Todd Starnes | May 03, 2013
An Air Force spokesperson said personnel are not allowed to proselytize but are free to express their personal religious beliefs so long as it “does not make others uncomfortable.” But a critic pointed out an Air Force officer was told to remove a Bible that was on his desk.
“When on duty or in an official capacity, Air Force members are free to express their personal religious beliefs as long as it does not make others uncomfortable,” Lt. Col. Laurel Tingley said in a statement to Fox News. “Proselytizing (inducing someone to convert to one’s faith) goes over that line.”
Tingley said Air Force leaders “must avoid the actual or apparent use of their position to promote their personal religious beliefs to their subordinates or to extend preferential treatment for any religion.”
That statement has caused alarm among a number of religious liberty groups – including the Chaplain Alliance for Religious Liberty.
“What does ‘As long as it does not make others uncomfortable’ mean,” executive director Ron Crews asked Fox News.
He said last year an Air Force officer was told he could no longer keep a Bible on his desk because it “may” appear that he was condoning a particular religion.
“Air Force officers must be allowed to live out their faith in a way that is consistent with their faith,” Crews said. “If the Bible is important, then an Air Force officer should be able to have one on his desk.”
Rep. Louie Gohmert (R-TX) also took issue with the Air Force spokesperson’s use of the word ‘uncomfortable.’
“If that is the standard, then Christianity will be over because there will always be somebody who is uncomfortable no matter what someone’s belief is when it comes to Judeo-Christian beliefs,” he told Fox News. “It appears it is getting more and more difficult to be a Christian and serve in the military.”
Gohmert said it’s a different U.S. military under President Obama.
“Under President Obama’s military you are no longer allowed to share your faith,” he said – noting that the policy is putting Christians in a tough position. “Do you follow President Obama or do you follow God and the teachings of Jesus?”
“That’s pretty tough when your commander in chief puts you on the horn for that dilemma,” he added.
Fox News asked for a clarification on the Air Force policy after the Dept. of Defense backtracked on whether or not they allow religious proselytizing and whether military personnel could be at-risk for court-martialing if they share their faith.
On Monday, the Dept. of Defense released a statement noting that religious proselytization is not permitted within the department.
But earlier today, the Pentagon released a new statement noting “service members can share their faith (evangelize), but must not force unwanted, intrusive attempts to convert others of any faith or no faith to one’s beliefs (proselytization).”
While religious groups are pleased with the Dept. of Defense clarification – they are troubled by the Air Force position on religion.
Daniel Blomberg, with the Becket Fund, told Fox News he was glad to see the Dept. of Defense issue a clarification, but expressed alarm at the Air Force statement.
“The Air Force spokesman’s statement sounds like the government can ban servicemen and women from talking to one another about their faith,” he said. “And that couldn’t be more wrong. The Air Force must follow the Department of Defense’s example to immediately correct its statement to avoid chilling Airmen and women’s religious liberty.”
Blomberg said the Air Force policy is “unconstitutional and wrong.”
“Our brave fighting men and women should not be reduced to whispering fearfully about their faith by their own government,” he said.
Crews said mandating an Air Force officer not extend preferential treatment from one religion is absurd.
“If an Air Force officer is a Muslim, I would expect that officer to say prayers, attend services and not go to a Catholic mass,” he said. “That is extending preferential treatment, and rightly so.”
This is ridiculous.
If any muslim is a chaplain or officer of any kind in our military, they should be summarily removed from that post as they really do present a national threat. Remember the Ft Hood Massacre.
Ken, You are right on !!. There are many phrases and sentences in what they perceive to be a book of wisdom and knowledge,when in actuality it's messages are of hatred,violence and immorality, and if you are questioning my sincerity and knowledge,then you have know choice but to read an allow the words to speak of themselves.
Let the war begin.
With the help of Sequestration of our military is real, the Muslim power needs to be removed starting at the top..!!
The military is under duress by the turds in the Democrat Party. They are forcing the Military to cancel stuff and claim it's the sequestration. Anyone dares talk back will get punished by some POS in the Pentagon. The MSM will make sure any dissension gets reported to the right office in the Pentagon.
Remember how all the phoney soldiers who "spoke out against the war" under Bush got the Soros BS "grass roots" media boost and every one exclaimed what heroes they were?
Who is standing up for the Military in Congress or the Pentagon now? These guys know at most they will get a dishonorable discharge and maybe a mention on Sean Hannity and they will never be able to get a good paying job again. You see any of the tough guy Republicans backing up anyone scared to come forward and talk about all the stuff Obama has been doing? Again who has their back? Rubio, Rand, McCain?
Yet the hero's of the Democrat Party get Nancy Pelosi, Harry Reid, ABC, NBC, Michel Moore, Hollywood Stars... on and on pointing at Bush saying "You better not touch this person!!!" He does not want to deploy to an unjust war... but he still wants his paycheck and college fund! Hands OFF!
when it comes to Christian religion, it is don't ask don't tell, and don't display your belief in any way.
but - when it comes to sinful activity, the standard is do what you want.
it is no wonder that this nation is teetering to the point of destruction.
the leadership used to be proud to be fully supportive of a society built upon Christian humanity for everyone.
now leadership only wants to support those who are sinful.
when being led by someone who bows to Muslims, it is to be expected.
it is time to sue the federal government with discrimination for these efforts.
Ten years ago while in the Navy, and based in Washington State. On Whidbey Island, my son in law was told to remove the name Jesus off of his computer screen. That was when I started to wake up and pay attention. It's rapidly gone down hill ever since.
We all know for sure what's gong on with this and the other administrations.
Sick and tired of being sick and tired.
So are the muslims in the military allowed to pray six times a day? Are they allowed to have beards? In our prisons, they are given preferential treatment...does this also happen in our military prisons? This is such hypocritical crap it's almost beyond belief!
Why are there not pastors and other Christians standing up in his defense?