A senior U.S. army chaplain has come under attack for emailing a copy of John Piper’s e-book “Coronavirus and Christ” to 22 lower-ranking chaplains. The group is seeking to have the senior army chaplain disciplined and quite possibly court-martialed.
Senior Chaplain Col. Moon H. Kim is the command chaplain of U.S. Army Garrison Humphreys in South Korea. It’s the largest U.S. military base in international territory.
In an effort to encourage and help other U.S. army chaplains, Kim emailed an “unsolicited” PDF copy of “Coronavirus and Christ” to 35 chaplains on April 29. Kim’s email said he wanted to share the short book with others during this difficult time.
“This book has helped me refocus my sacred calling to my savior Jesus Christ to finish strong,” Kim wrote. “Hopefully this small booklet would help you and your Soldiers, their Families, and others who you serve.”
The Military Religious Freedom Foundation (MRFF), which advocates for the separation of church and state within the military, claims that Piper’s book teaches that coronavirus is God’s judgment of sin.
“The book, pushing the belief that the Coronavirus is God’s judgment, is written by fundamentalist Christian preacher and author John Piper. It singles out, among other things, ‘the sin of homosexual intercourse’ as a deserving ‘due penalty.'”
MRFF also takes exception to Piper’s words in Chapter 7 of his book, “Examples of Specific Judgments on Specific Sins.”
The preacher says, “Some people will be infected with the coronavirus as a specific judgment from God because of their sinful attitudes and actions. Although not all suffering is a specific judgment for specific sins, some is.”
MRFF also contends that Kim’s distribution of Piper’s book was “clearly meant as a full-fledged endorsement and validation of what the book… proclaims.”
MRFF Founder Mikey Weinstein wrote, “Thus, especially to the recipients of his shocking email, Chaplain (Colonel) Kim is likewise endorsing and validating the very same dictates as established by the author of this book.”
Additionally, Piper’s view of “Predestination” is severely problematic, according to Weinstein. It implies God sent something as deadly as coronavirus.
The First Liberty Institute (FLT), an organization that defends the First Amendment rights of the military, is providing Kim with free legal representation. Mike Berry, the organization’s general counsel, believes MRFF is going overboard in its assessment.
“The MRFF is not only going overboard, it’s showing its true colors. It’s asking the Pentagon to punish a chaplain for engaging in constitutionally protected activity. Congress has recently and repeatedly taken actions to protect chaplains to share their religious beliefs.”
Berry is confident FLT can win the case if Kim faces disciplinary action. “First Liberty has won numerous cases similar to this before. Therefore, I’m very confident we would win this one too.”