Sign of the Times – Court martials could face Christian soldiers if they „proselytize”

via MissionNetworkNews.org (Photo via www.sodahead.com)

USA (MNN) – The Pentagon confirms that it may court martial soldiers who share their Christian faith. This, after meeting with an atheist who accused Christians of „sedition” and „treason.” The meeting on April 23 didn’t yield any immediate changes, although the Pentagon released a statement indicating that proselytization is not permitted. Todd Nettleton with Voice of the Martyrs says, „What’s at stake is the ability of the U.S. military members to practice their Christian faith. That includes not only the rank and file military members: that actually include even the chaplains.” The ministries we contacted with military outreach declined to be interviewed for this story. Their concern wa s the same: staying under the radar for now. Does this qualify as real persecution? „When we see a military chaplain who is court martialed for preaching the Gospel, for saying ‘Jesus is the only way to Heaven,’ I think then we’ll be able to say, ‘Absolutely. That’s persecution. Then we’ll have crossed the line.”

Nettleton states, „What’s at stake is the ability of the U.S. military members to practice their Christian faith. That includes not only the rank and file military members: that actually includes even the chaplains.”

The concern is that the definition of proselytism is unclear. Nettleton asks, „If you share your faith, if you share the plan of salvation, is that proselytism or does it become proselytism if there’s some sort of coercion?” He is quick to note that while this is an alarming shift, it’s not technically „persecution.” But, „When we see a military chaplain who is court-martialed for preaching the Gospel, for saying ‘Jesus is the only way to Heaven,’ I think then we’ll be able to say, ‘Absolutely! That’s persecution. Then we’ll have crossed the line.'”

Weinstein accused members of the military who share the Gospel of Jesus Christ of „sedition” and „treason.” He also described Christians who shared their faith in the military as „enemies of the Constitution.” Yet, Nettleton says as strong as the language is, it’s not really a surprise. „Christ said, ‘You will take up your cross.’ The cross was an instrument of torture, an instrument of death. So He wasn’t saying, ‘It’s always going to be easy to follow Me.’ He was saying, ‘Take up your cross. You may have to pay a price.'”

Regardless of what happens with the policy or how it is enforced, Nettleton says American believers can take a page from the book of the Global Church. „It is coming in our culture where we may have to pay a price for living out our faith in Christ, as well. Again, I point to the example of our persecuted brothers and sisters because we have so much to learn from them: they face this every single day and yet they faithfully follow the call of Christ on their lives.”

Read the story in full at http://www.mnnonline.org.

Christian Post: Religious Groups Fear Christian Purge From Military

Photo via Wiki Media

Religious liberty groups have grave concerns after they learned the Pentagon is vetting its guide on religious tolerance with a group that compared Christian evangelism to „rape” and advocated that military personnel who proselytize should be court martialed.

The Military Religious Freedom Foundation is calling on the Air Force to enforce a regulation that they believe calls for the court martial of any service member caught proselytizing.

President Mikey Weinstein and others from his organization met privately with Pentagon officials on April 23. He said U.S. troops who proselytize are guilty of sedition and treason and should be punished – by the hundreds if necessary – to stave off what he called a „tidal wave of fundamentalists.”

„Someone needs to be punished for this,” Weinstein told Fox News. „Until the Air Force or Army or Navy or Marine Corps punishes a member of the military for unconstitutional religious proselytizing and oppression, we will never have the ability to stop this horrible, horrendous, dehumanizing behavior.”

Tony Perkins, president of the Family Research Council, told Fox News he was stunned that the Pentagon would be taking counsel and advice from the Military Religious Freedom Foundation.

„Why would military leadership be meeting with one of the most rabid atheists in America to discuss religious freedom in the military,” Perkins said. „That’s like consulting with China on how to improve human rights.”

Read more at http://www.christianpost.com/news/religious-groups-fear-christian-purge-from-military

Remembering 9/11 (video 4) The Pentagon – American Airlines Flight 77 – National Geographic

from the „New York Times” newspaper on 9/11/2011-

Across the country, emergency procedures that were never used during the cold war were suddenly invoked, not as drills but for real. For the first time in history, all civilian airplane flights were grounded while military and civilian officials conferred by telephone from secure locations.

At the Pentagon, still smoldering, Defense Secretary Donald H. Rumsfeld said, „The Pentagon is functioning. It will be in business tomorrow.” He and Attorney General John D. Ashcroft condemned the attacks and pledged that their agencies would do everything possible to bring the organizers to justice.

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Pentagon 9/11 – American Airlines Flight 77 – N…, posted with vodpod

Remembering 9/11 (video 5) United Flight 93 – National Geographic

from (former) President George Bush’s dedication speech at the Flight 93 Memorial on 9/11,2011-

When the sun rose in the Pennsylvania sky ten years ago tomorrow, it was a peaceful September morning. By the time it set nearly 3,000 people were gone. The most lives lost on American soil in a single day since the battle of Antietam.

With the distance of a decade, 9/11 can feel like a part of a different era. But for the families of the men and women stolen, some of whom join us today, that day will never feel like history. The memory of that morning is fresh and so is the pain. America shares your grief. We pray for your comfort and we honor your loved ones.

September 11th, 2001, innocent men and women went to work at the World Trade Center. They reported for duty at the Pentagon. They boarded American Flights 11 and 77, United 93 and 175. They did nothing to provoke or deserve the deliberate act of murder that al Qaeda carried out.

One of the lessons of 9/11 is that evil is real, and so is courage. When the planes struck the World Trade Center, firefighters and police officers charged up the stairs into the flames. As the towers neared collapse, they continued the rescue efforts.

Ultimately, more than 400 police officers and firefighters gave their lives. Among them was the chief of the New York City Fire Department Peter Gancy. As a colleague put it, he would never ask anyone to do something he didn’t do himself.

The Pentagon service members and civilians pulled friends and strangers from burning rubble. One special forces soldier recalls reaching through a cloud of smoke in search of the wounded. As he entered one room, he prayed to find someone alive. He discovered a severely burned woman and carried her to safety. Later, in the hospital, where she explained she’s been praying for rescue. She called him her guardian angel.

And then there’s the extraordinary story we commemorate here. Aboard United Airlines Flight 93 were college students from California, an iron worker from New Jersey, veterans of the Korean War and World War II, citizens of Germany and Japan, a pilot who had rearranged his schedule so that he could take his wife on a vacation to celebrate their anniversary.

When the passengers and crew realized the plane had been hijacked, they reported the news calmly. When they learned that the terrorists had crashed other planes into targets on the ground, they accepted greater responsibilities. In the back of the cabin, the passengers gathered to devise a strategy.

At the moment America’s democracy was under attack, our citizens defied their captors by holding a vote. The choice they made would cost them their lives, and they knew it. Many passengers called their loved ones to say good-bye, then

Many passengers called their loved ones to say goodbye then hung up to perform their final act. One said, „They’re getting ready to break into the cockpit. I have to go. I love you.” Another said, „It’s up to us. I think we can do it.”

In one of the most stirring accounts, Todd Beamer, a father of two with a pregnant wife with a home in New Jersey, asked the air operator to join him in reciting the Lord’s Prayer. Then he helped lead the charge with the words „Let’s roll.”

With their selfless act, the men and women who stormed the cockpit lived out the words, „Greater love hath no man than this, that a man lay down his life for his friends.” And with their brave decision, they launched the first counter offensive of the war on terror. The most likely target of the hijacked plane was the United States Capitol. We’ll never know how many innocent people might have been lost, but we do know this, Americans are alive today because the passengers and crew of Flight 93 chose to act, and our nation will be forever grateful.

The 40 souls who perished on the plane left a great deal behind. They left spouses and children and grandchildren who miss them dearly. They left successful businesses and promising careers and a lifetime of dreams they will never have the chance to fulfill. They left something else – a legacy of bravery and selflessness that will always inspire America.

For generations people will study the flight, the story of Flight 93. They will learn that individual choices make a difference, that love and sacrifice can triumph over evil and hate, and that what happened above this Pennsylvania field ranks among the most courageous acts in American history.

At the memorial we dedicate today will ensure our nation always remembers those lost here on 9/11. But we have a duty beyond memory. We have a duty beyond honoring. We have a duty to live our lives in a way that upholds the ideals for which the men and women gave their lives, to build a living memorial to their courage and sacrifice. We have a duty to find common purpose as a nation.

In the days after 9/11, the response came like a single hand over a single heart. Members of Congress from both sides of the aisle gathered on the steps of the capitol to sing „God bless America.” neighbors reached out to neighbors of all backgrounds and beliefs.

The past decade, our country has been tested by natural disaster, economic turmoil, anxieties and challenges here at home and abroad. There have been spirited debates along the way. It’s the essence of democracy. But Americans have never been defined by our disagreements. Whatever challenges we face today and in the future, we must never lose faith in our ability to meet them together. We must never allow our differences to harden into divisions.

Secondly, we have a duty to remain engaged in the world as 9/11 proved that the conditions in the country on the other side of the world can have an impact on our own streets. It may be tempting to think it doesn’t matter what happens to a villager in Afghanistan or a child in Africa, but the temptation of isolation is deadly wrong.

World repression, anger and resentment will be a never ending source of violence and threats. A world of dignity and liberty and hope will be safer and better for all. The surest way to move toward that vision is for the United States of America to lead the cause of freedom.

Finally, we each have a duty to serve a cause larger than ourselves. The passengers aboard Flight 93 set an example that inspires us all. Many have followed their path of service by donating blood or mentoring a child or volunteering in desperate corners of the earth. Some have devoted their careers to analyzing intelligence or protecting our borders and securing our skies. Others have made the noble choice to defend our nation in battle.

For 10 years, our troops have risked and given their lives to prevent our enemies from attacking America again. They’ve kept us safe, they have made us proud, and they have upheld the spirit of service shown by the passengers on Flight 93.

Many years ago, in 1863, another president came to dedicate a memorial site in this state. He told his audience that, „In a larger sense we cannot dedicate, we cannot consecrate, we cannot hallow this ground. For the brave souls who struggled there, it consecrated it far above our poor power to add or detract.”

He added „The world will little note, nor long remember what we say here, but it can never forget what they did here.”

So it is with Flight 93. For as long as this memorial stands, we will remember what the men and women aboard the plane did here. We’ll pay tribute to the courage they showed, the sacrifice they made, and the lives they spared. The United States will never forget.

May God bless you all.

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