In 2003, I attended a speech by then-Lt. Gen. Jerry Boykin at a church in Rockville, Md. At the speech, Boykin wore his U.S. Army dress uniform, but made it clear to the crowd that his opinions were his own.
Several months later, NBC military analyst, William Arkin "broke" a story about Boykin. In it, he grossly misrepresented the general's speeches and constructed a giant scandal where there should never have been one. It pays to note that Arkin is a Greenpeace liberal who did one hitch (four years) in a rear-echelon job in the Army more than 30 years earlier.
Boykin was not out of line in what he had been doing, making speeches to religious gatherings while in uniform. He was perfectly within regulations in what he did. Though a subsequent investigation concluded he had neglected to claim some reimbursements for travel and should have made it clearer that he was not speaking in an official capacity, he was never disciplined for what he did.
That may have had something to do with the fact that speaking to civic or religious groups in uniform was a very common occurrance at the time among military flag officers.
The upshot of Arkin's invented controversy has been that the Pentagon has re-written its policies about members of the military participating in political or religious events in any capacity, especially in uniform.
In 2012, presidential candidate Ron Paul caused controversy when he invited an Army corporal to join him on the stage at a rally. That act resulted in Cpl. Jesse Thorsen receiving an official reprimand.
This policy has been taken to the extreme in some parts of the military - I was initially denied a visit to a U.S. military base lasts year because I happen to work for the Christian Broadcasting Network. I was told the following:
"Our policy states that we must not directly or indirectly endorse, or selectively benefit or favor, by participation or cooperation with any private individual, sect, fraternal organization, commercial venture, corporation (whether profit or nonprofit), political group, quasi-religious or ideological movement or be associated with the solicitation of votes in a political campaign."
Never mind the unit this denial came from had previously allowed an embed by Al Jazeera.
Anyway, it's clear the Pentagon has taken a hard line on the endorsement of any ideological movement. Well, except for the Gay rights movement, of course.
Hadn't you heard? This year the military decided to go "all in" in its support of the radical homosexual agenda. Aside from now allowing gays to serve openly in the military, this year the Pentagon celebrated "Gay Pride month" for the first time in its history. In addition, military personnel were allowed (encouraged?) to march in a gay pride parade in San Diego, in which the troops were also invited to party with a group of pornographic filmmakers - in uniform.
So much for not endorsing an ideological movement. More than that, the LBGT movement is openly political.
There are very good reasons for keeping the military non-political. Should servicemembers be allowed to support causes on their own time? Sure. But if Bill Arkin and the mainstream media had a fit over Gen. Boykin's speeches, where is the outrage now?