Congress Supports Chaplain Reprimanded for Citing Bible in Suicide Prevention Training Session

ChaplainWASHINGTON — Twenty-four members of Congress have signed a letter addressed to Army Secretary John McHugh in support of a chaplain who was recently reprimanded for citing the Bible during a suicide prevention training session.

As previously reported, Col. David Fivecoat, the commander of the Airborne and Ranger Training Brigade at Fort Benning, Ga., ordered Chaplain (CPT) Joe Lawhorn, to come to his office last Thanksgiving, and presented him with a letter expressing concern over the content of his session with the 5th Ranger Training Battalion at the University of North Georgia.

According to the Chaplain Alliance for Religious Liberty, during the training session at issue, Lawhorn spoke about his past personal struggle with depression when he was a ranger, and explained that he overcame the condition after considering the example of King David in the Scriptures. He also provided other generic resources that he thought may be helpful to those attending the session.

“During this training, you advocated, or were perceived to advocate, for Christianity and used Christian Scripture and solutions,” the letter from Fivecoat read. “This is in direct contrast with Army Regulation 600-20 and violates the Army’s Equal Opportunity Policy.”

He then strictly informed Lawhorn that he needed to be more diverse in this thinking.

“As the battalion chaplain, you are entrusted with the emotional and spiritual well-being of the soldiers in the batallion,” Fivecoat wrote. “You, above all others, must be cognizant of the various beliefs held by diverse soldiers. During mandatory training briefings, it is imperative you create an environment of tolerance and understanding.”

He advised Lawhorn that the letter would be placed in his local personnel file for up to three years, but stated that Lawhorn had several days to submit a response, after which Fivecoat would either file or withdraw the letter.

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But the Alliance saw nothing wrong with Lawhorn’s presentation, so it responded to Fivecoat on the chaplain’s behalf.

“Chaplain Lawhorn did what good chaplains do; he was candid, genuine and authentic,” wrote Alliance Director Chaplain (Col.) Ron Crews, USA Retired. “He spoke from first person to let his soldiers know that he too deals with depression.”

“Revealing his personal struggle with depression required a large measure of courage and mutual trust,” he continued. “His story involves his faith journey. … I also remind you that his use of his faith journey is covered by the Right of Conscience clause…”

As Fivecoat did not rescind the reprimand, members of Congress have now taken the matter to Army Secretary John McHugh in a formal letter.

“We believe this administrative action sets a dangerous precedent for Army suicide prevention initiatives, the role of Army chaplains, and most importantly, the ability for service members to exercise and express religious beliefs, as protected under the First Amendment and reinforced by current law and DoD regulations,” it reads.

Sens. Ted Cruz, David Vitter and Roy Blunt, and Reps. Steve Russell, Tim Huelskamp and John Kline were among the 24 legislators who signed the letter. They asked that the matter be reviewed and that religious freedom be protected.

“We commend these members of Congress for demanding answers from Secretary McHugh for this unacceptable action,” commented Crews in a news release about the correspondence. “Regrettably, military chaplains have been increasingly under fire simply for fulfilling their important and time-honored role in supporting our service members. This is just one more incident that sets a bad precedent, effectively gagging chaplains and keeping service members from getting the support they need.”

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  • Fundisi

    No Christian Chaplain should submit to such tyranny. They are Christian ministers and should not be expected to be sensitive to other faiths in their counseling. Soldiers/sailors of other faiths should inform the chaplain they want to talk to a chaplain of their own faith and not expect a Christian chaplain to reinforce their faith which is contrary to faith in Christ.

    • M Diaz

      read matthew 5:10-11 and suck it up like a good christian should sparky

      • Fundisi

        Because a Christian should rejoice when being persecuted, it does not make that persecution right. Just because they should rejoice that they are being persecuted for the name of Jesus, does not mean they should not speak out against injustice. Just because they are being persecuted for the sake of the Gospel does not mean they should cease preaching the Gospel. Just because they are being persecuted for the truth, does not mean they should not oppose evil, the evil of false religions.

        The victim may be denied their rights, but the right does ceases to exist because of the evil in men and governments.

        • M Diaz

          “Because a Christian should rejoice when being persecuted, it does not make that persecution right.”

          so where is that peace that surpasses all understanding?
          Philippians 4:7

          seems to me, that is just empty rhetoric…

          “The victim may be denied their rights”
          according to the sermon on the mount Christians have no rights…so suck it up…

          • Fundisi

            So because Christians enjoy peace and happiness, being saved, we are to then just shut and say to hell with everyone else?

            Christians surrender their rights to God, but in this world they still have certain unalienable rights, or should have.

          • M Diaz

            “So because Christians enjoy peace and happiness”

            now that is a joke, all i see you silly hypocrites doing is whining and complaining about how badly you are being treated…

            “Christians surrender their rights to God, but in this world they still have certain unalienable rights, or should have.”

            apparently you cherry picked matthew 5 out of your memory…typical pathetic move

          • James Grimes

            Your concept will be too difficult for the fool.

        • James Grimes

          Boy, you seem to attract the clowns who come to this forum. MDiaz thinks he has some credibility here.

          • M Diaz

            as if christianity is credible…hahhhah

          • James Grimes

            How long have you been an idi0t? My guess is… all your life.

          • M Diaz

            judging by your hostility you are a failure

          • James Grimes

            I am willing to bet that you have never served in the military. It is so easy to run one’s mouth, isn’t it? Dude, you are a l0ser.

          • M Diaz

            stop your whining sparky….read matthew 5 and suck it up like a good christian should

          • Neutral

            It’s Author is much more credible than some fool on a public message board, that’s for sure.

          • M Diaz

            based on what criteria do you establish this assertion? or do you just want to be thought a fool rather than to open your mouth?

          • Fundisi

            It gives me no pleasure, but yes I have always attracted some of the most vicious and unpleasant people, even among many claiming to follow Christ. They recoil and hate me because I speak the truth boldly, without fear and even though it is always in the love of Christ, they all deny that fact, as to them no good Christian will tell the truth unless it is saccharine sweet, unless it is unsure, unless it tolerates sin and in their definition of humility, is willing to always sound uncertain notes, so they may feel safe to attack what I believe.

            I daily pray that I will speak the truth in love, that I will never try and consciously offend anyone; but, no matter how hard I try, despite my love of God and of Jesus my Lord, I am always too direct, too bold and so it attracts many such people to attack me. Absent just shutting up, I know of no other course but to say what I believe, as best I can and leave the rest to God.

          • James Grimes

            FWIW, I do appreciate that you boldly proclaim the truth and that you get in the faces of the lame. They need to hear the truth whether they want to or not.

          • Fundisi

            Thank you!

        • James Grimes

          This clown has never served in the military and he’s just running his mouth to act like the perfect troll. Please do not give him any credibility.

        • WorldGoneCrazy

          That’s a fantastic reply, Fundisi!

  • James Grimes

    Political correctness is causing much harm to the people who have chosen to serve. A chaplain is suppose to share his faith; that’s what he does. When I was in the service, the chaplain was a resource that was very much needed and taken advantage of. I knew personally a chaplain that kept several men in the service who would otherwise had left and some of these would have been victims of suicide.

    • M Diaz

      “Political correctness is causing much harm to the people who have chosen to serve.”
      i agree, we need religion like we need drunk drivers

      • Neutral

        And some people need to have their arses kicked; some more than others, too.

        • M Diaz

          i imagine you’re referring to yourself

  • Dave

    It’s called being unequally yoked together with unbelievers.

  • BeckyJ

    Crazy Libs…not all are, but most. I’m sure if the quran was quoted though, it would be accepted, out of fear of course. smh

  • alnga

    A Christian Chaplain getting more diverse in his thinking is to be turning his back of his God.. Do not ask him to address atheist or Hindi if they do not want to hear a Christian message. Those of us that are believers do not cave to the call of the godless. Let this man do his job, get a chaplain that has the denominational colors of those he is addressing. It is that simple. In 1964 when God was removed from the class room and ever since our moral decay has been gaping and stinking. We have a large number of folks of no where to turn because they have shut out the spiritual side of life.. Depression is just one symptom. . .

  • Gary

    The US Military is officially anti-Christian. I believe it is a mistake for Christians to be in the military because of the official policy. And because the military is pro-homosexual. And because it is foolish to put your life in the hands of those running the government who care nothing about you, but only care how you can serve them. I would never agree to be in the military, and I do my best to convince anyone I know who is considering going in the military to not do it.

    • Liz Litts

      Gary-sure things look bleak right now for Christians in the military, but if we all leave who would be left to pray?

      • Gary

        You have to be in the military to pray??

  • M Diaz

    “Twenty-four members of Congress have signed a letter addressed to Army Secretary John McHugh in support of a chaplain who was recently reprimanded for citing the Bible during a suicide prevention training session.”

    well good. where else do you find the notion a person is evil wretched and vile by default…? the bible…

    • Neutral

      Some people have a conscience, which helps them to determine what is moral and right.

      It’s also very evident that some people have done everything they possibly could to silence that conscience. Regrettably and to their detriment.

      • M Diaz

        “Some people have a conscience, which helps them to determine what is moral and right.”

        yep, and you don’t need religion to get it

        “It’s also very evident that some people have done everything”

        exactly, which is why they overcompensate with the idea they are representing an all encompassing authority and just act like self entitled snakes

  • M Diaz

    “He then strictly informed Lawhorn that he needed to be more diverse in this thinking.”

    impossible with self entitled christians…

    • Neutral

      It’s better to just be thought a fool than to open one’s mouth and remove all doubt.

      • M Diaz

        yea, only cowards divert direct confrontation

  • robertzaccour

    Let me get this straight. So chaplains are no longer allowed to be chaplains that stand firm in their faith just because others might not agree with them? What are they supposed to do then? Just be a politically correct counselor?

    • James Grimes

      That’s the expectation.

      • Douglas

        I notice that you have been absent lately and Fundisi has altogether vanished. I hope all is well. I took a small break from the news and came back to a lot of new faces and not so many old ones. Perhaps I missed something?

  • yEshUA ImmAnUEl © ben-‘Adam

    ” We do not mean that the Bible should be continually in the mouth of man, but that he should search for its true and eternal meaning, which is seldom discovered by theologians, scientists, or mathematicians because they are blinded by the opinions of their sects. We bear witness that never since the beginning of the world has there been given to man a more excellent book than the Holy Bible. Blessed is he who possesses it, more blessed he who reads it, most blessed he who understands it, and most godlike he who obeys it.”

  • yEshUA ImmAnUEl © ben-‘Adam

    ”A hero is born out of the ashes of despair, anyone can be a hero, it takes courage to stand up for what you believe in.”

  • Mr. Avatar

    We must demand the Supreme Court revisit the 1st amendment and put it
    right and get rid of the dept. of indoctrination, putting each state in control
    of their own schools.

  • Crispy Pata

    The world is blind to the truth that Jesus is the answer we all need.