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BREITBART by KEN KLUKOWSKI

Pentagon Defends Unconstitutional Policy Against Soldiers Sharing Faith

Pentagon personnel responded to Breitbart News’ report about court-martialing service members who share their faith in the military, which the Pentagon confirmed on May 1, and the Air Force on May 2 separately confirmed a second time.

Now the Pentagon claims the opposite. But these new statements instead only compound the problem, as the Pentagon’s new definitions for terms squarely contradict what the dictionary says those terms mean. All this has taken place as the first flag officer in the military has stepped forward to defy the unconstitutional policy.

In an official statement yesterday, Lt. Cmdr. Nate Christensen, a spokesman for the Pentagon’s Defense Press Office, responded to Breitbart News’ reports by saying, “Service members can share their faith (evangelize), but must not force unwanted, intrusive attempts to convert others of any faith to one’s beliefs (proselytization).”

Unfortunately for the Obama administration’s leaders in the Pentagon, those definitions are absurdly false, and only confirm a central concern in the earlier columns. These definitions of evangelizing and proselytizing are contradicted by (1) general dictionaries, (2) legal dictionaries, and (3) theological dictionaries. We have not located any dictionary that supports the Pentagon’s novel and unprecedented definitions for these well-known words.

Evidently it all depends on what the meaning of the word “is” is, which is a debate the country thought was resolved in 2000. Even so, when trying to say the press is wrong, don’t do it by inventing new definitions that anyone with a sixth-grade education and access to a dictionary can confirm are utterly false.

The words “evangelize” and “proselytize” have identical meanings when referring to Christians. So to make proselyting illegal is to make evangelizing illegal.

The dictionary defines “evangelize” as “to convert to Christianity,” or “to preach the [Christian] gospel.” Likewise, the dictionary defines “proselytize” as “to convert or attempt to convert.” They both mean sharing the gospel of Jesus Christ.

Two things to note. First, “evangelizing” means to try to persuade your listener to become a Christian, which the Pentagon just reaffirmed for the second time in two days is forbidden in the military. Second, contrary to the Obama-Holder DoD’s definition, “proselytizing” carries no connotation whatsoever of “force,” or “intrusive attempts” to do anything.

Everyone can agree that no military commander should use his authority to coerce a subordinate to adopt religious views that violate the subordinate’s conscience. But that suggestion is a strawman argument, as “proselytizing” is something entirely different.

Not only that, but this suggestion is further confirmed as false because then our earlier reports discussing chaplains would be irrelevant. An infantry sergeant answers to an infantry lieutenant, who answers to an infantry captain, and so on up to the general commanding the infantry division.

So why was the Washington Post reporting that the Pentagon’s meeting(s) with Weinstein discussed chaplains being court martialed (that is–criminally prosecuted under military law) for sharing the gospel with a fellow service-member? The chaplain is not in the chain of command. The chaplain has no authority with which to coerce the other service member.

Instead, it looks like the Obama-Hagel administration was caught red-handed contemplating policies that violate the rights of American service members, and they are literally attempting to rewrite the dictionary through a press release to offer a disingenuous explanation of why things are not as disturbing as they appear.

A second problem for the Obama administration is this proposed new rule makes it illegal for millions of Americans to serve in the military in a manner consistent with their faith. Millions of Americans who call themselves Christians–including Evangelicals, devout Catholics, and observant Mormons–believe they are required by Matthew 28 in the Bible to share the gospel with other people.

This is to be done respectfully and peacefully, at appropriate times and in an appropriate manner, but it must be done when such opportunities present themselves. To say that sharing the gospel is a crime under military law (as we reported, Weinstein in his own words calls it an act of “treason” that should be “punished”–right after calling those who do so “monsters” and “enemies” of the Constitution), is to say that tens of millions of Americans are not allowed to serve in our military. And those already serving could be prosecuted for a crime and perhaps expelled from the military.

The third problem is that it is unconstitutional. When someone joins the military their First Amendment rights are diminished, but they are not eradicated. A solider cannot write an op-ed criticizing the Commander-in-Chief, but he can live and share his faith with others. Evangelizing does not disrupt discipline and good order in the military, and therefore the Constitution does not permit the military to forbid it.

Military officers take an oath to “support and defend the Constitution of the United States against all enemies, foreign and domestic.” There are honorable Christian service members who will not in good conscience be able to abide by this unconstitutional and unconscionable decree.

And this week it began. Rear Adm. William D. Lee of the Coast Guard said that he will “defy any efforts to stop military personnel from openly sharing their Christian faith.” Told that sharing the gospel is crossing the line, Lee said, “I’m so glad we’ve crossed that line so many times.” He then pledged to exercise his “right under the Constitution to tell a young man that there is hope.”

The U.S. military is the most noble and honorable institution in America. Officers like Rear Adm. Lee are an essential part of making it so. Congress should step forward to enact whatever legislation is needed to safeguard their rights, as they continue to protect ours.

Breitbart News legal columnist Ken Klukowski is a fellow with the American Civil Rights Union.  

May 3, 2013 - Posted by | Home | , , , , , , ,

8 Comments »

  1. You are actually one of those intolerant self-righteous, saints who is better than the rest of us. You belong in a high-level position of this administration. And, just so you know, as a mental health professional, I am able to recognize the nut inside, once I’ve seen the shell. Your shell is glaringly obvious.

    Comment by duckyack | May 13, 2013

  2. I am very aware of the cult-like nature of AA. You need not point it out to me. As for intolerance, I suggest that those who call others mean cowards and amplify mild-mannered remarks into veiled threats should take a look in the mirror before invoking the i-word. Self-styled “patriots” might want to consider the warning that patriotism is the last refuge of the scoundrel.

    Comment by Sophia Sadek | May 13, 2013

  3. Hold your horses! You are not my only commenter, you narcissistic egoist! Do you really think you are so clever and write so compellingly, that others shouldn’t have to wait for your self-righteous drivel? Your comments, as well as my responses, will be posted on my website for all to see. Then perhaps, one of us can get that Nobel Prize in Literature!

    Comment by duckyack | May 9, 2013

  4. Veiled, or not, I’ve been threatened by meaner people than you, you coward! The fact that you use, Mikey Weinstein, founder and president of the Military Religious Freedom Foundation and Dustin Chalker, as support for your argument, reflects your ignorance of euphemistic language, as well as your already cemented political mindset–a position from which your kind suckles at the hind teat of Administration lies. Furthermore, Weinstein and Chalkere are atheists. Do you really believe that they represent unbiased views of religion?
    I don’t care how “tolerant” you like to think you are, you’re no more tolerant than Liberal media and Progressives who continuously demonize and demean those with differing viewpoints. The intolerance of opposing views are labeled RACISM-RACISM-RACISM, the premise from which all defenses, and attacks, are proclaimed! I often wonder; if Obama had EVER claimed his white blood, as prominently as did his black blood, would Liberals and Progressives then have been forced to defend their positions with logical and factual evidence?
    Obviously you have completely missed, or purposely ignored, terms such as “higher power” and “spirituality” which are used in this military program. Those terms have meaning, and no matter how often Political Correctness tries to change the definitions to suit their nefarious goals, it does not alter reality.
    I’m not going to do the work for you, although if you truly want to be fair, and want to some clarity, I can give you links to self-help, support groups, like AA and NA, that use these terms. From them, you will learn how and why the terms are used. Only then will you recognize that “higher power” and “spirituality” are not interchangeable with God and religion, respectively, in the same way that “falsehood” and “lie” are interchangeable. Within this kind of program, the terms are defined specifically. They have precise meanings, and intended inferences, and they are designed to diminish, relieve, and/or remove emotional stress, unsettling perceptions, and a troubled state of mind. The program and terms are designed for those who must endure the atrocities of war but who do not have the defensive mechanisms/skills required to get through such life events without becoming significantly traumatized and emotionally scarred. The terms fundamentally reflect a paradigm, and are used to help soldiers build healthy mental and emotional defenses against those horrors of war. It’s all about achieving perspectives and perceptions which can shield the soldier from major/chronic depression and crippling anxieties.
    This is far removed from proselytizing–get a dictionary–and these kinds of support programs have proved effective for over seventy years. They have helped both believers, and non-believers, cope with the resulting issues of Post Traumatic Stress Disorder and myriad other scars left in the wake of horrendous, life events. The goal to reduce military suicides is a laudable goal, and the push to turn it into something ugly, is as defenseless as Kermit Gosnell, the mass murderer. Removing this program would indeed maintain the status quo of military suicides.

    Those who take benign statements, such as the terms above, and twist them into verbiage they hope will support their base, are among the most despicable of mankind. First, they are liars, and second, they are gossip mongers who fuel hatred and bigotry. They are the source of true racism, and intolerance, regardless of how loudly they scream “innocence.” They disguise themselves behind carefully constructed rhetoric with an evil agenda. The product of extremism, whether it be that of Islam, Progressives, Collectivists, or any other loathsome belief system, is unAmerican and unacceptable.

    People who buy into and believe the rhetoric of those who reshape truth, in order to manipulate “useful idiots,” are a tremendous burden to Patriots. They glom onto the ankles of those who actually stand up and speak out against real discrimination and other unconstitutional practices. Patriots do the hard work to maintain freedom, even though that’s the duty and responsible of everyone who proclaims to be an American citizen. Standing guard, protecting and fighting for natural rights and liberties, are difficult tasks at best. That fight requires a lot of courage and bravery, and those Patriots shouldn’t have to stop and defend themselves against your false accusations, Sophia. You, and yours, gladly receive every benefit that Constitutionalists have fought for since that document’s inception. And to prove how you benefit from the battles of others, look at your right to say what you want, to believe what you want, and even your right to pass on lies and shutdown and oppress those with differing viewpoints. Shame on you!

    Comment by duckyack | May 9, 2013

  5. I suppose the content of my response to your comment was not acceptable for one reason or another. Was it the denial of the validity of your assessment of anger? Was it the fact that I provided pointers to sources you did not approve? Perhaps some other reason?

    Comment by Sophia Sadek | May 9, 2013

  6. It is not anger that you detect, merely disappointment. You might want to check out the case of Dustin Chalker who complained about the “Spiritual Fitness” program in the military. An article on the program can be found here: http://www.truth-out.org/news/item/268:army%E2%80%99s-%E2%80%9Cspiritual-fitness%E2%80%9D-test-comes-under-fire. A commentary on Mr. Chalker’s case can be found here: http://freethoughtblogs.com/rockbeyondbelief/2011/10/05/click-on-this-link-or-else-you-hate-the-troops/. This program is only one instance of coercion reported to Mikey Weinstein’s organization.

    If I were truly intolerant I would not have responded to you in a civil manner. Instead, I would have sent a few guys over to your place to burn a question mark on your lawn.

    Comment by Sophia Sadek | May 8, 2013

  7. I am always open to opposite points of view and facts that support the truth. If you will send links which will show that “proselytizing within the military” is happening, I will look into it. However, you are one who presumes to know who and what I’m all about, including your conclusion that I’m a Christian or I wouldn’t be against the Pentagon’s forward motion on Christian-related, court marshals. My spiritual views are none of your business, and I won’t explain to you what they are. I will say, however, I’m not a traditionally practicing Christian, and I don’t belong to any traditional denomination.
    I practice honesty, integrity, ethics, and love of my family and country, and so, if you will send me links that reflect the “transgressions” you are fuming over, I will take an open-minded look.
    Now, what you need to do is give serious thought as to why you’re so angry with me, as well as others who disagree with you. This rage is ubiquitous on the Left, and it confounds the logical mind that Liberals/Progressives preach tolerance, acceptance, and political correctness, yet react with hostility toward everyone that disagrees with you. S’plain that Lucy!

    Comment by duckyack | May 7, 2013

  8. You seem to be oblivious to the coercive tactics that have been employed in attempts to proselytize within the military. I suppose that a true believer is taught to ignore the transgressions of fellow travelers.

    Comment by Sophia Sadek | May 7, 2013


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