Bases Loaded against Army Chaplain


Bases Loaded against Army Chaplain

May 02, 2018

Telling a chaplain, he can't practice faith is like telling a medic he can't practice medicine! But unfortunately, that's exactly what the Army is doing in the case of Fort Bragg Chaplain Scott Squires. And now, a 25-year career that took Squires on multiple tours of Afghanistan, Africa, and the Middle East may be in jeopardy for it.

For Scott, a dad of three who's spent his life serving his country, the investigation came as a complete surprise. After all, he wasn't just following his sponsoring organization's rules, he was following the Army's! When same-sex couples wanted to join his Strong Bonds marriage retreat, Scott knew he couldn't, in good conscience, participate. So, he did what Army regulations demanded: he found another chaplain to oversee it. In a lot of ways, his attorney Mike Berry explains, he went "above and beyond" to ensure that "that all soldiers under his care were able to participate."

It was the perfect compromise, until an Equal Opportunity complaint was filed, turning Chaplain Squires's life -- and career – upside down. The Army launched an investigation, "and while the officer concluded that any 'discrimination' was 'unintentional' and that the Army's regulations regarding the matter are 'unclear,'" Berry says, "he recommended that Chaplain Squires be reprimanded, something that would tarnish the career and reputation of an otherwise exemplary officer and soldier." Squires couldn't believe it. After all, as a chaplain, he knew he could lose his sponsorship with the Southern Baptist Convention if he violated their teachings on marriage. Apparently, the Army thinks he should have risked it.

Facing a career-ending punishment, Scott and his legal team at First Liberty Institute have some key allies: Congressmen Doug Collins (R-Ga.), Richard Hudson (R-N.C.), Jody Hice (R-Ga.), Vicky Hartzler (R-Mo.), and Doug Lamborn (R-Colo.). Together, the House members called out the secretary of the Army and base commander, demanding the charges be lifted. In a letter to both, they write about the ridiculousness of an investigation that ignores the Army's own regulations.

Citing the religious liberty language in the 2013 National Defense Authorization Act, they "urge those involved with Chaplain Squires's investigation to come to a resolution quickly and consider the implications of a decision that contradicts federal law, DOD regulations, and Army regulations. We are hopeful that Chaplain squires will be absolved of any meritless complaints against him, that his record will not reflect this investigation or EO complaint if the investigation ultimately finds in his favor, and that present and future chaplains in the Army Forces will have security in the knowledge that federal law protects them from similar, baseless investigations into the practicing of their religious tenets."

One of the signatories, Rep. Hudson, joined Fox News's Todd Starnes to talk about why the punishment of Chaplain Squires is "a huge mistake." "Someone in the chain of command, someone in the Army, has made a decision that in my opinion violates federal law. It violates the First Amendment rights of this chaplain and the First Amendment rights of every chaplain in the military." We agree -- and join House conservatives and every other American who cares about religious liberty -- in calling for a quick resolution to the Army's outrageous witch hunt. If anyone should be free to exercise their faith, it's military chaplains!


Tony Perkins' Washington Update is written with the aid of FRC senior writers.


Sex Ed Subtracts from Subjects like Math

May 02, 2018

America's test scores are falling like a brick, Terry Jeffrey writes in a new CNSNews.com column. According to the latest National Assessments, a whopping 65 percent of eighth graders weren't proficient in reading in 2017, and another 67 percent weren't competent in math. But does that honestly surprise anyone, considering what our kids are really studying in school? Maybe if we put as much emphasis on reading as we put on sex, students might actually learn something!

Just last week, parents in Albemarle County, Virginia were furious to hear that their ninth graders were watching a sexual how-to video that would have qualified as adult entertainment. The P.E. teacher responsible, Frank Lawson, was put on administrative leave once school officials learned that a group of 14-year-old girls had been exposed to a Laci Green lesson. Green, who calls herself a "sex educator," is a proud partner of Planned Parenthood who mocks abstinence and spends most minutes of her instruction covering topics that most grown-ups would find disgusting. (If you want to know exactly how graphic Green's content is, check out LifeSite news's coverage. But, brace yourself.)

When girls told their parents what they'd seen, a firestorm erupted across the town. Local news outlets streamed into Western Albemarle High School, trying to determine who was responsible. Principal Darah Bonham told NBC29 that the video hadn't been screened. "What we did not do was vet that [material] as we should have. We just assumed that what was provided was the same" as past lessons, she said. "I'm embarrassed that this occurred," she went on. "I'm upset about it and I know it's been the same way for our kids and for our families."

Kate Acuff, chairwoman of the Albemarle County School Board sent an email to families in the district, insisting the video "was highly offensive, entirely inappropriate for a student audience" and promised that school administrators had called each family on April 13 to apologize for its use. "The video was not previously screened by the school, which was a violation of our standard practice." Unfortunately for the district, the damage had already been done. And while the apology was the right response, it may not be enough. Attorneys at Liberty Counsel say Albemarle may be in more hot water, since this kind of perversity "could be considered 'predatory grooming'" under state law.

"The law is clear that parents, not agents of the state like teachers, and not outside radical groups, have the right to direct the upbringing and associations of their children," Liberty Counsel lawyers argued. A local agency replied that the lesson on various sex acts was part of its "bystander intervention curriculum" but won't be used anymore. That's a positive first step, but a better one would have been to not partner with extremists like Green and Planned Parenthood to begin with. Let's hope more school districts get the message parents have been trying to send with protests like the Sex Ed Sit Out: stick to educating and leave the child-rearing to us! If your children are in the public schools, make sure you know what they're being taught, who's doing the teaching, and what organizations produced the curriculum.


Tony Perkins' Washington Update is written with the aid of FRC senior writers.


Pompeo's Pep Talk Kicks off New Day at State

May 02, 2018

New Secretary of State Mike Pompeo is already making an impression on his new staff, telling them Monday that it was time for the agency to "get back its swagger." FRC's Lt. General Jerry Boykin joined Fox News's Neil Cavuto yesterday to talk about that means for Trump's foreign policy. Check out the interview below.


Tony Perkins' Washington Update is written with the aid of FRC senior writers.



Tony Perkins' Washington Update is written with the aid of FRC senior writers.


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