Defense Department Issues New Rules on Religious Liberty in the Military

New Rules Greeted With Cautious Optimism

Tuesday, January 28, 2014

The Department of Defense recently released an Instruction (Number 1300.17) to implement a defense bill "conscience clause" to protect religious liberty in the military.  The January 22 directive referenced Section 533 of the National Defense Authorization Act (NDAA) for 2013, which reaffirmed the constitutional rights of chaplains and people of faith to act in accordance with their beliefs on issues affecting morality and religious beliefs.  

The Center for Military Readiness and many groups affiliated with the Military Culture Coalition supported the legislation, which was passed in 2012:

Congress Takes First Steps to Accommodate Religious Liberty in the Military

If carried out as Congress intended, the law and Instruction will be helpful in pushing back against violations of religious liberty that have become increasingly apparent since 2010.  In late December of that year, Congress voted to repeal the law regarding gays in the military, known as "Don't Ask, Don't Tell." 

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Legalizing LGBT Love in the Military
Military LGBT activists can hardly wait for the Supreme Court to declare the Defense of Marriage Act (DOMA) unconstitutional.  According to a Politico report titled "For LGBT Troops, DOMA Ruling a Pocketbook Issue," if the Supreme Court does not issue a sweeping ruling in their favor, lesbian, gay, bisexual, and transgender groups will pressure Congressto pass legislation authorizing marriage benefits for same-sex couples.

This suggests that if the courts or Congress abolish the DOMA, which defines marriage as the bond of one man and one woman, a new class of potentially "entitled" beneficiaries will expect to draw funds from shrinking Defense Department family support accounts.

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Congress Takes First Steps to Protect Religious Liberty in the Military
Defense Authorization Codifies Protections for Chaplains − More Work Needed

The Center for Military Readiness is pleased that the National Defense Authorization Act for 2013 (NDAA) includes a new section of law that reaffirms the constitutional rights of chaplains to act in accordance with their views on issues affecting morality and religious beliefs. 

Working with a number of Military Culture Coalition (MCC) group leaders, CMR took a leadership role in efforts to protect constitutional rights of religious liberty in all branches of the service.  In particular, the Center published a series of CMR Policy Analyses explaining why religious freedom for military chaplains is essential in supporting the morale and personal readiness of uniformed personnel deployed overseas.

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West Point Raises Swords for Same-Sex Ceremony

Check off another prediction about the consequences of LGBT law − a policy that imposes the lesbian, gay, bisexual, transgender agenda on America's military.  Same-sex marriages on military bases became all-but inevitable when Congress rushed to repeal the 1993 law regarding gays in the military in 2010, replacing it with LGBT law.    

On December 1, 2012, Brenda "Sue" Fulton exchanged marriage vows with her long-time partner, Penelope Dara Gnesin, in the Cadet Chapel of the U.S. Military Academy in New York.  The ceremony for Fulton and Gnesin, which followed a similar union of two lesbians on the previous weekend in West Point's cemetery chapel, ended with both "brides" (as they were called) exiting under a traditional arch of swords.

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Congress Must Protect Defense of Marriage Act in the Military

Twenty-four hours after final repeal of the 1993 law usually called "Don't Ask, Don't Tell" on September 20, Defense Department officials revealed their true intent regarding same-sex marriage in the military.  In two policy memoranda, the Pentagon authorized the use of military facilities for "private ceremonies," and the option for chaplains to conduct those "functions" without official endorsement by the Defense Department.  

Unlike an April 13 Navy memo on the same subject that sparked enormous controversy, the two recent memos, signed by DoD General Counsel Jeh C. Johnson and Under Secretary of Defense for Personnel and Readiness Dr. Clifford L. Stanley, omitted the word "marriage."
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Senators Inhofe & Wicker Co-Sponsor Bill to Protect Marriage and Religious Freedom in the Military

CMR Spotlights Fort Polk Marriage Controversy 

Senators Roger Wicker (R-MS) and James Inhofe (R-OK) have responded to concerns about infringements on religious freedom in the military, co-sponsoring a free-standing bill, S. 3526, titled the Military Religious Freedom Protection Act of 2012 (MRFPA).”   This news release from Sen. Inhofe describes the free-standing legislation, which replicates language that the House approved in May, as part of its version of the FY 2013 National Defense Authorization Act (NDAA).   

Same-Sex Marriage in Chapel Divides Fort Polk Community    

In May, what was probably the first same-sex "marriage-like ceremony” on a U. S. military base took place in a dedicated chapel at Fort Polk, Louisiana
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Republicans Adopt Solid Platform on Military/Social Issues

Strengthening the All-Volunteer Force

September 5, 2012 - The 2012 Republican National Platform, titled We Believe in America, includes this affirmation: "We are the party of peace through strength."  The unequivocal statement is supported by a comprehensive platform section "American Exceptionalism," which clearly signals a positive turn toward national security as the highest priority in a future Romney/Ryan Administration.  The following excerpts from that section, which address military/social issues,  . . .
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MCC 2012 Presidential Candidate Survey Draws Responses

Update: MCC 2012 Presidential Candidate Survey

December 12, 2011 - In an interview with the Des Moines Register editorial board last Friday, former Massachusetts Governor Mitt Romney said that he does not plan to change a law mandating acceptance of gays serving openly in the military.  Romney indicated that he was "not comfortable with making the change during a time of conflict," but "complicating features" of the new law "no longer present that problem"because the two wars in the Middle East are winding down. (See video at 35")

Also last Friday, former House Speaker Newt Gingrich responded to the  non-partisan Military Culture Coalition 2012 Presidential Candidate Survey, joining other conservative  candidates in opposing repeal of the 1993 law.  Elaine Donnelly, President of the Center for Military Readiness said, "The responses of Speaker Gingrich are a welcome addition to this ongoing educational project." 

 

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MCC Releases Results of 2012 Presidential Candidate Survey

Conservative Candidates Perry, Bachmann, Santorum Provide Solid Answers

      Romney, Gingrich, Huntsman Fail to Answer Six Questions on Military/Social Issues

Ron Paul Voted for Gays in the Military

December 6, 2011 - The Military Culture Coalition has released responses to the MCC 2012 Presidential Candidate Survey, which asked six questions about military social issues such as gays in the military, enforcement of the Defense of Marriage Act (DOMA) in the military, religious liberty for chaplains, and subjecting women to direct ground combat and Selective Service registration. (See News Release here.)

Center for Military Readiness President Elaine Donnelly coordinated the non-partisan MCC Presidential Survey together with fourteen other conservative organization leaders whose names are provided below. 

Donnelly predicted that results could be pivotal with conservative voters in the early voting states.  "Undecided voters in Iowa, New Hampshire, and South Carolina will want to take into consideration the answers of candidates Perry, Bachmann, and Santorum, which provide insight into their views on national defense and social issues."   


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Troops Losing Confidence in Commander-in-Chief

by Elaine Donnelly

November 14, 2011-President Barack Obama is working hard to shore up his liberal political base, but military voters may be less likely to lend support for his re-election.  According to the 2011 Military Times Poll of active-duty subscribers, confidence in the overall job performance of the Commander-in-Chief has plummeted from 70% to 25%.  The steep decline was illustrated with a multi-color bar graph on page 10 of the September 19, 2011, Navy Times print edition, and in a secondary link in the web-posted article available to non-subscribers, titled "A Souring Mood."  

The 2011 annual poll published in different service editions of the Gannet-owned Military Times indicated that weariness with the current long war is a major reason for slumping morale.   Ten years after the post-9/11 war in Afghanistan began, many troops are losing confidence in the mission there.  Approval of the president's handling of Afghanistan has slipped from 47% to 26%.  

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Congress Must Protect DOMA in the Military

Simulated Same-Sex Marriage Memos Circumvent DOMA  

Twenty-four hours after final repeal of the 1993 law usually called "Don't Ask, Don't Tell" on September 20, Defense Department officials revealed their true intent regarding same-sex marriage in the military.  In two policy memoranda, the Pentagon authorized the use of military facilities for "private ceremonies," and the option for chaplains to conduct those "functions" without official endorsement by the Defense Department.  

Unlike an April 13 Navy memo on the same subject that sparked enormous controversy, the two recent memos, signed by DoD General Counsel Jeh C. Johnson and Under Secretary of Defense for Personnel and Readiness Dr. Clifford L. Stanley, omitted the word "marriage."  In effect, the Johnson/Stanley memos are trying to slip through major change by denying that the "ceremonies" referred to in their memos are subject to the Defense of Marriage Act (DOMA). 

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Armed Services Committee Chairmen Call for Delay In Gays-in-the-Military Law

CMR News Release:

In a September 12 letter to Defense Secretary Leon Panetta, House Armed Services Committee Chairman Howard "Buck" McKeon (R-CA) and Personnel Subcommittee Chairman Joe Wilson (R-SC) called for delay in the implementation of repeal of the 1993 law regarding gays in the military, mislabeled "Don't Ask, Don't Tell."  Implementation of the repeal is planned for next Tuesday, September 20, but the repeal legislation requires written regulations (not PowerPoint slides), which the Defense Department has not provided to Congress.

Complete CMR News Release is posted here.

 

DoD IG Report Exposes Improper Activities to Repeal Gays in the Military Law

With White House “Spin” the Fix Was In -- at Expense of the Troops  

A previously-undisclosed investigation conducted by the Department of Defense Inspector General strongly suggests that the so-called Pentagon “study” of gays in the military in 2010 was a publicly-funded, pre-scripted production put on just for show. This a link to the 30-page DoD IG report, which a concerned source sent to CMR:

Investigation of Improper Disclosure of For Official Use Only Information from the Comprehensive Review Working Group Draft Report

The report provides even more reasons why the administration cannot in good faith “certify” final repeal of the 1993 law.

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House Acts to Mitigate the Consequences of LGBT Law in the Military

Obama Administration Disregards Congressional Concerns About LGBT Law  

On July 22, late on a Friday afternoon, President Barack Obama, Defense Secretary Leon Panetta, and Joint Chiefs Chairman Adm. Mike Mullen signed a piece of paper purporting to “certify” that repeal of the 1993 law regarding gays in the military, usually mislabeled “Don’t Ask, Don’t Tell,” would do no harm to the armed forces.  

As CMR stated in a news release, the timing of this event on a Friday afternoon signaled that the action was nothing to be proud of.  The document signed has no credibility, but it will have harmful consequences.  From this time forward President Obama owns the San Francisco/LGBT military he has created.

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