Did Obama Forbid Military Personnel from Speaking at Faith-Based Events?

Netlore Archive

Is President Obama really trying to stop soldiers from speaking out on religious matters and keep military personnel out of church? Viral text circulating since 2009 claims Obama initiated a policy forbidding U.S. military personnel to speak at faith-based public events.

Description: Viral rumor
Circulating since: May 2009
Status: False (see details below)

Email text contributed by Jim W., May 26, 2009:

I wanted to give ya'll some disturbing information on our wonderful president.

I work with the Catch-A-Dream Foundation (http://www.catchadream.org/) which provides hunting and fishing trips to childen with life-threatening illnesses. It is a great program needless to say. This past weekend we had our annual banquet/fundraiser event in Starkville . As part of the program, we had scheduled Sgt. 1st Class Greg Stube, a highly decorated U.S. Army Green Beret and inspirational speaker who was severely injured while deployed overseas and didn't have much of a chance for survival. Greg is stationed at Ft. Bragg and received permission from his commanding officer to come speak at our function. Everything was on go until Obama made a policy that NO U.S. SERVICEMAN CAN SPEAK AT ANY FAITH-BASED PUBLIC EVENTS ANYMORE. Needless to say, Greg had to cancel his speaking event with us. Didn't know if anyone else was aware of this new policy. Wonder what kind of news we all will receive next?

Charlie Stokes
Area Agronomy Agent/County Director
MSU Extension Service
517 Hwy. 145 N. Ste. 1
Aberdeen, MS 39730

Analysis: Though the above message does refer to an actual event, namely the cancellation of Army Sgt. First Class Gregory Stube's speaking engagement at a May 2009 fundraising event for the Catch-A-Dream Foundation, the explanation given for that cancellation is incorrect.

No policy changes regarding the participation of military personnel in "faith-based public events" have been initiated by President Obama or his administration to date.

According to a May 16, 2009 report in the Starkville Daily News, Catch-A-Dream executive director Marty Brunson laid the cancellation to a Dept. of Defense policy preventing military personnel from speaking at any charitable fundraising events, faith-based or otherwise.

Brunson said the decision was passed down to him by Carol Darby, spokesperson for the U.S. Army Special Operations Command in Fort Bragg.

Also, while the Catch-A-Dream Foundation's website does feature Biblical references and speaks of exposing sick children to the "wonders of God" through outdoor activities, it isn't officially a faith-based organization.

Sources and further reading:

New DOD Policy Forces Change in Speaker for Banquet
Starkville Daily News, 16 May 2009

Last updated: 05/28/09