Monday, May 25, 2009

Separation of Church and State gone amok

Congressman Nye,

I am writing this letter to strongly urge you to co-sponsor H.R. 268.

Congressman, I could not be more outraged at the recent reports of the Pentagon collecting and destroying Bibles that were legally given to and privately owned by American soldiers. These Christians had their freedom to worship trampled under the feet of religious extremists and anti-religious bigots. This travesty was carried out under the approving eye of Admiral Mike Mullen, and while it is reprehensible, it is also irreversible. Whether you come out against this heinous act or not is up to you.

But H.R. 268, designed to protect the rights of chaplains to pray according to their consciences, I do expect you to support; either with co-sponsorship or a simple yes vote should less-right thinking members of Congress even allow it to a vote.


Stephen Monteith

For those of you who have no idea what I'm talking about in this letter, let me give you the short version.

The Pentagon has seized and burned (yes, burned) Bibles written in local Afghani languages and donated to sevicemen in Afghanistan. Christian soldiers were given these Bibles, but later had them confiscated when the local Arab press, backed by atheist groups in American, claimed that the Bibles were intended for purposes of proselytizing, which is forbidden of American soldiers. The Arab media had video of these soldiers holding copies of the Bibles while listening to a sermon that encouraged "personal evangelism". The Pentagon confiscated the Bibles and destroyed them.

Obviously, it's too late to get the Bibles back. However, it's not too late to stand up against such abuse of our soldiers' religious freedom in the future. There are groups, specifically the benignly-named Military Religious Freedom Foundation, that expressly call for the court-martial of any soldier or chaplain who talks publicly about his or her faith. Ironically, in the name of "personal freedom", many of the same people are calling for a repeal of the infamous "Don't Ask, Don't Tell" policy, which prohibits gays and lesbians from serving "openly" in the military. How can the same people call for open homosexuality in the military, but not open Christianity?

There is an insidious tendency in those who strive to protect the rights of the minority; and that is, to ignore the rights of the majority. We would all love to live in an "enlightened" society where no one's rights are infringed, and everyone is free to worship and live how, where, or when they may. I don't know when exactly we reached the point when the rights of Christians needed to be protected, but I can tell you without hesitation that it has come and passed.

I've written to my Congressman, and now I've written a blog. I guarantee you, these will not be the last steps I take. What will you do?


  1. Do you have nothing to say of the acts of the military personnel that led to the confiscation of the Bibles?

    The soldiers should not be skirting the military code against proselytizing. Apart from their duty to abide by the code and the constitutional principle that the military--as an arm of the government--has no business promoting religion, there is the plain fact that by proselytizing, these soldiers may well incite social and religious strife and UNDERMINE the very military mission they were sent to accomplish.

    I don't know why the Bibles were destroyed rather than shipped out of Afghanistan. But whatever offense that prompts pales in comparison to the offense engendered by the misguided proselytizing members of our military.

  2. Except the soldiers didn't proselytize. They never pushed Christianity onto the Afghans, or any other Arabs. The Bibles were seized because they "might" be used to proselytize.

    And by the way, the United States military makes a distinction between proselytizing and evangelism. Evangelism is being open about your faith. Proselytizing is actively trying to convert people to your faith. Legally speaking, even if these soldiers had taken their personally-owned Bibles and given them out as gifts to the Afghans, they still would not have broken the law.

    There was no proselytizing. You can be sure that, if there had been, then those soldiers and chaplains would have found themselves before a court-martial and drummed out of the military.