May 9th 2015

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Articles from this issue:

COVER STORY Defence minister commits to future of naval shipbuilding

CANBERRA OBSERVED Labor's deputy leads party to dead end

SOCIETY Christianity the cornerstone of democratic values

CULTURE World war to social media: how we were secularised

SOCIETY Greens' euthanasia push dead in the water

EDITORIAL Behind the latest push to redefine marriage

ECONOMICS Mainstream squabbles: much ado about nothing

CINEMA The heroism of healing: plus robots: Big Hero 6

THE ENVIRONMENT Busting the 'ocean acidification' myth

INTERNATIONAL AFFAIRS Advancing Indonesia should abolish death penalty

EDUCATION Taking Australian history out of the curriculum

AUSTRALIAN HISTORY Thomas Playford: ideology no barrier to development

EUROPE Greek tragedy takes another twist

INTERNATIONAL AFFAIRS Atheists purge Christians in US armed forces

BOOK REVIEW Extraordinary operation by Special Ops

BOOK REVIEW Presumed Guilty, by Bret Christian

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Atheists purge Christians in US armed forces

by Hal G.P. Colebatch

News Weekly, May 9, 2015

Militant atheists are using the issues of homosexual marriage and attitudes to homosexuality generally to silence believing Christians in the armed forces or increasingly to drive them out.

It is hard to say how much of this is due to President Barack Obama, who is of course the Commander-in-Chief, but his subscription to far-left ideologies, frequent insults directed at historical Christianity and support of homosexual marriage (even appearing on a platform with children to sing its praises) at least dove-tail neatly with what is going on.

Chaplains in the armed services seem to be particular targets, being set up for dismissal and being treated, according to many stories, with brusque rudeness by senior officers if they dare complain and told to “get out” if they don’t like it.

According to one commentator: “Christians are leaving the US military or are discouraged from joining in the first place because of a hostile work environment that doesn’t let them express their beliefs openly, religious freedom advocates say.

“Michael Berry, senior counsel at the Liberty Institute, a Texas-based legal organisation dedicated to defending religious liberty in America, said recent high-profile cases of military chaplains facing punishment for private counseling sessions that reflected the teachings of their religion could cause devout Americans who are qualified for military service to think twice about joining the military.”

In December, a chaplain for a Ranger training battalion received an administrative “letter of concern” after a soldier complained that he advocated Christianity and used the Bible during a mandatory unit suicide-prevention training session.

In an article the group posted on its website, the Military Association of Atheists and Freethinkers (which, significantly, boasts of a direct line to the White House) said the chaplain “used his official position to force his personal religious beliefs on a captive military audience”.

Recently a navy chaplain was removed from his post and may lose his career after some sailors complained about his private counselling, in which he reportedly spoke against homosexuality and sex outside of marriage – in other words, advocated values which are, and always have been, fundamentals of Christianity and Judaism.

“People of faith are going to stay away from the military,” Berry told The Washington Times.

“I can’t tell you how many mums and dads I’ve spoken to who say, ‘My son or daughter wants to join the military, [but] in light of what you’ve described, I’m not sure I want to let them join the military anymore.’ And I don’t blame them. I would have serious reservations about my own kids joining,” Berry said.

It goes without saying that Christians believe no Christian but Christ himself has ever been perfect. But it is also obvious that where Christianity has been practised it has been a force for good, disciplining men and women and recalling them to their duty to behave well. The atheist project – for that is what it is – to drive Christianity out of the armed forces, whose personnel control devastating weapons, is not reassuring.

Further, as Kipling pointed out, it is the ordinary duty of the chaplain to carry a stretcher under fire and to crawl out on exposed ground where the bullets are flying and comfort and hold the hand of the dying man.

A group representing chaplains says that it is finding it increasingly difficult to recruit and retain members of the cloth to serve in the military due to growing hostility to those of faith.

“I know people who get out, officers and chaplains, who’ve said, ‘I can’t serve the way I want to in this environment’,” Douglas Lee, president of the Chaplain Alliance for Religious Liberty, told the Washington Times. “People who’ve said, ‘because of the religious liberty challenges I see, I think I’ll serve somewhere else’.”

Berry said told the Times that the “hostile work environment” forcing religious people, both chaplains and believing servicemen, out of the military was getting worse. “There is a culture of hostility [towards] religion in the military right now.”

Meanwhile, an unprecedented number of very senior officers have resigned or been dismissed from the military recently. It is impossible to know why in every case, but it seems many have been sacked because of disagreement with Obama’s values and policies, including policies towards Christianity.

Retired navy Captain Joseph John was quoted as saying: “I believe there are more than 137 [naval] officers who have been forced out or given bad evaluation reports so they will never make Flag (that is, admiral), because of their failure to comply with certain views.”

A Pentagon official said even young officers were told not to talk about Obama or the politics of the White House. “They are purging everyone and if you want to keep your job, just keep your mouth shut.”

There are also disturbing incidents reported from the Australian armed force. Such things as allowing service personnel to march in “gay pride” parades in uniform – in violation of long-standing regulations prohibiting servicemen and women from undertaking political activities in uniform.

This seems to be part of an unprecedented movement by a small minority affecting civic culture in many parts of the world. The move to prevent discrimination against homosexuals has morphed into an anti-Christian crusade with the invocation of equality – unobjectionable in itself – used as a mere tool.

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

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