Should The Military Be Sponsoring Christian Concerts?
Americans United for the Separation of Church and State is protesting a concert at Fort Bragg called “Rock the Fort,” which, it says, improperly uses the military to convert people to Christianity. The event is being produced by the Billy Graham Evangelistic Association, which promotes the presentation as a chance to hear evangelists speak, and says that “chaplains at the fort identified 20 churches in the area where most soldiers are involved. The churches are now walking alongside chaplains from Fort Bragg, hosting training and praying for this event.”
In a letter to Secretary of the Army John McHugh (pictured) sent Thursday, lawyers for Americans United urged that the event be canceled.
“The military’s participation in a religious event designed to proselytize soldiers and the community departs from the Army’s obligation to maintain ‘official religious neutrality,'” the attorneys wrote.
In its letter to McHugh, Americans United included a letter on Army stationary bearing the signature of Fort Bragg Garrison Chaplain David Hillis. The letter, dated June 2, is addressed to area Christian pastors, asking for assistance with “this unifying Christian event.”
Americans United contends that chaplains in the military are restricted to holding religious services and making other accommodations for soldiers who want to practice their faith while serving in the Army.
“‘Rock the Fort’ is not an event designed to minister to the needs of soldiers unable to otherwise access religious services,” the letter to McHugh says. “Rather, it is an event designed to proselytize soldiers and community members into the worship of Jesus Christ.”
What would the reaction be if military chaplains identified local mosques and that there was hosting, training and praying along with Imams for a Muslim-sponsored event?Click here for reuse options!
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