DOD Flip-Flops on Faith Policy

The Department of Defense isn't telling us the whole story about Religious Freedom in the Military!

There is an emerging pattern of abuse of religious freedom taking place within the U.S. military.  This pattern has intensified under the Obama Administration, and its now reaching crisis level.

We’ve uncovered a series of disturbing instances in which our brave service men and women – the very people who fight for our freedoms – are having their First Amendment rights taken away.

As the nation’s largest legal organization focused on defending religious freedom in America, Liberty Institute takes attacks on religious freedom very seriously. So, we conducted our own investigation regarding the Department of Defense (DOD) changing position on the First Amendment rights of our service men and women.

“We’re finding a lot of inconsistencies,” said Liberty Institute Director of Litigation Hiram Sasser. “The Department of Defense is flip-flopping. It seems like they’re changing their stories and making things up to keep the public in the dark.”

Here’s what we’ve learned so far:

According to an article published last week by Fox News, members of The Military Religious Freedom Foundation, including President Mikey Weinstein – who has a history of attacking the religious rights of Christians in the military – met privately with Department of Defense officials, advising the Air Force to enforce a new regulation that would call for “the court martial of any service member caught proselytizing.”

“Someone needs to be punished for this,” Weinstein told Fox News. “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.”

The fact that this meeting took place should alarm every American who values their religious freedom.

Following this, an Air Force spokesperson made the following statement to Fox News.

“When on duty or in an official capacity, Air Force members are free to express their personal religious beliefs as long as it does not make others uncomfortable,” said Lt. Col. Laurel Tingley. “Proselytizing (inducing someone to convert to one’s faith) goes over that line.” Read the full article here.

On May 2, the DOD shared the following statement to the press:

“Service members can share their faith (evangelize), but must not force unwanted, intrusive attempts to convert others of any faith or no faith to one’s beliefs (proselytization).”

So, Liberty Institute went straight to the source. We contacted the DOD and asked for a copy of the policy stating evangelism is allowed, but proselytizing is not.

The response did not make sense. The policy the DOD sent was dated July 22, 2008, and their spokesperson stated there is no new policy on the issue.

The 2008 policy clearly states:

“Title VII requires employers to accommodate an employee’s sincerely held religious belief in engaging in religious expression (e.g., proselytizing) in the workplace.”

From this, it would seem as though current military policy not only allows proselytizing, but also requires it to be protected under Title VII. 

After Liberty Institute went public with the DOD’s inconsistencies, we received yet another “flip flop” communication from a DOD spokesperson.

“Just wanted you to know what you received from me yesterday is not the dept's position, nor on the record from me, nor is it even correct.” (View the email here)

So, which is it? Is proselytizing allowed and protected, or is there a new policy that the Department of Defense is keeping from us? Looks like the DOD itself is having a hard time coming up with a straight answer.

“I’m stunned by the department’s inability to articulate a clear position on religious freedom for America’s service men and women,” said Sasser. “It is very simple…do they have freedom of religion or not?”

When dealing with an administration that is now being investigated by Congress for a massive foreign policy cover-up, we can’t help but wonder…is this another one?

FACT: The members of the armed forces are being lied to – you are being lied to – and we all deserve to know the truth.

Liberty Institute won’t back down when it comes to protecting and restoring religious liberty for all Americans – including those who have and continue to selflessly serve our country. We will oppose and expose the escalating efforts of the federal government to regulate religious freedom.

To help in this effort, Liberty Institute launched the Armed Forces Religious Liberty Hotline, 1-800-259-9109, and Petition Drive to support persecuted members of the United States military. In addition, our experienced team of constitutional attorneys – some of who have severed in the armed forces – vows to provide legal defense for those in the military who are facing religious discrimination and hostility.

Our men and women in uniform bravely fight for our freedoms…now fight for theirs. Sign the petition now and share this with everyone you know!

 

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