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Will soldiers' religious expression be limited?

May. 09, 2013 @ 12:00 AM

Could soldiers in the armed forces soon be restricted in how they openly share their faith?

Many in the Christian community have grave concerns after learning the Pentagon is "scrutinizing" its stance on religious tolerance with a group that has openly expressed its disdain over the Christian faith.

A group called the Military Religious Freedom Foundation (MRFF) is calling on the armed forces to enforce a regulation that they believe calls for the court martial of any service member caught proselytizing.

Fox News reports that the president of MRFF, Mikey Weinstein, met privately with Pentagon officials on April 23 and charged that U.S. troops who proselytize are guilty of sedition and treason and should be punished by the hundreds if necessary to stave off what he called a "tidal wave of fundamentalists."

Defense Department Spokesperson Nate Christianson confirmed to Fox News that proselytizing is against regulations and would not rule out potential prosecution.

"Religious proselytization is not permitted within the Department of Defense," Christensen said in a written statement. "Court martials and non-judicial punishments are decided on a case-by-case basis and it would be inappropriate to speculate on the outcome in specific cases."

Weinstein advocates the strictest enforcement possible.

"Someone needs to be punished for this," Weinstein told Fox News. "Until the Air Force or Army or Navy or Marine Corps punishes a member of the military for unconstitutional religious proselytizing or oppression, we will never have the ability to stop this horrible, horrendous, dehumanizing behavior."

Weinstein has charged that those sharing the gospel of Jesus Christ in the military are guilty of "treason" and committing an act of "spiritual rape" as serious a crime as "sexual assault" according to Breitbart News.

In a column Weinstein wrote for The Huffington Post, he referred to fundamentalist Christians as "... monsters who terrorize their fellow Americans by forcing their weaponized and twisted version of Christianity upon their helpless subordinates in our nation's armed forces. "

The Pentagon may as well have sought counsel on the expression of religious freedoms from the Devil himself.

Why would this administration even consider including this destructive rhetoric in the Pentagon's discussion on religious tolerance.

And who will be charged with determining the fine line between evangelizing and proselytizing?

It's interesting however, that this perverse attempt to obstruct our religious freedoms seems solely directed at the Christian faith.

Over the past four years, President Obama has done all he can to manipulate the language and the facts in an attempt to exonerate Muslims from persecution for terrorist attacks on the U.S. and promote Islamic tolerance.

So, where is the president in promoting the tolerance of Christianity?

The brave men and women who endure the stress, rigors and danger of protecting our country often seek the spiritual strength provided by their military brothers and sisters in Christ.

General George Marshall said, "Military power wins battles, but spiritual power wins wars."

Our greatest risk as a nation doesn't emanate from an external threat; rather from an internal one who would steal our spiritual power.

Mark Caserta is a Cabell County resident and a regular contributor to The Herald-Dispatch editorial page.

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