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Tony Perkins / May 18, 2015

Gods and Generals: Left Wars Against Military Faith

In today’s military, you can put on the uniform — but leave the armor of God at home! Something as simple as talking about prayer can land you in a heap of trouble under this administration, and anti-faith extremists are doing everything they can to exploit this new hostility. At the Military Religious Freedom Foundation, Mikey Weinstein and team had some initial success calling Christian expression to the carpet with the Pentagon, but that relationship is more strained now — as Americans have started pushing back on the anti-faith agenda in the military. Unfortunately, that hasn’t stopped MRFF from harassing service members for exercising the religious freedom they’re fighting to protect. Weinstein’s latest target is a two-star general, the Air Force’s Maj. Gen. Craig Olson, who was invited to speak at the National Day of Prayer Task Force meeting last week. Not surprisingly, General Olson talked about … prayer. He told the audience he was a “redeemed believer in Christ” and gave God the glory for his success in the military.

In today’s military, you can put on the uniform — but leave the armor of God at home! Something as simple as talking about prayer can land you in a heap of trouble under this administration, and anti-faith extremists are doing everything they can to exploit this new hostility. At the Military Religious Freedom Foundation, Mikey Weinstein and team had some initial success calling Christian expression to the carpet with the Pentagon, but that relationship is more strained now — as Americans have started pushing back on the anti-faith agenda in the military.

Unfortunately, that hasn’t stopped MRFF from harassing service members for exercising the religious freedom they’re fighting to protect. Weinstein’s latest target is a two-star general, the Air Force’s Maj. Gen. Craig Olson, who was invited to speak at the National Day of Prayer Task Force meeting last week. Not surprisingly, General Olson talked about … prayer. He told the audience he was a “redeemed believer in Christ” and gave God the glory for his success in the military.

“[God] put me in charge of failing programs worth billions of dollars. I have no ability to do that, no training to do that. God did that. He sent me to Iraq to negotiate foreign military sales deals through an Arabic interpreter. I have no ability to do that. I was not trained to do that. God did all of that.” He asked the country for prayer for the military — especially the brave men and women getting ready to re-deploy. They need to “bear through that by depending on Christ,” he explained. Like Coast Guard Rear Admiral William D. Lee in 2013, Olson didn’t shy away from his beliefs. And for that, Weinstein wants him to pay.

In a missive to Air Force officials, MRFF calls Olson a “brutal disgrace,” saying he violated the “solemn oath he took to support and defend the United States Constitution” (which Mikey might be surprised to know protects the religious freedom Olson was exercising!). Simply for talking about God, the Foundation is demanding that the General be court-martialed and “aggressively and very visibly brought to justice for his unforgivable crimes and transgressions” (of which there are none).

So far, Weinstein hasn’t gotten much traction with his tantrum. Asked about the Foundation’s letter, a spokesman for Olson’s commander said, “I can tell you the Air Force places a high value on the rights of its members to observe the tenets of their respective religion or to observe no religion at all.” Let’s hope that high value translates into placing no value on Weinstein’s claims.

ABC Tries to Salvage Savage

What does an X-rated gay sex columnist have in common with Walt Disney? Nothing. And that’s exactly the problem. Most Americans have probably never heard of Dan Savage, but unfortunately, that’s all about to change this fall. Despite massive outcry — thousands of phone calls, emails, and petition signers — Disney’s ABC is taking its LGBT activism to new lows with plans to bring the controversial Christian-basher to life in a sitcom called “The Real O'Neals.”

Savage, whose “anti-bullying” videos are a favorite of the President’s and Hollywood, has turned out to be the biggest bully of all — using his platform as an opportunity to ridicule students and curse faith. Lately, though, the militant atheist has taken a break from hurling sexual threats at Republicans (warning: graphic content) to focus on this new fall sitcom, which producers say, “will follow the younger years of Savage’s life and the experiences of his family following his decision to come out of the closet.”

The trailer is already worse than anyone could imagine. When the show isn’t mocking Christians, it’s celebrating homosexuality. “…[I]t’s a savage, if you will, caricature of a Catholic family and the Faith, where the parents are divorcing, one son has anorexia, the daughter runs a fake charity, and the son pictured in the middle is gay. Oh, and there’s a Virgin Mary statue over the toilet.”

While the Left is counting the days until the comedy airs, Savage’s real-life legacy of bioterrorism and death threats is no joking matter. Our friends at Media Research Center (MRC) have come out swinging at ABC for glorifying a man whose dark attacks on Christians and conservatives are so profane that the network couldn’t even air them on TV. Already, a coalition of organizations have sent a letter to ABC, asking the network to reconsider giving Savage another platform to be an apostle of division and hate. On Change.org, MRC’s grassroots petition to get “The Real O'Neals” off the air has 10,000 signatures — and counting. #CancelSavage is the cry on Twitter, where Americans are telling ABC to stop its one-sided attack on men and women of faith.

The campaign is gaining enough ground that even Sean Hannity profiled the controversy on his show last night with MRC President Brent Bozell. After showing some of Savage’s foul comments, Hannity was amazed ABC could even loosely base a sitcom on Dan’s life since, according to Bozell, “you have to bleep out everything he says.” When Hannity stated that ABC must not understand why Duck Dynasty and Fox News are successful, Brent replied, “I think they know why Fox succeeds. I think they know why Phil Robertson succeeds. They [ABC] can’t stand you. They can’t stand the message coming from Fox. They can’t stand the message coming from Phil Robertson, and it’s a market economics. If they wanted to do better, they would simply emulate it. Notice how they’re going in the opposite direction, and you’re right—they’re flaming out. The numbers are cratering, and this is why.” Help us put the heat on ABC by signing the petition here!

Standing Pat on the Family

A few weeks back, General Boykin and I spoke at the United Nations about the persecution of Christians around the world, and now the U.N. is turning its attention to another important topic — the family! [Thursday], FRC’s own Dr. Pat Fagan had the chance to bring some of our MARRI (Marriage and Religion Research Institute) work to bear on the conference of “The Family and Sustainable Development.” Dr. Fagan’s speech was sponsored by the Permanent Observer of the Holy See to the U.N. and focused on the “The Family as an Agent of Economic Development and a Fundamental Safety Net.”

Drawing on his own research and that of his colleagues Drs. Henry Potrykus and Paul Sullins of MARRI, he illustrated how the intact married family that worships weekly is the core economic strength of society and that the further one moves away from that combination the less human and social capital is present to produce the economic benefits for which all nations strive.

“Though governments are critical agents in economic development, they do not have the institutional competence to increase marriage. At the same time, they can easily weaken marriage with ineffective or harmful laws and programs. Governments don’t have the competence to increase worship, though again, through legislation and policies they can weaken its practice. To strengthen marriage and the family, society must stop looking to government for solutions and instead affirm the three people-forming institutions: Family, church and school. Working intimately together, these three institutions have the greatest capacities for developing human and social capital. That is what the data of the social sciences repeatedly illustrate.” To read his full remarks, click here.


This is a publication of the Family Research Council. Mr. Perkins is president of FRC.

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