*Editor’s note: This post first appeared at Barbwire and is being reposted here with permission.
The US military is unequivocally constructing and implementing change. Same-sex marriages and policies on gender identity (confusion) is a recurrent trajectory for the Department of Defense (DOD) that will certainly cause contemporary challenges to Christians in the Armed Forces. While homosexual advocates are lauding this as diversity, many Christians are loathing this as diabolical—since same-sex matrimony and the DOD’s policy on transgenderism are contrary to God’s indissoluble design for marriage, and creation.
Recently, World Net Daily (WND) published my article about an Army soldier who filed a religious accommodation request, so that he could avoid attending a “transgender policy briefing.” Despite this soldier’s plea to avoid being subjected to a transgender briefing that he felt would violate his religious tenets—the request was denied by his commanding officer, LTC Kim Wilson, 304 MP BN Commander.
The most vexing news is not that this soldier was forced to attend an Army-mandated transgender briefing; instead, the most troubling news is about the one who facilitated the training. Who conducted the transgender policy briefing? It was not the commander, public affairs, or equal opportunity personnel. Sadly, it was an ecclesiastical endorsed Southern Baptist military chaplain who conducted the training—who told the soldier that he did not believe the “transgender policy brief” would violate his sincerely held beliefs, per the soldier [emphasis added]:
“On 6/23/2017, at 0540 hrs. I respectfully met with Capt. Erick Barrett, the 304th BN chaplain, and requested information regarding the new, “Transgender Policy Brief,” to be instructed at 1700 hrs this same day. Upon further inquiry and discussion, I was made more aware that my personal religious beliefs were to be infringed upon, and I therefore requested accommodation based on DOD 1300-17. Capt. Erick Barrett informed me that he did not believe the “Transgender Brief” would violate my sincerely held belief…”
Chaplain (Capt.) Erick Barrett, 304 MP BN, is a confirmed representative of The North American Mission Board, or NAMB – which is an ecclesiastical endorsing agency of military chaplains for the Southern Baptist Convention. One of the 304 MP BN soldiers was so disturbed that a Southern Baptist chaplain would conduct a “transgender briefing policy”—that he recorded the entire briefing—and forwarded this recording (via email) to me and several others. Listen to the briefing below:
Chaplain Barrett’s “transgender policy briefing” was godless. There was no reference of Scripture, God, Jesus, repentance, or faith, which would be expected of an ecclesiastically endorsed evangelical who claims to be a Christian. For almost an hour, Chaplain Barrett pontificated about the Army’s policy on transitioning from male to female, or female to male, and reiterated innumerable times how soldiers’ gender is determined—while God was not included in this determination. Despite Chaplain Barrett’s exposition on the US Army’s policy on gender confusion, there are two notable quotes that he made which would not be expected from someone who professes to affirm Holy Scripture—but homosexual sin.
- [Preface] How many gender identities are there in the world today? There are 42 genders (9:25-9:45).
- “Ladies and gentlemen, we live in a world where truth is defined by the individual. That’s a reality. It’s not something that’s up for discussion. That’s just the world we live in” (9:47-10:10).
Homosexuals would certainly agree with Chaplain Barrett’s quotes, since he makes no reference to God determining gender, and he empowers soldiers to believe that they determine truth—which not only violates the Law of Non-Contradiction—but is also anti-Christian (Prov. 30:5-6).
Since Chaplain Barrett is a NAMB endorsed military chaplain, what does their policy state regarding sexual immorality [emphasis added]?
Pastoral care — The document reminds chaplains that Southern Baptists view all sexual immorality as sin that violates God’s biblical standards for purity and that “Responsible pastoral care will seek to offer repentance and forgiveness, help and healing, and restoration through the mercy and grace of Jesus Christ’s sacrificial gift of love on the cross.”
…nor offer any kind of relationship training or retreat, on or off of a military installation, that would give the appearance of accepting the homosexual lifestyle or sexual wrongdoing.
The aforementioned policy is for same-sex unions, but the principle should not change for transgenderism, since transgenderism is sexually immoral. What is sexual immorality? Homosexuality, lesbian, gay, bi-sexual, transgender, bestiality, and adultery, are examples of sexual immorality. In addition, Chaplain Barrett did not exercise “responsible pastoral care,” since he never mentioned that transgenderism “is a sin that violates God’s biblical standards,” nor did he reference “repentance,” or the “Name of Jesus.” After listening to the audio, objective listeners would never even know this chaplain is a professing Christian.
As a result of receiving the soldier’s complaints from the 304 MP BN, and after hearing the disconcerting news of a Southern Baptist chaplain conducting transgender training, I covered the story for WND, and I sent a professional courtesy message via email to Doug Carver, former Army Chief of Chaplains, who is now executive director for the NAMB [excerpt]:
As a professional and theological courtesy, I need to inform you of my recent article that was just published on Word Net Daily concerning one of your alleged representatives (Chaplain Erick Barrett, USAR). Several sources (names will not be disclosed) from the 304 MP BN have informed me that Chaplain Erick Barrett conducted a “transgender policy briefing” on June 23, 2017. One of those soldiers was so disturbed that an alleged Southern Baptist chaplain conducted the training—that [name redacted] recorded the entire briefing—and forwarded this recording (via email) to me and several others.
Are NAMB endorsed chaplains allowed to conduct “transgender policy briefings?” After reviewing the NAMB policies, I have every reason to believe that they are not…
It is important to note that my article was not a personal attack against Chaplain Barrett nor any representative of the NAMB. Rather, my article is a theological plea to see Chaplain Barrett come to repentance for his apostasy—and perhaps, “plucked from the fire” (Jude 1:23). Private sin must be handled privately, but public sin must be handled publicly. This is why my article was a necessity.
Has the the leadership of NAMB responded to my email concerning one of their ecclesiastical endorsed military chaplains conducting “transgender policy briefings?” Sadly, I have not received any email replies to my concerns, other than a report from my ecclesiastical endorser informing me that a representative of NAMB contacted him to criticize me for writing the article, and for not contacting Chaplain Barrett first.
In closing, I would like to respectfully address Chaplain Barrett, the leadership of NAMB, and the soldiers of the 304 MP BN:
Chaplain Barrett, I did not contact you personally about your conduct because you did not sin against me—your sin was against God. In addition, Matthew 18 (i.e., dealing with private sin) is not applicable to this situation, since your actions were public, and not in private. Precedent for this is found in our Lord’s public rebuke of religious leaders in His day (cf. Matthew 23), and in the Apostle Paul’s public rebuke of Peter (cf. Gal. 2:11). Therefore, my response to you will be public (cf. 1 Tim. 5:20). Out of fear for your soul, I pray that God would grant you the fruits of repentance, and that you would turn from the “errors of your way” (James 5:20).
NAMB leadership, observers may wonder if your actions are sending a message to aspiring and currently serving military chaplains, that you are condoning of SBC endorsed chaplains conducting “transgender policy briefings”—given the fact that you appear to be mitigating and circumventing the actions of Chaplain Barrett. The public, and most importantly, current and aspiring military chaplains need to informed if you stand on the purity of Scripture, or political silence.
To the members of the 304 MP BN: Out of love to you all, I feel it is also a necessity for me to provide you all with a transgender policy briefing also—from the perspective of a Christian. To start, there is no such thing as transgenderism. A homosexual soldier who aspires to be the opposite sex can pay doctors to mutilate their body and alter their voice, but this will not change their gender—they will always be XX or XY, and the choice is not theirs—it is God’s.
Do you know that you were made in the “image of God” (Gen.1:27)? Therefore, everyone should be treated with love, dignity, and respect. However, true love “rejoices not in iniquity, but rejoices in the truth” (1 Cor. 13:6), and true love warns (cf. Acts 20:31).
The desire to be the opposite sex is because of sin. Why do we sin? Our first parents, Adam and Eve, sinned against God, which is why all of their posterity are now under a curse (cf. Rom. 5:12). This is why everyone will have wicked thoughts, corrupt deeds, and many will embrace immorality that God hates (cf. Genesis 19:1-28; Leviticus 20:13; 1 Corinthians 6:9-10 and Jude 7-8).
Here is the best part of the briefing. Homosexuals who desire to be the opposite sex can be forgiven of their transgressions! However, they must repent and forsake their love for sin. A person can be gay, and they can be a Christian—but there is no such thing as a gay Christian. This is why soldiers who desire to be the opposite sex must repent and believe in Jesus Christ (cf. Mark 1:15). Jesus Christ is their only hope (cf. Acts 4:12).
The opinions expressed here are solely his and do not necessarily represent the views of any government, military, or religious organization. Sonny Hernandez wrote this article as a civilian on his own time on an issue of public interest.