In the Bible, the Pharisees tried to trip Jesus up, and use Him as a reason to withhold paying taxes. Heck, Al Sharpton could have given them that reason . . . but, I digress. Jesus wisely asked for a coin and asked whose image was on the coin. He then responded, in Matthew 22:21, “Render unto Caesar that which is Caesar’s, and unto God that which is God’s.” Later in Romans 13:1, Paul writes, “Let every person be in subjection to the governing authorities. For there is no authority except from God, and those which exist are established by God.” But, what happens when the governing authority issues mandates, decrees, rules, regulations, edicts, and laws that are in opposition to God’s will and direction in the Christian life?
Such is playing out in America, and continues to be centered on the issue of same-sex marriage. For the record, my position has always been one of supporting civil unions. I see no reason to destroy traditional marriage, as defined as between one man and one woman. Furthermore, the US Supreme Court does not possess the constitutional enumerated power to make anything a “law” as they did with a 5-4 decision in Obergefell v Hodges — the same-sex marriage case. The SCOTUS is not empowered to create rights, our Declaration of Independence says that natural rights, our unalienable rights, emanate from our Creator: God. So, how do followers of the Judeo-Christian faith heritage reconcile “rendering unto Caesar” when the governing authority enacts laws contrary to our faith heritage?
To whom are we ultimately responsible?
Well, an United States Army Chaplain at Ft. Bragg North Carolina — a place I know kinda well — recently faced that very question. It seems that the Army is seeking to court-martial this chaplain for honoring God first, and not the rule that is contrary to his faith.
As reported by CBN:
“A United States Army chaplain and a chaplain’s assistant face possible disciplinary action over a case involving a marriage retreat and a same-sex couple. First Liberty Institute, which is defending Chaplain Scott Squires, and wrote a letter on behalf of SSG Kacie Griffin, says the two “complied with Army rules but face reprimand for adhering to religious beliefs,” according to a news release. The non-profit public interest law firm says an “Army investigator recommended that Squires be found guilty of ‘dereliction of duty,'” which means the decorated chaplain faces a possible court-martial and time in a military prison for rescheduling a marriage retreat, the news release states. “I simply did what I’m required to do under Army regulations and my endorser’s rules,” Squires said in a statement. “I am shocked that I would even be investigated, let alone threatened with punishment, for following the rules.”
“Chaplain Scott Squires faces potential disciplinary action by the United States Army for adhering to his church’s religious teaching on marriage,” the news release states. “Following a complaint, an Army investigator concluded that Chaplain Squires was guilty of discrimination when Squires explained he could not conduct a Strong Bonds marriage retreat with same-sex couples due to the requirements of his chaplain-endorsing agency, the North American Mission Board of the Southern Baptist Convention,” it continued. Squires made sure the soldier was included in the next available Strong Bonds retreat run by another chaplain who did not have restrictions. However, the investigator decided the chaplain’s behavior amounted to discrimination and deserved a reprimand, according to the news release.”
What is even more disconcerting is the treatment that the Chaplain’s Assistant, female SSG Kacie Griffin is receiving:
“Griffin, Squires’ chaplain assistant, “was included in the investigation for simply informing Squires of the couple’s application and letting the couple know that Chaplain Squires would want to speak with them about the event.” Griffin now could lose her chance to receive an officer’s commission “and a full ride college scholarship because of one general’s intentional indecision,” according to the release.”
“In the Army’s report, the investigating officer wrote: “Based on the below investigation, I make the following findings: I find that CH (MAJ) Jerry Squires (hereafter CH Squires) and (redacted) did violate Army Equal Opportunity (EO) policy by denying (redacted) and her wife, (redacted) the opportunity to attend a Strong Bonds retreat run by and paid for by the United States Army.”
Major General Sonntag is the Commanding General of the US Army Special Operations Command (USASOC), and the contention here is that this same-sex couple was discriminated against. I tend to disagree with that finding, and y’all should as well. Chaplain Squires did not discriminate against the couple; he ensured that they attended the taxpayer-funded — we can discuss that later –“Strong Bonds” retreat with a chaplain whose endorsing agency allowed compliance. There was no discrimination in this case. In the end, Chaplain Squires maintained his standing, which the Army accepted when they commissioned him as a chaplain, and the same-sex couple attended the retreat.
Perhaps, just as with the Masterpiece Cakeshop case, it was not about attending the retreat, but targeting Chaplain Squires, who has an unblemished record. Look, the US Military is one of the most discriminatory organizations in our country. You cannot join if you are too short, too fat, have flat feet, have asthma, drug abuse is frowned upon, an alcohol related offense can result in dismissal . . . I could go on and on. So, why is it that we have come to a point where we are placing military chaplains in a position where they must cast aside their faith? I find it interesting that Sikhs in our military are allowed to maintain their beards, and wear their non-uniform headdress. I must ask, what would happen if a Muslim military Imam was told to conduct a marriage retreat with a same-sex couple?
Chaplains are in our military to provide spiritual guidance, counseling, and services to our men and women in uniform. They are sponsored by many different denominational conferences, in this case the Southern Baptist Conference, or Convention. The US military accepts them with these endorsements, so to whom do Christian chaplains render allegiance, especially in cases when the governing authority is contrary to their faith calling? Maybe we just don’t need have chaplains in our military at all? No more chapels on our military installations, if we are to succumb to ideological agendas pushed by special interest groups. If we are now entering into a period where we seek the military to completely reflect civilian culture, then why not unions? The Dutch Army has them. Why not just go ahead and have open drug use, since several of our states have legalized marijuana. Why have standards of discipline and appearance? Why not just get rid of the Uniform Code of Military Justice? After all it is far more stringent, and could be interpreted as “discriminatory.”
The case of US Army Chaplain (Major) Jerry Squires, and Chaplain’s Assistant Staff Sergeant Kacie Griffin, is beyond disturbing. It is indicative of the last damage done by Barack Obama, and his minion, Ash Carter, to our military. I must once again ask, rhetorically: what the heck is current SecDef (General) James Mattis doing?
I salute you CH (Maj) Squires and SSG Griffin. In the end, you will stand judgment — not before MG Sonntag — but God Almighty, and our Lord and Savior Jesus Christ. What profit is it for us to gain (appease) the world . . . but lose our soul?
During his 22 year career in the United States Army, Lieutenant Colonel West served in several combat zones and received many honors including a Bronze Star, three Meritorious Service Medals, three Army Commendation Medals, one with Valor device, and a Valorous Unit Award.
In November of 2010, Allen was elected to the United States Congress, representing Florida’s 22nd District.
He is a Fox News Contributor, Director of the Booker T. Washington Initiative at the Texas Public Policy Foundation, Senior Fellow at the Media Research Center, contributing columnist for Townhall.com, and author of Guardian of the Republic: An American Ronin’s Journey to Family, Faith and Freedom. His forthcoming book, Hold Texas, Hold the Nation: Victory or Death, is due fall 2018 from Brown Books Publishing Group.