I'm just a regular guy. Wife, small kids, a little company that still makes products here in America. Not one you would notice if you walked past me on the street. So you can say I was surprised when the Pentagon decided they wanted to pick a fight with me.
A few weeks ago I woke up to a phone call. A friend from Wyoming called and asked if I had seen the news. It turns out; I – actually our product – was the news.
A painting that we re-produced as a print was removed from an Air Force base in Idaho. Called Blessed are the Peacemakers, it depicted a policeman standing in front of the proverbial "white knight." Internationally acclaimed artist Ron DiCianni had painted it. My company, Tapestry Productions, reproduces art, specifically Christian art and has for the last decade. The print removed was one we had licensed.
I couldn't imagine what the Pentagon had against our art. The answer to that question has dominated almost every waking minute of the last few weeks. If they had said it was bad art, I could have lived with it. If it didn't fit their décor, I would have stayed silent. But they censored it for the one reason that compels me to respond; because it had a Bible verse on it. And not even the whole verse. Just this: Matthew 5:9.
Yes, the Pentagon removed a piece of art from a military base because it referenced the Bible.
As if that was not bad enough, as we have come to dig deeper, what we have found has stunned me. On this journey of finding out why certain members of military leadership are so hostile to the Bible and God, I have been misled by the Pentagon – twice. I have discovered that, and I say this in trepidation, those tasked to stand up to dictators and rogue nations can't even stand up to one anti-Christian bully here at home.
All of this led me to ask another question. Is this an isolated incident? The answer has been a resounding "No."
Once we got past all the hyperbole and wild allegations spewed by one deranged anti-Christian activist, we find that the truth is that the Air Force censored this picture solely for the Bible verse. And they are proud of it.
They also removed – from YouTube – a previously approved Air Force video that honored First Sergeants because it had the word "God" in it.
Then, the Air Force told airmen that merely reading about the IRS targeting of Christian and conservative groups might create an "incident."
The rationale in each instance is that it made (or might make) someone "uncomfortable." Really? Is that all it takes today to repress freedom of speech and religion – that it might make someone uncomfortable? I once told a teacher I was uncomfortable on a field trip because the bus was a bit crowded and hot. He told me, "You'll get over it." He was right.
Incredibly too, the events I listed did not take place over the course of a year. It all occurred in a single week. Despite American soldiers in Afghanistan and nuclear threats from Iran and North Korea, our military leadership acts like God is their biggest enemy.
Since this story broke, scores of service members have contacted me with stories of rebuke, threats and even outright punishment for having or expressing faith in God or Jesus Christ. Sadly, this suggests that America's military, which has long fought to defend our First Amendment right to the free exercise of religion, has become the front line for First Amendment suppression.
In fairness to the Air Force and the Pentagon, they are just following the lead of our president. An American leader who, for the first time in history canceled the Easter egg hunt (but held an official Muslim Outreach event). Who did not have a public ceremony for the National Day of Prayer and said America is not a Christian nation, but at the same time participated in an Islamic prayer session in the same room where the Inauguration is held. I could go on, at length, but the truth is that when our president talks about "tolerance" and "treating all religions equally" he seems to show preference for one and hostility towards another. With leadership like that who can blame the Air Force for simply following the lead of their Commander in Chief.
Which makes me wonder, is there a campaign against Christianity being undertaken in this country?
Recently our lawmakers tried to stem this tide with an amendment to the National Defense Authorization Act that would protect the religious liberties of our service members from such encroaches. The president's senior advisors recommended that it be vetoed.
So, if that's the case, that there is a systematic attack on Christianity, led by our elected officials, it paints a dangerous picture.
We were formed as a Christian Nation. Forget those who try to invent fairy tales otherwise. Since our nation's founding, America's Armed Forces have fought and died to protect our religious freedoms. That Christian heritage – the proverbial soul – of our nation is being threatened. What are you willing to do about it?