Yesterday, thirty-five members of the United States House of Representatives circulated a letter requesting that President Bush issue an Executive Order regarding prayer by Chaplains in the military. Congressman Walter Jones from North Carolina stated that his colleagues were giving the President an opportunity to use the Constitution to guarantee the First Amendment rights of our Chaplains. Congressman Jones has circulated a letter that was sent to President Bush explaining that Christian military Chaplains are being told to use general terms when they pray publicly and not to mention specific references to a deity, including references to Jesus. Congressman Jones cited an example from an Army Chaplain who said it was made clear to him during his chaplain training course that it would be offensive and, therefore, against Army policy to publicly pray in the name of Jesus. This same Chaplain received a reprimand for praying in Jesus name. The Congressmen have stated in the letter to President Bush that all Chaplains should be able to pray as they wish. Congressman Mike McIntyre stated that Chaplains ought to be able to pray based on who they are.
We have filed a set of comments to the Air Forces new guidelines regarding religious services for Chaplains. Congressman Todd Akin, a Missouri Republican, said that Chaplains have complained that they are seeing a pattern of hostility towards freedom of speech. The Air Force Guidelines, as proposed, say that prayer should not be offered during official military staff meetings, but that a brief, non-sectarian prayer may be offered in non-routine military ceremonies, celebrations, or events. The American Center for Law and Justice has made comments on these guidelines in order to protect Religious Freedom. Please tune in to Jay Sekulow Live! as we discuss this topic on radio today.