Not that it’s going anywhere, but Rep. Jack Kingston’s call for congressional hearings into what he alleges is “clerical censorship” by the Pentagon could provide a useful little exercise in public education. Kingston claims to be “deeply concerned” by disinvitations of Family Research Council head Tony Perkins and evangelist Franklin Graham from places of honor at military prayer services, the former for publicly opposing termination of Don’t Ask-Don’t Tell, the latter for his animadversions against Islam.
and placating all religious views in the military community have had the
effect of marginalizing our military chaplains. The simple fact is
that sometimes Biblically-based ideas may run afoul of the approved
politically correct message. The purpose of military chaplains is to
first and foremost serve the spiritual needs of military members and
their families. Being a chaplain is an inherently religious activity; to
make it subject to politically correct sensitivities renders military
chaplains ineffective. A Christian chaplain should be able to share the
teachings and beliefs presented in the Bible, a simplistic concept that
seems obvious but is currently under attack by the Pentagon.
It is, indeed, simplistic to assert that military chaplains, Christian or otherwise, may exercise their faith however they choose. As noted below, this is actually a complicated issue. But Perkins and Graham are not military chaplains and the decisions to disinvite them are not complicated. Moving to get rid of Don’t Ask-Don’t Tell is now official military policy. Respect for the religious commitments of all military personnel is central to the very provision of religion in the armed services.
Having the right to express a contrary opinion does not mean you have a right to be honored for it. And the Pentagon need not honor with places on its daises religious figures who have placed themselves at odds with its policies. In fact, it shouldn’t. That’s not simplistic. It’s simple.
Update: It seems that Franklin Graham thinks his rights have been violated. As he put it in an interview with Newmax, “I’m being restricted from my religious rights, and from what I