Earlier this summer, thousands of you joined with us in calling on Secretary of Defense Mark Esper to affirm the religious freedom of military chaplains in light of an atheist campaign against an Army chaplain. I’m writing to give an update.
As you may recall, Army Senior Chaplain (Colonel) Moon Kim was attacked by an activist group for sharing a Christian book with fellow chaplains as a resource for ministering to their troops.
The book, Coronavirus and Christ by John Piper, asks readers to consider that God has a purpose and a direction in all that has happened across the globe in the COVID-19 pandemic, affecting both believers and non-believers. Rather than giving a specific answer to why, Piper lays out a number of avenues of biblical thought on God’s purposes with the pandemic, including His response to sin in our world. Piper specifically identifies homosexuality as one of those sins.
That raised the ire of Mikey Weinstein, the atheist founder of the deceptively named Military Religious Freedom Foundation. Weinstein, with a big assist from the media, called on Secretary Esper to punish Colonel Kim severely, including making him subject to court-martial.
That’s where you came in. Thousands of you used our Action Center to reach out to Secretary Esper, asking him to support Chaplain (Colonel) Kim and to let chaplains be chaplains as they serve those who protect our nation.
The response from the Pentagon was strong – acknowledging the many voices in support of Kim and affirming the rights of chaplains.
“The Department of Defense is committed to our Constitutional values and recognizes the unique and critical role our Chaplains play in providing religious support to our Armed Forces,” said the letter signed by Jeffrey P. Angers, Deputy Assistant Secretary of the Army.
“Theological discussions among Chaplains are an important part of their professional development and thus are expected and not prohibited,” added Angers in his letter to Family Policy Alliance. “Chaplain Kim, like all other chaplains, remains free to engage in these discussions and to share appropriate professional development material among his Chaplain colleagues.”
This strong affirmation of these chaplain rights is encouraging. Let’s thank God for military and political leadership that upholds those rights, and let’s especially pray for the chaplains and the men and women in our Armed Forces whom they minister to.
Thanks for speaking up! It’s heard and makes a difference!
On Thursday, Democrats in Congress are pushing a measure that urges a repeal of the Trump Administration’s policy on transgender service in the military.
When President Trump announced that he was rolling back the Obama policy of fully opening the military to people who identify as transgender, Family Policy Alliance praised the move for these reasons:
- It signaled a military that prioritizes readiness and effectiveness, not social experimentation.
- It valued the men and women who put their lives on the line for us – each of whom deserves the basic right and common courtesy to not have to share showers and intimate facilities with persons of the opposite gender.
- It protected taxpayers from the enormous costs of so-called sex-reassignment surgeries and ongoing hormone therapy.
H. Res. 124 seeks to reverse this policy and should be rejected when it comes to a vote on Thursday.
Please take a moment and send a note to your member of Congress, asking them to vote NO on H. Res. 124.
Thank you for speaking up!
The Family Policy Alliance Team
The Obama Administration decided to permit individuals who identify as transgender to serve in the military—without weighing the cost to taxpayers for ongoing medical care, impact to military readiness, and the affect on privacy or fairness in the troops.
But in July 2017, President Trump announced a change in this policy. You joined with us to send thousands of thank-you notes to the President for making this critical change.
Trump’s Department of Defense committed to extensively studying the impact that individuals identifying as transgender would have on the military. In February 2018, they released a comprehensive report, concluding that transgender military service would cause harm to:
- Military readiness due to the extensive medical care required by transitioning individuals;
- Privacy and fairness for the troops, particularly female servicemembers; and
- Taxpayers due to the medical costs for serving transitioning Service members is nearly 300% percentthe medical costs of an individual without these concerns.
The thorough report supported President Trump’s conclusion to not allow transitioning individuals to serve in the armed forces. The Department of Defense wrote that 71% of Americans are disqualified from service and “transgender persons with gender dysphoria are no less valued members of our Nation than all other categories of persons who are disqualified from military service.”
Of course, President Trump’s and his Department of Defense’s decision has been challenged in multiple lawsuits. But in encouraging breaking news today, the Supreme Court ruled that the President’s policy to not permit transitioning individuals to serve in the military could go into effect while the cases proceed through the courts.
The two newest justices, Justice Gorsuch and Justice Kavanaugh, joined Justices Roberts, Alito, and Thomas in allowing the Trump decision to go into effect.
We are thankful to you in the many different ways you’ve joined in encouraging the President and the Department of Defense to stand strong on this issue. You have made a difference!
But, there are many ways Obama-type transgender policies are still causing harm to children in schools, state laws and regulations, women’s privacy and safety, religious freedom, and even women’s shelters. Learn more here. Please continue to partner with Family Policy Alliance and our state allies as we work to restore common sense and safety in states and local communities across the country!
By Stephanie Curry, Esq., policy manager for Family Policy Alliance
This past August, President Trump issued a memorandum giving the Department of Defense and the Department of Homeland Security (the “Departments”) the opportunity to extensively study the impact of allowing transgender individuals into the military.
Now the Departments have completed their extensive studies, after assembling a Panel of Experts and pouring through mountains of data. Their findings, which were submitted to the White House, are not surprising.
Medical History Causes Substantial Risk
The Departments concluded that there are “substantial risks associated with allowing the accession and retention of individuals with a history or diagnosis of gender dysphoria and require, or have already undertaken, a course of treatment to change their gender.” The military explored the extensive treatment related to gender transitions such as cross-sex hormone therapy and sex reassignment surgery. Since these treatments have not been shown to cure or even reduce the mental health problems associated with gender dysphoria, the Departments were concerned persons with gender dysphoria, even if being “treated,” could not be mentally or physically “ready” to serve.
The medical findings alone show how gender transitions cause insurmountable obstacles to military “readiness”. The Departments cite the Endocrine Society guidelines, where 91.5% of transitioning persons are taking cross-sex hormones, which requires continuous medical monitoring—monitoring that could not take place on deployment or on a mission.
In addition, the recovery time from sex reassignment surgery is 3-6 months (assuming no complications) and requires a strict hormone regime at least a year prior to surgery. In many cases, a transitioning individual could be non-deployable for two to two-and-a-half years! The Departments’ Panel of Experts concluded that this exposes all troops to harm because of a transitioning individual’s inability to perform combat required skills while deployed, in which instance that individual would be sent home. Yet, sending individuals home renders a unit more vulnerable because it now must operate with less manpower. The Department noted “it is imperative that the force be manned with Service members capable of meeting all mission demands. . . including the ability to deploy rapidly, without impediment or encumbrance.”
Privacy and Unfairness
The Departments’ report found many other reasons for not accepting transitioning individuals, such as violations of privacy (e.g. allowing men who self-identify as women into female showers, which raised complaints) and fundamental unfairness in physical requirements and competition. Perceived unfairness affects unit cohesion, good order and discipline. For example, a situation in which a male (who identifies as female) is held to female standards, is unfair not only for biological males who see another male receiving exceptions, but also for biological females who are forced to compete against a male. The report stressed that vigorous physical competition is “central to military life and indispensable to the training and preparation of warriors.”
Finally, the Departments’ report cited the medical costs for serving transitioning Service members is nearly 300% percent the medical costs of an individual without these concerns. The military expects the costs to rise as more and more members request medical support for their transitions and noted 77% of transitioning individuals in the military have requested transition-related surgery.
The Departments’ Conclusion
The Departments concluded “the clear sex-differentiated lines with respect to physical fitness; berthing, bathroom, and shower facilities; and uniform and grooming standards, which have served all branches of Service well to date, risks unnecessarily adding to the challenges faced by leaders at all levels” and fundamentally interfering with the mission of the Armed Forces. Therefore, the findings recommended those individuals who are transitioning or will want to transition should not be eligible to serve in the Armed Forces.
The Trump Administration Memo
In light of these extensive findings, the Trump Administration issued a new memo on March 23rd that allows the Department of Defense and Department of Homeland security to implement any appropriate policies that support their findings. These policies would allow individuals who have already transitioned to remain in the military, only under certain conditions, such as having been admitted into the military under the Obama directive. Yet, unlike the former Obama directive, it does not require the military to accept new recruits who are transitioning genders or have been diagnosed with gender dysphoria.
Why This Matters
The reason this is important for all Americans is because the military defends our nation. We have the right to expect a certain level of physical and psychological health from all military members. It is not discrimination to deny entrance into the military because of medical standards that apply to everyone based upon their biological sex. The military must be free to maintain its stringent entrance requirements because that is how it best protects our nation. The Department of Defense wrote 71% of Americans are disqualified from service and “transgender persons with gender dysphoria are no less valued members of our Nation than all other categories of persons who are disqualified from military service.”
President Trump is in the process of undoing President Obama’s transgender activism that was pushed on the military.
What do we say about that mandate – and the undoing of it?
Stephanie Curry, Public Policy Manager for Family Policy Alliance, explains how the previous administration willfully ignored the key question that underscores every decision made by the armed services.
by John Paulton
In this era of 24-hour headlines, the term “big news” is way overused. But President Trump’s announcement yesterday – that he was rolling back the Obama policy of opening the military to people who identify as transgender – was huge indeed.
Here are four reasons why the POTUS tweet was momentous, both for what it did and what it signaled.
First, it signals that, under a new Commander in Chief, the military is getting back to its purpose: winning wars. Americans reside in an increasingly dangerous world, and we should appreciate a military that prioritizes readiness and effectiveness, not social experimentation.
Second, President Trump’s decision values the men and women who put their lives on the line for us. Military facilities are, by nature, bereft of much privacy. As the father of a cadet at one of our nation’s military academies, this issue hits home in a very real way. But my child is just one of more than two million sons and daughters in the armed forces and reserves, each of whom deserves the basic right and common courtesy to not have to share showers and intimate facilities with persons of the opposite gender.
Third, as taxpayers, we should all appreciate the enormous savings of not having to pay for sex-reassignment surgeries and ongoing hormone therapy. And all the more at a time when military budgets have been squeezed and vast numbers of ships, planes and other equipment are in need of replacement.
Finally, this decision also shows a beleaguered culture that the transgender agenda – which has run roughshod through America for the last couple of years – can be stopped where there is a will and where the truth is spoken clearly and respectfully. In places like Texas, where a privacy bill hangs in the balance in a special legislative session, President Trump’s announcement is a breath of fresh air that gives renewed hope for passing common-sense privacy protections.
Please thank President Trump as well as Vice President Pence, who was reportedly very involved in this decision. And please share with others so they can do the same and help to counter the enormous pressure that the Left is putting on the White House. Click here to send a thank you email in just seconds from our Action Center.
John Paulton is Manager of Mobilization for Family Policy Alliance.
He served in Afghanistan – Now, he’ll serve in Washington.
Today, you’ll hear from freshman U.S. Rep. Jim Banks about his goals and what he hopes to see from a conservative majority in both chambers of Congress.
Republicans on the House Armed Services Committee rejected an amendment to the National Defense Authorization Act that would have turned military base hospitals into abortion centers. Department of Defense policy does not allow taxpayer-funded abortions.
Rep. Jackie Speier (D-Ca.) offered the amendment with the understanding that the abortions would be ‘privately funded.’ Military medical facilities are all funded with tax dollars and it would take a great amount of maneuvering to allow privately funded procedures within them.
Rep. Trent Franks of Arizona called on the members of the committee to think about what’s really at stake.
“I think it’s time for all of us to ask the real question, as hard as it is, and that is, ‘Does abortion really take the life of a baby?’” Franks asked. “If it doesn’t, I’m glad to stop talking about it. But, if it does, then those of us living here in the seat of freedom in the greatest country in the history of humanity also find ourselves in the midst of the greatest human genocide in the history of humanity.”
The amendment was killed 25-37 with all Republican committee members voting against.
“It’s always difficult for me to understand the fact that we take the lives of over a million children a year in America and that is somehow not enough for my friends on the Left,” Franks said. “Now we come and we want to make our military bases abortion clinics. I think it dishonors everyone who gave everything they had for this country and what it stands for.”