Wednesday, January 9, 2013

President Obama Calls Conscience Protections for Military Chaplains “Ill Advised”


Last week, President Obama signed the 2013 National Defense Authorization Act into law, but voiced opposition to several provisions, including a conscience protection for military chaplains.

According to CNS News, in his signing statement, President Obama wrote, “Section 533 is an unnecessary and ill-advised provision, as the military already appropriately protects the freedom of conscience of chaplains and service members.”

He also mentioned that his administration would continue implementing the repeal of “Don’t Ask, Don’t Tell,” and would be “unmoved by the NDAA’s conscience provision.”

Section 553 reads: “No member of the Armed Forces may — (1) require a chaplain to perform any rite, ritual, or ceremony that is contrary to the conscience, moral principles, or religious beliefs of the chaplain; or (2) discriminate or take any adverse personnel action against a chaplain, including denial of promotion, schooling, training, or assignment, on the basis of the refusal by the chaplain to comply with a requirement prohibited by paragraph.”

The President’s statement is very alarming as there is great concern that the military could begin to force military chaplains to perform homosexual marriage or civil commitment ceremonies for service members. Should this happen, it would be a direct violation of the chaplains’ freedom of conscience and freedom of religion.

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Liberty Institute is a nonprofit legal group dedicated to defending and restoring religious liberty across America — in our schools, for our churches and throughout the public arena. Liberty’s vision is to reestablish religious liberty in accordance with the principles of our nation’s Founders. For information, visit