Chaplains have embodied the very essence of the First Amendment since the founding of our republic, proactively ensuring the free exercise of religion for all, not just their sending denominations. The chaplains who signed this letter want you to know of a clear and present danger to First Amendment freedoms in the military and in our country. Simply stated, the elimination of “Don’t Ask, Don’t Tell” within the military threatens to undermine the free exercise of religion and place traditional expressions of religious morality at variance with government policy.
Freedom of religious expression constitutes one of the bedrock values of the United States of America. No particular formulation of religion finds constitutional approval or preference since all enjoy equal protection in the Bill of Rights. Indeed, the very genius of our constitution grants mind-bending freedoms of expression not only to those who espouse one form of religion over another, but also to those who eschew religion altogether. Such is the remarkable and resilient nature of the First Amendment. To the extent, then, that such freedom is diminished, to that same extent our country risks losing a part of its basic identity, its soul.
Please read our letter with care and prayer. Even as retired chaplains our goal remains to promote and protect the free exercise of religion for all military personnel. We write this letter with the sincere hope that we will never see the day when those who are sworn to protect the Constitution from all enemies, foreign and domestic, are forced to choose between God and Country.
LCDR Kenneth V. Botton, CHC, USN, (Ret.)
If you’re a military chaplain, active or retired, and are interested in becoming involved in this issue, please contact ADF with your information.
To understand what's at stake, download this important information. Learn what's at risk and how you can specifically pray for religious liberty in the military.
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