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Wokeness Warriors

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Kerby Andersonnever miss viewpoints

Michael Berry opens his commentary with these words: “246 years after the U.S. Army was established, today’s Department of Defense appears to be distracted from its national defense mission.” He should know.

He has served as a Marine in the military and heads up the military division of First Liberty Institute. He is the only conservative participant on the Pentagon’s newly formed Countering Extremism Working Group.

He explains that “the Pentagon is on a mission to identify and remove whomever it labels as extremists from America’s armed forces.” Unfortunately, he notes that the working group has yet to define what it means by “extremism.” His experience in defending chaplains and other members of the military led him to conclude that this working group will target “constitutionally protected speech. In other words, sticks and stones may break our bones, but words are the biggest threat.”

Usually when we are talking about religious liberty cases within the military, we are talking about threats from outside groups that object to chaplains being too religious. Imagine that. But now there appear to be threats to First Amendment rights from within the military itself.

He acknowledges that “eradicating the scourge of actual extremism is a noble undertaking,” but this latest program within the administration will certainly divide us. The message being sent seems to suggest that conservatives and religious people (evangelicals and Catholics) are unwelcome in the military. Yet the values these groups hold to are what encouraged Michael Berry to join the Marine Corps. Those would be “love of country, pride in service, and respect for selfless service and sacrifice.”

I appreciate him for alerting us to these concerns, and I applaud him for serving on the working group. I just wish there were more like him serving in that capacity.viewpoints new web version

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