Rep. Tim Huelskamp (R-TX) today spoke to the Family Research Council’s Tony Perkins and the American Family Association’s Tim Wildmon about the sale of bibles in LifeWay stores, which is affiliated with the Southern Baptist Convention. The stores were selling Bibles with the emblems of the Army, Navy, Air Force and Marine Corps. However, the store’s permission to use such trademarks “was revoked when the military revamped its trademark licensing regulations in 2011.”
A LifeWay spokesman told Fox News that “after selling existing inventory of those bibles, B&H [Publishing] replaced the official seals with generic insignias which continue to sell well and provide spiritual guidance and comfort to those who serve.” The Defense Department also “stressed that the revocation was solely a trademark issue.”
But Religious Right groups instead are blaming the decision on the Military Religious Freedom Foundation, and Huelskamp alleged that the Obama administration is the main culprit. He said that “folks on the left” would “like to delete, exclude and repeal any religious liberties or any religious values throughout our entire government and our entire society,” and argued that the administration seeks to use the military as a “training ground for a radical, leftist agenda.”
Perkins and Huelskamp later twisted the story to claim that soldiers are now being deprived of Bibles, even though the only thing that changed was the logo and not the publication, and suggested that the move could contribute to mental health problems and suicide among soldiers.
Perkins: Your thoughts on this latest attack, it’s the only way I can describe it, on the religious freedom of men and women who serve in the military?
Huelskamp: You just mentioned in a way it was simply a capitulation and the fact that the Department of the Defense and this administration will bend over backwards to protect, I guess, the rights of atheists to determine our policies in the military, which simply does an incredible disservice to the brave men and women who defend and guarantee our rights. The idea that a particular Bible is a national security threat, that would be silly if it wasn’t so serious in terms of the threats that are coming from the folks on the left that would like to delete, exclude and repeal any religious liberties or any religious values throughout our entire government and our entire society, it is a real threat to the future of this country I believe.
Huelskamp: I believe that the only way Washington is going to respond is if something will happen will happen at the polls this Fall.
Wildmon: So you think this is a reflection of the Obama administration through the Pentagon, capitulating on this?
Huelskamp: I believe so, and we see that through other agencies. You have these leftist groups from the outside and somehow they get word about something and then they come in and send these threatening letters and then the administration says ‘well my goodness I think you’re right.’ This happens in the military, I believe it happens other ways as well. It’s a cultural issue, it’s an issue of whether we’re going to just change the way Americans think and we’re going to use, in this case, the military as our training ground for a radical, leftist agenda.
Perkins: The very thing that can help our members of the military deal with these issues is being driven from the military, it makes absolutely no sense.
Wildmon: Congressman, are you on a committee that oversees this kind of thing?
Huelskamp: I am not; I serve on the veterans’ affairs committee as well for folks that finished their military service. Suicide is a real concern. When you separate people from their faith and separate people from their Creator, you expect bad things to happen. Tony is definitely right, the real folks that lose out on this are the men and women that need this truth and need this faith. In the past, in the history of our country, it’s been understood. I have an uncle that’s a chaplain, he’s served in multiple conflicts and has been there and understands as many other chaplains do that this is our role is to protect the faith of our brave men and women. And here they are defending religious liberty and freedom around the world and at home, in their own backyard it is under attack.