A senior military chaplain in the United States has been harshly criticized for sending fellow chaplains an email encouraging them to read John Piper's new book on the coronavirus issues. Twenty-two military chaplains are calling on a senior army chaplain to be disciplined and possibly court-martialed.
U.S. Secretary of Defense Mark Esper is being pushed by the Military Religious Freedom Foundation (MRFF), national legal organization, to punish Senior Chaplain Col. Moon H. Kim. Col. Kim is the command chaplain of U.S. Army Garrison Humphreys in South Korea, the largest U.S. military installation outside of the United States.
According to US Army, Chaplain (Lt. Col.) Moon Kim, a native of Seoul, was recognized for his two-year ministry with the Warrior Division, providing programs across the division like Strong Bonds, ASIST training, resiliency training and alliance-strengthening events to name a few.
During the Change of Stole Ceremony at the Warrior Chapel on June 21, 2018, he once stated, "I believe God has orchestrated this journey and pledged me here, which in itself motivated me to serve the lord and Warriors."
On Wednesday, Kim sent out an email containing an "unsolicited" PDF copy of John Piper's new book "Coronavirus and Christ" from his official military email address to 35 other chaplains.
The book in question, "Coronavirus and Christ," was written by popular evangelical author John Piper, the founder and senior teacher of desiringGod.org and chancellor of Bethlehem Bible College and Seminary.
A portion of 22 clients of MRFF included people from the LGBT community "do not subscribe to the ultra-conservative/Reformed/evangelical Christian theology of John Piper."
According to Michael Weinstein, founder and president of the MRFF, which advocates for a strict separation of church and state within the U.S. military, a number of Christian chaplains reached out to his organization after receiving the email. They sought the MRFF's representation due to fear that they would be subjected to "reprisal, retribution, revenge, and retaliation" if they had reached out without anonymity.
"The book, pushing the belief that the Coronavirus is God's judgment, is written by fundamentalist Christian preacher and author John Piper, and singles out, among other things, 'the sin of homosexual intercourse' as a deserving 'due penalty,'" Weinstein adds.
In Kim's email to his fellow chaplains, he wrote: "This book has helped me refocus my sacred calling to my savior Jesus Christ to finish strong. Hopefully, this small booklet would help you and your Soldiers, their Families and others who you serve."
Weinstein argues that Chaplain Kim's email was sent to his subordinate chaplains and that he was a "man in a position of substantial power and influence over them."
Therefore, MRFF says, the email violated the Department of Defense and Army equal employment opportunity policies.
Mike Berry, who is the general counsel for the First Liberty Institute, said Colonel Kim did not violate regulations by sending the email and was operating in accordance with his First Amendment Rights.
Berry told The Christian Post that, "The MRFF is not only going overboard, it is showing its true colors by asking the Pentagon to punish a chaplain for engaging in constitutionally protected activity." He added, "Congress has recently and repeatedly taken actions to protect chaplains to share their religious beliefs."
Berry made it clear that Colonel Kim will have their help if he asks for it. "First Liberty has won numerous cases similar to this before, and I'm very confident we would win this one too."