Is our military in a war for its very soul? And, ever since Obama became President, every time he would speak about religion he would refer to "freedom of worship." He never talks about freedom of religion. What is the difference, and is it important?
I explored these topics with one of the foremost defenders of Christian freedoms in America today. His name is Kelly Shackelford and he's the founder and director of the Liberty Institute in Plano, Texas. The Liberty Institute is the largest organization of lawyers in America today that is dedicated to the defense and advancement of Christian rights and freedoms. His response is below.
War for the Soul of the Military
The Liberty Institute is now having to work a lot of cases protecting religious freedom in the military. Our military was formed by George Washington, and with the religious freedom our military enjoyed, everybody was given a Bible and the chaplains were formed.
But, those freedoms are now really under attack. Anti-Christian groups have formed for the sole purpose of ridding the military of any religious freedom or religious expression. In fact, one of their leaders said that he wouldn't be satisfied until quote, "There were 400 heads on a stick." By that he followed up and said, "I mean 400 court-martial of people for sharing their faith in the military."
Military chaplains are under a lot of pressure about even praying in the name of Jesus. We've got one of those cases right now. Chaplain Wes Modder is an incredible man. He's not only a chaplain, but the chaplain for our special forces. He's been deployed overseas 14 times. He's been called the "best of the best" throughout all of his evaluations. Then, all of sudden, he's been what we would called fired — detached for cause — because in his one-on-one counseling he answered questions about sex outside of marriage with what the Bible says about sex outside of marriage. Now he's been declared intolerant and therefore he has to be removed from the chaplaincy. This case is ultimately about if chaplains will be allowed to be chaplains. Can they use the Bible?
The attacks against Christians who hold to the biblical view of marriage are alive right now in the market place, in the public arena, in the schools, and even in our military — everywhere! People of the Christian faith realize they're now under attack because of the Supreme Court's latest same-sex ruling. They see persecution is coming. It's one of those times I would call a "Joshua 1 Time. That's when God has to remind us to be strong and courageous.
Be strong and courageous! The Israelites ended up in the Promise Land, but they had to go through Joshua 1.
I think we're in a different time for our country. It used to be that we assumed all things being Christian and was sort of "go along, get along." Now being a Christian means you really stand out. Your faith really is going to cause people to notice. Christians are going to have to be willing to sacrifice for standing up for their faith.
Freedom of Worship Versus Freedom of Religion
Freedom of worship is a terminology used to say that you have the right to worship inside your own church, but once you come out of the building you don't have any religious freedom. That certainly is not what the Founders put into our Constitution. That's not even what Christianity teaches. Christianity in supposed to be lived out in every aspect of your life and in your decisions about everything. Your Christianity is supposed to affect everything in your life.
Concerning these cases with the bakers and the florists who are being attacked for standing on their religious beliefs. I was on a national TV program with one of the heads of the movement Freedom to Marry. It's really about gay marriage. The organizations' head said to the effect, "I am for religious freedom. I really believe in that." So, I asked, "What about these cases?" We started talking about these Christian bakers who are bankrupt and have been fined $250,000. I brought up the grandmother who could lose her home for not making a floral arrangement for two men at their wedding. The response was, "That's commerce."
The argument of the gay rights movement is the argument that in business you place your Christianity aside. You leave your faith at home and in your church or synagogue. If you bring it out of your church or home, then you have no religious freedom.
That's what is wrong with our nation today. It's never about the law. That is not what the Constitution says.
Despite all the religious persecution from suing Christians, I will give you hope that we are winning over 90% of our cases. The Liberty Institute is winning, winning, winning, winning these cases! The law protects religious freedom. So, when I say these attacks are coming and they've just started, I'm not saying we're going to lose, but I am going to say that we need to be willing to stand for our faith. When we do so, we can win. We can stop the persecution that is being attempted because the United States was founded on religious freedom.
In the fifth and last segment of my interview of Kelly Shackelford on the subject of Christianity under attack, we'll look at the true role of the court systems in our nation.