An Army chaplain at Fort Bragg in North Carolina could face a possible court-martial and even military prison because of his views on marriage. After being asked to conduct a marriage retreat that included same-sex couples, the chaplain simply explained that his religious beliefs would not allow him to do so, according to his attorneys.
According to Todd Starnes, an Army investigator under the command of Major General Kurt Sonntag recommended that Chaplain Scott Squires be found guilty of "dereliction of duty" for taking three business days to reschedule the "Strong Bonds" marriage retreat after Squires said he could not conduct it.
Squires is endorsed by the Southern Baptist Convention's North American Mission Board (NAMB), whose policy clearly states "endorsed chaplains will not conduct or attend a wedding ceremony for any same-sex couple, bless such a union or perform counseling in support of such a union...nor offer any kind of relationship training or retreat, on or off a military installation."
Squires even went so far as to reschedule the conference so a lesbian couple could be served by a chaplain who would accommodate them. However, the same-sex couple chose not to attend.
The investigator's findings and recommendations clearly violate the 2013 National Defense Authorization Act, which states, "no member of the Armed Forces may require a chaplain to perform any rite, ritual or ceremony that is contrary to the conscience, moral principles or religious beliefs of the chaplain."
First Liberty Institute, one of the nation's most prominent religious liberty law firms, is representing Squires as well as Chaplain Assistant Kacie Griffin. Griffin is also facing charges because she did not immediately sign up the same-sex couple for the retreat.
We have prepared an email for you to send that will be delivered immediately to the Pentagon, urging Secretary Esper to stop this violation of Chaplain Squires' religious rights dead in its tracks. A copy of your email will also be sent to Major General Kurt Sonntag via the Public Affairs Office at Fort Bragg.
Military chaplains shouldn't be punished for following their faith.