by Dr. D ~ May 16th, 2013
(Photo credit: Wikipedia)
A number of recent controversial actions and official statements from the Pentagon have caused many to question whether religious liberty wasn’t actually under assault in the US military.
Here’s a link to a summary of the facts and a joint statement from the Sothern Baptist’s Ethics and Religious Liberty Commission and North American Missions Board about those recent developments and their findings and conclusions concerning possible challenges to religious freedom in the military.
Some poignant quotes from the statement:
These reports have elicited a great deal of concern and confusion among military chaplains, pastors and congregations. In some cases, misinformation has been mixed with fact, with the possible result of furthering already tense relationships between military and religious communities.
We reject any and all attempts to sensationalize or misrepresent situations, in this or any other context. Having said that, we are concerned. While rejecting any conspiracy theory linking the reports above, we believe there are in some of these cases elements that are indicative of a troubling lack of respect for true religious diversity in our military. Furthermore, problematic attempts in some sectors of the military to compromise the free exercise of religion have given a sense of plausibility when other such reports emerge, even when those reports are not grounded in fact. …
While no reports indicate any known court martial or disciplinary proceedings related to evangelism, we also know that the time for clarification and protection of religious liberty is before such rights are taken away, not simply after they have been. …
We ask then, and expect, from our military leaders, and from their civilian command, clarification of a commitment to safeguarding religious liberty, including the right for all servicemen and women to share their faith, short of coercion or harassment. This would entail a less subjective and more precise definition of such coercion and harassment, beyond the ambiguous language of "proselytizing."
Response: The joint statement reflects my greatest concern that “proselytizing” will be defined so broadly that real religious liberty and freedom will end up being compromised. The report emphasizes the need to more clearly define the lines between sharing one’s faith and more coercive acts of harassment. The word- “proselytizing” is woefully inadequate in defining the difference.
Read the summary of recent events in the article and the ‘facts’ as understood by this joint committee. It is excellent and their conclusions clearly define what still needs to be done. *Top