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Pentagon’s top general apologizes for appearing alongside Trump in Lafayette Square

The Post story begins by reporting this:

The Pentagon’s top general apologized on Thursday for appearing alongside President Trump near the White House after authorities forcibly removed peaceful protesters from the area, saying that it “was a mistake that I have learned from.”

Gen. Mark A. Milley, the chairman of the Joint Chiefs of Staff, made the remarks in a prerecorded graduation speech to students at the National Defense University. He has been roundly criticized for thrusting the military into politics by walking alongside the president on June 1 as Trump traveled on foot to a nearby church that had been damaged during protests following the police killing of George Floyd.

Milley advised the students that it is important to keep “a keen sense of situational awareness” and that he had failed to do so as he walked from Lafayette Square in combat fatigues alongside the president, Defense Secretary Mark T. Esper and other senior advisers.

Here is an earlier headline from the Washington Post:

St. John’s Episcopal Church, historic church next to the White House, set on fire during protests

To be clear, yes, of course, Gen. Milley is a patriot who has served his country well. But let’s cut to the chase.

Religious liberty is enshrined in the First Amendment to the Constitution thusly, bold print for emphasis supplied:

Congress shall make no law respecting an establishment of religion, or prohibiting the free exercise thereof.

Burning a church is an attempt to prohibit the free exercise of religious liberty. It is the most fundamental of a president’s responsibilities to defend religious liberty — as the Constitution says. There is nothing — nothing — either wrong or unusual about a president traveling to a church or defending religious liberty. In fact, it is a president’s constitutional duty to defend religious liberty, as he is sworn to defend the Constitution in his oath of office.

On June 26, 2015, President Obama traveled to Charleston, South Carolina, to honor those killed in the racist assault on the Emanuel African Methodist Episcopal Church. In fact, as is standard procedure, he was accompanied by members of the military assigned to the White House Military Office. Said the president as he discussed the importance of churches, bold print for emphasis supplied:

The church is and always has been the center of African-American life — a place to call our own in a too often hostile world, a sanctuary from so many hardships.

Over the course of centuries, black churches served as “hush harbors” where slaves could worship in safety; praise houses where their free descendants could gather and shout hallelujah — rest stops for the weary along the Underground Railroad; bunkers for the foot soldiers of the Civil Rights Movement. They have been, and continue to be, community centers where we organize for jobs and justice; places of scholarship and network; places where children are loved and fed and kept out of harm’s way, and told that they are beautiful and smart — and taught that they matter. That’s what happens in church.

That’s what the black church means. Our beating heart. The place where our dignity as a people is inviolate. When there’s no better example of this tradition than Mother Emanuel — a church built by blacks seeking liberty, burned to the ground because its founder sought to end slavery, only to rise up again, a Phoenix from these ashes.

Read the rest at: General has to go!

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