Stand down. Some of us do not wonder that the number of suicides and sexual assaults in the military now approaches civilian levels. An organization that was once held together by duty and honor is rapidly becoming a laboratory for social engineering and political correctness. The latest example: Fox News is reporting that “an Army master sergeant was punished after he hosted a promotion party and served Chick-fil-A sandwiches in honor of the Defense of Marriage Act. The unidentified soldier was investigated, reprimanded, threatened with judicial action, and given a bad efficiency report.” Last summer the soldier received a promotion to master sergeant. The promotion coincided with a national controversy surrounding Chick-fil-A’s support of traditional marriage. The soldier sent out an invitation to his promotion party that read: “In honor of my promotion and in honor of the Defense of Marriage Act, I’m serving Chick-fil-A sandwiches.” After the party, the solider received a letter of reprimand. An irony here is that the Defense of Marriage Act happens to be a federal law, so this is the first time I’ve ever heard of a soldier being punished not for breaking the law, but for celebrating it.
“Official time.” According to the conservative Competitive Enterprise Institute (CEI), the Social Security Administration (SSA) is another in a long line of government agencies ignoring Freedom of Information Act (FOIA) requests. CEI filed suit in D.C. Circuit Court this week against the Social Security Administration (SSA) for ignoring a CEI FOIA request that sought records on the use of “official time” by SSA employees. When I first read this release, I didn’t know what “official time” was. Finding out added injury to insult. “Official time,” according to CEI, “is the time employees devote to union duties performed on government time. Official time is part of the negotiated agreements under which members of public-sector unions work. Employees spend time during their working day recruiting members, managing the union, handling, and even encouraging employee complaints and processing new members.” Yes, friends, you heard that right. Your tax dollars are subsidizing the unions. CEI’s Trey Kovacs, who filed the original FOIA request back in March, stated the obvious: “This clearly is a matter of public interest. CEI is clearly right to make the request, and the request clearly was made in the proper legal way. But this administration does not want Americans to know how cozy it has become with federal employee unions or how much of their tax dollars go to union organizing.”
Still split apart. It’s worth noting that tomorrow, June 8, marks the 35th anniversary of Alexander Solzhenitsyn’s “A World Split Apart,” the commencement address he delivered at Harvard University in 1978. Most commencement addresses (including a few I’ve given myself) come and go, but this one was not only a shot heard round the world when he delivered it, but it resonates now as strongly as ever. The speech condemned a loss of moral courage in the West. This loss of courage was the result of the very rational humanism being taught at places like Harvard. He encouraged a return of the West to its “Christian heritage,” without which we would not be able to resist the “current of materialism.” It’s one of the few commencement addresses that will likely be read long after its deliverer and even the graduates to whom he delivered it are long dead and gone.
No surprises here. The Church of England has once again caved in the face of a challenge to biblical morality. According to Religion News Service, “bishops in the Church of England, who had strenuously opposed a bid to allow same-sex marriage, signaled that they won’t try to derail the bill after an overwhelming vote of support in the House of Lords.Church of England spokesman Steve Jenkins said, “It doesn’t mean the Church of England is happy, but that’s where our government is going. Now it’s about safeguarding people’s right to hold religious beliefs.” To do that, the bishops, who hold 26 seats in the House of Lords, plan to amend the legislation to provide conscience protections for Christians and others who oppose homosexual marriage. I do have to hand it to the new Archbishop of Canterbury Justin Welby, who said the redefinition of marriage would undermine a cornerstone of society.