Texas Senator Ted Cruz, a Republican, has defended a proposed “conscience clause” which would expand religious protections in the military.

The amendment to the National Defense Authorization Act was proposed by Rep. John Fleming, a Republican from Louisiana, and adopted by the House last week.

In a statement, the White House said that it opposed the amendment, now titled Section 530 of the House bill.

“The administration strongly objects to section 530, which would require the Armed Forces to accommodate, except in cases of military necessity, 'actions and speech' reflecting the 'conscience, moral principles, or religious beliefs of the member.' By limiting the discretion of commanders to address potentially problematic speech and actions within their units, this provision would have a significantly adverse effect on good order, discipline, morale and mission accomplishment.”

On Wednesday, Fleming criticized the Obama administration's admonishment, saying that the president is “continuing his war on free speech.”

“With its statement, the White House is now endorsing military reprimands of members who keep a Bible on their desk or express a religious belief,” Fleming said. “That is an outrageous position, but it's what I've come to expect from an administration that is aggressively hostile toward religious beliefs that it deems to be politically incorrect.”

Speaking at the Faith and Freedom Coalition conference on Friday, Cruz also criticized the president.

“We have reports of servicemen and women being told that, 'If you share your faith with others, you will face disciplinary action and perhaps court martial,'” Cruz said. “The idea that we would say to men and women who are risking their lives … that they have to check their First Amendment rights at the door and give up the right to speak the truth and to speak and defend their faith, it's wrong and it's unconstitutional.”

“Congress is acting right now to make very clear in the law that our service men and women don't give up their faith when they sign up to defend this country. The Obama administration has explicitly said it opposes such efforts and has threatened to veto.”

Writing at progressive blog Think Progress, Zack Ford noted that “there is a difference between the religious beliefs a person holds and the actions that [a] person takes.”

“Somehow, conservatives have co-opted the idea that 'faith' is synonymous with condemning people for being gay or openly discriminating against them. In addition to justifying such oppression, this approach insults the many people of faith who do support LGBT equality – or are LGBT themselves,” Ford wrote.