Congressman Doug Lamborn: Standing up for Jesus.
Rep. Doug Lamborn, R-Colorado, is leading a campaign to urge Secretary of Defense Mark Esper to "protect the religious liberty" of military members against demands by the Military Religious Freedom Foundation (MRFF) to stop pushing Christianity as a condition of military service.
"Far too often, commanders react hastily to vocal anti-religion activists who attempt to obstruct our troops’ first amendment rights,” Lamborn said in a release. “These decisions are often overturned, but only after the intervention of Congress. These infringements on the constitutional rights of our service members must end."
At issue are several recent incidents in which military leaders advocated for Christianity to their troops from their military positions, which the MRFF contends violates the separation of church and state, and military instructions that one religion cannot be favored over another or suggested as a condition of serving in the military.
Some examples cited by Lamborn, which led to changes to that made clear to military members they're not expected to believe in Jesus in order to serve:
• Col. Moon H. Kim
who sent an email from his military address containing an unsolicited PDF copy of John Piper's new book Coronavirus and Christ
to 35 other chaplains, according to Christianity Daily
• Cpt. Amy Smith, Maj. Scott Ingram and Maj. Christian Goza posting Facebook videos about Christianity on official military pages, Fox News reports
• Lt. Col. David McGraw hosting Sunday services on his military quarters balcony
"These complaints show that this organization and its leaders refuse to see the difference between evangelizing and proselytization and wish to ruin the careers of the hardworking men and women who serve as military chaplains,” Lamborn and others said in a letter to Esper. “Unfortunately, the Department (of Defense) and the Army have been far too quick to restrict the religious freedom of chaplains and the service members they serve as a result of this group attacks.”
They note the 2013 and 2014 National Defense Authorization Acts provided protections of religious expression.
Mikey Weinstein: Opposes military favoring Christianity, or any religion, over other religions or no religion.
But MRFF's founder and CEO Mikey Weinstein tells the Indy
in an email, "Lamborn has the IQ at about the level of a garden rabbit." (MRFF has tangled numerous times with the Air Force Academy, accusing it of favoring Christianity over other religions, though the Academy denies the accusations.)
Lawrence Wilkerson, retired Army colonel and member of the MRFF advisory board who served as the former chief of staff to Secretary of State Colin Powell, issued this statement:
No fewer than twenty Members of Congress have just totally shamed themselves, proving why the U.S. Congress' rating in poll after poll is now so consistently low it can be declared single-digit.
Doug Collins, W. Gregory Steube, Doug Lamborn, Jim Banks, Ralph Norman, Mike Johnson, Louie Gohmert, Debbie Lesko, Steve King, Andy Harris, Kevin Brady, Brian Babin, Rick Allen, Tim Walberg, Glenn Grothman, Bill Flores, Andy Biggs, Austin Scott, Vicky Hartzler, and that gas-mask-wearing, certified lemon from the Sunshine State of Florida, Matt Gaetz, have penned a letter to Secretary of Defense Mark Esper worthy of being filed with the worst to ever pass from Congress to the Department of Defense.
The letter illustrates each Member's rank ignorance of the U.S. Constitution, of the responsibilities of U.S. military chaplains, of the criticality of good order and discipline in the ranks of the military, and of their own responsibility to the secular law before whatever allegiance they might feel to fundamentalist Christian or other biblical, religious, or spiritual law.
If they believe the reverse — which clearly they must — they should resign immediately from Congress and join the ranks of those American taliban whom they obviously represent. In our country, that's their right. There are probably civilian pulpits aplenty from which they can spew their invectives. But not while in the government and not while using their influence to compel others in that government to "defy the Constitution for Jesus or whatever other diety". Next, these men will be demanding trials for the witches and devils that torment them.