LCMS letter to U.S. Secretary of Defense: Protecting religious freedom for our troops

Cmdr. Charles E. Varsogea, chaplain at the U.S. Marine Corps Recruit Depot, preaches during a Divine Service on Feb. 1, 2015, in San Diego, Calif. (LCMS Communications/Erik M. Lunsford)

Cmdr. Charles E. Varsogea, chaplain at the U.S. Marine Corps Recruit Depot, preaches during a Divine Service on Feb. 1, 2015, in San Diego, Calif. (LCMS Communications/Erik M. Lunsford)

The Lutheran Church—Missouri Synod has submitted a formal request to the Secretary of Defense to ensure specific protections for chaplains, service members, medical personnel, DoD civilians and other DoD-affiliated employees, per the recently mandated LGBT Pride Month and the new DoD policies on transgender service members, which include in-service gender transitions while serving in the military.

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8 Responses to LCMS letter to U.S. Secretary of Defense: Protecting religious freedom for our troops

  1. 1SG Marty Morehouse (Ret) September 16, 2016 at 10:37 am #

    Thank you for your support. As a recent retiree from the Army National Guard, I have struggled with the changes occurring in our Military. I pray for those remaining in service to our country that they may be able to hold on to their faith and still serve honorably.

  2. William H Schmidt September 16, 2016 at 1:04 pm #

    I have been a United States Naval Academy Information Officer (Blue & Gold Officer) for over 15 years. I asked a similar question of my Area Coordinator to present to USNA Admissions. He told me that my concerns that sailors are mandated to participate in LGBT “celebrations” were unfounded. That is not what I’ve heard from people I know, including senior officers, who are currently serving. I never received an answer from USNA Admissions. As a result, I submitted my resignation as a matter of conscience. Unless I could represent to Candidates and their families that their religious freedoms would be protected, I could not recommend they proceed. In addition, the current SecNav Ray Mabus named a ship for Harvey Milk. Milk was a junior officer who reportedly sought young enlisted sailors for sex. He accepted a less than honorable discharge to avoid charges of fraternization. His biography reported his attraction to young boys and bringing a 16 year old boy to live with him for sex. This was further evidence of the state of LGBT influence in our military that often challenges the religious convictions of those serving.

    I applaud the actions of President Harrison and Director Muehler in seeking protection for those serving in our Armed Forces.

  3. John J Flanagan September 18, 2016 at 6:46 pm #

    It is important to communicate these concerns to DOD, however, I think, if anything, the Federal government is becoming even more entrenched and bolder in implementing policies which conflict with the faith convictions of Christian service personnel. The military has been transformed at the highest levels into a willing partner in the social engineering agenda developed by progressives over many decades. News reported in Internet sources but seldom if ever in mainstream media reflect hostility and punitive action toward any opposition to LGBT, transgender, or politically correct policies introduced in academia, civil service, or military institutions.
    Although the First Amendment is supposed to protect free speech and religious faith, the bureaucracies and policy makers simply disregard it, forcing individuals to seek redress through the courts for rights which should have been recognized in the first place. This process is time consuming and expensive, and if liberal judges are involved, the outcome uncertain.
    As regards the military, Obama has purged many highly decorated and experienced generals and admirals from high positions because they were not enthusiastic, or downright opposed, to his radical agenda and social policies. Obama made it a point to demoralize the military, surrounding himself with compliant leaders, because he intended to transform the armed services into his radical vision of a socially and politically correct institution.
    I suppose we must still fight on, and what choice do we have? Do we roll over and allow evil to prevail? So long as the LCMS has a voice, it remains necessary to speak out.

  4. Jennifer September 20, 2016 at 8:19 am #

    I’m curious about several issues, but I’ll start here: Asking for exemption from “any training sessions that present LGBT issues in a manner contrary to one’s religious faith… [or] event or activity wherein participation would violate represent a violation of conscience informed by a sincerely held religious belief” is quite vague. Does that mean “Don’t make me march in a Pride Parade or perform a same-sex marriage”, or “don’t require me to attend training on sexual harassment if it includes issues facing the LGBT community (specifically if using pronouns is involved in “harassment”)” (e.g. SHARP training, considering chaplains are points of contact for victims of sexual harassment and assault). And how does this impact the chaplains, specifically, in their role as spiritual support to all soldiers? For example providing counsel to any soldier seeking a chaplain when in distress. Is there a difference in public role v. private service to soldiers, say, one who is in distress while deployed or comes to the office for confidential counsel from a chaplain? If the LCMS wants specificity from Dod, why isn’t the LCMS bold enough to lay out specifically what the doctrine will and will not permit? Thank you for the careful consideration of these difficult social issues.

  5. Bruce Helenbart September 22, 2016 at 10:38 pm #

    Congress shall make no law respecting an establishment of religion, or prohibiting the free exercise thereof;…

    “Everything is permissible for me”–but not everything is beneficial….The body is not meant for sexual immorality, but for the Lord. 1 Corinthians 6

    From two outdated or fictional documents that today’s progressive people have deemed invalid.

  6. Leanna October 1, 2016 at 12:55 pm #

    My biggest problem with this letter is that “medical personnel” is included. what exactly are you trying to prevent them from having to do? If you are a medical professional and refuse to respect or help people who identify as LGBTQI than you are in the wrong profession. I fail to see the problem here. Christians, especially Lutherans have always held power and privilege in this society and the second you may have to share that power you get scared. I do not see God in this letter. I see disrespect and close mindedness.

  7. Tim Z. October 20, 2016 at 1:41 pm #

    Leanna,
    Obviously you are not a member of the LCMS. We are not casting judgement on our brothers and sisters in Uniform, and this is not about “power”. It is all about protecting our reigious freedoms, and not being forced to attend or participate in events that conflict with our core beliefs about the Gospel. Ever since DOMA was removed from the US Military standard, those of us “Old Salts”, have seen this coming. I never asked any member of any of my SPECOP Teams what their orientation was, and did not care. Just get the mission completed and the objectives secured-That’s all I asked. But don’t try to cram your anti-Biblical, unChristain, LGBT lifestyle down my throat, when I am off duty, or at Worsphip.
    Tim Z, CMSGT, USAF, ret. (PJ & FAC) 1977-2012

    • Tim Schenks December 6, 2016 at 3:23 am #

      CMSGT Z.,

      I’d always assumed that specop team members risking their lives for each other would know everything about each other including their religious beliefs. That is sad that it it not the case. Do they normally keep this from each other?

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