U.S. Army Says Southern Baptist Chaplain Who Allegedly Told Lesbian Soldier She and Her Partner Could Not Participate in Marriage Retreat Should be Charged With Dereliction of Duty

Southern Baptist Army Chaplain Scott Squires and wife

Southern Baptist Army Chaplain Scott Squires should be charged with “dereliction of duty” for rescheduling a lesbian marriage retreat, the U.S. Army has recommended.

First Liberty Institute, which is defending Squires in the case, said that it received the new charges by the Army investigator last week.

“The United States Army, acting under the command of Major General Sonntag, is threatening to punish one of its chaplains because he followed the rules,” stated Mike Berry, Deputy General Counsel and Director of Military Affairs to First Liberty.

“The Army, or Congress, must hold Major General Sonntag accountable for allowing this aggressive anti-religious hostility against its military chaplains to occur under his command.”

Squires is being investigated for allegedly discriminating against a lesbian soldier earlier this year, for telling her “that his religious denomination did not recognize same-sex unions and since he was the person facilitating this Strong Bonds Retreat, she and her wife could not participate.”

The chaplain insists that he did not tell the soldier that she could not participate in the retreat with her wife, however, but that he conveyed “that it was full and that he would ensure that she was informed of the timing of the next strong bonds event and ensure that the facilitator could perform services for [her and her wife.]”

A decision was later made to allow the lesbian couple to sign up for the retreat and have another chaplain host it. The event had to be rescheduled for February 23-25, however, as that chaplain was not available earlier in the month.

First Liberty Institute points out that Squires was following Department of Defense regulations that require chaplains to respect their endorsers’ rules and religious tenets, in this case the North American Mission Board of the Southern Baptist Convention.

If the chaplain is court martialed and found guilty of dereliction of duty, he could end up in military prison for up to six months.

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SOURCE: Christian Post, Stoyan Zaimov