Religious-right fundamentalist groups are holding up a letter sent to Tony Perkins, president Family Research Council, that rescinded an invitation to speak at Andrews Air Force Base National Pray Luncheon as "Christian censorship"; an infringement on first amendment rights to freedom of religion and speech.
According to CBN the The Joint Base Andrews Chaplain's Office released the following statement to CBN News in response:
"The Joint Base Andrews Chaplain's Office sponsors a voluntary annual prayer luncheon, focusing this year on deployed personnel, families and prayer. The Chaplain's Office retracted Mr. Perkins' invitation after his recent public comments made many who planned to attend the event uncomfortable. This was a local decision made by the Chaplain's Office who wanted the luncheon to be inclusive for the entire base community. The Chaplain's Office respects and defends Mr. Perkins right to express his opinions, and regrets any inconvenience to him. We thank and respect him for his prior military service."
CBN's way over the top interview with Perkins is after the jump.
Tony Perkins, a 6-year Marine Corp veteran, had this to say in an FRC press release
As one who took the oath to defend and protect our freedoms, I am disappointed that I've been denied the opportunity to speak to members of the military, in a non-political way, solely because I exercised my free speech rights in a different forum. It's ironic that this blacklisting should occur because I called for the retention and enforcement of a valid federal statute.
"I've been denied"? Sorry Tony, you are not the victim here. The luncheon was a voluntary annual prayer luncheon, focusing this year on deployed personnel, families (gay, lesbian, straight), and prayer. The luncheon was sponsored by the Andrews AFB chaplains and they rescinded their invitation to you because a) it is their right to do so and b) recent public comments by you have made many who planned to attend the event uncomfortable.
There are many other individuals who would not be invited to military events because of what they say or do in public. Public comments you make regarding gay and lesbian servicemembers are unjust and demonizing. Carrying a bible doesn't give you amnesty.
I am very concerned, however, that this merely foreshadows the serious threat to religious liberty that would result from repeal of the current military eligibility law. Such legislation would not merely open the military to homosexuals. It would result in a zero-tolerance policy toward those who disapprove of homosexual conduct.
Military chaplains would bear the heaviest burden. Would their sermons be censored to prevent them from preaching on biblical passages which describe homosexual conduct as a sin?
"Preaching on biblical passages which describe homosexual conduct as a sin" Honestly Tony, I don't recall any chaplain preaching this when I was in the Air Force.
Would they remain free to counsel soldiers troubled by same-sex attractions about the spiritual and psychological resources available to overcome those attractions? Any chaplain who holds to the millennia-old tradition of Judeo-Christian sexual morality could be denied promotion, or even be forced out of the military altogether.
I understand the untenable situation that this creates for chaplains and the men and women in uniform. I urge Congress, the President, and the top leadership of our military to place the constitutional guarantee of religious liberty ahead of the fashionable political correctness of a special interest group.
What special interest group? Oh, gays and lesbians whom you are able to judge and marginalize in public because you live in America and can exercise your First Amendment rights.