WASHINGTON — A Republican congressman has accused President Barack Obama of discriminating against Christians for his objections to a legal measure that would make more room in the military for religious “actions and speech.”
In effect, a proposed amendment to the National Defense Authorization Act, would limit a military officer’s possibilities when addressing proselytizing by troops or other activities that could lead to religious run-ins. The White House believes it would lead to disruption in the ranks.
“By limiting the discretion of commanders to address potentially problematic speech and actions within their units, this provision would have a significant adverse effect on good order, discipline, morale, and mission accomplishment,” the White House said in a statement, which also addressed numerous other concerns within the National Defense Authorization Act.
The stance angered Rep. Louie Gohmert of Texas, a tea party supporter and an outspoken critic of the president on issues of religious freedom.
“It seems like the only group that it is politically correct to be intolerant of are Christians,” the five-term congressman told journalists gathered at the Family Research Council on Tuesday, according to the Houston Chronicle, who first reported his remarks.
Gohmert continued, saying “If this administration is going to continue to tolerate this kind of intolerance, they are going to lose members of the military that cannot serve, if their First Amendment rights aren’t going to be protected with regard to religion.”
The White House is not alone in their objection to the amendment. In early June the American Civil Liberties Union issued a statement in objection to the amendment, alleging that limiting a commander’s ability to discipline remarks would allow for “the potential to lead to claims of a right to discriminate against lesbian, gay, and bisexual service members.”