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.