Whenever I hear the cries of persecution from the Christian right, I have to wonder what color the sky is in the world they live in, which bears no resemblance to the real world. Franklin Graham actually thinks that Christians are no longer allowed to identify themselves publicly.
Are Christians the only group of people who cannot identify themselves publicly in this country? Are we the only voices who cannot speak? The Military Religious Freedom Foundation is calling for the court martial–yes, court martial–of Maj. Gen. Craig Olson for calling himself “a redeemed believer in Christ” and giving God the glory for his success at a National Day of Prayer event. I guess this group would’ve tried to court martial George Washington when he prayed at Valley Forge! Come on–Whose civil liberties are really being infringed on here? They want to bully Christians into silence.
No one’s civil liberties are being infringed. While I do think that MRFF’s calls for a court martial are a little over the top, the simple fact is that Olson violated military regulations by appearing at a National Day of Prayer event in his uniform. Air Force Instruction 1-1, Section 2.12:
2.12. Balance of Free Exercise of Religion and Establishment Clause. Leaders at all levels must balance constitutional protections for their own free exercise of religion, including individual expressions of religious beliefs, and the constitutional prohibition against governmental establishment of religion. They must ensure their words and actions cannot reasonably be construed to be officially endorsing or disapproving of, or extending preferential treatment for any faith, belief, or absence of belief.
And no, this does not mean that Christians can’t identify themselves publicly, for crying out loud. This is a special circumstance. When you join the military, you agree to abide by rules that limit what you can and cannot say in ways that would not be legal for a civilian. How on earth could anyone believe that this applies to Christians as a whole in this country? To make such a claim requires that you are either delusional or you are deliberately selling fear that you know isn’t true, which makes you a liar. Take your pick, Mr. Graham.