Military Says No Court Martials for Sharing Faith
Religion TodayReligious persecution, missions, Christianity around the world
- 2013 May 03
Members of the military are free to share their faith as long as they don't harass others, the Department of Defense said in a statement Thursday. A Pentagon ban on proselytizing had caused concern among religious liberty groups as some speculated that service members could face court martial for talking about Jesus, but a Defense Department spokesman said evangelizing is allowed as long as it is not disruptive. "Service members can share their faith (evangelize), but must not force unwanted, intrusive attempts to convert others of any faith or no faith to one's beliefs (proselytization)," said Navy Lt. Cmdr. Nate Christensen. "If a service member harasses another member on the basis of race, color, sex, religion, national origin, age or disability, then the commander takes action based on the gravity of the occurrence. Likewise, when religious harassment complaints are reported, commanders take action based on the gravity of the occurrence on a case-by-case basis." Christensen said there were no plans to single out evangelical Christians for punishment: "The U.S. Department of Defense has never and will never single out a particular religious group for persecution or prosecution. The Department makes reasonable accommodations for all religions and celebrates the religious diversity of our service members."