RELIGION
07/03/2010 05:12 am ET | Updated May 25, 2011

Congressman Wants Investigation Of Petagon's Disinvitation of Evangelical Leaders

By Adelle M. Banks
Religion News Service

(RNS) A Republican congressman from Georgia has called for a congressional investigation into possible "clerical censorship" after two prominent evangelical leaders were disinvited from military prayer events.

In a letter to the House Armed Services Committee, Rep. Jack Kingston cited recent incidents involving evangelist Franklin Graham and Family Research Council President Tony Perkins.

"It appears the Pentagon is systematically weeding out preachers and leaders of the clergy who give messages and sermons that might ruffle feathers," Kingston said in a statement.

Army leaders decided Graham, who has called Islam an "evil and wicked religion," should not speak at a Pentagon National Day of Prayer observance this Thursday (May 6), saying his past statements were inconsistent with the event's "inclusiveness."

Andrews Air Force Base withdrew an invitation for Perkins, who opposes lifting a ban on openly gay members of the military. He planned to speak at a National Prayer Luncheon in February but officials said statements on his website were "incompatible" with the role of military members.

Perkins welcomed the call for an investigation. Graham could not be reached for comment.

"DOD should stand for the Department of Defense--not the Department of Disinvitation of Bible-believing Christians," Perkins said.