The Navy last week asked my husband to sign his name to a new restriction broadly “prohibiting,” in bold letters, a multitude of activities “to include indoor religious services” and even to discourage “in-person use” of “drive-in spiritual services.” While we maintain a faint hope that the military doesn’t really mean to restrict religious practices, the latest restrictions preclude nearly all indoor religious services — even those adhering to COVID-19 guidelines.
The Catholic Masses my husband and I attend are vastly better spaced than the grocery or liquor stores where he can shop, or even the authorized Chick-fil-A drive-through that is crowded with customers constantly handing credit cards and receipts back and forth between the same few teenagers. The difference is that the food we receive in Mass is much more essential.
As the government lays out ever-changing and inconsistent guidelines for safeguarding the same members of the military who sacrifices their lives in conflicts all over the world, they risk killing freedom on the home front by restricting religious practice. Military leaders are coming dangerously close to suppressing the very rights and values they are sworn to protect.
Free speech is another First Amendment right under attack across the fruited plain. Generals are being cajoled for walking alongside the commander in chief and shamed for standing against the burning of a church, tantamount to an attack on religious freedom.
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Other military leaders have signaled they will not follow the president’s orders if they — or perhaps just the coercive mob — don’t agree with those dictates. Lower-ranking service members, however, could face legal punishment for attending a simple church service.
Another part of that First Amendment, which articulates the right to freely assemble, is off the table for military members in even small groups and many law-abiding citizens across the nation. Looters and protesters, however, so many of whom seek to deconstruct law and order, are accommodated in their so-called righteous need.
We know leftists openly oppose the Second Amendment, but how much more blatantly now the First? Ordinary Americans are being hustled, masked, and muzzled right out of our constitutional rights.
As members of the military are prohibited from attending religious gatherings, masses of masked protesters representing Black Lives Matter preach that denying allegiance to their organization is equivalent to denying the obvious statement that black lives do matter, which nearly all Americans affirm. What we should not affirm is the twisted rhetoric and double standards of a destructive, Marxist-rooted organization that would bully Americans into adherence and silent fear, while disregarding the black lives of those who don’t further their agenda, such as those slated for abortion or lost in New York and Chicago shootings that don’t involve the police.
The real threat to Americans is not a virus or racism so much as enemies to truth and reason who seek to manipulate pandemics, hatred, and emotions to loot and uproot the heart of America. They cannot pilfer what we refuse to relinquish, however, and that applies to faith.
I am a simple military wife, raising my children while trying to work from home. I can’t easily afford time to write essays, but the cost of quiet compliance is too high.
It is time to speak out at all levels and assemble in the name of freedom — not scream obscenities, jump on cars, shoot people, and tear down statues, but gather peacefully in our churches, synagogues, and other places of worship before God in prayer. It is time for courage. It is time to uphold the oaths we have sworn to protect what is most precious against enemies foreign and domestic.
We are in a battle for the truth, but the war has already been won. The truth can be discerned, tested, appreciated, or distorted, but only in the little minds of men. Reality exists outside mankind. We didn’t make it, and we can’t unmake it — no matter how loudly we rage or how thoroughly we mask it. The transcendental nature of what is enabled the Founding Fathers to assert, “We hold these truths to be self-evident.”
Independent of what any military can mandate, agitator can label, weak-minded collegian can chant, or self-seeking politician might sanction, there exists truth: good and evil, right and wrong. The truth is triumphant, and it is time we bear witness to that victory.
The author is the wife of an officer in the U.S. Navy, who requested anonymity for fear of reprisal against her husband’s career.