Apr 3, 2017
Press Release

WASHINGTON—Congressman Doug Collins (R-Ga.) and Senator James Lankford (R-Okla.) led a bicameral letter of support to Pease Air National Guard Base (ANGB) in response to a complaint that the Freedom From Religion Foundation (FFRF) lodged against the base. In its complaint, the FFRF argued that prayers led by a chaplain at Pease ANGB overstepped the separation of church and state.

The Air Force responded with a statement affirming that “chaplains provide, or provide for, the free exercise of religion” and “have consistently found the means to strike a balance between the tenants of their faith and the needs of the Airmen they serve.”

Members of both the House of Representatives and Senate penned a letter to Pease ANGB acknowledging that the Air Force’s response upholds the free exercise rights of both service members and chaplains in a national context in which religious freedom is under attack.

“The Air Force has again acted with courage and wisdom in affirming that our service men and women have the right to observe their respective religions or no religion at all. Chaplains contribute to the holistic well-being of American troops, and to attack their role is to undermine the free exercise rights of all service members. I will continue to stand by Pease Air National Guard Base as it protects the freedom of the individuals who sacrifice to preserve the liberties of all Americans,” said Collins.

Collins, a member of the Air Force Reserve, is the only military chaplain currently serving in the United States Congress. 

The letter's text is available here.