- The Washington Times - Wednesday, June 8, 2016

A group of military chaplains is calling for an about-face after a base in Kansas disinvited retired Army Lt. Gen. William Boykin from a prayer breakfast due to his religious beliefs.

The Chaplain Alliance for Religious Liberty sent a letter to Maj. Gen. Wayne Grisby, commander of the 1st Infantry Division at Fort Riley, calling on him to reinstate Gen. Boykin’s invitation.

The chaplain advocacy group said the Military Religious Freedom Foundation, which demanded the general be disinvited due to his religious beliefs, has no right to dictate whom the base hosts.

“Maj. Gen. Grisby should reinstate the invitation to Lt. Gen. Boykin to let the members of his command know that members of his command know that members of the military can make their own decisions about who they want to listen to concerning matters of faith,” said Ron Crews, executive director of Chaplain Alliance for Religious Liberty, in a statement.

Mr. Crews called the disintivation “dishonorable and without any legal foundation.”

“In fact, the decision flew in the face of the very freedoms of religion and speech that our fighting men and women have fought to protect since the very beginning of the U.S. military,” he said.

Mikey Weinstein, who heads MRFF, said his group was threatening to file a lawsuit if the base did not withdraw its invitation to Gen. Boykin.

He said the retired three-star general’s comments on Islam, including comparing the war against terrorism to that against Satan, threatened to harm unit cohesion and morale.

Mr. Weinstein claimed to represent 131 military personnel who wanted the general disinvited, saying some of them were “weeping” on the phone because they were “terrified” of Gen. Boykin.

“If you want to believe the horrible things that Boykin has said about Islam and Jews and women and the LGBT community, that’s fine,” he said. “But not to be sponsored by the U.S. Army.”

After it received the complaint, Fort Riley said it was rescheduling the prayer breakfast, which was scheduled for last Monday to mark the anniversary of D-Day. The base said it would not retain Gen. Boykin.

Mr. Weinstein said those responsible for extending the invitation in the first place should be “prosecuted” and “visibly punished.”

This is not the first time MRFF and Gen. Boykin have had a run-in. The activist group similarly called for his dismissal from a West Point prayer breakfast in 2012 — an event from which Gen. Boykin eventually withdrew.

“They’ve been trying to silence me for a long time,” Gen. Boykin said. “They are very much afraid of the message I carry, which is really one of faith and hope and empowerment through faith.”

Gen. Boykin is one of the founding members of Delta Force. He was awarded a Bronze Star and two Purple Hearts during his 36-year military career.

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