Pentagon unblocks Baptist website to military personnel

April 26, 2013

Within hours of an AFA Action Alert, the Pentagon said it had resolved the reasons it blocked the Southern Baptist Convention website, www.sbc.net, from military computers.

The block came just a few weeks after an Army briefing labeled Evangelical Christians and Catholics as examples of religious extremist groups, and a separate email identified two prominent Christian ministries as "domestic hate groups."

In this case, the Pentagon said the block was a matter of website security and not an infringement on religious liberty. "In this case, security systems performed as expected in detecting a threat to DoD (Department of Defense) networks," Lt. Col. Damien Pickart said in a prepared statement.

"We determined that our web filters recently detected malware at the SBC website, which resulted in the block for some service members," Pickart said. "The department has verified that the Southern Baptist Convention website no longer contains malware that may pose a threat to our networks and will be unblocked today."

Pickart added the block did not have anything to do with the "hostile" or religious content. "The Department of Defense strongly supports the religious rights of service members, to include their ability to access religious websites like that of the SBC," he said.

Immediately after releasing the AFA Action Alert, dozens of military personnel and chaplains told AFA they could not access the Baptist website on base computers, while a few said their military computer allowed the site.

WHY THIS WAS IMPORTANT
Had this issue not gained national attention, the sbc.net website would still be blocked today. Because hundreds of Baptist military personnel and chaplains depend on their denomination's website, it was critical that the site be unblocked quickly.

However, Congressman Randy Forbes (R-VA) recently noted during a congressional committee meeting, there is still a level of anti-Christian sentiment within the military, and cited several examples. You can read them here.

THANK YOU
It is critical that we remain vigilant in defending religious freedom, especially in the military. Because of your actions, the Pentagon quickly resolved this issue and unblocked the sbc.net website.