The church at Kings Bay Naval Base before the shutdown and before the doors were locked. (Happy Hour)
The Obama Administration shut down Catholic Services at the Kings Bay Naval Submarine Base in Georgia. The church was also locked down. The Thomas More Law Center reported:
In the wake of the government shutdown, despite provisions in the Pay Our Military Act, Catholics at Kings Bay Naval Submarine Base in Georgia are being denied religious services. The Catholic priest who serves this community has been prohibited from even volunteering to celebrate Holy Mass without pay, and was told that if he violated that order, he could be subject to arrest. Protestant services continue to take place. Only Catholic services have been shutdown.
This is an astonishing attack on religious freedom by the federal government, and the latest affront towards the military since the beginning of the shutdown.
As a result, the Thomas More Law Center (TMLC), a national public interest law firm based in Ann Arbor, MI, today, filed a federal lawsuit in the United States District Court for the District of Columbia.
The lawsuit was filed on behalf of Father Ray Leonard, a Catholic priest contracted to serve as base chaplain and Fred Naylor, one of Father Leonard’s parishioners and a retired veteran with over 22 years of service. Fr. Leonard is a civilian Catholic Pastor contracted by the Department of Defense (DoD) to serve as a military chaplain at Kings Bay Naval Submarine Base in Georgia.
Fr. Leonard, who served Tibetan populations in China for 10 years, informed the court in an affidavit, “In China, I was disallowed from performing public religious services due to the lack of religious freedom in China. I never imagined that when I returned home to the United States, that I would be forbidden from practicing my religious beliefs as I am called to do, and would be forbidden from helping and serving my faith community.”