Our Charitable Mission
The Sovereign Military Order Temple of Jerusalem - a heritage built on God Family Friendship Faith Hope Loyalty Charity Community
SMOTJ – Who We Are
We are modern day Knights Templar of the Sovereign Military Order of the Temple of Jerusalem. We are an Ecumenical Christian and Chivalric charitable Order. We do not claim a direct lineage to the original Knights of the Temple, but we do seek to emulate their positive attributes in our daily lives today. We have adopted two of the original Templar missions of Protecting Christians at Risk particularly in the Holy Land and the Middle East and in Keeping the Road to Jerusalem open to all people as our own.
SMOTJ – Our Mission
The primary charitable mission of SMOTJʼs American Grand Priory (GPUSA) is to support Christians at risk, especially in the Holy Land. For over a decade, extremists have targeted the Christian community there for persecution, and worse, in a manner unlike anything seen in the region for about 150 years. Information on this crisis is presented in the “News” section (see tab above). Christians in past decades constituted about 20% of the population in the Holy Land, but today they number less than 2%. Many have been killed, others have been kidnapped. But most of them fled to other lands. The most common reasons: the risks that many Christian families face living in the Holy Land, and the loss of hope that things will improve.
SMOTJ Charitable Works – Current Allocations
For an extended description of our charitable works please take the time to read our “Current Allocations“ page dedicated to this subject.
Operation Night Flight (operationknightflight.org) – A SMOTJ Charitable Project
Jeremiah Denton’s – Sailor, Senator, Servant – The Denton Amendment (named in honor of former Navy pilot, Vietnam prisoner-of-war and Alabama senator) legislatively passed in 1987. The Denton amendment grants the Secretary of Defense the approval to delegate shipments of humanitarian supplies provided by nongovernmental organizations and nonprofit organizations to nations, without any added cost to the nation receiving supplies or the Department of Defense.
Jeremiah Denton was widely known for enduring almost eight years of grueling conditions as an American prisoner of war (POW) in North Vietnam after the A-6 Intruder he was piloting was shot down in 1965. He was the first of all American POWs held captive and released by Hanoi to step off an American plane during Operation Homecoming in February 1973. As one of the earliest and highest-ranking officers to be taken prisoner in North Vietnam, Denton was forced by his captors to participate in a 1966 televised propaganda interview which was broadcast in the United States. While answering questions and feigning trouble with the blinding television lights, Denton blinked his eyes in Morse code, spelling the word “TORTURE”—and confirming for the first time to U.S. Naval Intelligence that American POWs were being tortured.
In 1980, Denton ran for a U.S. Senate seat from his home state of Alabama. In the primary election, he achieved a surprise victory over the opposing candidate and in doing so, became the first retired Navy admiral elected to the United States Senate.
In 1981, he founded and chaired the National Forum Foundation. Through his National Forum Foundation, Denton arranged shipments of donated goods to countries in need of aid.
The Denton Program was enacted in 1985. Acting as an advisor on Latin American affairs during a communist insurgency taking place in South America, Denton noticed how poverty stricken these countries were. He made a proposal to Congress to allow non-government agencies to use available space on military airlifts to ship cargo to these countries. After Sept. 11, 2001, this included Iraq and Afghanistan as well.
Today, the Denton Program provides transportation for approved humanitarian assistance commodities destined for approved countries that are supported by DoD transportation services, and where civil systems, local infrastructure and the supply chain will support immediate onward distribution of the commodities.
Sources: Wikipedia, Joint Base Charleston Public Affairs, and OHASIS Ha-Transportation website
Operation Night Flight – How We Help
Recognizing the tremendous value that the Denton Program represents to charities seeking to meet Christian material needs worldwide, we wanted to help get the word out about this great program, but because of the many stipulations and requirements within the program, we decided that our extensive military experience, and 30+ years of familiarity with the program, we would be of better service if we could focus our efforts with facilitating and teaching the process to willing charity organizations. To quote the old adage, “Give a man a fish and he has fish for a day, teach a man to fish and he will have fish for a lifetime.” Operation Knight Flight was thus established by constituent Knight and Dames on a pro-bono basis to help with the collection, transportation, and redistribution of humanitarian materials, in order that Middle East Christians (MEC) and other Christians around the world, could be sustained under the auspices of the U.S. Denton Amendment humanitarian military airlift program. Please take the time to visit our dedicated project website located at: operationknightflight.org