Retired Lt. Gen. Jerry Boykin is pointing back to a time when America was less hostile to Christianity and prayer to show why faith is so important for America’s armed forces.
In a Facebook post, Boykin included a picture he says was taken on April 24, 1980, in a place called Wadi Kenya, Egypt.
Boykin was one of the original members of the US Army’s Delta Force. The photo shows him leading a group of Delta Force operators and support personnel in prayer ahead of the rescue mission of 52 Americans being held hostage by Islamic radicals in Iran.
“The guy in the platform in front is me,” Boykin says in the post. “The reason I am up on the platform is because I was leading a #prayer for our safety.”
“That is sort of important because in 1980, this country was still open to religious expression and we never worried about someone being offended by the mere act of #praying,” he added.
Since that time, anti-Christian groups have been waging a legal war against freedom of religious speech in the military.
Boykin goes on to say, “Think about that today in the context of how far we have come from this simple and solemn expression of our faith before we went into a very dangerous situation from which some may not return. (In fact all these men did return through a miraculous intervention by the Creator Himself.)”
“The point is that many Americans are not aware of how common this was in the US #Army of the past. Some of the men in the group were #Jewish and some were probably even #agnostics or #atheists but it did not matter. They were far more concerned about being successful and not failing their buddies than about somebody hurting their feelings by beseeching the Almighty for His support,” he explained.
He ended the post by saying, “Faith is a critical component of war fighting and it has never been so maligned as it is today. My hope is that our #president, Donald J. Trump will make great efforts to restore the concept of the free exercise of religion.”