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Missouri Family E-News

February 14, 2012


Bill Filed to Protect
Conscience Rights of Chaplains 



A Kansas Congressman has proposed legislation to protect the conscience rights of chaplains serving in the United States Armed Forces.


Congressman Tim Huelskamp has introduced the Military Religious Freedom Protection Act.  Missouri U.S. Representatives Todd Akin and Vicky Hartzler have joined Huelskamp in co-sponsoring the legislation.


The proposal would ensure that no chaplain can be required to officiate at any same-sex commitment ceremony.  The language provides that a chaplain cannot be required to perform or participate in "any duty, rite, ritual, ceremony, service, or function that is contrary to their own conscience, moral principles,or religious beliefs."


The Defense Department recently announced that it would permit so-called same-sex "marriages" and civil unions to be performed in military chapels in states where those unions have been legalized.  The action by the Pentagon flies in the face of the Defense of Marriage Act (DOMA) that provides that the federal government can only recognize traditional marriages.   


"This bill will ensure that none of our men and women in uniform are asked to compromise their religious and spiritual beliefs,"  Huelskamp says.  "It will make certain that our military facilities are not used in contravention to DOMA.  Military installations exist to carry out the national defense of our country, not to facilitate a narrow social agenda."  


Ron Crews, executive director of the Chaplains Alliance for Religious Liberty, says that chaplains have experienced an increasingly hostile environment since Congress acted to open the ranks of the Armed Forces to active homosexuals.


Crews says that the normalization of homosexuality in the military has created a chilling effect on free speech among the troops and a "climate of fear" among chaplains.  Chaplains are already experiencing "retaliation, including having their careers threatened, for being 'politically incorrect.'"           


Vanderbilt Cracks Down on Christian Campus Clubs



Vanderbilt University is enforcing a nondiscrimination policy that may force Christian groups on campus to dissolve or disband.


That policy forbids religious groups from restricting membership or leadership in their organizations to individuals of their own faith.


Carol Swain, a law professor at Vanderbilt, says the university action's have crossed the line.  Swain says campus officials have required that the Christian Legal Society remove Bible verses and the words "Jesus Christ is Lord and Savior" from their constitution.  She says the university also insisted that the group could not limit leadership of the club's worship services and Bible studies to Christian students.


Swain serves as faculty advisor to the Christian Legal Society.  She says that three other Christian groups may be forced off campus--the Fellowship of Christian Athletes, Beta Upsilon Chi, and the Graduate Student Fellowship.


"What we have is political correctness running amuck," Swain says.  "A Christian organization cannot function without Christian leaders.  I think the students should stand on principle and fight for the values they believe in."               


California Ruling Poses Threat to State Laws Defining Marriage

The future of marriage in the United States hangs in the balance on the heels of a federal court decision in California.  In the case of Perry v. Brown, a three-judge panel of the 9th U.S. Circuit Court of Appeals has ruled that the historic definition of marriage is unconstitutional.

The panel struck down Proposition 8, approved by California voters in November of 2008.  That proposition enshrined in California's constitution the traditional definition of marriage as the union of a man and a woman.  Proposition 8 was an initiative petition which reversed a California Supreme Court decision that mandated so-called same-sex "marriage" in that state.

In a 2-1 decision, the 9th Circuit ruled that Proposition 8 violated the Equal Protection Clause of the United States Constitution by "stripp[ing] gays and lesbians of their right to use the official designation that the State and society give to committed relationships."  The 9th Circuit limited its decision to California, even though its jurisdiction includes eight other states.  While the judges claimed they were not establishing a constitutional right for same-sex "couples" to "marry," the practical effect of their decision is the same as it applies to California.

Brian Raum, senior counsel for the Alliance Defense Fund, condemned the Ninth Circuit's brazen behavior.  "No court should presume to redefine marriage.  We are not surprised that this Hollywood-orchestrated attack on marriage--tried in San Francisco--turned out this way.  But we are confident that the expressed will of the American people in favor of marriage will be upheld at the Supreme Court."

"Americans overwhelmingly reject the idea of changing the definition of marriage," Raum added.  "63 million Americans in 31 state elections have voted on marriage, and 63 percent voted to preserve marriage as the timeless, universal, unique union between husband and wife.  No court should undercut the democratic process by taking the power to preserve marriage out of the hands of the people."

Bruce Hausknecht, judicial analyst for Focus on the Family, says the Ninth Circuit decision has grave implications for the nation. "No judge has the right to redefine marriage.  Doing so redefines parenthood and offers yet another instance of social engineering based on the desires of adults rather than the interests of children.  This latest reformulation of marriage to remove mothers and fathers as an essential element of the family poses serious ramifications for future generations."

The opinion was authored by Judge Stephen Reinhardt, viewed by many legal observers as the most liberal member of the entire federal judiciary.  The ultimate question now is whether the Supreme Court will hear an appeal of the ruling, or allow the decision to stand as it applies to California.  Should the High Court agree to hear the case, there is the very real possibility that all state laws preserving traditional marriage could be struck down.

Perry v. Brown has the potential to be the Roe v. Wade of the marriage issue.  The California ruling could be the impetus to a Supreme Court ruling mandating same-sex "marriage" on the entire nation,  just as the Roe v. Wade decision out of Texas led to a High Court decision mandating abortion on demand throughout the country.

Fortunately, the Ninth Circuit Court of Appeals has a very poor track record before the Supreme Court.  The High Court has routinely overruled the Ninth Circuit, including several occasions where Supreme Court justices went out of their way to rebuke the actions of the Ninth Circuit.  Judge Reinhardt himself has seen his opinions overturned more often than any other judge on the federal bench.

Should the Supreme Court take up the case, the fate of the issue will likely lie in the hands of Supreme Court Justice Anthony Kennedy.  Judge Reinhardt wrote his opinion with Kennedy in mind.  Kennedy's previous writings have sent mixed signals as to where he may come down on this question.

We encourage you to become involved in the vital campaign to preserve the integrity of marriage.  Our nation will rue the day when it discards the traditional institution of marriage, and more and more children are deprived of the benefit of a loving mother or loving father in their lives.  The social stability and moral rectitude of our nation depend on the vitality and supremacy of the traditional family as designed by our Creator.  The cultural and spiritual foundation of America will assuredly disintegrate if traditional marriage is no longer honored as the preferred social instrument for family life.

We suggest you become an active member of the National Organization for Marriage (NOM), and enlist in their efforts to defend marriage laws across our nation.  You can learn more about NOM and join their efforts by clicking this link:
National Organization for Marriage

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