Defence terminates my commission

General David Hurley retired on 30 June, 2014. On his last day as Chief of the Defence Force, he signed a document terminating my commission. By Monday, I will no longer be a reserve officer in the Australian Army.

General Hurley’s letter confirmed that my commission is being terminated because he does not like the manner in which I express my Catholic beliefs. His letter also acknowledges that he is aware that Defence’s own investigations into his decision to approve uniformed participation in the Sydney Gay and Lesbian Mardi Gras have found that it was a political event. And that it vilified Christianity.

But General Hurley went on to say that while my complaints have not been properly addressed, he is satisfied that the action taken in response to them has been adequate. The action taken to date has been to do absolutely nothing, except terminate my commission and continue marching down Oxford Street. This failure renders Defence’s lawful orders prohibiting u niformed attendance at political events and religious vilification nothing more than hollow commands. They can be ignored by those considered ‘more equal’ at will.

General Hurley also dismissed concerns of bias, not by refuting the concern, but simply by stating that he did not believe it was appropriate to refer the matter to the Governor-General and that, as a result, no one else could determine this issue.

At this stage, the Australian Defence Force will be marching in Sydney with those who vilify Jesus Christ and Christianity next year and General Hurley will be Governor of New South Wales.

While I am not surprised at this decision, I am surprised at how disappointed it made me feel. However, it is the military’s continued involvement in vitriolic anti-Christian activity that upsets me the most. The Australian Defence Force should be an honourable institution and, indeed, it has been. It has a proud place in Australian history defending our nation and its Christian values, culture and heritage.

But not anymore. Notwithstanding the many fine and honourable men and women who still serve this nation in uniform today, it is an organisation that has been corrupted at the top. Christians in the military have been sent a severe warning: do not defend your faith publicly if you want to keep your job. They must accept that their beliefs can be ridiculed by the Australian military.

The situation is so miserably bad that the same investigation that found Jesus Christ was vilified at the Mardi Gras also stated that Defence members would be severely dealt with if they attended an event that attacked Mohammad in the same way. In black and white writing, Defence has stated that Islam, the religion of our battlefield enemies, is to be protected while policy now allows attacks on the Christian faith.

I am seeking legal advice with regards to this decision and hope to proceed with action to rectify it. However, this will be expensive and time consuming. Before I make any decision, I will need to consider the impact that a protracted legal battle will have on my family.

However, there are other ways we can fight. I will send shortly post information regarding a letter writing campaign to Members of Parliament, especially the new Senate cross-bench who are probably unaware of this situation facing Christians in the military. I will also be continuing with the Defence Conservative Action Network (DEFCAN) and looking to hand this over to courageous serving members willing to fight on.

Also, the Sydney Morning Herald’s Paul Sheehan has covered this situation in an article today. Please, click on the link , have a read, leave a supportive comment and share it with your Facebook contacts. Most people in the general public remain unaware of what is happening, but they are invariably shocked when they find out.

Finally, I would like to thank you for your interest, support, donations and prayers over the last 18 months. I cannot properly emphasise how much encouragement I have taken from this and how it has made this journey easier for our family.

And please rest assured, I will continue to write and fight for family values and our Christian heritage. This is a personal defeat, but the war goes on. And when we are in God’s Army, victory is assured. We just need to accept that it will not always be at the time and place of our choosing.

Author: Bernard Gaynor

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