Bob Smietana The Tennessean
The website for the Southern Baptist Convention has been blocked from some US Army computers.
That's caused some conservative activists to accuse the Pentagon of being hostile to religion.
The American Family Association, based in Tupelo, Mississippi, says it has received complaints from about the Baptist website being blocked.
Ties between conservative evangelicals and the military have been strong in the past. But the repeal of "Don't Ask, Don't Tell" and other recent incidents have strained those ties.
"This is just another example of the Christian faith coming under attack in the military. Earlier this month, an Army email labeled prominent Christian ministries like the Family Research Council and American Family Association as 'domestic hate groups.' Their list continues to grow as is evidenced by their new addition of the Southern Baptist Convention as 'hostile,'" said Tim Wildmon, president of American Family Network, which is affiliated with the American Family Association.
A Southern Baptist spokesman said that he spoke to Army officials who confirmed that some computers have blocked access to SBC.Net
Those officials say the problem is a glitch, said Roger "Sing" Oldham, convention spokesman.
But Baptist officials remain concerned.
"This is deeply disturbing," said Oldham in an email. "While the Deputy Chief of Operation of the US Army has assured us this is a random event with no malicious intent, the Army must run this to the ground to assure that this is the case. If the government blocked any portion of the SBC.net Web site for any purpose, that would be an unconscionable breach of trust with the American public. The First Amendment exists to protect the church from governmental censorship of or infringement upon religious speech and the free exercise of religion."
Defense Department officials have not responded to a request for comment.
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