July 5th 2014


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Articles from this issue:

FREEDOM OF CONSCIENCE: Why the right to conscientious objection must be restored

EDUCATION: Safe Schools program to promote 'sexual diversity'

CONSERVATION: Bats, barmy bureaucrats and other protected pests

CANBERRA OBSERVED: Carbon tax to be litmus test for new Senate

NATIONAL AFFAIRS: Flawed inquiry ignores Chinese investment in real estate

EDITORIAL: Boycott AFL football on Good Friday!

NATIONAL AFFAIRS: Euthanasia bill to come before Australian parliament

FOREIGN AFFAIRS: Has Gates Foundation stopped funding abortion?

FOREIGN AFFAIRS: Ukrainian borderlands soaked with blood again

UNITED STATES: Christians persecuted in U.S. armed forces and high schools

OPINION: Daycare impacts on infants' bonding and attachment

AUSTRALIAN HISTORY: AMA honours doctor who served people of Nauru during WW2

LETTERS

CULTURE: Information technology and the culture wars

BOOK REVIEW Rational rejoinder to 'sexual diversity' lobby

BOOK REVIEW Poet, spy and fugitive from North Korea

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UNITED STATES:
Christians persecuted in U.S. armed forces and high schools


by Hal G.P. Colebatch

News Weekly, July 5, 2014

The acceptance of open homosexuals in the U.S. military, with the Obama administration’s support and encouragement, is increasingly having the effect that many conservatives anticipated.

Jeremy Dys, senior counsel
to Liberty Institute, and student
Brooks Hamby on Fox News

Christians and anyone who opposes homosexual “marriage” are finding that they are being punished for their views. The whole situation is moving to a crisis of morale and discipline in the armed forces.

A group of airmen from Lackland Air Force Base, in San Antonio, Texas — a U.S. base notorious for intrusive and bullying political correctness — recently attended a packed meeting at the nearby Village Parkway Baptist Church, where, according to Fox News, they protested about a rise in intimidation and persecution from homosexual commanders and their supporters.

Pastor Steve Branson heard testimony from no fewer than 80 airmen about religious persecution going on at Lackland.

“There is an atmosphere of intimidation at Lackland Air Force Base,” Branson said. “Gay commanders and officers are pushing their agenda on the airmen. There is a culture of fear in the military and it’s gone to a new level with the issue of homosexuality” (Fox News, September 30, 2013).

One of the meeting’s attendees was Senior Master Sgt. Phillip Monk, who claims he was relieved of duty after refusing his commander’s order to declare he supported homosexual marriage.

Phillip Monk — a 19-year veteran with a distinguished record of service — was relieved of duty earlier this year after alleging that his openly lesbian commander had demanded that he tell her his beliefs about same-sex marriage.

Monk, an evangelical Christian, has said he declined her demand in order to avoid division, knowing that his religious views would clash with his commander’s opinion. So she punished him by relieving him of his duties and removing him from her unit, in violation of his religious rights.

Documentation available on the Internet shows that the commander indeed re-assigned Monk in an irregular manner immediately after her ultimatum to him regarding his views on same-sex marriage. This is consistent with his testimony, and at odds with the U.S. Air Force’s official explanation.

Phillip Monk’s lawyer from the Liberty Institute, former military attorney Michael Berry, said: “We gave the Air Force the chance to come clean and do the right thing. Instead they have chosen to make very serious false accusations against this fine airman without substantive evidence and contrary to the evidence we have produced.

“We will now go forward on his behalf—we will defend his honour and the religious liberty of other service members at risk of having their religious rights violated as Phillip Monk’s have been. We will fight” (Liberty Institute, October 15, 2013).

After filing a religious discrimination complaint against the U.S. Air Force, Monk was accused of making false statements and is now facing a possible court martial! This a shocking and possibly illegal intrusion on an individual’s conscience.

Pastor Branson has revealed that other airmen have told him they are afraid to speak out publicly because of what is happening to Monk.

Branson says that one airman was told that even thinking homosexuality is a sin is discrimination: “A commander told him, ‘Don’t you understand discrimination — that your thought process is discrimination?’ The commander actually pulled up the definition of discrimination on Wikipedia and read it to him in front of everyone so he would understand what it was.”

The parent of an airman at the meeting said that the 19-year-old was asked during basic training what religion he was. When the young airman said “Christian”, he was required to retake basic training.

One airman claimed he was written up for having his Bible out.

Branson said a colonel told him that officers are being ordered to publicly affirm support for homosexuality and being “mirandised” if they don’t (Fox News, September 30, 2013).

The Obama Administration has been an enemy of Bible-believing Christians since it came into office, issuing warnings through the Department of Homeland Security about the potential terrorist threat of conservative Christians. Obama himself, before he was elected, revealed his contempt when he complained about people “bitterly clinging to their guns and Bibles”.

The persecution of Christians in the Air Force and other branches of the American military should serve as a warning.

There is a purge going on. Historically, governments have purged bureaucracies and militaries of undesirables in order to create weapons to use against their own people.

The current effort seems aimed at controlling, breaking the spirit of and, if necessary, expelling those with a strongly different conscience.

Previously, even in wartime, the military made a serious effort to respect the individual’s conscience. Those who could prove a conscientious objection to fighting and killing were allowed to opt for non-combatant roles such as stretcher-bearers.

The only goal of the present policy can be to create a military without individual conscience and whose members won’t care if they are ordered to engage in unethical behaviour.

In his novel, That Hideous Strength, C.S. Lewis had a young man who was being inducted into a devil-worshipping cult told: “It is like killing a nerve. That whole system of instinctive preferences, whatever ethical, aesthetic or logical disguise they wear, is to be simply destroyed.”

In another scene that is quickly becoming widespread, an American public school has censored the free speech of a student who wished to thank God for his blessings. Again, the story comes to us from Fox News.

Reporter Todd Starnes, author of God Less America: Real Stories from the Front Line of the Attack on Traditional Values, describes the incident as follows:

Brooks Hamby worked hard throughout his high school years, and when the time came for him to graduate, he was rewarded with an opportunity to speak as the salutatorian of his class.

In a time-honoured tradition, the highest achieving students would have the opportunity to address their entire class on the most important day of their collective education. He wished to thank God for his opportunities and success.

However, according to Starnes, “the Brawley Union School District in Brawley, California, said the references to Jesus and prayer in Brooks’ graduation speech were ‘inappropriate’ and violated ‘prevailing legal standards’.

“School officials rejected three versions of the young man’s graduation address, and one administrator went so far as to redact every religious reference with a black marker — as if it were some sort of top secret government document.

“‘The first and second draft speeches proposed oppose government case law and are a violation of the Constitution,’ read a warning letter sent to the young man. ‘The district is advising you that reference to religious content is inappropriate and that the two drafts provided will not be allowed.’”

Hiram Sasser, an attorney for the Liberty Institute, pointed out that Brooks Hamby was “on firm legal ground to deliver the original version of his speech”.

He added: “It is outrageous that a government school official would demand that a salutatorian submit his speech for government review for the purpose of censoring religious speech.

“Even in the Ninth Circuit, no government official may censor simple references to God that served as personal acknowledgment by Brooks of something greater than himself” (Fox News, June 16, 2014).

Another American commentator, Onan Coca, observed: “Mr Hamby … disobeyed the unjust law the school thought it was enforcing. And he did so at his own peril…” (Eagle Rising, June 20, 2014).

Ironically, as a result of the publicity, hundreds of times more people heard Brooks Hamby’s speech on the Internet than if the new guardians of political correctness had not interfered.

Hal G.P. Colebatch, PhD, is a Perth author and lawyer.

 

References

Todd Starnes, “Airmen say Air Force is punishing evangelical Christians”, Fox News, September 30, 2013.
URL: www.foxnews.com/opinion/2013/09/30/airmen-say-air-force-is-punishing-evangelical-christians/

“U.S. Air Force officially accused SMSgt Phillip Monk of lying”, Liberty Institute, October 15, 2013.
URL: http://libertyinstitute.org/u.s.-air-force-officially-accused-smsgt-phillip-monk-of-lying

Todd Starnes, “God redacted from high school graduation speech”, Fox News, June 16, 2014.
URL: www.foxnews.com/opinion/2014/06/16/god-redacted-from-high-school-graduation-speech/

Onan Coca, “Public school in America censors Christian’s speech”, Eagle Rising (U.S.), June 20, 2014.
URL: http://eaglerising.com/6875/public-school-america-censors-christians-speech/


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