According to US Army regulation, a chaplain is required to follow the rules and tenets of the sponsoring religious denomination. In this case, the chaplain was endorsed by the Southern Baptist Convention’s North American Mission’s Board (NAMB). Their policy statement explicitly says that “endorsed chaplains will not conduct or attend a wedding ceremony for any same-sex couple, bless such a union or perform counseling in support of such a union . . . nor offer any kind of relationship training or retreat, on or off a military installation.”
So Chaplain Squires, in compliance with both US Army regulations and the NAMB, withdrew himself from the scheduled retreat and made arrangements for another chaplain, from a different denomination, to lead the retreat. But the same-sex couple decided not to attend the retreat. Subsequently an US Army investigator recommended that Chaplains Squires and Griffin be found guilty of dereliction of duty. The US Army investigator maintained that the protection of the First Amendment to the US Constitution does not permit any soldier, to use that “shield” as a “sword” to cut off the rights of another.
But Chaplain Squires rightly noted, “I simply did what I’m required to do under army regulations and my endorser’s rules” and he added, “I am shocked that I would even be investigated, let alone threatened with punishment, for following the rules.”
After the US Army exonerated Chaplains Squires and Griffin, First Liberty Institute who represented them issued a statement. “We are grateful that the US Army has rejected and abandoned these baseless charges,” First Liberty Institute attorney Mike Berry told the Todd Starnes Radio Show.
If we don’t stand up for our religious freedoms, they will be taken away from us.
“The United States military is no place for anti-religious hostility against its own military chaplains,” said Berry, who is representing both the chaplain and the assistant. “Chaplains like Scott Squires and Kacie Griffin do not have to give up their First Amendment rights in order to serve their fellow soldiers.”
As we’ve said countless times on our website and our social media pages, if we don’t stand up for our religious freedoms, they will be taken away from us.
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This item was written with the assistance of AiG’s research team.