“We hold these truths to be self-evident, that all men are created equal, that they are endowed by their Creator with certain unalienable Rights…”
“We, therefore, the Representatives of the united States of America, in General Congress, Assembled, appealing to the Supreme Judge of the world for the rectitude of our intentions…”
“And for the support of this Declaration, with a firm reliance on the protection of divine Providence…”
Read the Declaration of Independence at the Archives.gov site.
Last week the ACLJ proclaimed a “major victory” for religious freedom in the US military, citing a belated response finally received from the US Air Force JAG office. More than a month after the National Prayer Breakfast, in which General Craig Olson cited his reliance upon God and Michael “Mikey” Weinstein called for his crucifixion, the Air Force JAG finally responded with a terse, one-paragraph response [emphasis added]:
We have thoroughly reviewed the facts and circumstances involving Maj Gen Olson’s participation in the National Day of Prayer Observance held on May 7, 2015, at the Cannon House Office Building, Washington DC. Maj Gen Olson did not violate Air Force policy by participating in this Congressionally-supported event. His remarks were his own personal opinions and did not represent the views of the United States Air Force.
The letter, dated June 24th, is Read more
David Axe at the blog War is Boring reportedly obtained an Official Use Only report from an Edwards AFB Test Pilot decrying the inability of his F-35 to best the older F-16 it is supposedly intended to replace:
“The evaluation focused on the overall effectiveness of the aircraft in performing various specified maneuvers in a dynamic environment,” the F-35 tester wrote. “This consisted of traditional Basic Fighter Maneuvers in offensive, defensive and neutral setups at altitudes ranging from 10,000 to 30,000 feet…”
“Even with the limited F-16 target configuration, the F-35A remained at a distinct energy disadvantage for every engagement,” the pilot reported.
One potentially saving grace not explicitly described in the blog is the precise type of BFM the two were flying. The blog reported: Read more
US Navy Capt Ronald Ravelo and the USS Abraham Lincoln
The USS Abraham Lincoln, a Nimitz-class nuclear powered aircraft carrier currently undergoing a refurbishment in Virginia, recently held a “Lesbian, Gay, Bisexual, Transgender” celebration. One of the presentations came from Mass Communication Specialist 3rd Class Ryan Wampler, who said
Policies like the repeal of ‘Don’t Ask, Don’t Tell’ propel this Navy to be the finest in the world…I take pride in knowing that I am part of an organization that…is…setting examples for the rest of the country to follow.
It’s unclear how openly accepting homosexuality makes Read more
Jason Torpy, the perpetually (and vicariously) offended atheist and former US Army Captain, complained last week that a US Army Air Assault graduation ceremony included a prayer:
MAAF has obtained a video showing enforced Christian prayer at Air Assault training at Ft Campbell. Trainees are directed to bow their head to graduation prayer and to give a response that sounds like “Amen”.
The 36-second prayer is in the video above.
Torpy complained Read more
Despite the Supreme Court’s reassurance that their ruling would not impact the religious freedom of “religious organizations and persons,” a few groups are now using the ruling to call for an end to Christians in the US military chaplaincy.
Last week, Michael “Mikey” Weinstein yet again highlighted the oxymoronic name of his Military “Religious Freedom” Foundation by claiming that Christian chaplains should be “ousted” merely because of their religious beliefs [emphasis added]: Read more
Update: As Chief Justice John Roberts predicted: Inspired by SCOTUS ruling, polygamous Montana trio applies for wedding license.
While some have hailed the US Supreme Court‘s ruling last week (available in PDF here) that expanded the legal definition of marriage to include homosexuals, few have noted Justice Anthony Kennedy’s careful wording that actually restricted the definition of marriage:
The Fourteenth Amendment requires a State to license a marriage between two people of the same sex and to recognize a marriage between two people of the same sex… Read more
An Iraqi fighter pilot was killed in Arizona while flying with an Air National Guard F-16 unit last week:
An F-16 Fighting Falcon flying with the 162nd Wing, Arizona Air National Guard, crashed at about 8 p.m. June 24, five miles east of Douglas Municipal Airport, Arizona.
A single F-16 Fighting Falcon aircraft that crashed Wednesday night in southern Arizona was being flown by an Iraqi pilot who has been training in the U.S. for four years, an official said Thursday.
The pilot was apparently Brig. Gen. Rafid Mohammed Hassan.
Reporting from an “undisclosed location,” an official Marine article notes the contribution of the Chaplains’ Corps to the mission:
United States service members are warfighters, first and foremost. No matter how impassable the terrain or daunting the enemy, the U.S. armed forces risk their lives to defend the nation and uphold its most fundamental and cherished values. With new missions always on the horizon, and day-to-day stresses weighing on their shoulders, it can become easy to neglect taking time to cultivate, nourish, and refine their spiritual practices.
To help facilitate religious worship and combat feelings of Read more
NPR’s Weekend Edition recently noted the increasing variety of “emblems of belief” that are permitted to adorn headstones provided by the Veterans’ Administration:
Don Murphy spent two decades with the National Cemetery Administration. The VA’s list now has 61 symbols, ranging from crosses to a swirling atom to the hammer of Thor.
MURPHY: If the list continues to grow, that is fine. The VA does not question the individual belief system of any eligible veteran or their spouse or dependent.
There are a few requirements. The icon must be dignified and has to lend itself to being carved in stone, but beyond that, the definition of belief is fairly broad. And according to military chaplain Nickolas Gaines, more and more, that’s how belief is.
VA’s Sandhill Crane
The addition of Thor’s Hammer was noted here a few years ago; that Read more
A local radio host highlighted the Montana Veterans Administration flying a rainbow-colored gay pride flag on its grounds rather than an American flag. Johnny Ginnity, VA director for Montana, said in reply:
I don’t really consider it a flag, it’s really a banner…
I have a mandate that tells me I have to observe the holiday…
Ginnity ultimately defended the gay pride flag in a statement.
The rainbow flag has flown over many US embassies (including Israel, which is relatively liberal on the issue, though the flag has apparently not been raised in any other Middle Eastern country) and even in Afghanistan, as well as in “modified” US flags on US bases.
Also at the Independent Record and the Stars and Stripes.
Chaplain (Capt.) Keith Manry shakes hands with President Barack Obama at the Craig Joint Theater Hospital, Bagram Airfield, Afghanistan.
The Air Force recently announced that Chaplain (Capt) Keith Manry was selected as the Air Force Chaplain Corps Company Grade Officer (CGO) Chaplain of the Year for 2014. Manry is a chaplain for the 341st Missile Wing at Malmstrom AFB, Montana, and he was also recognized for his work as a hospital chaplain at Bagram Airfield, Afghanistan: Read more
An official DoD article describes the voluntary use of yoga at Walter Reed National Military Medical Center for its psychiatry patients:
It appears centuries-old practice involving postures, stretches, meditation and breathing provides benefits today at Walter Reed National Military Medical Center…
The author may not realize it, but by acknowledging yoga as “ancient” the DoD is acceding to yoga’s spiritual elements, as only in recent years have some tried to disconnect the physical aspect of yoga from its spiritual side. On the contrary, it seems Walter Reed is counting on the “mental” side of yoga as well: Read more
The Montgomery Advertiser documented a recent event at the Alabama capital sponsored by the Sanctity of Marriage group, which was organized to support traditional marriage.
The paper recorded approximately 1,000 attendees, which included protesters who were there to support same-sex marriage. Notably, one of the protesters was an Air Force Tech Sgt:
Air Force Tech Sgt. Adria Winlock is also a mother, but she proudly wore a T-shirt that read, “I love my wife.”
“My wife is also in the Air Force stationed in North Carolina … she has two children, I have one, together we have three, we’ve been married for a little under a year,” Winlock said.
Winlock shared her view of those that support marriage as God created it: Read more