Wednesday, December 10, 2014

Victory! Jesus and Bible OK for Air Force Cadets - However, Problems For Christians At Ohio Air National Guard

Chaplain Gordon James Klingenschmitt, PhD, Praying In Jesus Name: After cadets at the Air Force Academy were censored for posting Bible verses on the erasable white-boards outside their rooms, YOU PETITIONED, and Congress took action.

Now the U.S. Air Force has repented, and changed AFI 1-1, which had restricted Christians, but now specifically allows airmen to talk about Jesus Christ in uniform.

The MilitaryTimes reports:The Air Force's revised regulations governing religious expression contain a new clause guaranteeing airmen "the right to individual expressions of sincerely held beliefs."

The revision to Air Force Instruction 1-1 was approved Nov. 7, and the Air Force said the revisions will "clarify guidance for how commanders should handle religious accommodation requests or when airmen's rights to free exercise are questioned."

Mike Berry, senior counsel and director of military affairs for the Liberty Institute, a nonprofit organization that supports religious freedom, said in a Nov. 13 interview that the change brings the Air Force in line with Defense Department instruction 1300.17. Under the new rule, Berry said, the Air Force will only be able to deny an airmen the right to exercise his beliefs if there is a compelling government interest.

"The key is setting [free expression] as the default," Berry said. "In the previous version, the way that people interpreted it was overly cautious, or restrictive. What this does is reverse the playing field. It might be subtle, but it's a very important decision."

In a Nov. 10 release from the Liberty Institute, Berry called the revision "an important step in the right direction for people of faith serving in the Air Force."

Before these changes, the Air Force had the most problematic policy regarding religious accommodation for its members," Berry said. "Now they have a policy that, in writing, protects religious freedom to a greater degree than previously. But only time will tell if this written policy is put into practice."

The new clause reads, in full, "Every airman also has the right to individual expressions of sincerely held beliefs, to include conscience, moral principles or religious beliefs, unless those expressions would have an adverse impact on military readiness, unit cohesion, good order, discipline, health and safety, or mission accomplishment."

That sentence differs from a draft version of the rule in a key way. The draft — circulated earlier this year by the Military Religious Freedom Foundation, a nonprofit organization that advocates for separation of church and state in the military — would have only prohibited those expressions if they "would have a real, not hypothetical, adverse impact."

In a June 6 letter to Air Force Chief of Staff Gen. Mark Welsh, MRFF President Mikey Weinstein said that the "real, not hypothetical" language would open the door to discrimination and unwanted proselytization in the Air Force. Weinstein feared that, under the proposed rule, an airman would have been allowed to express disdain or disgust for a fellow airman who is gay, lesbian or bisexual, as long as those opinions stem from "sincerely held" religious beliefs. Because those expressions would have only been prohibited if they had a "real, not hypothetical adverse impact," Weinstein said the draft rule would have set an impossibly high bar for airmen who wish to complain about such statements.

Berry said removing the "real, not hypothetical" language potentially weakens the revised regulation, and the Liberty Institute would have preferred it remain. But Berry said his group is still happy with the changes.

"It certainly doesn't destroy the underlying principle that religious freedom will be protected in the military, but it's unfortunate that language was removed, because that would have been even stronger than the current language," Berry said.
Let's petition Congress to make that law even stronger for chaplains and troops.

However, religious persecution of Christians continue. The commander of an Ohio Air National Guard unit has censored his subordinates and forbidden them to print Bible verses in a newspaper, violating their First Amendment rights and essentially requiring they only express atheism in public.

Lawyers at Alliance Defending Freedom explain: "Here’s what happened. The Stinger, a newsletter of the Guard’s 180th Fighter Wing, commanded by Col. Craig R. Baker, includes a monthly informational column called 'Commander’s Comments.' Recently, Col. Florencio Marquinez, the Commander of the Fighter Wing’s Medical Group, volunteered his views in the September, 2014 edition of The Stinger.

"That’s when the problem started. A civilian complained about Col. Marquinez’s article, claiming it to be 'odious' and 'offending.' Now, those are pretty harsh words. Surely the article must have been really bad. It must have advocated something horrible. So what was it that got the civilian so upset?"

"It was simply this: that Col. Marquinez recognized that military service brings many challenges, and for him, his faith in Christ helped keep him on the right path. Noting that our nation proclaims 'In God We Trust,' he suggested that personal faith could also bring value...

"That’s it. That’s what was 'offending' and 'odious.' That’s what got the civilian so worked up...Col. Baker ordered the newsletter to be republished, with the 'offending' and 'odious' piece removed." That's clearly censorship of the Bible and his subordinates.

TAKE ACTION! Call the base operator at 419-868-4250. Press option 1, (“locating an ID card number or phone number”), then press option 2, (“locating a phone number”). That transfers you to the operator, and you can ask to be transferred to Col. Craig R. Baker, commander of the 180th Fighter Wing. Ask him three questions:
1. Why did you censor the Bible verses from your subordinate's article in the paper?
2. Are you a domestic enemy of the Constitution?
3. Why are you forcing atheism upon your subordinates?

Anybody who makes that phone call, then emails me what he says (and your mailing address), will get a free copy of my book "The Demons of Barack H. Obama."

Chaplain Gordon James Klingenschmitt leads the Praying in Jesus name Ministry. Klingenschmitt is also Colorado State Representative-Elect for District 15, having received over 70% of the votes in the 2014 election.

Tags: Gordon James Klingenschmitt, Chaplain, In Jesus name, Air Force Academy, Jesus, Bible, censored speech, Ohio Air National Guard To share or post to your site, click on "Post Link". Please mention / link to the Greater Fitchburg For Life. Thanks!

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