Commentary: The Obama Administration Stripped Religious Liberty from Our Military, and It’s Up to Veterans to Reclaim It

by Dr. William Scott Magill, founder of Veterans in Defense of Liberty


Despite the election of the very pro-religious liberty President Trump in 2016, there are still many anti-religious liberty policies in place for those who serve in the military.

Many of those policies engineered by former President Obama and his civilian bureaucrats in the Pentagon erase freedom of expression of Christian faith and religious liberty from the U.S. Armed Forces. Some Obama-era rules even criminalize the open expression of religious faith by men and women in uniform.

With President Trump in the White House, we have a real opportunity to reverse one of the worst legacies of the Obama Administration – its aggressive attempt to erase Christianity, religious liberty and even Chaplains from the United States military. But it will be up to veterans to lead the charge to undo the damage Obama has done to our military.

One of former President Obama’s first acts as President was to ban Bible verses traditionally included with daily briefings from the Pentagon, and that was just for starters.

Over the following years his Pentagon bureaucrats, among other outrageous acts:

  • Banned guests from bringing Bibles and other Christian symbols into Walter Reed and other military hospitals;
  • Punished soldiers in uniforms (including Chaplains) from speaking openly about their Faith in Christ;
  • Blacklisted devout and outspoken Christians like Delta Force founder U.S. General Jerry Boykin and the Reverend William Graham, Jr. from speaking at the Pentagon, West Point and other military events and facilities.

The Pentagon has always denied that it would ever restrict the First Amendment rights of our men and women of the Armed Force, and still does to this day.

They claim they simply want to protect personnel from “religious proselytization” or “coercion” by superiors or others in uniform. But the truth is, their policies are aimed directly at eliminating any expression of Christian faith by any man or woman on uniform.

That means if a soldier tells another solider of his or her faith in Jesus, or displays a Bible or Christian symbols, he or she could be discharged and/or severely punished.

And yes, it means that even Chaplains can be punished, stripped of rank, and drummed out of the military for daring to express their faith in uniform.

Hard to believe? All you need for proof is to look at these chilling examples of how real service men and women have been harmed by this assault:

  • Navy Chaplain Lt. Commander Dan Klender and retired Army Chaplain Major Steven Firtko were forced out of a Veterans Affairs Chaplain training program for refusing orders not to pray in Jesus’ name and not to quote scripture.
  • Decorated Air Force Veteran Oscar Rodriquez was physically assaulted and dragged out of a flag-folding retirement ceremony for a friend at Travis Air Force Base for using the word “God” in his speech before the assembled.
  • Lance Corporal Monifa Sterling was prosecuted, court-martialed and discharged from the Marines for refusing to take down Bible verses she had displayed where she served at Camp Lejeune in North Carolina.

These policies didn’t just happen. Many came on the advice of a radical liberal “advisor” to the Obama Pentagon named Mikey Weinstein.

Weinstein runs an atheist organization called the Military Religious Freedom Foundation (MRFF). But this Orwellian named group has nothing to do with “religious freedom.” It is in truth the most hateful, anti-Christian groups in the U.S.

I know first-hand as a Marine Corps veteran how important faith and religious counseling can be to men and women who have seen the horrors of war. I started Veterans in Defense of Liberty (VIDOL) to organize and be a voice for those who care deeply about the rights and freedoms for which our veterans placed themselves at risk to defend.

Secularists like former President Obama and atheists like Mikey Weinstein live to destroy this scared bond between God, Jesus, Chaplains and our men and women in uniform, and our history, and the damage they and their legions caused over the last eight long years in power was immense.

While we now have a President who has promised to rebuild and fully support our Armed Forces and the men and women who serve in them, he will succeed only if veterans pool their efforts and voices to eliminate the scourge of Obama’s attack on religious liberty in our military.

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Dr. William Scott Magill founded VIDOL to maintain the integrity of our Republic based on correct moral and constitutional principles. He served with the United States Marine Corp, the United States Army Medical Corps, and the Denver Police Dept. 





Reprinted with permission from

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