The Family Research Council has been one of the central groups playing up the Religious Right’s claims that conservative Christians are facing severe persecution in America today, a claim that relies on a constant stream of easily debunked tales of martyrdom .
The FRC fell back again on these martyrdom stories in a fundraising email from the group’s president, Tony Perkins, in which Perkins lists a number of debunked tales of Christian persecution in the military in order to claim that President Obama’s focus on “undoing the foundation of faith” in the armed forces is “just as dangerous” as the rise of “a new terrorist group”:
There is a grave threat to America’s military you won’t hear about from the mainstream media. No, it’s not a new terrorist group. But it’s just as dangerous. President Obama is bent on undoing the foundation of faith that has been a source of strength to America’s servicemen and women since Valley Forge. In the irony of ironies, those charged with defending your religious freedom are losing theirs.
Christian servicemen and women need you to stand with them NOW because the persecution they are suffering is going from bad to worse. All you have to do is look at the growing number of those serving our country in uniform who have been punished just for remaining true to their faith.
Army Chaplain Joseph Lawhorn was issued a career-stopping reprimand for the “crime” of mentioning in a suicide prevention class how Scripture helped him through troubled times.
Chaplain Wes Modder was nearly drummed out of the Navy because he gave a biblical answer to a question a sailor asked him about same-sex marriage.
And the persecution of Christians in the military doesn’t stop with chaplains whose very job it is to provide spiritual counseling.
Monifa Sterling, a Marine Lance Corporal, was court-martialed for daring to post a Scripture verse in her workstation.
When Air Force Sergeant Phillip Monk wouldn’t affirm same-sex marriage, his commander threatened to ruin his career.
These aren’t isolated incidences. Individuals in the service who dare to live their faith are being singled out and put in the crosshairs, not for doing anything wrong, but for what they believe. No one who puts on our nation’s uniform should ever be forced to deny his or her faith to serve our country. And no organization in Washington does more to defend the religious freedom of our troops than FRC.
FRC is urging the House and Senate Armed Services Committees to make the religious freedom of our servicemen and women a top priority. We are pressuring the Secretaries of the Army, Navy, and Air Force to stop the persecution that is threatening the careers of so many dedicated service members. We are building a strong coalition of high-ranking military officers — past and present — to push back against President Obama’s efforts to expunge faith from the military.
(Emphases are ours.)