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Rep. John Fleming Defends Homophobic Amendment to Defense Bill

Yesterday I reported on White House objection to an amendment to the National Defense Authorization Act (NDAA) offered by Rep. John Fleming (pictured) (R-LA) that would expand "conscience protections", offering a "license to bully" based on religious beliefs.

FlemingToday, Fleming snapped back, the Washington Blade reports.

The text of Fleming's statement:

President Obama is continuing his war on free speech. With the IRS trying to intimidate and silence conservative groups, and the Justice Department digging into the phone records of reporters, it’s no surprise that the president also wants to deny First Amendment rights to our Armed Forces. With its statement, the White House is now endorsing military reprimands of members who keep a Bible on their desk or express a religious belief. That is an outrageous position, but it’s what I’ve come to expect from an administration that is aggressively hostile toward religious beliefs that it deems to be politically incorrect.

“My amendment protects, for our men and women in uniform, a principle enshrined in our Constitution and cherished since our Founding Fathers: the free exercise of one’s religious beliefs, including expressions of one’s belief. It has bipartisan support and takes into account the unique context of military service, accommodating the beliefs of our service members, while not jeopardizing military necessity. We need to protect the free speech of the brave warriors who fight to safeguard our liberties, and I hope Congress will reject this blatant White House attack on religious freedom.”

The Blade adds:

The measure puts the burden on the Pentagon to prove that the expression of religious beliefs would be an “actual harm” to good order and discipline in refusing to make an accommodation. It’s seen as a way for troops to harass their gay colleagues for religious reasons without fear of reprisal.

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  1. Is it acceptable for a Mormon chaplain to harass a soldier about how many women he sleeps with? Is it acceptable for a Jewish chaplain to try to restrict the kinds of food that non-Jewish soldiers eat? Is it acceptable for any chaplain to push the beliefs of his faith onto soldiers of differing faiths or belief systems at any time?

    I don't personally know the answer to this and maybe I'm mistaken, but I'm gonna go with NO. That should apply to gay soldiers as well. End. Of. Story.

    Posted by: Cal | Jun 12, 2013 9:00:02 PM

  2. You cannot expect gay soldiers to respect and protect anti-gay soldiers if the anti-gay soldiers are harassing, demeaning, bullying, attacking and slandering them. This is what destroys unit cohesion. This is not civilized or professional behavior.

    Posted by: RMc | Jun 12, 2013 9:28:50 PM

  3. Has anyone ever met an anti-gay atheist? Seems like the real problem here is the religion, not the gays.

    Posted by: Chadd | Jun 12, 2013 9:54:54 PM

  4. Well, you have to admit that Obama is in a stew right now. He threw us under the bus on immigration reform and his snooping on us via the IRS and NSA isn't helping things.

    Posted by: jason | Jun 12, 2013 9:55:00 PM

  5. @jason - the bo administration continues to snoop, but it didn't start in 2009 -the nsa and irs have both been snooping for decades, under both republican and democratic predecessors.

    tonight maddow showed the nsa was intercepting telegrams of american citizens during vietnam, and creating watch lists for nixons enemies, with full cooperation of corporations western union, itt and rca.

    Posted by: northalabama | Jun 12, 2013 10:24:25 PM

  6. The letter of the law versus the spirit of the law

    The letter of the law versus the spirit of the law is an idiomatic antithesis. When one obeys the letter of the law but not the spirit, one is obeying the literal interpretation of the words (the "letter") of the law, but not the intent of those who wrote the law.

    Conversely, when one obeys the spirit of the law but not the letter, one is doing what the authors of the law intended, though not adhering to the literal wording.

    "Law" originally referred to legislative statute, but in the idiom may refer to any kind of rule.

    Intentionally following the letter of the law but not the spirit may be accomplished through exploiting technicalities, loopholes, and ambiguous language.

    Following the letter of the law but not the spirit is also a tactic used by oppressive governments.

    Posted by: I'm Layla Miller I Know Stuff | Jun 12, 2013 10:55:28 PM

  7. How does this "freedom of speech" thing this dude talks about apply to the "Don't say gay" bill?

    I'm... curious.

    Posted by: Nirgal | Jun 12, 2013 11:02:38 PM

  8. Actually according to the UCMJ (Uniform Code of Military Justice) there are many restrictions on military members that usurp the constitution. When you enlist you agree to abide by those rules, period.

    Posted by: jsb | Jun 13, 2013 12:06:40 AM

  9. I hope someone nails a Qu'ran to his desk.

    Posted by: Mike B. | Jun 13, 2013 1:14:41 AM

  10. @Chadd: Julia Gillard, Prime Minister of Australia.

    Posted by: JJ | Jun 13, 2013 1:22:20 AM

  11. If religious beliefs could stand on their own merit, they wouldn't need laws to prop them up.

    Posted by: JJ | Jun 13, 2013 1:26:31 AM

  12. I wouldn't be surprised if they start advocating "friendly fire" against gay soldiers.

    Posted by: Queer Supremacist | Jun 13, 2013 11:49:39 AM

  13. So, Rep. Fleming, my deeply-held religious belief is that the only good Christian is a dead Christian. Please note this so when you pass the bill and I start practising my belief, you won't get too upset.

    Posted by: jamal49 | Jun 13, 2013 12:30:46 PM

  14. the height of stupidity - protecting people's right to harass. or something.

    so the harassers need to be protected? je ne comprend pas.

    Posted by: Little Kiwi | Jun 13, 2013 12:35:30 PM

  15. All these "license to bully" laws Christianists are demanding will turn against them. In the not so distant future, I can see Christianists being the most despised people in the USA. And having these laws on books, people will be free to harass them publicly.

    Posted by: TheSeer | Jun 13, 2013 2:55:54 PM

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