On February 8, 2012, the U. S. Military Academy at West Point, New York, is holding a prayer breakfast. The invited speaker was to have been Lieutenant General William G. Boykin (retired), who served as the United States Deputy Under Secretary of Defense for Intelligence, and was a longtime commander of Special Operations forces. He has played a role in almost every recent major American military operation, including Grenada, Somalia, and Iraq. He is also a devout Christian believer. It is therefore fitting he would be invited to address those gathered to pray for our nation.
Well, not so fast. General Boykin also believes that radical Islam is a grave threat to the United States. The New York Times observed that General Boykin has “harshly anti-Muslim views.” Among the General’s views is that Islam is a “totalitarian way of life.”
Liberal veterans’ groups, purported civil liberties advocates (oh, wait, is there an irony here?), and Muslim organizations, including CAIR (the Council of American Islamic Relations), have objected to General Boykin’s attendance at the prayer breakfast. The Forum on the Military Chaplaincy (a liberal group of retired military chaplains), the Military Religious Freedom Foundation and CAIR have made public appeals to the Pentagon to cancel the General’s appearance. In a letter to West Point’s superintendent, one liberal veterans group demanded that the invitation be revoked, and wrote that General Boykin’s “incendiary rhetoric regarding Islam” was “incompatible with Army values” and would “put our troops in danger.” So, I suppose that according to that veterans’ group, the radical Islamists and Taliban would hate us especially a lot rather than merely a lot if General Boykin prays with the cadets and faculty at West Point.
General Boykin, after a conversation with senior West Point officials, has withdrawn his acceptable to speak at the prayer breakfast. By withdrawing, General Boykin has made the focus of the prayer breakfast on God, and not on him. In that, he has chosen to follow the biblical admonition of Hebrews 12:14: “Make every effort to live in peace with all men.”
If you wish to contact the West Point Superintendant, Lieutenant General David H. Huntoon, Jr., his office number is 1.845.938.4200. I already have let his office know that freedom of speech works both ways, and that West Point’s decision to disinvite General Boykin makes a mockery of and ridicules its time-honored motto of “Duty, Honor, Country.”