General Dempsey Leads ThanksUSA in God Bless America (Video)

General Martin Dempsey, Chairman of the Joint Chiefs of Staff, gave the “keynote speech” at a ThanksUSA gala.  ThanksUSA was founded by an 8 and 10 year old in 2006 as a means to provide scholarships to children and spouses of US troops.

Never one to let a good deed go unpunished, Michael Weinstein will probably soon be calling for the General’s court-martial for “endorsing a non-Federal entity” — especially when Weinstein finds out who’s on their board of directors.

Even better, General Dempsey — widely known for his public singing — concluded the presentation by bringing the entire event to its feet when he led them in “God Bless America,” and chided those who didn’t know the words:

“If you know the song, you should join in, and if you don’t, you should be ashamed of yourself,” [General Dempsey] added.

Despite some tortured interpretations, there’s nothing wrong with praising an organization that has done much for someone personally in the military — or, in General Dempsey’s case, for the military as an institution.  As the top General in the military showed, there’s nothing wrong with praising or supporting organizations that benefit the community — despite claims troops are only allowed to support non-religious organizations. It’s also encouraging — and a bit entertaining — to see the top General of the US Armed Forces leading a group in “God Bless America.”

Seeing a military leader call on God to bless America is like fingers on a chalkboard to Weinstein, though.  We’ll see if Weinstein judges this to be the “right kind” of religious faith in the military, or if he decides to protest…


  • I see that the retired general who launched an investigation into the activities of the late Jim Ammerman, the wacko chaplain endorser, is on this organization’s board. Looks like they do good work.

  • @Chris Rodda
    You mean the investigation that verified Ammerman’s activities were consistent with those normally protected by free speech? Yes, that retired General is one of several on the board.

    It’s just like you to mention an investigation that sounds like it supports your cause, while not mentioning the conclusion of the investigation didn’t. The truth is sometimes hard, isn’t it?

    Of course they do “good work.” It’s a bit surprising to see an employee of the MRFF admit that without demanding their head on a plate for a change. Consistency has never been your strong suit, though.

  • Haha … it really does make you way more upset when MRFF doesn’t have a problem with something than when we do, doesn’t it? I should send you the list of all the things that people have contacted us about over the years that we determined didn’t cross the line. You’d probably lose your mind reading it!

    And, of course, you deliberately obfuscate my point about General Lezy. The OUTCOME of the investigation into Ammerman’s activities is irrelevant. It’s the fact that General Lezy was concerned enough about Ammerman’s bizarre and potentially dangerous behavior that he CALLED FOR the investigation that tells us what kind of person HE is. The fact that the people who conducted the investigation decided that a military chaplain endorser making conspiracy theory videos for the “Prophecy Club” to incite crazy militia groups was just fine had nothing to do with General Lezy.

  • @Chris Rodda
    Highlighting proof of Weinstein’s lack of intellectual integrity and his personal vendetta against faith in the military is not at all upsetting.

    General Lezy was concerned enough about Ammerman’s bizarre and potentially dangerous behavior…

    You are attributing personal motivation without proof. Maybe you’re forgetting that the private conversations you had with the General are not public information. General Lezy’s memorandum only called for a review of the “perception” created by the CFGC.

    You’re also being intellectually lazy: The office of Military Personnel Policy, for which General Lezy was the Deputy Asst Secretary, oversees the Armed Forces Chaplains Board, which handles endorsing agents. Thus, if someone had a complaint about an endorser approved by the AFCB, it would come to his office.

    The fact he chose to authorize a review says nothing about his personal motivation. One could just as easily conclude he authorized the review to eliminate concern — which is what the investigation did. In fact, given that his memorandum emphasized the concern was “perception,” and that it had no effect on the CFGC’s ability to continue to endorse chaplains, that may be a more likely possibility.

    If you have evidence to support your knowledge of the General’s personal motivations, feel free to share it. Otherwise, it looks like you’re just blowing smoke.

  • Umm … yes it would have had an effect on the CFGC’s ability to continue to endorse chaplains! General Lezy just said that removing Ammerman as a chaplain endorser would have no effect on the CFGC chaplain candidates who were already in the process of becoming chaplains at that time to continue the process of become chaplains. Obviously it would have been unfair to the chaplain candidates to stop their careers because of something their chaplain endorser did. And, any reasonable person reading the General’s letter will see that he clearly did more than “authorize” the investigation. He could have dropped it after being advised by general counsel if he believed at that point that that the charges were unfounded, but he didn’t. He chose to go on to the next step – requesting a determination by the AFCB. If your extremely unlikely theory that he might have just been trying to eliminate concern was the case, and the conclusion of the review by general counsel showed that there was no problem, that would certainly have been enough to eliminate concern and he would have ended the investigation right there, not pursued it further as he did.

  • @Chris Rodda
    By your logic, anyone who has ever authorized a review or investigation must believe in and agree with the reason for that review. That’s asinine.

    You also need to re-read the General’s statement about applicant accessions. That’s not the same thing as continuing chaplain candidates.

    It wasn’t a “theory” that the General wanted to clear the “perception.” It was a demonstration that your assertions had no basis in fact — that is, a piece of information with objective reality.

    In other words, you have no evidence, so you’re making stuff up.

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