Religious liberty advocates are renewing calls for the Senate to pass a law to protect military chaplains from accusations of discrimination.
Earlier this month, two gay couples held “wedding” ceremonies at the U.S. Military Academy, raising concerns chaplains who refuse to participate might be punished.
Sens. Roger Wicker, R-Miss., and Jim Inhofe, R-Okla., introduced the Military Religious Freedom Act (MRFA) in September. It specifically protects chaplains who choose not to officiate same-sex “marriage” ceremonies and bans these types of ceremonies from military facilities. Although the bill passed in the House, it is not likely to make it through the Senate, where Democrats who favor same-sex “marriage” hold the majority.
“The Defense of Marriage Act remains law, and as policy changes are implemented by the Department of Defense, the statute must be followed,” Sen. Wicker said.
Sen. Inhofe pointed out that President Barack Obama and his administration have been “dismissing their responsibility to uphold the law of the land by unilaterally deeming DOMA unworthy of enforcement, At the same time, since the repeal of the military’s ‘Don’t Ask, Don’t Tell’ policy, they have begun to pressure military chaplains to fall in line with their liberal same-sex marriage agenda. This bill protects military chaplains from being forced to go against their conscience and religious beliefs in regard to this issue.”
The West Point chaplains asked to officiate the same-sex “marriage” ceremony on campus earlier this month refused. Col. Ron Crews, executive director of the Chaplain Alliance for Religious Liberty, told CitizenLink that they cited their religious conviction that marriage is a union between one man and one woman, and another chaplain, not assigned to West Point, came in to officiate.
Whether or not the chaplains will face retribution remains to be determined, but their religious freedom is something for which all Americans should fight, he added.
“Every American, especially those who wear the uniform, have God-given and constitutionally protected religious liberties, and they should be able to exercise those religious liberties,” Crews told CitizenLink. He encouraged all citizens to write their senators and congressmen “to encourage them to support the language that was passed in the House under the Religious Freedom Protection Act.”