The headlines are alarming: “Catholic-Owned Company Wins Religious Freedom Court Decision,” “Death Toll Rises to 65 in Boko Haram Attack on Students,” “Little Sisters Catholic Charity Victimized By Obamacare,” “Christians Sought Out, Murdered in the Kenyan Mall Massacre,” “Judicial Watch Seeks Reason Why ‘So Help Me God’ Removed From U.S. Air Force Oath.”
An Egyptian church burns
But the media seems to yawn in disinterest. Why? Are all these claims of growing discrimination against Christians just so much whining?
“Christians in the Middle East and Africa are being slaughtered, tortured, raped, kidnapped, beheaded, and forced to flee the birthplace of Christianity. One would think this horror might be consuming the pulpits and pews of American churches. Not so. The silence has been nearly deafening,” writes Kirsten Powers on the liberal internet news site the Daily Beast.
Deployed U.S. servicemen pause in prayer before a mission.
In the United States,“It is clear,” claim the editors of the arch-conservative Religious Freedom Coalition, that the Obama Administration is allowing an “all-out war to be waged against religious liberty within the U.S. armed forces.” Christians are being “threatened with the loss of their careers if they dare speak out” against policies such as the recent removal of the words “so help me God” from the official Air Force oath.
Lt. General William Boykin was forced to retire from his post as Deputy Undersecretary of Defense after a Los Angeles Times reporter recorded him testifying of his Christian faith in churches in Oklahoma and Texas. Navy chaplain Gordon Klingenschmitt was forced to resign after he refused to quit praying in the name of Jesus.
A federal judge ordered the U.S. Department of Veterans Affairs to stop banning prayer and forbidding the use of the word “God” at America’s national cemeteries, according to Houston TV station KHOU. “The legal battle started in Houston when Arleen Ocashio, director of the Houston National Cemetery, told Pastor Scott Rainey that he could no longer pray “in Jesus’ name” at Memorial Day ceremonies. The Christian advocacy group Liberty Institute obtained an emergency restraining order from Judge Lynn Hughes allowing Pastor Rainey to pray. However, the legal battle continues — with American Legion and Veterans of Foreign Wars volunteers being ordered to drop all references to God in their graveside services.
“Walter Reed National Military Medical Center is backpedalling after issuing an order banning family members from bringing Bibles and other religious items to injured soldiers,” reports the British newspaper the Daily Mail.
“In a memo on visitor and patient policy, one section said: “No religious items (i.e. Bibles, reading material, and/or artifacts) are allowed to be given away or used during a visit.” It was issued by Colonel Norvell Coots, the commander at Walter Reed, who told the press that the directive was meant to “preserve people’s religious rights.” After being confronted by members of Congress, Coots rescinded the order, saying it was “incorrectly written.”
Has the Air Force oath, indeed, been altered to not mention God? The liberal Huntington Post says the Air Force is bowing to atheist demands — by making the words “so help me God” optional. Judicial Watch has filed a Freedom of Information Act lawsuit demanding Obama administration records “regarding the decision.”