A leading defender of Christians in the military says the crackdown on the free religious expression of Christians in uniform is increasing despite Pentagon assurances to the contrary, leading active-duty personnel to re-evaluate their careers and young Americans and their parents to reconsider service at all.
Recent discipline for military chaplains dispensing biblical counsel have made national headlines, but a recent piece in the Washington Times suggests enlistment numbers are in danger of dropping as well.
Liberty Institute represents chaplains in two high-profile cases as well as several other personnel reprimanded for their free expression of Christian beliefs. Senior counsel Michael Berry said the American people are paying attention and getting increasingly worried about what’s happening in the military.
“A great deal of Americans of faith, which is still a majority of our country, are looking at the environment and climate within our federal government and military more specifically and seeing case after case, report after report,” Berry said in an interview with WND and Radio America.
He said the growing number of stories is causing committed Christians to ask some uncomfortable questions.
“They’re starting to wonder, ‘Is this going to be a place where I’m welcomed? Is going to be a place where I’m tolerated? Am I going to be required to keep my faith in the closet, so to speak?’ Or are they going to be allowed, which has always been the practice in our country up until this point, to freely exercise their religion in accordance with their sincerely held beliefs as the Constitution allows?” asked Berry, a military vet who made his own difficult decision to leave the armed forces as he saw religious liberties eroding.
“I was on active duty, and I began to see the writing on the wall,” he said. “I realized this is not the military I grew up in. This is not the military that I was raised to believe in and to support. It’s changing, and I realized it was time for me to make a move.”
And Berry is not the only one thinking long and hard about military service as the right career path.
“I’ve had a lot of mothers and fathers ask me. They say, ‘Mike, I served and my son or daughter wants to follow in my footsteps. But, as proud as I am of my military service, I’m not sure I want my son or daughter to be serving in our military anymore, given what’s going on,’” Berry said. “That’s very scary for our country if that kind of conversation and dialogue is now happening.”
Written by GREG COROMBOS
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