In a statement put into the record at a Jan. 29, 2014 hearing of the House Armed Services Committee’s Subcommittee on Military Personnel, retired Lt. Gen. William “Gerry” Boykin, said religious liberty is a “core value of our nation,” and that religious beliefs “sustain” troops who face harm or death in the course of performing their duties.

“In sum, religious freedom and expression is not something to be given begrudging accommodation,” Boykin, the former commander of the U.S. Special Forces Command, said on behalf of the Family Research Council (FRC) as its executive vice president. “It is a core value of our nation, necessary for strengthening individual troop wellbeing and instilling the values of respect and goodwill.”

“Religious freedom must be celebrated, affirmed, and cherished within our military just as our men and women sacrifice to defend that freedom for those outside the military,” Boykin said in the statement.

Boykin also spoke about the nature of a soldier’s duty and the role religious belief plays in it.

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