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Pentagon's Censorship of 9/11 Hero Painting Latest Incident of Religious Hostility
WASHINGTON, D.C. - General Jerry Boykin, Family Research Council's executive vice president, expressed serious concerns today after learning that the Pentagon had ordered the removal of a 9/11 hero painting from Mountain Home Air Force Base in response to a complaint from anti-Christian activist Mikey Weinstein.
The censored painting, entitled Blessed are the Peacemakers, features a modern day policeman standing in front of a medieval knight and includes a "Matthew 5:9" reference. The base commander has promised to "rid the base of anything else like what had been hanging in the dining hall." The removal of the artwork is the latest in a series of incidents involving religious suppression in the military.
According to Weinstein, the Pentagon complied with his demands within "56 minutes." As of yesterday, the Pentagon has not responded to two letters sent three weeks ago by 59 and 56 Members of Congress respectively, inquiring about Mikey Weinstein's influence over religious issues in the military.
Gen. Boykin released the following statement about the incident:
"We are deeply disturbed that the Pentagon continues to comply with the demands of anti-Christian activists while neglecting to even respond to the concerns expressed by service members, and Members of Congress who simply want to protect the right to share one's faith.
"Last April, anti-Christian activist Mikey Weinstein demanded that the military, and specifically the Air Force, punish service members who don't comply with his view of religious speech. Hundreds of thousands of Americans signed petitions and Members of Congress sent two letters to Secretary Hagel demanding answers. The Pentagon has issued a series of confusing public statements including one from the Air Force that said service members are allowed to share their faith 'as long as it does not make others uncomfortable.'
"The Pentagon's response within 56 minutes to this censorship demand makes it abundantly clear that the Air Force's 'uncomfortable' standard has been defined to require the censorship of any vestige of Christianity. Even a small Scripture reference on a painting honoring our 9/11 heroes can't escape the reach of religious censors.
"Active duty service members tell me that the Pentagon's religious censorship is having an undeniable chilling effect. Congress should continue to demand answers and action until a DOD wide policy is enacted that will allow service members to freely practice their faith," concluded Boykin.