A military “religious freedom” watchdog group is celebrating the removal of an Army chaplain’s “illicit” prayer videos on Facebook.
In an article in The Daily Kos, Military Religious Freedom Foundation (MRRF) senior research director Chris Rodda bragged of pressuring the 10th Mountain Division Sustainment Brigade to remove a slew of videos by chaplains Cpt. Amy Smith and Maj. Scott Ingram.
“These videos belong only on a chapel page, not on a base’s or unit’s main page,” Rodda wrote. He added that the group “has been seeing an uptick in a particular type of complaint — overt proselyting videos on official military Facebook pages” during the coronavirus pandemic.
One video in question features Cpt. Smith discussing the Fort Drum Spiritual Fitness Trail, saying, “You are invited to pray, to pray for the family, to pray for the sick, and to pray for our leaders.” In another video, Smith described hiking the Fort Drum Labyrinth as a “great way to connect with God.”
Discussing the coronavirus pandemic in an April 2 video, Maj. Ingram said, “God encourages us not to be dismayed by what we see around us, things we cannot control. We can, however, with the best intel in this moment, place our trust in Him, walk forward in His strength, and treat others with kindness.”
MRFF founder and president Mikey Weinstein said in a Monday statement, according to The Christian Post:
MRFF and its military clients would greatly prefer that the Army would have taken this action sua sponte (‘ON ITS OWN’) without having to cause MRFF to make these obviously valid demands to ensure church-state separation in the first place on behalf of aggrieved Army personnel who justly fear reprisal, retribution, revenge and retaliation for taking their grievances up the chain of command.
On MRFF’s website, Weinstein is quoted as saying: “When one proudly dons a U.S. Military uniform, there is only one religious symbol: the American flag. There is only one religious scripture: the American Constitution. Finally, there is only one religious faith: American patriotism.”
“At a time when our nation is hurting and many feel hopeless, why on earth would Mikey Weinstein attack prayer?” First Liberty Institute attorney Mike Berry told Fox News. “America has the strongest military in history, but our brave service members are not immune to the havoc COVID-19 has wreaked.”
“I cannot believe the legendary U.S. Army’s 10th Mountain Division raised the white flag of surrender to an anti-religious freedom zealot,” Berry added. “Every president, from Washington to Trump, has publicly prayed for our military. If the commander in chief can pray, then our soldiers can, too.”
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