Coast Guard Rear Admiral William Lee Says Obama is Restricting Religious Liberty
By David W. Virtue
August 20, 2013
A United States Rear Admiral has blasted the Obama administration saying that leaders like himself are feeling the constraints of rules and regulations and guidance issued by lawyers that put the military in a tighter and tighter box regarding the Constitutional right to express their religious faith.
"As one General so aptly put it, they expect us to check our religion in at the door; don't bring that here ... leave that business to the chaplains. I'm here to tell you there are not enough chaplains to go around," said Coast Guard Rear Admiral William Lee to members of the 62nd National Day of Prayer Observance in Washington recently. He said the current administration is becoming increasingly restrictive on religious liberty.
"Who can tell that young man, who is down-trodden and on his last legs, who has no hope, to go make an appointment to go see the chaplain. "Go, get in line and wait," when the opportunity right now exists.
"Yet if I do something, such as I did several weeks ago, when I was looking in the face of a young man, 20-some-years-old, who had 18 months before put a gun to his head and pulled the trigger - and survived.
"When I look at that young man and I hear his story, the rules say: 'Send him to the chaplain,' my heart said: 'Give this man a Bible.'"
Lee who described himself as "a sinner in a sailor suit...a man of deep and abiding faith" got several standing ovations for his remarks.
"The average American sitting in their armchair this evening, watching the evening news, will have little knowledge that of the three hundred and seventeen million fellow citizens that occupy the United States of America, less than one percent of that population wear The Uniform.
"That person sitting in the armchair watching the news tonight will have little knowledge that every day, if the statistics hold true for the last four years, one or more of them will be killed in a mission-related accident or mishap in combat; 10 or more will be seriously wounded - many losing limbs, being disfigured, burnt, scarred, maimed, disfigured for the rest of their lives ...
"Some of those men or women will put on prosthetics, strap them on every day and put that Uniform on again and continue to serve, when they have a choice: they could go home."
Admiral Lee said that on any given day one is likely to commit suicide. "Last year three hundred and forty-nine active duty members killed themselves, each and every day of the week. In fact, every 65 minutes, a veteran, who has served his country, commits suicide. That is a rate 300 percent greater, per capita, than the national norm."
Admiral Lee noted they are all volunteers and do not have to do it. "They are willing to go into harm's way, whether it be on patrol in Afghanistan or going out in the dark and stormy seas off of Kodiak, Alaska to rescue a fisherman in distress. They are willing to put their lives on the line. In so doing they endure stresses that the average American would never know. There is no other business quite like that of the United States military armed forces.
"The problem that men and women like me face in uniform, who are in senior leadership positions, is that the higher you are, the more vulnerable you are to be taken down. You get in the cross hairs of those people who lay-in-wait outside the gate, waiting to take us to task for expressing our faith. For so much as whispering to a young man, who on his last hope, that there is hope. That I can just simply whisper, "...and here is the Answer, take it home. I'll talk about it if you want."
Admiral Lee said that lawyers have told him that if I do that, I'm crossing the line.
"I'm so glad that I have crossed that line so many times.
"There are two places in the Bible, where it says, 'Jesus was amazed.' One is at the faith of the centurion - a simple solider, a leader of men. (Luke 7:1-10); the other was at the unbelief of His own townspeople. (Mark 6:1-6)
"I am telling you, that your own Armed Forces, the sons and daughters of the men and women like you that are wearing the Uniform, there are thousands of them who have the faith of that centurion, yet we are being told to 'hide that light under a basket.'
"I am telling you, that I am coming out today...I am not going to run from my religious freedoms from my right under the Constitution to tell a young man that there is hope."
Admiral Lee noted the military places a great emphasis on leadership. "There are many, many good leadership books and I have read a lot of them. I cannot dispute their validity, or the purpose they were intended. The best book of leadership is this Book right here: the Holy Bible.
"You cannot be a leader until you know how to follow, and you have got a right and proper moral compass such as that that we read in the Holy Scriptures in the Judeo-Christian system of values."
Admiral Lee called on his listeners to weather the storm that he is almost certain will come and that he hopes we will not be required to put aside our Constitutional rights to express our religious faith.
"I am not talking about proselytizing; I am vehemently against that. I'm talking about gently whispering the Gospel. This is not a Christian issue, it is not a Jewish issue, or a Muslim issue, or a Hindu issue ... this is an American issue. Pray for your United States military, and let us take stand and not run."
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