Editorial: Religious freedom for chaplains

Chaplains in the U.S. military do not have religious freedom, thanks to the Obama Administration.

Congress is trying to fix that situation through the National Defense Authorization Act (NDAA), which is still being debated in the U.S. Senate and House. The House version passed recently but, lawmakers are considering stripping out language that provides religious freedom protections for chaplains and other people of faith who serve America.

The problem is what is known as the Russell Amendment language. This amendment, which has around for decades, allows religious organizations that have federal contracts to hire employees that share their Christian faith. That’s according to Title VII, a federal employment law.

According to the Family Research Council (FRC), a problem started recently. “Liberal activists started a tweet storm attacking the Russell provision,” a statement from FRC explains. “Around the same time, 42 liberal senators sent a letter to the chairmen and ranking members of the House and Senate Armed Services Committees, asking them to strip the Russell Amendment from the NDAA Conference Report.”

Removing that language forces religious organizations “out of the contracting sphere and hurts those they serve, like refugees, veterans, and children.”

Autumn Stroup, policy director for Family Policy Alliance, said religious freedom should continue to be protected.

“It shouldn’t be controversial,” she said. “This isn’t something new and the existing language has worked for decades. The final bill that gets sent to Obama should include these important religious freedom provisions.”

Let’s hope lame duck Democrats don’t get their way.