Todd Starnes: Army clears Baptist chaplain accused of discriminating against lesbian couple

The Army has exonerated a decorated Fort Bragg chaplain and his assistant after they were accused of discrimination against a same-sex couple.

The chaplain – Army Maj. Scott Squires – and Sgt. Kacie Griffin, his assistant, had been facing dereliction of duty charges for declining to lead a marriage retreat that included a same-sex couple.

“We are grateful that the Army has rejected and abandoned these baseless charges,” First Liberty Institute attorney Mike Berry told the “Todd Starnes Radio Show.”

“The United States military is no place for anti-religious hostility against its own military chaplains,” said Berry, who is representing both the chaplain and the assistant. “Chaplains like Scott Squires and Kacie Griffin do not have to give up their First Amendment rights in order to serve their fellow soldiers.”

Squires said in a statement that he looks forward to resuming his military career and serving his fellow soldiers.

“I am eternally grateful to First Liberty for covering my six and fighting to restore my religious liberty,” Squires said.

The plight of Squires generated national outrage and thousands of my readers and listeners inundated the Pentagon with telephone calls and emails. And several members of Congress urged the military to take swift action.

“The case of Chaplain Scott Squires highlights how imperative it is that we protect freedom of conscience for every individual in the U.S. military – including the chaplains who minister to them as they carry out the military’s mission together,” U.S. Rep. Doug Collins, R-Ga., said in a statement.

In January, a same-sex couple asked to participate in a military-sponsored marriage retreat called, “Strong Bonds.” Squires had been scheduled to lead the retreat.

Squires is endorsed as a chaplain by the Southern Baptist Convention’s North American Mission Board (NAMB). According to NAMB policy, chaplains are prohibited from conducting “Strong Bonds” events for same-sex couples.

The NAMB policy clearly states that “endorsed chaplains will not conduct or attend a wedding ceremony for any same-sex couple, bless such a union or perform counseling in support of such a union … nor offer any kind of relationship training or retreat, on or off a military installation.”

When Squires realized he could not participate in the “Strong Bonds” event, he rescheduled the conference to accommodate the lesbian couple with a chaplain who could oversee the retreat. However, the same-sex couple chose not to attend.

Had Squires participated in the marriage retreat he would have risked losing his endorsement by the Southern Baptists. Likewise, the Army requires its chaplains to adhere to their endorsers’ rules and religious tenets.

“I simply did what I’m required to do under Army regulations and my endorser’s rules,” Squires said.  “I am shocked that I would even be investigated, let alone threatened with punishment, for following the rules.”

The Pentagon was fundamentally transformed during the Obama administration. It became an institution rife with anti-Christian sentiment.

I documented countless instances of military personnel who were subjected to investigations and punishment because of their religious beliefs.

The Trump administration is working diligently to undo the damage that was done during the Obama administration.

However, some parts of the Pentagon are still stuck in muck and mire of the so-called swamp.

Just ask Chaplain Squires and his assistant.

Todd Starnes is host of Fox News & Commentary. His latest book is “The Deplorables’ Guide to Making America Great Again.” Follow him on Twitter @ToddStarnes and find him on Facebook.