This column by ACRU Senior Fellow Ken Blackwell and ACRU Senior Legal Analyst Ken Klukowski was published February 1, 2012 on The Huffington Post website.
A three-star Army general and war hero cannot speak at West Point because he’s an outspoken Christian. So the Obama administration’s hostility toward religion — and especially Christians — continues even to the detriment of our men and women in uniform.
Lieutenant General William G. (“Jerry”) Boykin is like an action-movie hero. When the super-elite Delta Force was formed in late 1970s — our top counter-insurgent military unit that the Pentagon still does not officially discuss — this ranger in the 101st Airborne unit was tapped to be part of it.
In 1983 he was in Grenada, where Boykin survived being hit by a round from a .50-caliber gun. (Many anti-aircraft guns are “.50-cal,” and a single round can split a human body in two.) In 1992 and 93, he was part of the Delta Force team hunting (and unofficially killing) drug lord Pablo Escobar. Then in 1993, Boykin was the commanding officer of the mission in the Battle of Mogadishu in Somalia forever memorialized in the movie “Black Hawk Down.”
After these heroics, General Boykin served as the commanding general of U.S. Army Special Forces Command, then commanding general of U.S. Army Special Warfare Center. He also served at the CIA and as Deputy Undersecretary of Intelligence at the Department of Defense.
Jerry Boykin has done it all. He’s been in battle as part of America’s most elite fighting force, then rose to command those troops as a general, and also served in the CIA and Pentagon on the strategic planning and management side of this equation.
He is also a Christian evangelist who speaks at churches nationwide. As a private citizen retired from the Army, General Boykin was invited to speak at a prayer breakfast at the U.S. Military Academy at West Point. He seems like an ideal choice, as someone who has served as the tip of the spear at the highest ranks, who is also a man of profoundly deep faith.
But the Far Left exploded. Boykin has cast America’s war against radical Islamic terrorists as fighting Satan. So his religious language has made strange bedfellows of various Islamic groups joining with atheists to call on West Point to disinvite this American hero who risked and achieved so much for this country. Evidently it’s not politically correct to suggest that blowing up children is the devil’s work.
After heavy pressure, General Boykin chose to withdraw. This soldier fears no foe, but the situation evolved in a direction where his message of faith and courage would be overshadowed by controversy to the possible detriment of the West Point cadets.
This sad episode is yet another example of the Obama administration’s ongoing hostility to people of faith, especially Christians. President Obama’s pick to the Equal Employment Opportunity Commission (EEOC) is a lesbian activist who says that homosexual rights should always trump religious liberty. This is the same EEOC that argued it had the power to order a church to reinstate as a minister a person the church had fired for violating church teaching, a position the Supreme Court unanimously rejected. And the administration has enacted regulations under Obamacare forcing evangelical and Catholic universities and hospitals to provide contraceptives against the religious beliefs of those church-affiliated institutions.
Now this hostility is doing a disservice to our military. People of deep faith are opposed and marginalized by the Obama administration’s civilian political appointees. Weeks ago, they were caught banning Bible reading at Walter Reed hospital, a policy they immediately reversed when the media picked it up and House Republicans demanded answers.
All this paints a picture of radical secularism. Many of the greatest heroes our military has ever seen were people of fervent prayer and deep faith. Many find their battlefield courage in their unshakeable belief that their sins are forgiven, their lives are in God’s hands, and that when they die they would go to an eternal reward.
Sounds like the kind of people you want at a prayer breakfast for those who may soon land on one of those battlefields.