The House has passed a resolution affirming the military's right to practice religion during the government 'shutdown.' Rep. Doug Collins, a Southern Baptist from Georgia's 9th District, is serving his first term. The measure passed 400 to 1, with 15 Democrats and 15 Republicans not voting.
Wikipedia reports that Collins is a U.S. Air Force Reservist (Major-Chaplain) and has served as a senior pastor at a baptist church and as 'managing partner' at a law firm he started in 2010. After the vote on H.Con.Res.58, Collins issued a press release stating, in part, "We have a Bill of Rights for a reason—that no matter the fiscal condition of the federal government, the rights of the people are guaranteed. This is a week that has seen veterans denied their right to assemble at our national monuments, travelers denied access to roads their hard-earned dollars have paid for, and now chaplains ordered to stop providing religious services to those who are selflessly willing to lay down their lives for ours. Denying the free expression of religion on military bases is unprecedented during a government shutdown and another shameless political ploy by President Obama’s administration to make average Americans suffer the most from Senate Democrats’ refusal to negotiate. Congress is duty bound to act as quickly as possible to protect the rights of the American people, and I am proud that we did so today."
Having no force of law, the resolution 'urged' the Secretary of Defense to 'permit the performance of religious services' on DoD property. H.Con.Res. 58 stated, in part,
"Congress— (1) recognizes that the performance of religious services and the provision of ministry are protected activities under the First Amendment of the United States Constitution;
(2) urges and intends that the Secretary of Defense permit the performance of religious services on property owned or maintained by the Department of Defense, during any lapse in appropriations, in the same manner and to the same extent as such religious services are otherwise available; and
(3) urges and intends that the Secretary of Defense permit military chaplains and other personnel, including contract personnel, hired to perform duties of a military chaplain to perform religious services and ministry, during any lapse in appropriations, in the same manner and to the same extent as such chaplains and other personnel are otherwise permitted to perform religious services and ministry..."
The Catholic Archdiocese for the Military Services (AMS), which was "created as an independent archdiocese by Pope John Paul II in 1985 as the only Catholic jurisdiction responsible for endorsing and granting faculties for priests to serve as chaplains in the U.S. military and VA Medical Centers," issued a press release on the passage of the resolution, stating in part:
U.S. House of Representatives Passes Resolution to Allow Mass on Military Installations During Government Shutdown
Vote follows op-ed by AMS General Counsel John Schlageter on non-active duty priests banned from bases
"...The resolution was introduced by Congressman Doug Collins (R-Ga.) in response to an Oct. 3 op-ed by Mr. John Schlageter, General Counsel of the Archdiocese for the Military Services, USA (AMS) in which he disclosed that non-active duty Catholic priests have been ordered not to work—or even volunteer—on military installations for the duration of the shutdown, making it impossible for servicemen and women at some locations to attend Mass this weekend.
"...His Excellency, the Most Reverend Timothy P. Broglio, J.C.D., Archbishop for the Military Services, expressed appreciation for Congressman Collins’ stand in defense of religious freedom. Archbishop Broglio said: "Military personnel enjoy, like all Americans, the First Amendment guarantee of the 'Free Exercise' of religion. In the current political climate, however, nothing can be taken for granted. I am grateful to Representative Collins and the many other House members who recognized the importance of passing this resolution, which reflects the seriousness with which the American people take their Free Exercise rights. It can only be hoped that the members of the U.S. Senate will act decisively in order to favor the same First Amendment rights."
"Madame Speaker-The underlying bill pays reservists and Guardsmen for weekend drills during this government shutdown. It does nothing to pay the full-time support force. The vast majority of full time Guardsmen and reservists wear a uniform but are considered civil service technicians, thus they are currently furloughed.... As the only former general serving in Congress I am sponsoring this amendment to correct the underlying bill which only makes pawns of dedicated American reservists and Guardsmen.... I am sick of phony bills designed solely to create political ads. I and my constituents are sick of the messaging that makes bad policy out to be good politics. It is time to drive the moneychangers out of the temple and bring an end to this sanctimonious foolishness. Just as a soldier refuses to leave his or her battle buddies behind, I refuse to leave all of the people who proudly serve this great nation behind."
While the resolution is a good gesture on his part, make no mistake about Collins. In May Collins introduced H.R. 1992 - Israel QME Enhancement Act, "To amend the requirements relating to assessment of Israel’s qualitative military edge over military threats, and for other purposes." The bill summary states that H.R. 1992 "Directs the President to: (1) report to Congress every two years (current law requires such report every four years) regarding the assessment of Israel's qualitative military edge over military threats to Israel and related weapons sales in the Middle East, and (2) report on criteria used to include cyber and asymmetric threats in such assessment."
On his website, Collins states:
"As one of our closest allies and friends, Israel should know the United States will always do its part to ensure Israelis are never put in harm’s way," Collins said. "This bill provides the necessary steps to increase Congressional oversight, and protects the commitment we've made to the Israeli people. The twenty-first century has brought new weaponry, and therefore, challenges to defense systems worldwide. This legislation ensures the United States and Israel will be fully equipped with the most up-to-date information available to defend our nations from both military style attacks as well as cyber warfare. Furthermore, it verifies we will be able continue in our joint pledge to promote peace and freedom worldwide."
On May 16, 2013, Collins gave a speech titled 'PROMOTING OUR RELATIONSHIP WITH THE STATE OF ISRAEL.' Here is the text: [Go to http://thomas.loc.gov and type in H.R. 1992 for the direct link.]
"(Mr. COLLINS of Georgia asked and was given permission to address the House for 1 minute and to revise and extend his remarks.) Mr. COLLINS of Georgia. Mr. Speaker, I rise to encourage my colleagues to cosponsor legislation I have introduced to ensure that the State of Israel maintains its qualitative military edge. Israel recently celebrated its 65th anniversary of independence. Unfortunately, many of Israel's neighbors continue their relentless attacks against this Nation. While Iran pursues its nuclear program, it has launched cyber attacks against Israel. Israel is under constant danger from both conventional and unconventional weapons. However, the current statutory definition of ``qualitative military edge'' does not include the threats posed by militia activity or cyber attacks. These are very real threats against Israel and must be taken into account. H.R. 1992 updates the definition of ``qualitative military edge'' so that the asymmetric and cyber warfare are considered and would require a 2-year reporting process. I look forward to working with my colleagues on the Foreign Affairs Committee to advance this legislation and to increase our special relationship with Israel. I appreciate the chairman of Foreign Affairs, Mr. Royce, for his support and cosponsorship. And I also would like to thank my friend from across the aisle, Mr. Schneider, for his support. Good policy knows no party line, and I look forward to working together to move forward this legislation."
Collins did not, however, support military action in Syria: “While I appreciate this opportunity and the time Secretary Kerry, Secretary Hagel, and General Dempsey gave the committee today, I do not feel that they made the case for military action in Syria. Today’s hearing resulted in more questions than answers. While I look forward to continuing this debate in the House, I cannot support the president’s request for authorization based on what we heard today.”
At the very bottom of this page are Rep. Collins Press Release and the text of the October 5th resolution.
Martin Hill is a Catholic paleoconservative and civil rights advocate. His work has been featured in the Los Angeles Daily News, San Gabriel Valley Tribune, The Orange County Register, KNBC4 TV Los Angeles, The Press Enterprise, LewRockwell.com, WhatReallyHappened.com, Infowars.com, PrisonPlanet.com, Economic Policy Journal, FreedomsPhoenix, Haaretz, TMZ, Veterans Today, Jonathan Turley blog, The Dr. Katherine Albrecht Show, National Motorists Association, RomanCatholicReport.com, WorldNetDaily, OverdriveOnline.com, Educate-Yourself.org, Dr. Kevin Barrett's Truth Jihad radio show, Strike-The-Root.com, ActivistPost.com, Los Angeles Catholic Lay Mission Newspaper, KFI AM 640, IamtheWitness.com, Redlands Daily Facts, BlackBoxVoting, The Michael Badnarik Show, The Wayne Madsen Report, Devvy.com, Rense.com, The Contra Costa Times, Pasadena Star News, Silicon Valley Mercury News, Long Beach Press Telegram, Inland Valley Daily Bulletin, L.A. Harbor Daily Breeze, CopBlock.org, DavidIcke.com, Whittier Daily News, KCLA FM Hollywood, The Fullerton Observer, Antiwar.com, From The Trenches World Report, and many others. Archives can be found at LibertyFight.com and DontWakeMeUp.Org.
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House Passes Collins Resolution to Protect First Amendment Rights for Military Chaplains 10/05/13
Northeast Georgia’s Congressman: "Timing should never be a hindrance to this body protecting the First Amendment rights of any of our citizens…it should be our highest calling."
WASHINGTON, Oct 5 – Congressman Doug Collins (GA-09) this morning offered, and the House of Representatives passed 400-1, H.Con. Res. 58, a resolution aimed at stopping the Obama administration’s attempts to limit the First Amendment right of freedom of religion on military bases during the government shutdown.
Congressman Collins offered this legislation after news reports surfaced over the past 24 hours that the Obama administration had begun using the current government shutdown to inhibit the free expression of religion, guaranteed by the First Amendment, to members of the military. This resolution expresses the sense of the Congress that despite furloughs, military chaplains should be permitted to perform religious services without threat or penalty of arrest for trespassing. After the vote, Congressman Collins said:
"We have a Bill of Rights for a reason—that no matter the fiscal condition of the federal government, the rights of the people are guaranteed. This is a week that has seen veterans denied their right to assemble at our national monuments, travelers denied access to roads their hard-earned dollars have paid for, and now chaplains ordered to stop providing religious services to those who are selflessly willing to lay down their lives for ours. Denying the free expression of religion on military bases is unprecedented during a government shutdown and another shameless political ploy by President Obama’s administration to make average Americans suffer the most from Senate Democrats’ refusal to negotiate. Congress is duty bound to act as quickly as possible to protect the rights of the American people, and I am proud that we did so today."
Congressman Collins has been a chaplain in the United States Air Force since 2002 and served a combat tour in Iraq in late 2008.
The resolution stated
"Expressing the sense of Congress regarding the need for the continued availability of religious services to members of the Armed Forces and their families during a lapse in appropriations. IN THE HOUSE OF REPRESENTATIVES Mr. COLLINS of Georgia submitted the following concurrent resolution; which
was referred to the Committee on CONCURRENT RESOLUTION.