively,” “positively,” “mixed” and “no effect.” But this combination counts people with “neutral positions” as favoring the change, Donnelly argued.
Donnelly explained that taking the same figures and lumping them on the other side with “negatively” and “very negatively” would produce a total of almost 82 percent of soldiers who believe the results of the change would be “negative or neutral.”
The IG report uncovered by Donnelly said exactly that:
We considered that the primary source’s likely pro-repeal sentiment was further demonstrated by his/her inclusion of the key 70 percent figure in the information provided to the Washington Post. … Had [the source] desired to further an anti-repeal bias for the article, he/she could likewise have combined four results categories from that same survey question to conclude that ’82 percent of respondents said the effect of repealing the “Don’t Ask, Don’t Tell” policy would be negative, mixed or no effect.
The Thomas More Law Center recently announced a federal FOIA lawsuit against the Navy, seeking to obtain records that are expected to show intentional deception by the Pentagon “to gain congressional support for repeal of the 1993 law regarding open homosexual conduct in the military, usually called ‘Don’t Ask, Don’t Tell.’”
The IG report also revealed that Johnson “read portions of ‘an early draft’ of the executive summary … to a former news anchor, a close personal friend visiting Mr. Johnson’s home” three days before service members even were given the survey.
“Contrary to most news accounts, the ‘Comprehensive Review Working Group’ process was not a ‘study,’” Donnelly told WND. “Its purpose was to circumvent and neutralize military opposition to repeal of the law.”
She described the study as “a publicly funded pre-scripted production put on just for show.”