Members of the Congressional Prayer Caucus recently participated in a hearing on religious accommodations within the U. S. military. The hearing was chaired by Rep. Joe Wilson (SC), who was also joined by Reps. Fleming (LA), Forbes (VA), Hartzler (MO), Huelskamp (KS), Jones (NC) and Lamborn (CO).
This important meeting had an unusually high attendance, specifically from Prayer Caucus members who have taken a special interest in protecting the rights of our men and women in uniform. These soldiers, sailors, airmen, Marines and National Guard personnel are the heroes who risk their lives every day for the very freedoms we consider so sacred.
Indeed, the words of Father Dennis O’Brien, a Marine Corps chaplain from the bloodstained battlefields of World War II, echo loudly: “It is the soldier, not the reporter, who has given us freedom of the press. It is the soldier, not the poet, who has given us freedom of speech. It is the soldier, not the organizer, who gave us the freedom to demonstrate. It is the soldier, who salutes the flag, who serves beneath the flag, and whose coffin is draped by the flag, who allows the protester to burn the flag.”
Rep. Lamborn, the Congressman representing Colorado’s fifth district where the Air Force Academy is located in Colorado Springs, spearheaded an amendment to upgrade the National Defense Authorization Act, enhancing religious freedom protections for all service members. Representatives supporting the legislation clearly acknowledge the intent of the amendment is not focused on defending efforts to proselytize or coerce other service members, but to help ensure our dedicated military are not forced to violate or compromise their moral convictions at work or in their personal lives.
The full video of the hearing can be watched here. The Founder and Co-Chair of the Prayer Caucus, Congressman Forbes, made some particularly meaningful statements around the 53:45 minute mark.
The need for such action has been precipitated by a relentless assault from individuals like Mikey Weinstein and his Military Religious Freedom Foundation, seeking to systematically eradicate almost every vestige of our Judeo-Christian heritage among the military community. Sadly, these attacks—often made in the name of liberty—in fact, are tangible steps that actually attempt to strip away real choices. This process results not in a freedom “of” religion, but a restriction “from” religion.
Even a casual review of history gives rise to hundreds of examples where government legislators, presidents, battle-tested generals and many others have staunchly expressed a profound dependence upon God and His providence during times of war and global conflict. Abraham Lincoln, who guided a war torn nation through some its darkest hours, expressed the following in a telegram, “Enough is known of army operations within the last five days to claim our especial gratitude to God; while what remains undone demands our most sincere prayers to, and reliance upon, Him, without whom, all human effort is vain.”
Again, General George Patton, just prior to a campaign, looked heavenward and prayed, “God of our fathers, who by land and sea have ever led us to victory, please continue Your inspiring guidance in this the greatest of all conflicts. Grant to our armed forces that disciplined valor and mutual confidence which insures success in war. Let me not mourn for the men who have died fighting, but rather let me be glad that such heroes have lived. If it be my lot to die, let me do so with courage and honor in a manner which will bring the greatest harm to the enemy, and please, oh Lord, protect and guide those I shall leave behind. Give us the victory, Lord.”
Statements such as these speak to the reality of men and women in combat when putting their lives on the line, are confronted with their own mortality and the potential of eternity before them, offering humble confession to a God they passionately believe in. This is not government “establishing” religion or compelling worship. What nonsense! This is a freedom of expression. A right guaranteed by the First Amendment to the Constitution.
The CPCF is on a mission to recruit an army of prayer warriors and collectively deploy our time, efforts and resources to safeguard America’s legacy as a Christian nation, including her core tenets of freedom. It is a voluntary enlistment, but we need your help. Won’t you join us today? Together we must go on the offensive and take back ground from the determined few who want to hijack the freedoms for which so many have paid the ultimate sacrifice.