Homosexual “Christian Embassy” Unlikely to Face Criticism

A few years ago, Michael “Mikey” Weinstein filed a complaint about a promotional video for Christian Embassy, a ministry that seeks to serve senior level government officials, including military leaders. The gist of the “problem” was that uniformed military officers appeared in the video speaking positively about the role of Christian Embassy in their lives.

The result was an investigation by the Inspector General that determined the officers improperly implied military endorsement of Christian Embassy because they appeared on camera, in uniform, and spoke highly of the organization.

While Weinstein was disappointed that his primary complaint had been ignored (he claimed the officers were illegally promoting religion, and the IG disagreed), he was pleased that they’d been found ‘guilty’ of something. He and his assistant Chris Rodda would continue to cite this case and the ‘wear of the uniform/endorsement’ mantra for the next several years. Each time, they made the case that a Christian could not speak of his faith in uniform, because to do so was to imply government endorsement.

In the intervening years, another organization has arisen that has discovered the power of the military uniform.

The American Military Partner Association (AMPA) has used uniformed military members to advocate for legislation as well as “endorse” Continue reading

Mohler: This is How Religious Liberty Dies

[The New York Times editorial said] “The freedom to exercise one’s religion is not under assault in Indiana, or anywhere else in the country. Religious people — including Christians, who continue to make up the majority of Americans — may worship however they wish and say whatever they like.”

There you see religious liberty cut down to freedom of worship. The freedom to worship is most surely part of what religious liberty protects, but religious liberty is not limited to what happens in a church, temple, mosque, or synagogue.

That editorial represents religious liberty redefined before our eyes…

Read more.

Soldier Tried to Join ISIS, but Only Christians are Threats

Last month, the Los Angeles Times (repeated at the Stars and Stripes) noted that an Illinois National Guard Soldier was arrested in the Chicago airport as he attempted to leave the country to join ISIS:

Hasan [Edmonds] told the [undercover] agent he had been a member of the U.S. Army National Guard for three years, and had converted to Islam at some point during that time, according to the criminal complaint.

…The cousins met with a second undercover FBI agent and discussed an assault on the base where Hasan Edmonds had been training, the complaint said.

The article notes this isn’t the first time a Continue reading

Sailors Answer Call to Service, Call of God

An official Navy story from Recruit Training Command goes into great detail about the baptism of some Seaman Recruits during Navy boot camp:

When Seaman Recruit (SR) Antonio Brown, SR Christina Ferrer and SR Shaina Moore answered the call to service by joining the Navy, they also answered the call of God and were baptized March 26, while in boot camp at Recruit Training Command (RTC), Great Lakes.

Joining them were SR Amanda Becerra, SR Jonathon Ingles, and SR Jonathan Jenkins who served as witnesses as well as participants in a rededication ceremony making a public declaration of their own faith.

One of the recruits extolled Continue reading

Congressman Collins Backs Fired Navy Chaplain Modder

A variety of media outlets continue to cover the story of Navy Chaplain (LtCmdr) Wes Modder, who was removed from his unit after complaints that he made offensive statements in counseling.

At the Daily Signal, Kelsey Harkness notes there are actually two chaplains facing sanction right now. Besides Modder, Army Chaplain (Capt) Joe Lawhorn was also punished for telling personal stories involving his faith; his story has faded somewhat from the press, but it is still ongoing.

Rep. Doug Collins, R-Ga., the only U.S. congressman to also serve as an Air Force Reserve chaplain, believes the military has gone too far in punishing Modder and others like him.

“It’s First Amendment rights for a reason,” Collins told The Daily Signal in an exclusive interview. “Not because you agree with it.”

Rep Collins went further, repeating Continue reading

Aviano on Challenge Coins

Aviano Air Base, Italy, becomes the most recent base to publish a story on the military tradition of “challenge coins.”

The true history of the challenge coin dates back to World War I, when an American pilot was shot down and captured in Germany.

While escaping from the grasp of the Germans, the pilot made his way to France, where they believed he was a spy and sentenced him to be executed. To prove his identity and save his life, he revealed a bronze medallion with his flying squadron’s emblem, confirming that he was an American pilot. The French spared his life and celebrated by giving him a bottle of wine instead.

The story is Continue reading

Jimmy Fallon on Martin-Baker Tie Club (Video)

Last week The Tonight Show host Jimmy Fallon explained his discovery of the Martin-Baker tie club — the “elite” group of people who have the unique honor of taking the one-way trip on a Martin-Baker ejection seat and surviving.

Fallon’s father-in-law ejected from an F-8C Crusader on 9 Sep 1961, and Fallon tells an interesting tale of happening upon a watch shop that makes watches only for Martin-Baker tie club members.

Fallon presented his father-in-law the watch during the bit. He finished with “Thank you for your service. And thank you for your daughter.”

Via the Stars and Stripes.

Linell Letendre Named USAFA Law Department Head (Video)

USAF LtCol Linell Letendre has been named as a new permanent professor to “lead the law department” for the US Air Force Academy:

“Lt. Col. Letendre’s selection for permanent professor indicates the trust placed in her by those who lead our nation,” said Brig. Gen. Andrew Armacost, the Academy’s dean of the faculty. “Her impeccable record of service and dedication to education will strengthen the Academy and nation as we strive to develop leaders of character.”

Ordinarily such a staffing decision hardly rates notice, much less an official press release, but the status of permanent professor at a military academy requires Senate approval and bestows a permanent rank of Colonel, making it somewhat notable.

Potentially more notable, however, are LtCol Letendre’s unique qualifications. Far from being an unknown JAG, Letendre has become a veritable “go to” legal officer in cases involving religion or homosexuality (or both).
LtCol Linell Letendre
In 2007, she and retired US Army Major David Fitzkee (also a USAFA law professor) co-authored a paper in the Air Force Law Review entitled “Religion in the Military: Navigating the Channel Between the Religion Clauses“. This paper was called a “definitive work” on the subject. As noted previously, Fitzkee wrote an abridged and updated version of this same article in 2012, and both works contained strong positive and strong negative statements on regarding military religious freedom.

Their paper was subsequently published again in Attitudes Aren’t Free, a collection put together by then-LtCol James Parco (an avowed supporter of Michael “Mikey” Weinstein and frequent critic of Christians in the US Air Force).

Letendre was also the legal advisor to US Army General Carter Ham while he was co-chair of the controversial Comprehensive Review Working Group tasked to assess the impact of repealing the policy known as “Don’t Ask, Don’t Tell.”

Letendre’s advice Continue reading

Jewish Troops Celebrate Passover in Afghanistan

Passover Seder in Afghanistan
US troops stationed in Kandahar, Afghanistan, were recently given the opportunity to celebrate Passover:

Deployed Jewish service members in Afghanistan continue to celebrate their traditions by observing holidays, adhering to dietary laws, and practicing their faith…

The celebration was led by a chaplain from nearby Bagram AB, Army Chaplain (Capt) Karyn Berger, is one of only two female Rabbis in the US Army.

The article notes that Navy LtCmdr Mahmoud Ahmed, who is Muslim, also attended the Jewish Seder.

The US military Continue reading

Air Force Closes Door on Mikey Weinstein

The American Family Association recently highlighted the prior story about the Air Force re-issuing its Weinstein Guidance — essentially slamming the door on activist Michael “Mikey” Weinstein.

Notably, Weinstein himself seems to have provided evidence the door really was shut — across the Air Force.

On Monday, 23 March, Weinstein distributed an “open letter” demanding that Col Mark Slocum — commander of the 4th Fighter Wing at Seymour Johnson AFB, NC — stop saying his Airmen were “doing the Lord’s work over there.”

Yes, Mikey Weinstein really had a problem with that euphemism, claiming Col Slocum’s use of “this unlawful phrase” placed him

in violation of [his] oath to the United States Constitution and USAF Instructions…

Weinstein demanded a reply, post haste:  Continue reading

US Marine Court-Martialed for Bible Quotes on Desk

In an apparently unreported story, a US Marine was court-martialed for, among other things, refusing to remove Biblical quotes taped to her desk. The “among other things” part may explain why the case hasn’t attracted much attention.  If the description in the court’s ruling was accurate, the Marine had quite a few “issues” beyond taping quotes to her desk.

However, to the relevant portion of US v Sterling (available here through a restricted access Lexis portal), as documented by the US Navy-Marine Corps Court of Criminal Appeals:

In May of 2013, the appellant’s duties included sitting at a desk and utilizing a computer to assist Marines experiencing issues with their Common Access Cards. The appellant printed three copies of the biblical quote “no weapon formed against me shall prosper”…cut the quotes to size and taped one along the top of the computer tower, one above the computer monitor on the desk, and one above the in-box. The appellant testified that she is a Christian and that she posted the quotation in three places to represent the Christian trinity.

The Marine was ordered by Continue reading

Congress Questions Navy’s Treatment of Chaplain Modder

Members of Congress have written a letter (PDF) to the Secretary of the Navy asking for details on why US Navy Chaplain (LtCmdr) Wes Modder is facing adverse action for his religious beliefs [emphasis added]:

Our understanding is that Chaplain Modder’s commanding officer has requested that Chaplain Modder be Detached for Cause after a Sailor at the Naval Nuclear Power Training Command complained about Chaplain Modder’s views on pre-marital sex and homosexuality…

These beliefs on sexual intimacy do not constitute a legally viable reason to bring action against Chaplain Modder or any member of the military… It is dangerous to fall prey to the fundamentally false proposition that individuals who support natural marriage can only be motivated by animus for others.

Realize that these are the members of Congress who wrote the law they are now explaining to the Navy. They’re telling the Navy Continue reading

LtCol Robert Hite, Doolittle Raider, Dies at 95

Robert Hite as a POW after the Doolittle Raid

LtCol Robert Hite, one of the last three living Doolittle Raiders, died Sunday at the age of 95.  Hite was a POW of the Japanese after the raid for the remainder of the war, until his camp was liberated three years later in 1945.

With his death, LtCol Richard “Dick” Cole and SSgt David Thatcher are the last two of the 80 men who participated in the daring raid on Tokyo.

Navy Issues Restraining Order against Chaplain Modder

In a rather surprising development, US Navy CAPT J.R. Fahs issued a “No Contact Order” (essentially, a restraining order) prohibiting Navy Chaplain (LtCmdr) Wes Modder from ministering to — or even communicating with — the Sailors he formerly served:

When a sailor in Modder’s previous unit unexpectedly died…Modder was about to reach out to the sailor’s grieving family when he was stopped by a member of the command.

He was slapped with a “no contact” order – the Navy’s version of a restraining order – banning him from providing counsel or ministering to any members of his unit.

The order also reportedly banned Chaplain Modder from even entering the base on the day of the memorial service.

Liberty Institute attorney Mike Berry said the Navy Continue reading

Critics Falsify Congressman’s “So Help Me God” Bill

Several critics — primarily on the liberal-leaning, anti-religious freedom side — have laid into US Congressman Sam Johnson (R-Tx) for his “Preserve and Protect God in Military Oaths Act of 2015″ — and it is abundantly clear that none of them actually read the proposed bill.

Most of the critics portrayed the act as some version of requiring enlisting military members to “pledge to God” during their military oaths — something that recalls issues with the US Air Force and Air Force Academy in 2013. One employee of the Air Force Academy summed up much of the criticism when he tweeted to the Congressman (thick with irony):

What part of “Congress shall make no law respecting an establishment of religion” did you miss, sir?

You are in Congress. You are sponsoring a bill to establish Christianity as a state religion. Have you READ the Constitution?

— Phoenix Blue (@Phoenix_Blue) March 23, 2015

Similarly, an astonishingly ignorant Michael “Mikey” Weinstein claimed Continue reading