Update: Amy spokesman LTC Ben Garrett sent TheBlaze the following response on Monday afternoon:
"U.S. Army Chaplain Capt. John McDougall has been made aware of military regulations that prohibit him from wearing a military uniform while promoting his book. His publishing company promptly removed the video from their website last week when the U.S. Army brought the oversight to their attention. A simple 'on the spot correction' and an explanation of the regulations was all that was need to resolve the issue and keep it from happening in the future. We are pleased with their compliance and understanding of Army regulations and requirements."
An Army chaplain has come under fire for appearing in uniform in a promotional video advertising his new Christian book, with at least one activist calling for the active-duty chaplain to be court-martialed for violating military code.
WaterBrook Multnomah Publishing Group
Chaplain John McDougall, who serves with the 75th Ranger Regiment and recently returned home from Afghanistan, published "Jesus Was an Airborne Ranger" — a book that he hopes will introduce readers to "the Warrior Christ" that he sees in the Bible, USA Today reported.
"My desire to write the book came from the realization that the Jesus of many churches is a weakling — someone that our Rangers cannot relate too," McDougall said in a story published on the U.S. Army website. "I wanted to introduce them to the Warrior Christ that I see in the Bible — someone bold, disciplined and unafraid."
But while McDougall was permitted by the Army to write the book, it's a video that is associated with the project that led to controversy and forced the publisher to take the clip offline, as it was not previously approved by the Armed Forces.
McDougall was unavailable for comment on Monday, but Beverly Rykerd, publicity director at WaterBrook Multnomah Publishing Group, explained the situation in a brief statement to TheBlaze.
"When the video was brought to our attention on Thursday, the appropriate action was to take it down," she said. "At this time, we do not have plans to repost it."
In a previous statement to USA Today the publisher said that McDougall regretted appearing in uniform and that he was not speaking for the Army when he did so. Wearing the outfit is a violation of military codes, a spokeswoman told the outlet, as it gives the sense that there's a military endorsement.
"Chaplains are authorized to offer messages endorsing Christianity while in uniform as part of their official faith group religious support duties," Army spokeswoman Tatjana Christian told USA Today. "This video was not a part of those official duties."
The clip offered no caveat stating otherwise, though, in contrast, an article about the book published on the Army website does note that the military is not endorsing McDougall's beliefs or his project; such a caveat makes publishing the article on the government site permissible. The note reads:
"This article highlights the professional work of a member of the 75th Ranger Regiment and is not an official U.S. Army or Department of Defense endorsement of the book, Jesus was an Airborne Ranger. The book reflects the views of the author and not those of the U.S. Government, DoD, or the Army."
Capt. John McDougall (Capt. John McDougall/Army)
Mikey Weinstein, president of the Military Religion Freedom Foundation, an activist group that monitors perceived violations of the First Amendment, told USA Today that he believes McDougall should be court-martialed over the video, as he said that the clip could be used by extremists to play into a narrative that the battles in the Middle East are a Christian vs. Muslim quest.
"This is propaganda of unparalleled proportions for ISIS," Weinstein told the outlet. "This message is going to kill Americans and kill innocents."
(H/T: USA Today)