(CNSNews.com) – A national group representing more than 2,000 military chaplains from evangelical Christian and Orthodox backgrounds said on Wednesday that the Pentagon has launched a “direct assault” on marriage, and the chaplains they endorse will not be allowed to perform same-sex wedding ceremonies under any circumstances.
Dr. Ron Crews, executive director of the newly formed Chaplain Alliance for Religious Liberty, said his 2,000-plus membership is concerned about a Sept. 30 Pentagon memorandum that authorizes chaplains and military chapel facilities to be used for “any private ceremony,” a move that contradicts current federal law, the Defense of Marriage Act (DOMA).
“By dishonestly sanctioning the use of federal facilities for ‘marriage counterfeits’ that federal law and the vast majority of Americans have rejected, the Pentagon has launched a direct assault on the fundamental unit of society – husband and wife,” Crews said.
Crews further said his Evangelical membership is in accord with the Catholic Archdiocese for Military Service, headed by Archbishop Timothy Broglio, which said on Tuesday that no Catholic chaplain in the military will be allowed to perform same-sex “marriages” and that same-sex weddings would not be allowed in the Catholic chapel on the grounds of the U.S. Military Academy at West Point.
“While the memorandum acknowledges a chaplain’s right to not participate in same-sex ‘marriage’ ceremonies – a right not given by the Pentagon, but rather given by the Creator and protected by the chaplain’s faith group,” said Crews, “the new policy makes it clear that the Pentagon has placed the military in the midst of a deeply controversial issue during a time of ongoing war.”
Crews also said his group is calling on Congress to affirm that the federal definition of marriage – one man and one woman for federal purposes -- applies to the Department of Defense and that no federal facilities may be used to circumvent federal law.
“In addition, we call on Congress to enact a ‘Right of Conscience’ clause in the Revised Title 10 code to ensure that no American, and especially not our service members, be forced to deny their religious beliefs,” Crews said.
Crews is a former Army chaplain, who served with the 82 Airborne and with other divisions for 28 years.