Republican Lawmakers Urge Military to Defend Judeo-Christian Tradition

Pete DeGraaf - Kansas State Rep.
Kansas state Rep. Pete DeGraaf / Photo by Mike Shields

In the face of Defense Department allegations of discrimination, Kansas Republican lawmakers are seeking to get the Legislature to call upon U.S. Military officials to take an aggressive stand to protect the "Judeo-Christian tradition".

The Kansas Senate, controlled by Republicans, passed a resolution on this subject, while in the state House colleagues are in the process of drafting a similar resolution.

Resolution sponsor State Representative Pete DeGraaf (R-Mulvane) told Huffington Post that there is concern at what is happening at the Pentagon. He went on to say that he believed Christians troops were being singled out and that history showed the United States as "being a Judeo-Christian nation".

The Topeka Capitol-Journal reported State Senator Mitch Holmes (R-St. John) relating 20 known occurrences of what he believed to be attacks on Christians in the military to colleagues during a Senate debate held on Friday. Said instances included a ban on vendors printing Bible verses on rifle scopes, and a policy proposal on proselytizing.

As explained by the Department of Defense the aforementioned proposal would provide troops with the ability to be open about their faith but would not allow attempts to convert others. However, there have been concerns raised by Christian activists about the proposal being discussed by Pentagon officials with the Military Religious Freedom Foundation head.

Questions directed at Defense Secretary Chuck Hagel by U.S. Representative Randy Forbes (R-Va.) covered similar concerns including the allegation that the Bible had been banned at Walter Reed National Military Medical Center back in late 2011, and the listing of evangelical Catholics and Christians as extremists at an Army Reserve training program. Hagel denied any and all knowledge of either incident.

In defense of the allegation of the ban on Bibles, the Navy has said that the restriction came about because of poor wording of the visitors policy, and that the policy was not strictly enforced and had been rescinded very quickly.

The Huffington Post was told by DeGraaf, a ministry director, that he believed there was an urgent need for the Kansas Legislature to protect Christians serving in the military. The resolution that he and state Representative Josh Powell (R-Topeka) are sponsoring is likely to be put to a vote soon.

Moderate Republican State Representative Barbara Bollier has circulated a draft of the resolution on Facebook that includes wording that calls upon the congressional delegation of Kansas to defend the rights of religious conscience and the free exercise of the Judeo-Christian tradition in the Military and support the professional chaplaincy.

Bollier is heading a group trying to block the resolution stating that the measure is not inclusive of every religion and is unnecessary. She indicated that she believed that the standstill over a new tax plan leaving her colleagues with little to occupy them is the reason the resolution is coming up before the Legislature at this time, and that it was not the job of the Kansas Legislature to manage the Military. She was quick to add that she believed the Military is able to handle this without the intervention of the Kansas Legislature, and that some people just felt a need to make statements.

DeGraaf responded to Bollier by saying that he felt that as duly elected officials representing the people of Kansas, it was important that state legislators weigh in on national military policy. He also believes that it is only Christians that are being attacked. He also mentioned that the Founding Fathers were Christian and that the country’s laws are based on Judeo-Christian ethics and philosophy.


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