Family Research Council Statement on Exoneration of Army Chaplain Scott Squires, SSG Kacie Griffin

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WASHINGTON, D.C. – Today, the U.S. Army announced it would be rejecting the conclusions of an investigation into U.S. Army Chaplain Scott Squires, a career soldier with a 25-year history who served multiple tours in Afghanistan, Africa, and the Middle East. The original investigation accused Squires and Chaplain’s Assistant, Staff Sergeant Kacie Griffin, of “dereliction of duty” stemming from Squires' decision to step down from leadership of a marriage retreat that included a same-sex couple. Despite having followed DOD regulations that require a chaplain to follow their endorsing agency's religious tenets, and despite having found another chaplain to lead the retreat, an Equal Opportunity complaint was filed. 

Squires' chaplain endorsing agency, the Southern Baptist Convention (SBC) prevents its chaplains from facilitating same-sex marriage retreats. In addition, statements made during the investigation cleared Squires of any wrongdoing. Regardless, an investigator recommended that Squires and Griffin be found guilty of “dereliction of duty." 

Squires and Griffin are represented by First Liberty Institute and have received congressional support from Reps. Doug Collins (R-Ga.), Richard Hudson (R–N.C.), Jody Hice (R-Ga.), Vicky Hartzler (R-Mo.), and Doug Lamborn (R-Colo.).

Family Research Council (FRC) President Tony Perkins, a U.S. Marine Corps veteran, commented:

“Unfortunately, there are some in our military that have not gotten the word, Obama’s war on faith is over.  As a result not all of the hostilities toward religious beliefs and convictions have ended.  The vast majority of the men and women of faith who serve our nation are grateful for the Trump Administration’s commitment to protect and promote our First Freedom, the freedom of religion.  As a result, Scott Squires and Kacie Griffin have been exonerated from these false accusations that included the serious charge of dereliction of duty.”

FRC’s Executive Vice President and founding member of the Army’s elite Delta Force, Lt. Gen. (Ret.) William G. Boykin, released the following statement in reaction: 

"I am grateful that the Army has acknowledged the obvious error in the case of Chaplain Squires and his assistant, Kacie Griffin. To charge a faithful soldier and chaplain like Scott Squires with ‘dereliction of duty’ is a blatant attempt to deprive Squires of his constitutional right to religious freedom. He and his fellow brothers and sisters in arms are defending these rights all around the world. The military Chaplains Corps has been a critical entity since the American Revolution. Commanders must allow chaplains to be chaplains and to practice their faith. Chaplains have always been spiritual counselors and a source of comfort to the troops. It appears that there are commanders in our military today that see them as social workers. This decision by the Army to exonerate Chaplain Squires and Staff Sergeant Kacie Griffin goes a long way towards reinforcing what a chaplain is,” Boykin concluded.