If you listen to the debate that took place last week about same-sex marriage, you realize that those who hold a Biblical view of marriage will be protected–as long as they stay within the walls of their churches. Christian business owners who hold that belief will not be protected–the ‘free exercise of religion’ clause in the Constitution has been quietly changed (in the mind of much of the public) to the ‘freedom to believe what you want to believe inside your church.’ There was another recent example of that in our military.
Yesterday the America Center for Law and Justice (ACLJ) posted an article on its website about a recent incident in the U.S. Air Force.
The article reports:
Recently, I told you about Major General Craig Olson, USAF, and how he was attacked by the anti-Christian Military Religious Freedom Foundation (MRFF) and its founder “Mikey” Weinstein. Mr. Weinstein claimed that because General Olson publicly shared that he was a Christian believer who valued prayer and gave God the credit for his successes at a National Day of Prayer event, he should be court martialed. Yes, court martialed for expressing his Christian faith.
To Mr. Weinstein and the MRFF, General Olson’s publicly giving God credit for personal successes crossed the line. Yet, they were flat wrong, and the Air Force fully agreed with us that “Maj Gen Olson did not violate Air Force policy . . . .”
In response to Mr. Weinstein’s demands that General Olson should be “aggressively and visibly brought to justice for his unforgiveable crimes and transgressions,” the ACLJ took action.
We immediately sent a letter to General Mark A. Welsh III, Air Force Chief of Staff, pointing out the outlandish tactics employed by Mr. Weinstein (and the MRFF) when he is offended by the religious sentiments expressed by those with whom he disagrees.
As founder of the Christian Military Religious Freedom Foundation (MRFF), Mikey Weinstein has fought to keep the Christian faith out of the military. He is a graduate of the Air Force Academy and claims that the Air Force Academy and the military are hostile to Judaism. I have no idea whether or not his claims are true, but he has definitely declared war on letting Christians express their faith. The message the charges sent to General Olson is that he was not legally allowed to talk about his faith–it was okay to be a Christian in the church, but not in the public square.
The article continues with the content of the letter that the ACLJ wrote:
Mr. Weinstein’s allegations that General Olson violated the Establishment Clause is ludicrous on its face. General Olson gave a personal testimony about the importance of prayer in his life. No one was required to do or believe anything. The coercive force of the United States Government was not behind his remarks, and no one was compelled to accede to his beliefs or change theirs. . . .
General Olson’s own words indicated without a doubt that he was giving his personal story. He was not acting as a government official when he made his remarks. Hence, it would be unreasonable for anyone to draw the conclusion that he was “officially” endorsing anything.
The article reports that the Director of the Administrative Law Directorate (Office of the Judge Advocate General), Conrad M. Von Wald, responded with the following:
We have thoroughly reviewed the facts and circumstances involving Maj Gen Olson’s participation at the National Day of Prayer Observance held on May 7, 2015, at the Cannon House Office Building, Washington, DC. Maj Gen Olson did not violate Air Force policy by participating in this Congressionally-supported event. His remarks were his own personal opinions and did not represent the views of the United States Air Force.
Our military used to allow people of all faiths to express their faith. I think we got along better when people listened instead of deciding to be offended. We were founded as a Christian country with a legal system based on a Judeo-Christian ethic. Unfortunately, we have forgotten that and as a result have wandered down a lot of paths that have damaged our legal system and our nation. We would be a better nation if all of us realized that we were accountable to something bigger than ourselves–regardless of what we believe that something is.