Groundbreaking AU report debunks claims of widespread religious liberty abuses in military
Today we're releasing an in-depth report that debunks claims by Religious Right groups that fundamentalist Christians' religious liberty in the military is under siege.
Our report, Clear and Present Falsehoods: The Real State of Religious Freedom in the Military, responds to a publication by the Family Research Council (FRC) that purports to chronicle widespread instances of “hostility towards religious belief and its expression in the military.”
In fact, the FRC report (titled “A Clear and Present Danger: The Threat to Religious Liberty in the Military”) is merely a list of overblown and inaccurate claims, built on a tissue of distortions, half-truths and hearsay. Numerous examples of religious liberty “violations” listed in the FRC report were actually efforts by military officials to enforce the separation of church and state or were ambiguous policies that were quickly clarified.
Unfortunately, the FRC report has been cited as evidence of bias against fundamentalist Christians in the military. Last month, it was cited by Republicans during a House subcommittee hearing on religious liberty issues in the armed forces.
As Mark Stern wrote yesterday in Slate, Americans United's report “deflates or disproves each claim in ‘Clear and Present Danger.’ The result gives us a glimpse into the mindset of far-right religious extremists today and a deeper understanding of how the rallying cry of “religious liberty” can be used to quash free speech, equal protection, and actual free exercise of religion.”