(Photo: REUTERS/Gary Cameron)
A group of military chaplains concerned about the loss of religious freedom within the armed forces is embarking on a campaign to provide resources for military personnel in order to ensure their rights are protected, the group announced Tuesday.
"We continue to receive reports from military personnel who are concerned their religious liberties are being infringed, even as they offer their lives to protect the religious liberty of all Americans," said Chaplain (COL) Ron Crews, USAR retired, executive director for Chaplain Alliance for Religious Liberty. "To ensure our men and women in uniform are able to exercise their sincerely held religious beliefs, we are making 'Religious Liberty Palm Cards' available to chaplains and all service men and women. The cards outline what service members' constitutionally protected religious liberties are and what to do if they believe their freedoms are being threatened."
The alliance believes it's important to inform military personnel of their God-given, constitutionally protected religious liberties.
"We have also established a link on our website that will provide a place for those who have encountered problems to report their concerns," Crews added. "We have enlisted experienced attorneys as well as retired chaplains to provide counsel and encouragement."
Chaplain Alliance for Religious Liberty is joining with others to support amendments that the full House of Representatives and the Senate Armed Services Committee recently passed. These amendments make clear that religious liberty protects the religious actions and speech of those in the military, Crews said in a statement released Tuesday.
"This language is necessary because it appears that some in the Department of Defense mistakenly understand religious liberty to protect only one's beliefs, rather than the resulting actions and speech based on one's beliefs," Crews explained. "To believe is to live out your beliefs, to express your beliefs. These amendments are carefully worded to respect good order and discipline while protecting the religious liberty of our men and women in uniform."
The Chaplain Alliance for Religious Liberty is an organization of chaplain endorsers, the faith groups that provide chaplains for the U.S. military and other agencies needing chaplains. The endorsers in the Chaplain Alliance speak for more than 2,000 chaplains serving the armed forces.