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PRESS RELEASE
FOR IMMEDIATE RELEASE
Contact: Deborah Hamilton, Hamilton Strategies, 215.815.7716
September 16, 2013
American Family Association Challenges Pentagon Officials to Uphold Religious Freedom
American Family Association Issues Stern Warning; Department of Defense Must Protect First Amendment Rights

 – The American Family Association(AFA, www.AFA.net) participated in high level meetings at the Pentagon four days ago, for a frank discussion on the loss of religious freedom by Christians in the Air Force and the Defense Department in general.  

Warnings were issued by AFA on behalf of Christian soldiers and airmen who have the right to express their faith and to maintain deeply held religious convictions in every area including homosexuality and homosexual marriage. 

Representing American Family Association was cultural expert, talk show host and author, Sandy Rios.  Also present were Lt. General (ret) Jerry Boykin, Executive Vice President of Family Research Council, Col (R) Ron Crews of the Chaplains Alliance for Religious Liberty, and Kellie Fiedorek from Alliance Defending Freedom.  All are members of the Restore Military Religious Freedom Coalition. 

The Coalition met with senior Air Force officials who were confronted with current cases before them, such as the case to stop the persecution of SMSGT Philip Monk at Lackland Air Force base, for allegedly refusing to verbally affirm homosexual marriage.  The case of Lt. Col. Kenneth Reyes (USAF) of the Joint Base Elmendorf-Richardson in Alaska, who wrote an inspirational piece based on the  phrase President Eisenhower made famous called, "No Atheists in Foxholes: Chaplains Gave All in World War II," subsequently scrubbed from his military web-site, was also discussed. 

American Family Association specifically expressed alarm at the undue influence on the military of noted atheist “Mikey” Weinstein with whom the Pentagon has met frequently, and the dangers of military reliance on inaccurate information from the Southern Poverty Law Center, falsely labeling Christians as extremists, likening them to Al Quaeda, and targeting the American Family Association and the Family Research Council as hate groups. 

Even though protections were enacted in the Defense Authorization Bill of 2013 to assure members of the military their rights to free religious expression, inexplicably regulations have yet to be written by the Secretary of Defense as required by law.  The generals were questioned about the delay but no answers were given at the meeting.  This was a red flag to the Restore Military Religious Freedom Coalition as to the true intentions of the Department of Defense.  

"It was a cordial but frank meeting at the Pentagon.  We held nothing back in making our concerns clear and will now wait to see if the Generals, gracious and eager to please the Restore Military Religious FreedomCoalition in the meeting, were actually listening. We need to see that the Pentagon will stand behind their words and put an end to discrimination of Christians in our military," said American Family Association’s Sandy Rios. 

 “AFA will not be silent on this important issue.   We will continue to expose mistreatment and/or intimidation of Christians in the military as a violation of the First Amendment of the U.S. Constitution, and we won’t stop until we are satisfied that their rights have been re-established.  Christian soldiers who believe in something beyond themselves, ready to sacrifice even their lives for their country, have and always will be the backbone of America’s military,” said Tim Wildmon, President of AFA. 

AFA is part of the Restore Military Religious Freedom Coalition which was launched in July.  A full report documenting dozens of religious liberty violations in the military is available at www.militaryfreedom.org. In addition any soldier, sailor or airman experiencing religious intimidation may report it and get legal counsel at that address. 

For more information on American Family Association, visit www.afa.net. 

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To interview a representative from American Family Association, contact Deborah Hamilton at dhamilton@hamiltonstrategies.com, 610-584-1096 or 215-815-7716. 

American Family Association (AFA) a non-profit 501(c3) organization was founded in 1977 by Donald E. Wildmon, who was pastoring First United Methodist Church in Southaven, Mississippi, at the time.  Since 1977, AFA has been on the frontlines of America’s culture war. The original name of the ministry was National Federation for Decency but was changed to American Family Association (AFA) in 1988. Today, AFA is one of the largest and most effective pro-family organizations in the country with over two million online supporters and approximately 180,000 paid subscribers to the AFA Journal, the ministry's monthly magazine. In addition, AFA owns and operates nearly 200 radio stations across the country under the American Family Radio (AFR) banner.  

Other divisions of AFA include American Family Radio, the AFA Foundation and OneNewsNow.com, an online news provider that is syndicated around the world. AFA maintains activist web sites such as OneMillionMoms.com and OneMillionDads.com that rally Christian activists to contact companies asking them to drop their advertising from objectionable TV shows. AFA web sites average over 40 million hits and five million visitors each month. AFA uses all these means to communicate an outspoken, resolute, Christian voice throughout America. 

 

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