Army Chaplain Scott Squires, who has faithfully served the Army for 25 years, is facing a possible “career-ending punishment” for refusing to conduct a marriage retreat that included a lesbian couple. Squires refused because it would not only go against his religious beliefs, but also the rules of his sponsor, the Southern Baptist Convention’s North American Mission Board.
So Squires tried to accommodate the same-sex couple by following Army protocol: He arranged for another chaplain to oversee the event. Unfortunately, the Army didn’t agree with Squires’ solution. A report from the military investigator explained, “The Army EO policy states that no service will be denied to any member of the Armed Service regardless of race, color, national origin, gender, religious affiliation, or sexual orientation.”
But First Liberty Institute, a religious liberty law firm representing the chaplain, believes the Army isn’t being fair. “Chaplains should not have to give up their First Amendment rights in order to serve,” First Liberty Institute attorney Mike Berry declared.
What does Squires have to say about this? “[T]he investigator concluded that I should be reprimanded for doing something I’m required to do under Army regulations and my endorser’s rules. I hope the Army sees that I was simply following Army regulations and the tenets of my church.”
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