How a Sitting Congressman And a Retired General Are Trying to Destroy Religious Freedom under the guise of Religious Freedom

I’m sure many of you are now aware that there was a press conference yesterday. It was filled with lies, half-truths, and sold to the American public as an attempt to sway them into believing that Christians are under attack.

You can read it here.

These are two of the men pushing this legislation:

General Boykin

General Boykin

 

Congressman Fleming

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

The man on the left is retired Lt. General Boykin. He is well-known for his hatred of Islam (although he continually backpedals when confronted). He is exactly the type of man that people in the general public should fear being in our military. While he was active duty he used to speak in uniform on behalf of the fundamentalist Christians and publicly stated that “Our spiritual enemy will only be defeated if we come against them in the name of Jesus,” when talking about fighting radical Islamists with the US Military. He was a strong adherent to the belief that George W. Bush was not elected by the people but appointed by god and that the US Military was to be utilized to spread the word of Christ…through violence and death.

The man on the right is Congressman John Fleming. He’s a sitting member of the House of Representatives out of Louisiana and appears to be a fan of Donald Trump‘s hairstyle. He is a theocrat and firmly believes that church and state should not be separated. In the past he has fought to ensure that ‘god’ was a part of the Young Marines program, has verbally assaulted my current commander-in-chief for constitutional infractions that he praised Bush for, and he hates gay people. I’m not sure if he’s ever articulated that but it’s glaringly obvious by his actions.

The Fleming Amendment

The Fleming Amendment is a proposed amendment to the National Defense Authorization Act. The NDAA is a fiscal policy that is put forward every year to decide where money in the military will be spent. There are also a lot of amendments having nothing to do with the fiscal issues in the military that are added to it. So if the amendments fail then the entire NDAA can fail….which can lead to a fiscal crisis for the US Military. And Congressman Fleming knows that so he is really pushing for this to be a part of the NDAA. Let’s look further:

The current legislation is read like this

a) PROTECTION OF RIGHTS OF CONSCIENCE.—

(1) ACCOMMODATION.— the Armed Forces shall accommodate the beliefs, of a member of the armed forces reflecting the conscience, moral principles, or religious beliefs of the member and, in so far as practicable, may not use such beliefs,  as the basis of any adverse personnel action, discrimination, or denial of promotion, schooling, training, or assignment.

(2) DISCIPLINARY OR ADMINISTRATIVE ACTION.—Nothing in paragraph (1) precludes disciplinary or administrative action for conduct that is proscribed by chapter 47 of title 10, United States Code (the Uniform Code of Military Justice), including actions and speech that threaten good order and discipline.

The proposed amendment would have it read like this

a) PROTECTION OF RIGHTS OF CONSCIENCE.—

(1) ACCOMMODATION.—[Except in cases of military necessity,] the Armed Forces shall accommodate the beliefs, [actions, and speech] of a member of the armed forces reflecting the conscience, moral principles, or religious beliefs of the member and, in so far as practicable, may not use such beliefs, [actions, and speech] as the basis of any adverse personnel action, discrimination, or denial of promotion, schooling, training, or assignment.

(2) DISCIPLINARY OR ADMINISTRATIVE ACTION.—Nothing in paragraph (1) precludes disciplinary or administrative action for conduct that is proscribed by chapter 47 of title 10, United States Code (the Uniform Code of Military Justice), including actions and speech that threaten[actually harm] good order and discipline.

Herein lies the problem

The changing of the wording is very vague but I will explain as quickly as I can what that does to our military.

  • [Except in cases of military necessity,] – this would mean that no one could intervene on any religious issue unless it were directly disrupting a mission, regardless of how it affected military personnel.
  • [actions, and speech] – this is placed in there twice and changes everything about the entire bill. It means that not only will any belief system be tolerated (as it currently is) but also any action or speech that can be validated as religious. That includes talking bad about and to homosexuals, muslims, pagans, wiccans, and atheists by any Christian service member. Not only talk – this moves into [actions] which means they can protest, picket, and hate on these groups if they so please….and apparently in uniform.
  • threaten[actually harm] – this is at the very end. Changing the phrase “threaten good order and discipline” to “actually harm good order and discipline” takes all the power away from military commanders. It means that if a commander sees an act of hate that potentially threatens the good order and discipline of his unit he can’t stop it until SOMETHING ACTUALLY HAPPENS. Commanders can no longer be proactive because hate speech and actions will now be protected under legislation.
This is all a gross violation of the Uniform Code of Military Justice, the Constitution of the United States, and just common decency.

Most Christians…

Do not agree with this! I know they don’t because most of the upstanding Christian men in my unit are not like this at all. Neither is my wife – she’s a Christian, also. (Yeah and I work for American Atheists – if we can make it work anyone can)

General Boykin and Congressman Fleming are lying to the American people and they need to be stopped. The detriment to our nation’s armed forces by this heinous act would be horrible. Here are some of the half-truths being propagandized by these two:

  1. An Air Force officer was forced to remove a Bible from his desk
  2. The Air Force censored a video created by a Chaplain because it used the word “God.”
  3. An Air Force officer almost had his career destroyed because he talked about homosexuality in his personal blog.
  4. A Chaplain was relieved because he refused to perform a same sex marriage.

That’s the whole list I could compile. Maybe they should check with the list of over 33,000 infractions committed against service members by those same fundamentalist Christians. I can get you that data (because it actually exists and actually is illegal)

Now to do a quick debunk of these four claims (WOOT!) – I only have knowledge of the last two so bear with me on points one and two…

  1. Again a commander of a unit has the right to make something off-limits within the work place. Talking about sex, religion, politics, and any other controversial topic can be made off limits. It is at the commander’s discretion at what point he or she can cut off that topic. Because at the end of the day mission accomplishment comes first. If a really religious bigot happens to be sitting in his office bugging people about his belief and demanding they adhere to his system….well that’s not conducive to having a cohesive unit that operates well under stress or in combat.
  2. The video was more than likely not a sectarian video for his specific denomination and was probably being used for some type of annual training. I would put money down it was not a religious video but the Chaplain was trying to inject religion into official policy.
  3. The Christian Fighter Pilot blog was recently censored because the man that runs it is a high-ranking Air Force Officer. He used to blast homosexuals on his blog until it went down last month and then came back up with all references of homosexuality omitted from previous blog posts. He claimed it was due to a “server attack” by a hacker.
  4. I’m researching this one. I’ll comment on it later.

It gets worse!

The reinstatement of DADT would actually be better than this amendment passing. At least when homosexual service members were in hiding they couldn’t be actively and openly hated against. This amendment is nothing more than a “hate” amendment. Imagine if you saw a picture of service members doing this while in uniform

Under this amendment bigoted service members could go out in public, while in uniform, and attend these rallies. They would have no fear of repercussions and Commanders would actually get in trouble for telling them not to do it.

Is it far-fetched? In most cases, yes. But there are still some seeds of hate over the repeal of DADT. This amendment pretty much violates everything good about the United States Military.

What can we do?

Well, praying about it won’t help (but if that’s what you do, go ahead – but also!!!). Let’s make sure the Senate knows the ramifications. We need to act. We need to get the press involved. We need to contact the Senate.

This has only made it to the Senate Armed Services Committee. It has not gone forward into the full Senate yet so we still have time…but not much!

Contact your Senator today! I don’t care if it’s through email, phone, or both. But please do this! And pass the word along.

It’s not just the atheists..

Christians are in just as much danger of being subjugated by this legislation as anyone else. Of the 33,000 clients of the Military Religious Freedom Foundation (I’m a client) over 96% of them are Christians. They are just Christians who “aren’t Christian enough” for these fundamentalists. If this amendment passes into the legislation I surely hope that the White House vetoes the entire bill.

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About Paul Loebe
  • Stev84

    Didn’t Boykin head the original Army team that came up with DADT in the first place? (the other services had their own teams, but the Army one eventually won out) Maybe I’m misremembering something here, but I think I read that one of them later headed to the FRC.

    at least when homosexual service members were in hiding they couldn’t be actively and openly hated against.

    That part just isn’t true. There was tons and tons of harassment against people suspected or known to be gay. Sometimes it was violent. Or constant, general anti-gay comments just “for fun” thus creating a very hostile atmosphere in some units.

    • Paul Loebe

      That is true. DADT was used as a weapon.

  • dagobarbz

    Fragging; when rational discussion just won’t cut it…I despise these people so very much. That pinhead from Louisiana can go eat a bag of dicks. You know he secretly wants to…

  • Ryan Jean

    4. A Chaplain was relieved because he refused to perform a same sex marriage….4. I’m researching this one. I’ll comment on it later.

    I’ve spent some time looking for this one, too. Most of the references to it appear copied verbatim from Fox News pieces by Todd Starnes, with it repeated in at least 3 of his entries between June 1st of this year and now. Naturally, he provides no source for it.

    I dug a little deeper, and the only earlier reference I was able to find was from May 2012, on a site called “ConservativeDailyNews .com” (http://www.conservativedailynews.com/2012/05/nancy-pelosi-persecutes-chaplains-then-lies-calling-them-a-fraud-a-manufactured-crisis/ ), also provided without source. I’m still looking, but this is showing more and more like a phantom boogeyman rather than reality.

    Edit: I should note that most (and all the earliest) versions of this claim indicate the issue was not that a chaplain was relieved for refusing to perform a same-sex marriage, but that after DADT was repealed a chaplain was relieved of garrison chaplain responsibilities for refusing to accommodate availability of the post chapel for a same-sex marriage on a base located in a state that had marriage equality. I still haven’t been able to validate the claim, but it changes the context considerably should it prove true.

    • Ryan Jean

      The Conservative Daily News site, in turn, references Christian News Wire. I had to dig a bit, but I found the original article:
      http://www.christiannewswire.com/news/1256319743.html

      Probably not much of a surprise, but it’s written by disgraced former-Chaplain Gordon Klingenschmitt, who along with disgraced former-LTG Boykin make up the dynamic duo of our favorite military Liars for Jesus.

      Given Klingenschmitt’s strong tendency to … um, … we’ll just say “have a troubled relationship with the truth”, I wouldn’t at all be surprised if the entire story is invented from whole cloth.

    • Stev84

      The only confirmed chaplain who got into trouble after DADT was a Southern Baptist who supported a same-sex wedding on base. He didn’t perform the ceremony, but helped arrange it and then attended. As a result he was kicked out of his church (or they rescinded his sponsorship to the military). But another one took him in.

      • Paul Loebe

        That sounds about right.

      • Paul Loebe

        That sounds about right

      • Ryan Jean

        That’s my understanding, as well. They rescinded his ecclesiastic endorsement and ordination, but another liberal church group seized on it quickly and offered him the same credentials through them. He took a stand for what was right over what he was told, and I can respect that.

        That’s part of why this is so suspicious. As I point out in my reply to myself, the earliest known reference to the claim comes from the disgraced Liar for Jesus, Chaplain Gordon Klingenschmitt. I couldn’t find any references prior to that, and a dearth of mentions between that and Todd Starnes grabbing it earlier this year. That doesn’t bode well for the claim having much truth value at all.

        Even if true, though, the original Klingenschmitt claim (removed for shirking his management responsibilities over the post chapel because of a same-sex wedding) isn’t necessarily all that problematic, and sure as hell isn’t persecution of Chaplains, where what Todd Starnes has turned it into (removed for refusing to conduct a same-sex wedding) would be.

  • Paul Loebe

    I wonder what the CFP will have to say about me.

    • Ryan Jean

      I never knew quite what to think of CFP; He really tried to savage and bully Justin and a few others, but he barely touched me when my stories came out. Sure, he twisted the meaning of things until it was absurd, but he didn’t attack as I and a few others expected.

      • Paul Loebe

        Yeah, he’s really started coming after me recently. I’m really over his bullying tactics. If he refuses to act like an officer and a gentleman then I refuse to treat him like one in the future.

        • Joseph Langston

          USC Title 10, Chapter 47, Subchapter 10, Article 89.

          From Article 89—Disrespect toward a superior commissioned officer.

          (5) Special defense—unprotected victim. A superior commissioned officer whose conduct in relation to the accused under all the circumstances departs substantially from the required standards appropriate to that officer’s rank or position under similar circumstances loses the protection of this article. That accused may not be convicted of being disrespectful to the officer who has so lost the entitlement to respect protected by Article 89.

  • Ronald Davis

    I cannot believe something like this is even being considered. What they are calling Christian oppression I see as the government upholding the establishment clause. You are most definitely free to practice your religion in the military, but if your religious views call for you to be intolerant to those who serve along side you then you have no reason to be serving yourself. The military is very diverse and while everyone should be able to practice their faith (on their own time) they should in no way be allowed to do so at the expense of others (homosexuals, atheists, etc.)

    http://secularatheist.blogspot.com/

  • MICAHD

    Even with this they still wouldn’t be allowed to protest in uniform. That is expressly prohibited against in the service manuals.

    • Mojo

      So is discrimination. There are loopholes to everything…especially if you try and inject religion.

  • Joseph Langston

    In that one photo of Ron Crews, his hand gestures suggest that he is about to cast a spell (I guess; I don’t know much about sorcery although I have seen all the Harry Potter films). I hope his fellow Christians don’t catch him all caught up in that black magic stuff…I hear they can put you to death for that.

    • Joseph Langston

      Oh, and:

      “Ron Crews, executive director of the Chaplain Alliance for Religious Liberty, cited numerous anecdotes (all anonymous, out of fear of retribution from the chain of command) of soldiers forced to hide their Bibles, chaplains forced to omit Jesus’ name from public prayers, and commanders facing dismissal for refusing to grant same-sex benefits to gay troops.”

      …out of fear of retribution from the chain of command…..yeah right.


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