Pentagon says military personnel can evangelize but not proselytize - New York News

Pentagon says military personnel can evangelize but not proselytize

Updated:

By: Matthew Brown, Deseret News

The Pentagon has clarified its position on religious talk among U.S. troops, saying it's OK to talk about one's beliefs, but aggressive proselytizing is not allowed.

The statement issued last Thursday came after a week of heated debate among secularist and Christian groups over where to draw the line on evangelizing in the military.

“The U.S. Department of Defense has never and will never single out a particular religious group for persecution or prosecution,” Pentagon spokesman Lt. Cmdr. Nate Christensen said in a statement. “The department makes reasonable accommodations for all religions and celebrates the religious diversity of our service members.

“Service members can share their faith (evangelize), but must not force unwanted, intrusive attempts to convert others of any faith or no faith to one's beliefs (proselytization),” Christensen added.

The Alliance Defending Freedom characterized the clarification as backtracking from a previous statement issued Tuesday that the ADF said indicated members of the military could be subject to court martial for “religious proselytization.”

The early statement prompted some conservative Christian bloggers to denounce a conspiracy in the ranks targeting Christians. They were particularly upset that Defense Department officials had met with the head of the Military Religious Freedom Foundation, Mikey Weinstein, who has sued the military over religious discrimination.

"But this latest dust up did not occur in a vacuum," reported Religion News Service, which put the controversy into some historical context. "In recent years the U.S. military has become a battleground in the culture wars as the growing pluralism of the armed forces, along with increasing assertiveness of both Christian and secular activists, have led the Pentagon to clarify and develop policies of neutrality."

The ADF remains unsatisfied, however, with the Pentagon's clarification and wants to know the origins of the statement issued earlier in the week.

“We wish to ensure that the Pentagon does not deny members of the armed services the basic freedoms that the Constitution guarantees all Americans,” said ADF legal counsel Joseph La Rue. “For that reason, Alliance Defending Freedom is serious about investigating this gross error.”

Original post

Copyright 2013 Deseret Digital Media, Inc.

  • Local NewsLocal NewsMore>>

  • Baby found in teen's shopping bag called homicide

    Baby found in teen's shopping bag called homicide

    Wednesday, April 16 2014 11:07 PM EDT2014-04-17 03:07:27 GMT
    The New York City medical examiner has ruled that the death of a baby found in a teenager's shopping bag was a homicide.
    The New York City medical examiner has ruled that the death of a baby found in a teenager's shopping bag was a homicide.
  • Chelsea Clinton: I might run for office

    Chelsea Clinton: I might run for office

    Wednesday, April 16 2014 8:36 PM EDT2014-04-17 00:36:50 GMT
    Chelsea Clinton says she might run for office someday - if she becomes dissatisfied with the job her elected representatives are doing.
    Chelsea Clinton says she might run for office someday - if she becomes dissatisfied with the job her elected representatives are doing.
  • NJ mom charged with trying to kill her 3 teens

    NJ mom charged with trying to kill her 3 children

    Wednesday, April 16 2014 8:25 PM EDT2014-04-17 00:25:35 GMT
    A southern New Jersey woman is in custody on charges she tried to kill her three children by driving her car into the Delaware River.
    A southern New Jersey woman is in custody on charges she tried to kill her three children by driving her car into the Delaware River.
Powered by WorldNow
Didn't find what you were looking for?
All content © Copyright 2000 - 2014 Fox Television Stations, Inc. and Worldnow. All Rights Reserved.
Privacy Policy | Terms of Service | Ad Choices