Army Chaplain Wrongly Punished for Offering Bible Scriptures: 24 Members of Congress

U.S. Army Chaplain Capt. Joseph “Joe” Lawhorn has been wrongly disciplined for offering spiritual guidance, including biblical references, during a suicide prevention meeting, said 24 senators and representatives in a letter.

“We are concerned that this disciplinary action violated First Amendment free speech protection that are undergirded by state reflected in the FY2013 and FY2014 NDAAs, along with the accompanying DoD regulations,” states the letter from the senators, sent to Army Secretary John McHugh.

“In fulfilling his duties as chaplain, Captain Lawhorn shared both his personal struggle with depression as well as biblical references and materials in accordance with the views of his endorsing agency and complementary to personal convictions.”

The lawmakers said that they have not received any indication from the Army that Lawhorn’s religious freedom rights were protected, and asked for a review of the incident in relation to federal law and Army policy.

Back in December, Lawhorn received a “letter of concern” from a superior at Fort Benning for sharing his Christian faith during the training class. Colonel David G. Fivecoat argued that during the suicide prevention meeting, the chaplain “perceived to advocate Christianity and used Christian scripture and solutions.”

“You provided a two-sided handout that listed Army resources on one side and a biblical approach to handling depression on the other side,” the letter read.

“This made it impossible for those in attendance to receive the resource information without also receiving the biblical information.”

Ron Crews, executive director of the Chaplain Alliance for Religious Liberty, argued, however, that chaplains should not be punished for doing their jobs….

By Stoyan Zaimov – Christian Post –

Indy Police Chief : We Are a Paramilitary Organization At War

By The Skeptical Libertarian –

It’s not just libertarians who believe that police have become militarized. It’s police themselves. Last week, Indianapolis Police Chief Rick Hite told his city council that he sees himself as a “soldier in an army” and his police force as “paramilitary organization” that is preparing for “battle.”

With the issue of police militarization still hot after the heavily-militarized response by the Ferguson, Missouri police, Hite’s comments come across as remarkably insensitive to the political climate. When asked by a city councilmember whether the police department needed a $29 million tax increase to fund its expansion, the police chief was terrifyingly blunt:

“I’m going to say something very candid to you my good friend, Councilman Robinson. As a 36-year veteran of law enforcement, never in my career have I seen public safety been politicized the way it has been in this country. Why I say that is because we have historically been a paramilitary organization…. I don’t know what we would do if we had to go to battle, and we had to make a determination, based on past practices, whether or not we wanted to go into battle. … I am a soldier in an army. We serve you in that way.” (2:39:00)

Let’s catalog these comments away for the next time there’s a large scale public disturbance in Indianapolis and see how the police force responds. The Rise of the Warrior Cop, to use the title of Radley Balko’s book, has not gone unnoticed within law enforcement. Rather, it has been encouraged and indeed used to justify an ever-expanding amount of resources being devoted to fighting various “wars” on citizens, whether in the name of eliminating “guns,” drugs, or terrorism.

Hite’s comments were also out-of-touch given the local news events as well. Two Indianapolis police officers were arrested just this month for beating a man unconscious outside a bar. Hite was reported to have said at a news conference that “days like this make us wonder how we’ve lost our way.” Given the stated ethos of his department, I, for one, am no longer wondering.

 
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