Pentagon pushed to end Christian proselytizing?

posted at 10:41 am on May 2, 2013 by Ed Morrissey

Did the Pentagon bar Christians from talking about their faith while serving in the military? Not exactly, but a new push to aggressively stop proselytizing has chaplains nervous, according to the Deseret News:

The latest salvo came this week when conservative blogger Todd Starnes wrote on Fox News and the Christian Post that the Pentagon confirmed that “religious proselytization is not permitted within the Department of Defense.”

The regulation is not new. In August, the Air Force issued a policy telling its chaplains that they must balance an airman’s right to religious exercise with a prohibition against government establishment of religion. A violation of the policy could result in a court-martial.

What is new is a recent demand to enforce the rule. It came after a private meeting last week between Pentagon officials and Larry Wilkerson, former chief of staff to Colin Powell, former Ambassador Joe Wilson and civil rights attorney Michael L. “Mikey” Weinstein.

Conservative Christians are particularly upset that the Department of Defense is taking advice from Weinstein, who heads the Military Religious Freedom Foundation.

“God help us now when someone with such visceral hatred of conservative Christians — literally tens of millions of Americans — who says sharing this gospel is ‘spiritual rape’ is helping develop policies for how to deal with Christians in the military,” wrote Ken Klukowski, director of the Center for Religious Liberty at Family Research Council.

The issue for the regulation is not discussions of faith, but in superiors using their positions to coercively proselytize their troops.  The Tennessean gives a clearer context of the rule revised last summer:

But new rules published last year by the Air Force warn leaders to be careful in talking about faith.

“For example,” the rules state, “they must avoid the actual or apparent use of their position to promote their personal religious beliefs to their subordinates or to extend preferential treatment for any religion.”

That’s a common-sense rule that one would probably find in many private-sector places of employment as well.  The point of a military is, after all, to have a disciplined and cohesive force able to act on a moment’s notice to defend this nation and project power.  Anything that interferes with that cohesion and discipline should be avoided where possible.

The Tennessean quotes Joe Carter about the difficulties of recognizing the limits:

Joe Carter, a former Marine and editor for the Gospel Coalition, a Birmingham, Ala.-based group, said coercion has no place in faith.

However, Carter said, Jesus told his disciples to spread the faith in Matthew 28, in a passage known as “The Great Commission.” That’s an essential part of the faith for many Christians, he said.

“We don’t want your boss saying you have to go to a Bible study,” he said. “But what if he just invites you?”

The Air Force’s PR group responded to the question of what crosses the line:

The Air Force’s public affairs office, using the Merriam-Webster dictionary, defines proselytizing as “to induce someone to convert to one’s faith,” said Capt. Jody Ritchie in an email.

“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,” he said in an email. “Proselytizing, as defined above, goes over that line.”

Again, this goes to military discipline and coercion.  No one, at least so far, is demanding that the Pentagon silence people from talking about their faith — an act that would immediately run afoul of the First Amendment anyway.  That may be the goal of the MRFF, but they will end up bitterly disappointed.  The Pentagon appears to be just making the case that leaders should not exploit their powers over their commands to pressure subordinated into religious conversion or activities, which is a common-sense approach to take.

Military chaplains definitely have concerns about their future in the armed forces, but this doesn’t appear to be one of them.  They are more concerned about the implications for free expression of religious belief after the repeal of Don’t Ask Don’t Tell:

U.S. Senate Chaplain Barry Black says today’s military chaplains could be “accused of engaging in hate speech” if they preach what the Bible says about homosexuality.

Black, a retired Navy chaplain, told an audience at the Heritage Foundation that it’s an ongoing “challenge that I think we’re going to have to deal with.”

All of these potential encroachments are worth the effort of vigilance.


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President Barack Obama had better clear this up today, right now. Surely he is just allowing his handlers to throw up this kind of ridiculous, amoral, un-American trial balloon. I call on Obama to address this immediately with the American public, clear it up, and renounce these reports as the nonsense they surely in God’s name must be.

- Sarah Palin

renalin on May 2, 2013 at 10:42 AM

I have a friend who is currently serving and is a chaplain. His comment concerning the story was this:

I saw it, but I’m not going to rush breathlessly to judgment like our friends in the media. I have heard from chaplain leadership from several denominations that they are not concerned about this yet. I will agree with them. This would be such a massive departure from the way things have been (since the foundation of our country) that it is not the kind of thing that can change overnight like this without huge backlash and ramifications for those in leadership who would like to see it happen. We may reach this point, but we will likely reach it down the road after many small steps rather than one large one like this.

Logus on May 2, 2013 at 10:44 AM

Does this apply to other faiths, or would that be discriminatory?

WitchDoctor on May 2, 2013 at 10:45 AM

Communists always try to eliminate family, religion and weapons. Obama is in full-throated Communist mode.

He celebrates gays, he prohibits religious speech and wants our guns. How else do you envision this except marching towards Communism?

NJ Red on May 2, 2013 at 10:45 AM

The Mormons in the military should be very careful.

luckybogey on May 2, 2013 at 10:46 AM

So, in regards to religion, the Army’s motto is going to be “Don’t ask. Don’t tell.”

But that’s not acceptable for sexual orientation.

Got it. Thanks.

Chris of Rights on May 2, 2013 at 10:46 AM

Mark 6:11
And if any place will not welcome you or listen to you, leave that place and shake the dust off your feet as a testimony against them.”

Nutstuyu on May 2, 2013 at 10:47 AM

Does this apply to other faiths, or would that be discriminatory?

WitchDoctor on May 2, 2013 at 10:45 AM

Is that an invitation or an order to attend the Wiccan orgy?

Nutstuyu on May 2, 2013 at 10:48 AM

That’s a common-sense rule that one would probably find in many private-sector places of employment as well.

Common sense is usually one of the first casulaties in a military or paramilitary setting.

Dukeboy01 on May 2, 2013 at 10:48 AM


or to extend preferential treatment for any religion.”

unless, of course, it is Muslim. Muslims can have military business cards that proclaim their faith.

NJ Red on May 2, 2013 at 10:48 AM

Matthew 10:22
You will be hated by everyone because of me, but the one who stands firm to the end will be saved.

Nutstuyu on May 2, 2013 at 10:49 AM

Isn’t a prayer rug, and a compass for facing east included in Obama Regulation survival kit?

portlandon on May 2, 2013 at 10:49 AM

Ed the story clearly says “religious proselytizing” yet you substitute “Christian”. Throwing a match on the spilled gasoline?

Marcus on May 2, 2013 at 10:52 AM

That’s a common-sense rule that one would probably find in many private-sector places of employment as well.

Not really. At a previous employer (bank), a Muslim employee was allowed to leave a prayer rug in an empty office. When I asked to place a crucifix and/or Bible stand in another empty office, I was told no.

Nutstuyu on May 2, 2013 at 10:52 AM

So proudly coming out of the closet is ok but coming out for your faith is grounds for discharge?

WOW!!!! OUTRAGEOUS!!

katy on May 2, 2013 at 10:52 AM

Was a time when sky pilots were respected…

Now, they are the enemy?

Are Mohammedan chaplains exempt?

coldwarrior on May 2, 2013 at 10:52 AM

“convert one’s faith”. Here “faith” means “religious beliefs or observances”, and hence even talking about religion at all could be viewed as coercion if the other party in the conversation has different religious beliefs or observances.

I guess only the privates/airmen/seamen are allowed to talk about religion — all others are to be muzzled.

unclesmrgol on May 2, 2013 at 10:52 AM

Extreme sarc follows:

Incontrovertible evidence of hate crimes conducted by military chaplains. Too bad there’s a statute of limitations.

Here

And here

And here

We need to end this cult mentality within our armed forces.

BobMbx on May 2, 2013 at 10:55 AM

Not really. At a previous employer (bank), a Muslim employee was allowed to leave a prayer rug in an empty office. When I asked to place a crucifix and/or Bible stand in another empty office, I was told no.

Nutstuyu on May 2, 2013 at 10:52 AM

Thats because you didn’t properly prepare your employer for the ramifications of his denial.

Next time, remind him of your propensity to kill in the name of having your religion disrespected.

BobMbx on May 2, 2013 at 10:57 AM

Pentagon pushed to end Christianity proselytizing?

Ultimate goal.

iurockhead on May 2, 2013 at 10:59 AM

Ed the story clearly says “religious proselytizing” yet you substitute “Christian”. Throwing a match on the spilled gasoline?

Marcus on May 2, 2013 at 10:52 AM

The MRFF complaint was specific to “fundamentalist Christians.”

Ed Morrissey on May 2, 2013 at 11:00 AM

Air Force members are free to express their personal religious beliefs as long as it does not make others uncomfortable

Uh huh. And who doesn’t think that the first asshole who gasps “I’m offended!” won’t get someone else before a court martial, pronto? No one? Good, then you’re not stupid.

Physics Geek on May 2, 2013 at 11:00 AM

I had a small incident when I was a Private that always bothered me. I Said “God Damn It” one morning in our CP, some Sergeant came barging through the door and completely lost it on me. He was screaming and yelling about not disrespecting the lord all the while making me do push-ups. He threatened to write me up for something or the other, but never did. What bothered me was other NCO’s stood around and didn’t say anything. That was probably more the atmosphere of that particular unit, but it rubbed me and a couple of others that were present the wrong way. I can definitely see how there could be problems with some people with rank pushing things on subordinates.

Howcome on May 2, 2013 at 11:01 AM

“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,” he said in an email. “Proselytizing, as defined above, goes over that line.”

The emphasized portion is what bothers me. Define “uncomfortable”. Proglodytes base a lot of their ideals on how people are feeling, which is arbitrary and changeable.

It’s fine to say no proselytizing, but to say “as long as it’s not uncomfortable for others” is too much.

chelie on May 2, 2013 at 11:01 AM

Well, you know, the military would have more credibility IF THEY DID NOT DO STUFF LIKE THIS(!!!)…

Obama’s Defence Department: Catholicism = Al Qaeda; Evangelical Christianity = Hamas NOT KIDDING!!!

When the military gets advice from well-known Christophobes, h8ters, and extremists like Mikey Weinstein and the SPLC (C’mon, Malik Zulu Shabazz, the leader of the New Black Panther Party, is a RIGHT-wing extremist? REALLY??? Pathetic.), it’s pretty hard to take its claims of fairness, tolerance and diversity seriously.

Resist We Much on May 2, 2013 at 11:05 AM

Ed Morrissey- rationalizing and sugar coating tyranny one post at a time.

Dr. Carlo Lombardi on May 2, 2013 at 11:06 AM

Good, now the military can get back to it’s basic mission of being a gay support therapy organization.

Little Boomer on May 2, 2013 at 11:06 AM

The MRFF complaint was specific to “fundamentalist Christians.”
Ed Morrissey on May 2, 2013 at 11:00 AM

But the response wasn’t. Your headline implies it indeed was.

Marcus on May 2, 2013 at 11:08 AM

Is the act of offering absolution to a dying soldier, on the battlefield, considered proselytizing?

BobMbx on May 2, 2013 at 11:09 AM

Air Force members are free to express their personal religious beliefs as long as it does not make others uncomfortable

That’s so vague the Christian haters can use anything to get people in trouble.

I wonder if the same thing applies to expressing one’s sexuality?

darwin on May 2, 2013 at 11:10 AM

@BreitbartNews: House Majority Whip: Pentagon Must ‘Clarify’ Position on Prosecuting Christians: On Wednesday, Breitbart News … http://t.co/AUgSIDNpk8

idesign on May 2, 2013 at 11:11 AM

In more ways than one, under Obama and progressives, and political correctness, our military hasn’t a prayer.

coldwarrior on May 2, 2013 at 11:12 AM

Talk about a quick reversal…

Not very long ago at all, “don’t ask don’t tell” used to apply to homosexuals. It appears now it will be applying to Christians.

Oxymoron on May 2, 2013 at 11:12 AM

Punch back twice as hard.

107,693 responses have already been received.

FRC petition link:

https://www.frc.org/get.cfm?c=CHECKOUT&dmy=65CB1BE7-A2DB-4CD5-761DF7B383A069D5&CFID=22200478&CFTOKEN=314618eed0d12157-65CAE176-AC3E-5C04-89857A3EC63BA927

workingclass artist on May 2, 2013 at 11:13 AM

The MRFF complaint was specific to “fundamentalist Christians.”
Ed Morrissey on May 2, 2013 at 11:00 AM
But the response wasn’t. Your headline implies it indeed was.
Marcus on May 2, 2013 at 11:08 AM

Oh sorry guy. You’re right. I was reading “pushed” as “pushes”

Marcus on May 2, 2013 at 11:14 AM

The Air Force’s public affairs office, using the Merriam-Webster dictionary, defines proselytizing as “to induce someone to convert to one’s faith,” said Capt. Jody Ritchie in an email.

“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,” he said in an email. “Proselytizing, as defined above, goes over that line.”

This is completely vague and disingenuous. A “casual conversation” of ones religious beliefs would fit this definition of “proselytizing” if the logic expressed in that conversation convinced someone to convert to the faith in question. If prosellytizing is prohibited as defined here then just talking about Christianity is equally prohibited. Expecially when one decides after the fact that a mutual conversation made them “uncomforable.” (whatever that means).

tommyboy on May 2, 2013 at 11:16 AM

Baby steps. Ed doesn’t get it.

BKeyser on May 2, 2013 at 11:18 AM

What about gay proselytizing? Is that going to be punished?

LoganSix on May 2, 2013 at 11:19 AM

While the vast majority of chaplains I worked with were there to help everyone, I did encounter a few that seemed interested in helping those only within their own “flock” and treated all others like recruits.

BohicaTwentyTwo on May 2, 2013 at 11:19 AM

tommyboy on May 2, 2013 at 11:16 AM

Wait for it….when outwardly living one’s life as a Christian becomes offensive.

Opened that Pandora’s box already with the “proselytizing” and “uncomfortable” threshold.

coldwarrior on May 2, 2013 at 11:21 AM

I assume this applies to atheists as well. Although much atheist proselytizing is just attacks on Christianity, so that may be ok.

darwin on May 2, 2013 at 11:21 AM

The Left always claims that the Right wants to turn the United States into ‘Jesusland.’ Ironically, IT is turning it into a country not unlike Iran, which ALSO persecutes, prosecutes, and imprisons Christians.

Resist We Much on May 2, 2013 at 11:21 AM

What about gay proselytizing? Is that going to be punished?

Heck no! If anything, encouraged. Gays can have at it, since their proselytizing has nothing to do with religion…..and you’d better not say your “uncomfortable” about it or you’ll be declared a homophobic bigot subject to disciplinary action.

hawkeye54 on May 2, 2013 at 11:22 AM

I have a hard time getting spun up over MRFF. As a Catholic, I was subject to some pretty brazen and unwelcome proselytizing while in one of our federal service academies. The “Christian Fellowship Club” could often times be pretty aggressive with people of certain denominations that they didn’t agree with, and there were plenty of others that shared my opinion. I’m an old school Catholic and very conservative, and at the surface not a natural ally of the likes of Mickey Weinstein, but if you’ve never been in a military environment, be careful… I found it dominated by fundamentalists, who I don’t have a particular problem with, but sometimes have a tendency to be a little more overt with some of their ways than many non fundamentalists are comfortable with. I think that’s the problem.

I shouldn’t at a federal military school have had to walk down the room and be told by people that my soul was in danger because I was going to Catholic Mass, but that’s the kind of crap that can be tolerated. (note, this was not the chaplains or administration doing this, but other students who can be just as dumb as your regular college age person, but that it was tolerated was the problem)

So I kind of have mixed feelings on this issue, and will reserve judgement. I think they are looking to clean up stuff similar to the nonsense that is persistent at USAFA, the forced prayers, abuse of non-Christian cadets, etc.

Dr. Shatterhand on May 2, 2013 at 11:22 AM

Resist We Much on May 2, 2013 at 11:19 AM

You need get that out on twitter using every keyword associated with the case.

You know the jury has their smartphones nearby.

BobMbx on May 2, 2013 at 11:23 AM

Wait for it….when outwardly living one’s life as a Christian becomes offensive.

Opened that Pandora’s box already with the “proselytizing” and “uncomfortable” threshold.

coldwarrior on May 2, 2013 at 11:21 AM

Quietly reading the bible or religious literature could be viewed as making someone uncomfortable.

darwin on May 2, 2013 at 11:23 AM

The Left always claims that the Right wants to turn the United States into ‘Jesusland.’ Ironically, IT is turning it into a country not unlike Iran, which ALSO persecutes, prosecutes, and imprisons Christians.

Resist We Much on May 2, 2013 at 11:21 AM

In seeking to destroy the evil they have defined, they will become the evil.

nobar on May 2, 2013 at 11:23 AM

EO coming next week:

Military cemeteries ordered to replace headstones with religion-neutral markers.

BobMbx on May 2, 2013 at 11:26 AM

Quietly reading the bible or religious literature could be viewed as making someone uncomfortable.

In some environments, that act already is, with the reader taken to task for making others in his/her surroundings uncomfortable. Sorta like eating pork right in front of a muslim co worker in the lunch room.

hawkeye54 on May 2, 2013 at 11:26 AM

You need get that out on twitter using every keyword associated with the case.

You know the jury has their smartphones nearby.

BobMbx on May 2, 2013 at 11:23 AM

I’ve already put it out on Twitter, but the jury won’t see it. They aren’t allowed access to their phones, televisions, the internet or any other outside sources when they are deliberating and they are not supposed to look at anything at night (I don’t think they are sequestered). Of course, no one is watching them at home….

Resist We Much on May 2, 2013 at 11:27 AM

Dr. Shatterhand on May 2, 2013 at 11:22 AM

I was USAF and never experienced one instance of anything like that.

darwin on May 2, 2013 at 11:28 AM

In the end of this conflict, let us hope the progressives are kind enough to allow a program of “don’t ask, don’t tell” if you are a believer….

PaCadle on May 2, 2013 at 11:31 AM

I was USAF and never experienced one instance of anything like that.

darwin on May 2, 2013 at 11:28 AM

well… lucky for you, there are numerous documented events and studies done by DOD that show they happened.

Dr. Shatterhand on May 2, 2013 at 11:32 AM

In seeking to destroy the evil they have defined, they will become the evil.

nobar on May 2, 2013 at 11:23 AM

Yep

Resist We Much on May 2, 2013 at 11:32 AM

As with everything the left does, this won’t end. Everything the left does starts small and grows. It may acceptable today but …

The left never stops, and since the left hates Christians and Jews with the hot passion of a thousand suns you can bet over the years it will become harder and harder to be a person of any faith in the military … with the exception of Muslim. Islam and the left are allies against Christianity and Judaism.

darwin on May 2, 2013 at 11:32 AM

I’m not to worried. In the end, attempts like this are doomed to fail. We will endure as we always have. We will survive the attempted radicalization Obama is trying to impose on our military. In my opinion, his actions are shameful but our brave members of the military will prevail because it is their sacrifice and efforts that make this country great not the political ambition of just one man.

bandutski on May 2, 2013 at 11:32 AM

All of these potential encroachments are worth the effort of vigilance.

Ed,

Of what practical use is “vigilance” when forced acquiescence in every governmental organization is the law of the land?

And the encroachments are increasingly not “potential” but actual?

Difficultas_Est_Imperium on May 2, 2013 at 11:37 AM

I’m not to worried. In the end, attempts like this are doomed to fail. We will endure as we always have. We will survive the attempted radicalization Obama is trying to impose on our military. In my opinion, his actions are shameful but our brave members of the military will prevail because it is their sacrifice and efforts that make this country great not the political ambition of just one man.

bandutski on May 2, 2013 at 11:32 AM

What they want is to make the military unattractive as a career to whomever they don’t want in it. By doing that they can build an ideological force as well as a military one. That’s when things become really dangerous.

darwin on May 2, 2013 at 11:38 AM

Dr. Shatterhand on May 2, 2013 at 11:22 AM

This comment by Dr Shatterhand is well worth reading. There is a point to be made here. Dr. Shatterhand identifies an experience that a lot of Catholics have gone through at one time or another. There is a lot of anti-Catholicism around. The key is that we generally put up with it. I can tell just from reading his comment that he has done as I have done…shrug our shoulders and get on with life.

I think this is the way we need to deal with such issues….not by shutting down other people’s right to express their opinions or religious beliefs. It is one of the trademarks of the left that their reaction to any perceived offence is, rather than just move on, to suppress it. And that is only the start. It wasn’t long after the legalization of abortion that the left wanted Catholics hospitals, medical personnel etc to be forced to participate in them against their conscience. It was not long after the acceptance of gay marriage that they wanted to force KOC Halls to host gay wedding receptions.

So, my preference is to stop the thin edge of the wedge before it gets in…thus, even if, as the Chaplain says, it is not something to get worked up about at the moment, make a big deal and stop it now.

Don’t forget that just a few weeks ago we saw where Christianity was linked with extremists and the KKK in a “one-off” reservist training seminar. There is a rule of life about the left that I have noticed: The Left never has “one-off’s”…only trial balloons.

One other issue related to the comments above. I have read Ed’s post here and have been reading him for many years. I have never seen him pour gas on the fire so to speak…if the left could be half a fair-minded as he is in their writing the discourse would be a lot more civil.

Blaise on May 2, 2013 at 11:43 AM

What IS it about Jesus Christ and what He teaches us that so entirely scares the Left? So threatens them that they have to stomp Him, eradicate Him, silence those who believe in Him, SUPPRESS Him? What IS it?

Think about it.

They’re not running scared from Mohammad, vampires, satanism…

Lourdes on May 2, 2013 at 11:46 AM

What they want is to make the military unattractive as a career to whomever they don’t want in it. By doing that they can build an ideological force as well as a military one. That’s when things become really dangerous.

darwin on May 2, 2013 at 11:38 AM

Bingo! I fear you are correct in this.

AZfederalist on May 2, 2013 at 11:46 AM

What they want is to make the military unattractive as a career to whomever they don’t want in it. By doing that they can build an ideological force as well as a military one. That’s when things become really dangerous.

darwin on May 2, 2013 at 11:38 AM

DITTO.

Lourdes on May 2, 2013 at 11:46 AM

Religious Preference in the US Military – 2009

Roman Catholic 285,789

It is the largest denomination.

Christian No Denominational Preference 271,501

3/4 of the US Military profess a religious preference and this is predominantly Christian.

workingclass artist on May 2, 2013 at 11:49 AM

Cleaning out my Dad’s estate; he would have been 90 next month. Here’s his pocket New Testament he got while in the Army, with this on the faceplate:

THE WHITE HOUSE
WASHINGTON

As Commander-in-Chief I take pleasure in commending the reading of the Bible to all who serve in the armed forces of the United States. Throughout the centuries men of many faiths and diverse origins have found in the Sacred Book words of wisdom, counsel and inspiration. It is a fountain of strength and now, as always, an aid in attaining the highest aspirations of the human soul.

(signed) Franklin D. Roosevelt

Paul-Cincy on May 2, 2013 at 11:49 AM

At a previous employer (bank), a Muslim employee was allowed to leave a prayer rug in an empty office. When I asked to place a crucifix and/or Bible stand in another empty office, I was told no.

Nutstuyu on May 2, 2013 at 10:52 AM

Have had so many similar or equivalent experiences, too many to count.

It’s the power of Jesus Christ that is evident in so much as acknowledging Him, His name as Savior, that agitates those who need to hide from Him that is at the root of all this.

Lourdes on May 2, 2013 at 11:50 AM

Religious Preference in the US Military – 2009

Roman Catholic 285,789

It is the largest denomination.

Christian No Denominational Preference 271,501

3/4 of the US Military profess a religious preference and this is predominantly Christian.

workingclass artist on May 2, 2013 at 11:49 AM

Obama’s instructing the military “not to offend Muslims” — to be subservient, to bury, suppress their beliefs, which is what “no proselytizing” means in practice TO those who are threatened by Christ and Christian theology.

It’s a process of requiring military to be subservient to Islam, the beginning of such.

Otherwise, there’d be similar suppression of Islam, wiccan, occultists, etc.

Lourdes on May 2, 2013 at 11:54 AM

Communists always try to eliminate family, religion and weapons. Obama is in full-throated Communist mode.

He celebrates gays, he prohibits religious speech and wants our guns. How else do you envision this except marching towards Communism?

NJ Red on May 2, 2013 at 10:45 AM

exactly. The liberals want to be the ultimate priests.

kirkill on May 2, 2013 at 11:57 AM

Ed the story clearly says “religious proselytizing” yet you substitute “Christian”. Throwing a match on the spilled gasoline?

Marcus on May 2, 2013 at 10:52 AM

The MRFF complaint was specific to “fundamentalist Christians.”

Ed Morrissey on May 2, 2013 at 11:00 AM

Ed, to those who need and devised this MRFF, as also their peers, “fundamentalist Christians” are ALL Christians. They’ve deemed Christians “fundamentalists” who are, in other words, Christians not of the Progressive/Leftwing playactors.

Lourdes on May 2, 2013 at 11:57 AM

So you will now be court-martialed based on what, exactly? What’s the standards of appropriate behavior? Can I pull out my Book of Mormon? Can I say something like, “Hey, why not try a strategy like Gideon did in the Old Testament?” I mean, Weinstein is on record as calling all Christians “Monsters” who need to be drummed out of the military and presumably put in concentration camps as a sort of “Final Solution.” This is who is drafting the laws now.

Can a Catholic wear a Crucifix? If the standard is “not make someone else uncomfortable” then what about a Jewish Rabbi walking next to an Islamic or gay person while wearing traditional garb?

Vanceone on May 2, 2013 at 11:58 AM

those who scream the loudest about wanting to silence proselytizing are the ones who want their own proselytizing. No incandescents! No Oil! No Nuclear! No Rich People! Allah Akbar! oh…that’s ok…don’t want my head chopped off…

kirkill on May 2, 2013 at 12:00 PM

Ed: You are using too much common sense in your analysis. (which is surprising since you help run a political blog! haha) It does not apply in this situation.

We cede a little ground every single time we say “well, they have a point.” In this case, no they don’t. Anyone who understand and truly believes the Gospel message, understands you cannot force anyone to believe in Christ.

Mr. Weinstein’s position is not to “play nice” with Christians but to criminalize them. That is worthy of alarm.

This argument is the same as the overall agenda gay marriage, repeal of “don’t ask, don’t tell”, anti bullying, etc.

It is about delegitmizing Biblically-based, foundational beliefs. And by the time we’re having the conversation, we’ve already given away the argument. It’s not about our generation anyway (I’m in my 30′s), they’re already planning for the future adults.

simon on May 2, 2013 at 12:01 PM

Religious Preference in the US Military – 2009

Roman Catholic 285,789

It is the largest denomination.

Christian No Denominational Preference 271,501

3/4 of the US Military profess a religious preference and this is predominantly Christian.

workingclass artist on May 2, 2013 at 11:49 AM

Obama’s instructing the military “not to offend Muslims” — to be subservient, to bury, suppress their beliefs, which is what “no proselytizing” means in practice TO those who are threatened by Christ and Christian theology.

It’s a process of requiring military to be subservient to Islam, the beginning of such.

Otherwise, there’d be similar suppression of Islam, wiccan, occultists, etc.

Lourdes on May 2, 2013 at 11:54 AM

The link to the data/chart is at CNN…My link keeps getting lost.

Interesting that while Roman Catholics make up the largest denomination of soldiers, Evangelicals make up the largest number of Chaplains. 87% of those applying to be Military Chaplains are evangelical.

“But according to Department of Defense data, the nation’s corps of chaplains leans heavily toward evangelical Christianity, failing to mirror the military it serves.

While just 3 percent of the military’s enlisted personnel and officers call themselves Southern Baptist, Pentecostal or a member of a denomination that’s part of the National Association of Evangelicals, 33 percent of chaplains in the military are members of one of those groups, according to Pentagon statistics…

For example, the most popular Christian denomination among military members – as it is among the general public – is Catholicism. Twenty percent of those in the active duty military identify themselves as Catholic. Just 1 percent, meanwhile, are Southern Baptist.

In contrast, 16 percent of active-duty chaplains are Southern Baptist, while just 8 percent are Catholic, according to the Pentagon.

Meanwhile, there’s less disparity in faith between non-Christian military personnel and non-Christian chaplains. In both cases, fewer than 1 percent identify themselves as being either Jewish, Muslim, Buddhist, B’hai or Hindu.

Even so, there are only 33 such chaplains across all branches of the military, according to the Pentagon, making it unlikely that personnel adhering to those faiths would ever encounter a chaplain of their faith tradition…”

http://www.stltoday.com/lifestyles/faith-and-values/military-chaplains-are-faith-mismatch-for-personnel-they-serve/article_19c66ee6-82b8-59f7-b3d5-fd3cc05bc538.html

workingclass artist on May 2, 2013 at 12:03 PM

Is the act of offering absolution to a dying soldier, on the battlefield, considered proselytizing?

BobMbx on May 2, 2013 at 11:09 AM

I am guessing it will be considered as much. As will carrying a rosary or cross even if under your clothing or in a pocket, and, likely as anything, having a Bible in your possession will get you swiftly penalized.

This shows how absurd and wrongly cast is the terminology of the Left: “proselytizing” will surely be seen as engaging in or owning anything that associates with Christianity.

Which is what this is actually about, that.

I find it beyond tolerable that a nutcase such as “Mikey Weinstein” named by Obama to “advise” the Pentagon can NOT be committed to an institution, what with his irrational, crazed and paranoid claims that Christianity is evil in his perspective.

Lourdes on May 2, 2013 at 12:04 PM

while Roman Catholics make up the largest denomination of soldiers, Evangelicals make up the largest number of Chaplains. 87% of those applying to be Military Chaplains are evangelical.

I believe that ministers and priests are “non denominational” while in service as chaplains. They don’t deny religious denomination but are tasked with servicing all of any denomination…so I am led to believe.

Lourdes on May 2, 2013 at 12:08 PM

workingclass artist on May 2, 2013 at 12:03 PM

So it isn’t about Christian denomination (this MRFF) but about Christianity.

Given the military context in which chaplains function in service to all Christian denominations.

Lourdes on May 2, 2013 at 12:11 PM

…Mr. Weinstein’s position is not to “play nice” with Christians but to criminalize them. That is worthy of alarm.

This argument is the same as the overall agenda gay marriage, repeal of “don’t ask, don’t tell”, anti bullying, etc.

It is about delegitmizing Biblically-based, foundational beliefs. And by the time we’re having the conversation, we’ve already given away the argument. It’s not about our generation anyway (I’m in my 30′s), they’re already planning for the future adults.

simon on May 2, 2013 at 12:01 PM

DITTO with 1,000+s.

…Mr. Weinstein’s position is not to “play nice” with Christians but to criminalize them. That is worthy of alarm.

Because that’s it, precisely, that’s the motive right there.

And I find “Mikey Weinstein” to be as close to deranged as ever anyone can be.

Lourdes on May 2, 2013 at 12:13 PM

Pray for the salvation of Mikey Weinstein.

Lourdes on May 2, 2013 at 12:14 PM

I’m ok with this.

p0s3r on May 2, 2013 at 12:21 PM

The latest salvo came this week when conservative blogger Todd Starnes wrote on Fox News and the Christian Post that the Pentagon confirmed that “religious proselytization is not permitted within the Department of Defense.”

The regulation is not new. In August, the Air Force issued a policy telling its chaplains that they must balance an airman’s right to religious exercise with a prohibition against government establishment of religion. A violation of the policy could result in a court-martial.

They’re being slippery when they say it’s nothing new. No, superiors are not and never have been allowed to use their position to proselytize the lower ranking, for obvious reasons. But not only is there no blanket prohibition on religious proselytization, there really can’t be a blanket prohibition. While the military can curb some elements of free speech based on their mission, that doesn’t mean members of the military have given up freedom of speech and religion. The First Amendment still applies, even to the military, subject to the mission.

A chaplain who is not allowed to “proselytize” might as well get out.

Of course, they’re probably redefining proselytize to suit themselves. Properly speaking, proselytization is just sharing your faith, which is a part of the Christian faith.

The bottom line is that you cannot ban religious proselytization and still have religious freedom. Period.

There Goes the Neighborhood on May 2, 2013 at 12:22 PM

No problem, just claim consciencious objector status.

Don L on May 2, 2013 at 12:22 PM

while Roman Catholics make up the largest denomination of soldiers, Evangelicals make up the largest number of Chaplains. 87% of those applying to be Military Chaplains are evangelical.

I believe that ministers and priests are “non denominational” while in service as chaplains. They don’t deny religious denomination but are tasked with servicing all of any denomination…so I am led to believe.

Lourdes on May 2, 2013 at 12:08 PM

workingclass artist on May 2, 2013 at 12:03 PM

So it isn’t about Christian denomination (this MRFF) but about Christianity.

Given the military context in which chaplains function in service to all Christian denominations.

Lourdes on May 2, 2013 at 12:11 PM

Could be a mix of both.

There has been controversy dating to at least 2005 in the Chaplain Corps. over the ratio of denominations represented.

The Obama Administration is likely exploiting it…A Throw the baby out with the bathwater solution?

workingclass artist on May 2, 2013 at 12:23 PM

The Pentagon appears to be just making the case that leaders should not exploit their powers over their commands to pressure subordinated into religious conversion or activities, which is a common-sense approach to take.

If this were just some random order that was implemented and not a part of a larger attack on Christianity I would agree. Unfortunately, when you put it in the context of recent events in the military, you see a distinct pattern. It is abundantly apparent to everyone that this administration sees Christians as some kind of threat and is attempting to purge our armed services of all people who do not espouse their world view (all religions except Christianity are acceptable). Why are they so fearful of Christians? Because they pose the biggest POLITICAL threat. It’s as simple as that.

bandutski on May 2, 2013 at 12:26 PM

I had a small incident when I was a Private that always bothered me. I Said “God Damn It” one morning in our CP, some Sergeant came barging through the door and completely lost it on me. He was screaming and yelling about not disrespecting the lord all the while making me do push-ups. He threatened to write me up for something or the other, but never did. What bothered me was other NCO’s stood around and didn’t say anything. That was probably more the atmosphere of that particular unit, but it rubbed me and a couple of others that were present the wrong way. I can definitely see how there could be problems with some people with rank pushing things on subordinates.

Howcome on May 2, 2013 at 11:01 AM

Based on my own military experience, I think this can safely be described as, shall we say, atypical.

There Goes the Neighborhood on May 2, 2013 at 12:29 PM

Hmm, second look at the viability of the Nuremberg defense?

derit on May 2, 2013 at 12:35 PM

Wingnut Persecution Complex of the Day: The Military Is Threatening to Court Martial Christians!

http://littlegreenfootballs.com/article/41948_Wingnut_Persecution_Complex_of_the_Day-_The_Military_Is_Threatening_to_Court_Martial_Christians!

Mmm...Burritos on May 2, 2013 at 12:35 PM

CRUCIFY THEM!

KOOLAID2 on May 2, 2013 at 12:36 PM

Again, this goes to military discipline and coercion. No one, at least so far, is demanding that the Pentagon silence people from talking about their faith — an act that would immediately run afoul of the First Amendment anyway. That may be the goal of the MRFF, but they will end up bitterly disappointed. The Pentagon appears to be just making the case that leaders should not exploit their powers over their commands to pressure subordinated into religious conversion or activities, which is a common-sense approach to take.

“May be the goal of the MRFF?”

This whole story is meant to promote the idea that the military is a dangerous environment full of social problems, many of them caused by fundamentalist Christian “monsters.”

Ask yourself, “What changed?” The answer is the appointment of Weinstein and his hatred of Christianity.

There Goes the Neighborhood on May 2, 2013 at 12:40 PM

In seeking to destroy the evil they have defined, they will become the evil.

nobar on May 2, 2013 at 11:23 AM

Yep

It seems we’ve made it to the “Calling that which is good, evil, and that which is evil, good” era, and rolling speedily down that moral slope. The bottom can’t be far off.

hawkeye54 on May 2, 2013 at 12:41 PM

Prayer for Military Chaplains

Heavenly Father, bless and protect Military Chaplains and fill them
with the joy and courage of their vocation as personal ministers of
Christ in preaching your word and nourishing us with the Sacraments.
Grant this through Christ our Lord. Amen.

http://www.milarch.org/site/c.dwJXKgOUJiIaG/b.6586215/k.C995/Prayers_for_the_Military_Archdiocese_for_the_Military_Services.htm

workingclass artist on May 2, 2013 at 12:41 PM

Wingnut Persecution Complex of the Day: The Military Is Threatening to Court Martial Christians!

http://littlegreenfootballs.com/article/41948_Wingnut_Persecution_Complex_of_the_Day-_The_Military_Is_Threatening_to_Court_Martial_Christians!

Mmm…Burritos on May 2, 2013 at 12:35 PM

Sad how far off the deep end Charles Johnson has gone lately.

There Goes the Neighborhood on May 2, 2013 at 12:41 PM

Mmm…Burritos on May 2, 2013 at 12:35 PM

I’m an atheist, but please explain…

Obama’s Defence Department: Catholicism = Al Qaeda; Evangelical Christianity = Hamas NOT KIDDING!!!

Resist We Much on May 2, 2013 at 12:42 PM

If we lose our first amendment right to freedom of religion and the free exercise of that religion, this country will no longer be worth fighting for.

Rose on May 2, 2013 at 12:42 PM

Mmm…Burritos on May 2, 2013 at 12:35 PM

Heh, you are a funny little man, citing LGF, the home of the mad Charles Johnson, anti-Christian bigot extraordinaire as a somehow credible source for … Well, anything actually. Except silliness and derangement, it would be a good example of that. For serious political/religious discussion? Eh, not so much.

Kudos for irrelevancy though, good effort.

AZfederalist on May 2, 2013 at 12:46 PM

And just about a month ago…Obama presented the Medal of Honor to Emil Kapaun…

A Catholic chaplain.

coldwarrior on May 2, 2013 at 12:51 PM

Obama doesn’t like Archbishop Broglio…He’s been outspoken about the Gay and the HHS Mandate. It’s his job.

“The Archdiocese for the Military Services was created by Pope John Paul II to provide the Catholic Church’s full range of pastoral ministries and spiritual services to those in the United States Armed Forces. This includes more than 220 installations in 29 countries, patients in 153 V.A. Medical Centers, and federal employees serving outside the boundaries of the USA in 134 countries. Numerically, the AMS is responsible for more than 1.8 million men, women, and children…

On November 19, 2007, Pope Benedict XVI appointed Archbishop Timothy P. Broglio, a priest of the Diocese of Cleveland, as Archbishop of the Military Services. Archbishop Broglio was serving as Apostolic Nuncio to the Dominican Republic and Apostolic Delegate to Puerto Rico. Archbishop Broglio was formally installed as Archbishop for the Military Services on January 25, 2008, at the Basilica of the National Shrine of the Immaculate Conception in Washington, DC.

The Archdiocese serves as the sole endorser (certifier) of Roman Catholic chaplains to the United States government. A Roman Catholic priest cannot serve within the United States Military as a priest without the express permission of the Archdiocese. As of 2008, 285 Roman Catholic priests were endorsed by the Archdiocese for active-duty military service. These chaplains serve on loan from their diocese of incardination or religious order/society and are released for a term of military service. Chaplains never become members of the Archdiocese; instead, they always remain subject to their home bishop/religious superiors. The only clergy incardinated into the AMS are its archbishop and auxiliary bishops.

Once a priest receives the endorsement and the subsequent faculties of the archdiocese, he becomes a commissioned military officer of the United States. A priest’s assignments are provided by the Office of the Chief of Chaplains of each respective branch of the U.S. military.

The Archdiocese is the sole endorser of chaplains for the Veterans Administration hospitals. In 2008, 242 priests were endorsed for service in the Veterans Administration. Approximately 1.5 million Catholic men and women are served by the Archdiocese. To meet the needs of the faithful, the Archdiocese has three auxiliary bishops to assist the archbishop in his pastoral duties. All are former chaplains; Bishop Richard Higgins from the Air Force, Bishop F. Richard Spencer and Bishop Neal Buckon from the Army. The Archdiocese is currently headquartered in the northeast section of Washington, DC, adjacent to The Catholic University of America…

Unlike a conventional diocese, the Archdiocese has no parishes or parish registries. Chapels are property of the United States government. Although the Archdiocese exercises jurisdiction over the religious education programs and the celebration of Catholic Liturgy, it maintains no legal jurisdiction over the physical property of the chapel. Because base/command chapels are United States government property, all records of sacraments performed on U.S. Military installations are maintained by the Archdiocese in its Office of Sacramental Records. This starkly contrasts with the model used in conventional parishes, where all sacraments are recorded in the parish registry. The Archdiocese currently maintains more than 2.5 million records of sacraments performed on military installations.

The Archdiocese receives no funding from the United States government. Rather, the Archdiocese is solely funded by the generosity of its chaplains, men and women in uniform and private benefactors.

http://www.milarch.org/site/c.dwJXKgOUJiIaG/b.6287755/k.8A2F/Archdiocese_for_the_Military_Services_provides_the_Catholic_Churchs_full_range_of_pastoral_ministries_and_spiritual_services_to_those_in_the_United_States_Armed_Forces.htm

http://www.milarch.org/site/c.dwJXKgOUJiIaG/b.6287817/k.290A/Archdiocese_for_the_Military_USA.htm

workingclass artist on May 2, 2013 at 12:54 PM

Heh, you are a funny little man, citing LGF, the home of the mad Charles Johnson, anti-Christian bigot extraordinaire as a somehow credible source for … Well, anything actually. Except silliness and derangement, it would be a good example of that. For serious political/religious discussion? Eh, not so much.

Kudos for irrelevancy though, good effort.

AZfederalist on May 2, 2013 at 12:46 PM

Remember how Charles Johnson used to right all those extreme offensive anti-Arab posts? But them he deleted them?

He has always been a lunatic. First a racist against Arabs now an anti-Christian bigot.

tetriskid on May 2, 2013 at 12:58 PM

And just about a month ago…Obama presented the Medal of Honor to Emil Kapaun…

A Catholic chaplain.

coldwarrior on May 2, 2013 at 12:51 PM

A Catholic Chaplain who may soon become a Saint.

workingclass artist on May 2, 2013 at 1:00 PM

This is nothing more than taking what happened in Fort Hood and projecting it onto every religion. Did anyone have a problem when Malik Hasan used his position to develop PowerPoint presentations to talk about Islam? I would bet that most liberals would have been extremely vocal if he wasn’t allowed to do so. Now that we saw what happens when we pander to terrorists, every other group in the US will suffer.

djaymick on May 2, 2013 at 1:03 PM

Having Mikey Weinstein advise the Pentagon is like letting an Islamist tell Israel how to defend itself.

darwin on May 2, 2013 at 1:05 PM

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