The Army has launched an inquiry into a 157th Infantry Brigade chaplain who sent an email to troops celebrating the Dobbs V. Jackson Women’s Health Supreme Court decision that allowed states to regulate abortion, Army Times reported Monday.
The Army is investigating whether the email sent by Maj. Brian T. Hargis, a chaplain and coach at First Army Camp Atterbury, Indiana, to his entire unit violated rules about what chaplains can say in a professional capacity, according to Army Times. Hargis’ email contained an explicitly pro-life message, Task and Purpose originally reported.
“This is a monumental victory of the highest spiritual context, as it upholds the sanctity of life of the unborn, honors the US Constitution, makes right the wrong of 1973, and ends the murder of millions of people,” Hargis, a former Green Beret, wrote, according to Task and Purpose. “REJOICE AND CELEBRATE!”
Hargis quoted Bible verses to support his statements and exhorted soldiers to pray and uphold the constitution, ending the email with resources for individuals who might be struggling with pregnancy-related issues, Task and Purpose reported.
So a BDE Chaplain just sent this Far and wide throughout the formation. I see this going off the rails “Satanic evildoers” #miltwitter #RoeVWade @first_sausage @LethalityJane @TheIOGuy @TheWTFNation pic.twitter.com/0xockP4ybR
— StuckonStupid (@StupidStuckon) June 24, 2022
Superior officers took issue with Hargis’ statement and the fact that he sent it while on active duty orders, according to Army Times.
“This is an inappropriate message to send on this medium and I cannot endorse your statements or sentiment. I ask that you recall this message and allow individuals to hold their own opinions on this matter,” Lt. Col. Joshua Hunter said in a reply to the email, Task and Purpose reported.
Col. Troy Mills, who is Hargis’ direct supervisor according to Task and Purpose, addressed the brigade in a separate email that did not mention Hargis by name.
“Members of the Armed Forces maintain their First Amendment rights, however, there are appropriate times and places to express opinions. At work, in uniform, or using government equipment/systems is not the correct method,” said Mills.
“The email in question is not indicative of any Army policy or position, and the propriety and legality of its dissemination is under review by the chain of command,” First Army public affairs officer Maj. Jon Allen told The Daily Caller News Foundation.
Hargis told TheDCNF he was not at liberty to speak on the matter.
This is not the first time the U.S. military has gone after chaplains for expressing religious convictions in a way officials deemed inappropriate. Officials investigated a chaplain in the Army’s 3rd Security Force Assistance Brigade at Fort Hood for allegedly commenting on a Facebook post that transgender persons were “mentally unfit” in 2021.
The Pentagon confirmed Tuesday that it is “reviewing our current policies and procedures” to ensure abortion access for troops in the wake of the Dobbs ruling. Experts expressed concern that the Pentagon may try to overrun state law and rights of conscience for service members who object to abortion.
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