No one has been immune to the coronavirus’s effects, including our military. But as I learned in the Marine Corps, threats to freedom never take a day off. Our service members must remain at their posts, even as COVID-19 ravages the nation.
During such times of uncertainty and anxiety, faith serves as an invaluable ally. Whether in combat against flesh and blood or against an “invisible enemy” such as this virus, faith has always been a major force multiplier for our military. That is why it is particularly egregious to see those who defend us and our freedom needlessly being deprived of the very freedom they defend: religious freedom.
In an immediate response to the COVID-19 pandemic, Department of Defense installation chapels were ordered closed. Many service members, veterans, and their dependents were left without a place to worship. Because the role of the military chaplain is to carry out the constitutional mandate to provide for service members’ free exercise of religion, many chaplains sought creative and alternative means of providing for the spiritual needs of the communities they serve. While some chaplains livestreamed their messages via the internet, others used social media — and often with very positive responses. Such efforts to “bring God to the soldier” should be commended and encouraged.
Sadly, one organization saw the COVID-19 pandemic as an opportunity to advance its agenda of an unconstitutional religious cleansing of the military.
The Orwellian-monikered Military Religious Freedom Foundation, which once demanded 400 trials by courts-martial for service members who dared to exercise their First Amendment rights, recently embarked on a campaign of assaults against religious freedom within the military. (Read more from “The Army Must Protect Chaplains Fighting Through the Coronavirus” HERE)