Obama: religious freedom provisions in defense bill ‘unnecessary and ill-advised’

Provisions that protect the conscience rights of military chaplains that were included in the 2013 National Defense Authorization Act (NDAA) are “unnecessary and ill-advised” said President Obama in a signing statement this week.

Section 533 of the defense bill was crafted in response to fears that the repeal of the “Don’t Ask, Don’t Tell” policy under the Obama administration would lead to reprisals against chaplains who have moral objections to the homosexual lifestyle, or who refuse to perform same-sex “weddings.”

That section says that no member of the armed forces may “require a chaplain to perform any rite, ritual, or ceremony that is contrary to the conscience, moral principles, or religious beliefs of the chaplain.”