The Shutdown: Federal closure threatens to bar priests not on active duty from conducting services on military installations or from ministering on base, and they risk being arrested if they attempt to do so.
The latest Obama shutdown shame is the news that, until it’s over, none of the families of those killed in Afghanistan can expect to receive the $100,000 death gratuity promised to reach them within 24 to 36 hours.
Grieving families also cannot expect the military to cover all the usual costs of family travel to meet their loved ones at Dover Air Force Base where they return home for burial in American-flag-draped coffins.
Catholic soldiers killed in battle might not even have a priest available to give the last rites of their church as even the religious freedoms they fought to protect are sacrificed by a petulant president who has the power to set priorities with the stroke of an executive order pen but refuses to do so.
As the Daily Caller reports, the Rev. Ray Leonard, a Catholic priest who serves a Georgia military base, was not allowed to celebrate Mass at the Naval Submarine Base Kings Bay this weekend. “Shutdown: No Catholic service till further notice,” a sign posted on the chapel door said.
Kansas Rep. Tim Huelskamp, a Republican, released the details of Leonard’s experience after meeting with the priest on Tuesday.
“My parishioners were upset,” said Leonard, who is contracted with the Defense Department to minister on the base. “They were angry and dismayed. They couldn’t believe that in America they’d be denied access to Mass by the government.”
Maybe in Stalin’s Russia the government would shut down religious services, but not here. Except it is happening here as priests and other religious ministers under contract to the government — all willing to do it for free — have been told by the Obama administration that they cannot set foot on government property or they will be arrested.