As I listened to retired U.S. Army Staff Sargent and member of the singing group 4Troops Ron Henry share his testimony at Mayor Steve Rigdon’s annual Prayer Breakfast, held last Thursday on the National Day of Prayer, it was evident how God has worked through this soldier’s life. Henry shared an emotional experience of how he and other soldiers came under fire from insurgents with AK-47s at close range while traveling in a vehicle. As the shots rang out Henry stated he immediately began to ask for God’s protection and added that not one soldier in the military vehicle was harmed. To me, that’s evidence enough that God hears the prayers of the righteous.
As I contemplated what SSG Henry had imparted during the event I recalled reading a book written by Colonel Jeff O’Leary titled Taking the High Ground: Military Moments With God, which is filled with amazing stories ranging from the Revolutionary War to Desert Storm of how God encamped his protection around soldiers under fire. I also recalled hearing from a veteran years back that there are no atheists in foxholes.
With that said one of the main headlines that caught my attention last week was, Pentagon May Court Martial Soldiers Who Share Christian Faith, found at breitbart.com.
According to the report, the Pentagon released a statement confirming that soldiers could be prosecuted for promoting their faith: “Religious proselytization is not permitted within the Department of Defense...Court martials and non-judicial punishments are decided on a case-by-case basis...”.
So what does this mean for military chaplains? If a soldier is sharing his faith with another soldier, is that going to be considered proselytizing?
The news article reported that President Obama’s Pentagon appointees recently met with anti-Christian extremist Mikey Weinstein to develop the court-martial procedures to punish Christians in the military who express or share their faith. The article further states Weinstein is the head of the Military Religious Freedom Foundation, and says Christians - including chaplains - sharing the gospel of Jesus Christ in the military are guilty of “treason,” and of committing an act of “spiritual rape” as serious a crime as “sexual assault.” He also asserted that Christians sharing their faith in the military are “enemies of the Constitution.”
All I can say to Weinstein’s assertion is that I believe the 1st Amendment offers protections to Christians alike. He must’ve missed the “or prohibiting the free exercise thereof” part.
I fear should the United States Military decide to take God out of the lives of our service men and women, our military will quickly depart from super-power status. God bless America and God please continue to protect the men and women that serve this country in our military that give the Weinstein’s of the United States and me the freedom to share our opinions.