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WASHINGTON, D.C. - Family Research Council (FRC) announced that almost 110,000 petitions have been gathered - all within the last 72 hours - in response to last Friday's Washington Post report stating that anti-Christian activists had met with senior Pentagon officials to press for the court martial of Christians in the military who "promote their personal religious beliefs to their subordinates or to extend preferential treatment for any religion." According to the Post, the activists were given assurances that an instruction booklet on proselytizing would be forthcoming within the next few weeks.
On Monday, the Pentagon followed up on The Washington Post report by releasing this statement: "Religious proselytization is not permitted within the Department of Defense. Court martials and non judicial punishments are decided on a case-by-case basis and it would be inappropriate to speculate on the outcome in specific cases." Today the Pentagon released another statement claiming to have made "reasonable accommodations" for religious practice and that "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)."
General Jerry Boykin, Family Research Council's Executive Vice President made the following comments:
"We are deeply concerned that senior Pentagon officials not only met with an extreme anti-Christian activist but reportedly provided assurances to him that Christians in the military could face court martial for 'promoting their personal religious beliefs to their subordinates.'
"Both the Pentagon and Mikey Weinstein can't be right. The Pentagon must set the record straight about what Mikey Weinstein was assured in his meeting with Pentagon officials. The Pentagon should categorically disavow Mikey Weinstein and any assurances made to him regarding court martials of chaplains and service members who share their faith.
"Today, the Pentagon released a statement that claims to have provided 'reasonable accommodations' for religious practice. However, the statement is not supported by the reality of recent incidents of religious hostility in the military. This religious incoherence is not limited to the Air Force, but has become widespread under the Obama Administration."
- In 2011, Air Force General Schwartz issued a stern warning that proselytizing would not be tolerated in the Force. Instead, Gen. Schwartz urged 'neutrality'--which has since turned to hostility--on faith.
- Air Force suspended a 20-year-old class on 'Just War Theory' because it included scriptural references.
- Next came the stripping of 'God' from the Rapid Capabilities motto and the purging of Bibles from Air Force Inn checklists.
- At Christmas, the Academy ordered cadets to stop promoting a Christian charity for needy kids. Leaders even removed an article from a Squadron Office School curriculum for referencing chapel.
- A Fort Leavenworth War Games scenario identified Christian and Evangelical groups as potential threats
- The U.S. Military Academy's Combating Terrorism Center released a study linking pro-lifers to terrorism
- Evangelical leader Franklin Graham was uninvited from the Pentagon's National Day of Prayer service
- At the National Cemetery in Houston, Christian prayers were prohibited at the funeral services for military veterans
- Distribution of Bibles was banned for a time at Walter Reed Army Medical Center
- Christian crosses and a steeple were removed from a chapel in Afghanistan because the military said the icons disrespected other religions
- Catholic chaplains were prohibited from reading a letter to parishioners from their archbishop regarding the Obama HHS mandate.
"Nearly 110,000 people have signed this petition because they know if Christian chaplains and other troops are censored from offering the full solace of the Gospel, there is no religious freedom in the military," concluded General Boykin.
The petition to Secretary Hagel can be accessed here.