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BAGHRAM AIR FIELD, AFGHANISTAN - SEPTEMBER 10:  U.S. forces take up defensive positions after coming under attack by indirect fire on September 11, 2011 at Baghram Air Field, Afghanistan. (Photo by John Moore/Getty Images) BAGHRAM AIR FIELD, AFGHANISTAN - SEPTEMBER 10: U.S. forces take up defensive positions after coming under attack by indirect fire on September 11, 2011 at Baghram Air Field, Afghanistan. (Photo by John Moore/Getty Images)  

Obama calls NDAA conscience clause for military chaplains ‘unnecessary and ill-advised’

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Paul Conner
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      Paul Conner

      Paul Conner is Deputy Editor with The Daily Caller. Previously, he was a contributing writer for four years with The Greenville News covering high school sports in Upstate South Carolina. A Palmetto State native, he is a graduate of North Greenville University.

Religious liberty advocates remained wary of Obama’s interpretation of the law.

“Chaplains should be able to stand by their faith traditions and honor their commitment to God’s Word. That’s a freedom that Congress sought to protect, and the president is not at liberty to disregard the law,” said Col. Ron Crews, a retired Army chaplain and executive director of the Chaplain Alliance for Religious Liberty.

“Every member of our armed forces should be able to serve without surrendering their beliefs,” Crews said in a statement.

An earlier version of the NDAA had banned same-sex marriage ceremonies on U.S. military property. A White House policy statement in May 2012 strongly objected to that provision, and listed it as one of the reasons Obama’s seniors advisers would recommend that he veto the bill.

That section that banned gay marriage ceremonies was ultimately removed from the final bill, and the Pentagon issued a ruling in September 2012 allowing military chaplains to perform same-sex unions, on or off a military installation.

Chaplains who have moral objections are now exempt under that rule. The NDAA means that the conscience clause has the backing of law.

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