The Military and Faith
Momentum is building in the House of Representatives behind H.R. 268, the Military Chaplains’ Freedom Bill sponsored by Representative Walter Jones (R-NC).
Since In God We Trust Chairman Bishop Council Nedd met with Jones and Representative Joe Wilson last October, twenty four more Members of Congress have signed on as cosponsors of the measure.
Representive Wilson is the ranking minority member of the subcommittee that has jurisdiction over the bill. At a meeting last October 1st, Nedd personally asked Wilson to cosponor the bill and to vigorously work for its passage. Wilson subsequently agreed.
"I am very glad to have gotten Congressman Wilson’s whole hearted support of this critical bill," explains Nedd. "This measure will allow military chaplains to pray as they see fit without some government censor harrassing them for invoking the name of Jesus."
Nedd points out that Wilson’s support is crucial to passing the bill. "Not only is Congressman Wilson a key player on the subcommittee that overseas this bill, his legislative district is home to the base used to train army chaplains," Nedd says. "Now that we have his support, more members are signing on as co-sponsors."
In God We Trust has made passage of H.R. 268 a top legislative priority. According to Nedd, he has collected thousands of petitions in support of this bill from supporters all across the country.
"This bill is one of our supporters’ most important issues," Nedd explains. "People understand that the government should not be regulating the prayers of military chaplains. Just because you wear a military uniform doesn’t mean you have given up your right to say the name of Jesus."
Currently military chaplains are forbidden from praying in any way they like. Government lawyers and atheist activists claim that a Christian chaplain cannot even mention the name of Jesus outside of a formal church service. That means any prayer recited on a battlefield before a platoon charges into battle is subjected to strict government censorship.
"The goal of the atheist lobby is to make the job of military chaplains so difficult and so controversial that either the military can’t find members of the clergy to serve in the chaplains corps or the Department of Defense will simply disband it," Nedd explains. "That is why this bill is so important. We are defending the very existence of military chaplains."
Despite the new-found momentum generated by In God We Trust for this bill, passage is a very long way off.
"Our next goal is to concentrate on getting a formal hearing and a subcommitte vote on this bill," says Nedd. "This bill deserves an up or down vote. It has been bottled up in committee for over a year by liberal politicians who know it will pass."
In God We Trust will continue to enlist the help of its supporters in a nationwide grassroots effort to pass this bill.
"We are making headway, but we have a very long way to go," says Nedd. "I need every single supporter of mine to pitch in, sign petitions, make phone calls and pray."