Guest Editorial

By Tony Perkins  |  aUGUST 26, 2015

A clear and present danger

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tony perkinsPresident Obama, America's Commander-In-Chief, is aggressively attacking what he believes is the greatest threat to the U.S. Armed Forces. No, not ISIS. Not Hamas. Not Russia, China, Iran, or North Korea. It's Christian servicemen and women who dare to practice their faith openly.

As President Obama has radically transformed the military, removing the prohibition against open homosexuality and now pushing to lift the ban on transgenderism in the military, there appears to be room for anyone and everything but Christians and Christianity.


Family Research Council (FRC) has been the foremost defender of religious freedom in our nation's armed forces. Time and time again, we have exposed the President's agenda to banish the strong religious component that has long been a cornerstone of American military life.

Given the dangerous world in which we live, our military should not be distracted from its core mission: to win and fight our nation's wars.

Despite the growing threats against our nation, President Obama is undeterred in his efforts to make our nation's armed forces a far Left social experiment.

The Obama administration is focusing on providing gender reassignment drugs for a convicted traitor facing 35 years in Leavenworth; adding benefits for same-sex couples; and sponsoring gay pride events. A terrible waste of much-needed resources after the dangerous cuts of the military budget!

But what makes the President's agenda even more diabolical is that while he is expanding protections for LGBT troops, he is also attempting to force Christians in the military underground.

Our servicemen and women can now lose their military careers and promotion simply for living out their Christian values.

Army Chaplain Joseph Lawhorn received a disciplinary Letter of Concern because he shared spiritual resources (along with secular ones, by the way) in a suicide prevention message.

Air Force Senior Master Sgt. Phillip Monk's distinguished career was abruptly interrupted when he was relieved of his duties for telling his lesbian commander that service members under his supervision shouldn't be punished for believing that marriage is a holy covenant between one man and one woman—a belief shared by most Americans.

Navy Lieutenant Commander Wesley Modder, a Navy chaplain praised as the "best of the best," now faces involuntary separation from the Navy. His crime? He shared his Christian beliefs on faith, sexuality and marriage during a private counseling session.

Lance Corporal Monica Sterling was court-martialed and given a bad-conduct discharge from the Marine Corps for refusing to obey an order to remove a Post-it with a Bible verse from her work station.

These are just a few of the incidents of overt persecution that targeted Christian servicemen and women. There are many, many more. You can read them in FRC's updated publication, "A CLEAR AND PRESENT DANGER: The Threat to Religious Liberty in the Military."

The war on Christians will destroy our military.

Already we see signs that America's military is corroding as morale plummets. According to a survey of more than 770,000 soldiers, more than half are unhappy and distrust leadership.

That's why it is essential that we fight and contend for religious freedom in the armed forces. In many ways the U.S. military is a cultural vanguard. What the military tolerates—or in the case of Obama's military, actually affirms—will be a precursor of what our culture as a whole will embrace.

Take away religious freedom in the U.S. military and you take away its greatest strength.

Just because a person volunteers to put on a uniform does not mean that he or she must check his or her faith at the door.

Military life is hard and dangerous. This reality makes it only natural that the gravity of military life should lead to serious consideration of spiritual matters. In times of peril to life and limb, it is a source of great comfort to know that many of those who "have your back" share a deep commitment to each other, the United States and to God.

We must move forward with courage and resolve.

We must redouble our efforts to stand firmly for truth in a time of great moral confusion. We must never shrink back and give up.

History is written and made by men and women who are moved by God to see beyond the present to the possible.

FRC continues to speak out boldly to show members of the armed forces that they have allies who are advocating for them on all fronts. We not only bring stories of religious persecution within the military before the public eye, but work closely with members of Congress to protect the religious freedom of those serving in the armed forces.

By documenting religious persecution in the military, FRC gave Congress reason to launch investigations into the numerous incidents involving service members who have been harassed and had their careers threatened simply for practicing their faith in real and tangible ways. These investigations led to a religious freedom provision being added in 2013 to the National Defense Authorization Act (NDAA). This provision addresses the growing hostility toward Christians in the military and protects their constitutional right to freely express their beliefs. Now we are fighting to make sure the Pentagon complies with the law!

Through our long-standing contacts, FRC is also helping military servicemen and women persecuted for their faith to find top pro bono legal representation. In many cases, the threat of legal action, combined with the public pressure FRC has created, has compelled the military brass to withdraw their trumped-up charges.

FRC has an inside track to the inner workings of the military, thanks to our Executive Vice President, Jerry Boykin. Lt. Gen. Boykin (U.S. Army, Ret.) who served our country in uniform for 36 years and was a highly respected commander of the Army's Special Operations Command. If it were not for his intervention on a number of critical issues, the Left's efforts to transform and weaken America's military would certainly be much further along.

But I mustn't forget the importance of another valued member of FRC's team—YOU! Without your commitment and prayers, none of the gains we have made in defense of faith, family and freedom would have been possible.

Our servicemen and women put their lives on the line to defend your religious liberty. Now I am calling on you to help defend theirs.

Thank you for standing with FRC at this critical time in our nation's history. Together we will get our military back on mission.

Standing (Ephesians 6:13)

Tony Perkins is President of the American Research Council.