USAFA’s “Epic” Cadet Chapel

Christoph Morlinghaus' USAFA ChapelPhotographs of the US Air Force Academy’s cadet chapel frequent many collections of architectural wonder and general awe. The work of Christoph Morlinghaus was recently featured in Wired Magazine under the title “Divine photos of America’s most epic churches.” The USAFA cadet chapel was one of those featured.

In an interesting twist from the more common perspective, Morlinghaus took his photograph facing the rear, capturing the grand organ rather than the 50-foot cross at the front of the chapel.

See the article here, Morlinghaus’ website here, and the original photograph here.

USAFA Tops US News Best Colleges

The US Air Force Academy again ranked near the top of the US News & World Reports list of Best Colleges. From the USAFA press release:

The Academy has the nation’s fifth-best undergraduate engineering program, and its second-best aerospace, aeronautical and astronautical program, a position it maintains for the 14th consecutive year. The Academy has the nation’s second-best computer engineering Continue reading

Air Force Oath: “So Help Me God” Optional Again

After seeking guidance from the Department of Defense, the Air Force immediately implemented a policy change making the oath “so help me God” optional during the oaths of office and enlistment.

The Air Force will be updating the instructions for both enlisted and commissioned Airmen to reflect these changes in the coming weeks, but the policy change is effective now. Airmen who choose to omit the words ‘So help me God’ from enlistment and officer appointment oaths may do so.

Secretary of the Air Force Deborah Lee James said the Air Force takes religious freedom seriously:

“We take any instance in which airmen report concerns regarding religious freedom seriously,” Secretary of the Air Force Deborah Lee James said. “We are making the appropriate Continue reading

Evangelical Leaders: Defend Religious Freedom for All

At the American Enterprise Institute’s Evangelical Leadership Summit in Washington, DC, a panel of evangelical leaders advocated for Christians to defend the religious liberty of all, because religious freedom benefits everyone. Panel member Russell Moore of the Southern Baptist Convention’s Ethics and Religious Liberty Commission said

the burden to fight for religious liberties is not just about Judeo-Christian beliefs, but that Evangelicals are called to fight for freedoms for all religious motivations. He also stated that evangelicals should bring back the use of the term “separation of church and state,” but Continue reading

Baylor Editorial Advocates for Transgender Military Service

The student paper of Baylor University, which identifies itself as a Christian university, recently posted an editorial advocating that the US military accept “transgender” individuals into the service. Noting first that Baylor prohibits students from participating in groups that advocate sexuality “contrary to biblical teaching,” the editors of the Baylor Lariat then proceed to advocate for transgenders:

While the Lariat editorial board does not condone this lifestyle, we support any American’s right to serve in the military as long as they are qualified…

The editorial follows a spate of other public advocates of transexuality, including an editorial at the LA Times in July.  The Baylor Lariat may Continue reading

First QF-16 Downed as Target

After it just recently served as a surface-to-air target for the first time, the Air Force announced the first successful downing of the pilotless QF-16 drone:

The first unmanned QF-16 Viper struck down over the Gulf of Mexico Sept. 5 was part of a joint effort between the Test and Training Division at Eglin Air Force Base, Fla., and the 82nd Aerial Target Squadron here at Tyndall.

The QF-16 is slated to eventually replace the current QF-4 full-scale drones.

Congress to Hear Testimony on Military Religious Freedom

A group of military religious freedom supporters — and at least one critic — will appear before the House Armed Services Personnel Subcommittee this week to testify on the state of religious liberty in the US military.

Advocates for military religious freedom invited to the hearing include

  • Michael Berry, Liberty Institute attorney who acted on behalf of cadets at the US Air Force Academy this year
  • Retired Chaplain (Col) Ron Crews, an outspoken advocate for military religious freedom
  • Travis Weber, Director of the Family Research Council’s Center for Religious Liberty, US Naval Academy graduate and former Naval aviator.

Their organizations are also part of the Restore Military Religious Freedom coalition.

On the critics side, Michael “Mikey” Weinstein Continue reading

Chick-fil-A Founder Truett Cathy Dies

Truett Cathy, founder of the privately-held chicken sandwich chain Chick-fil-A, died last week at the age of 93. Cathy led a truly “faith-based” company, even eschewing opening on Sunday to provide his employees time with their families and a day of rest.

His business earned more in six days than other companies did in seven.

Like R.G. LeTourneau, Cathy demonstrated that one can live his life consistent with his faith and still be a successful professional. The Cathys never compromised their values, despite pressure to do so, and yet continued to treat everyone they served and employed with respect.

An uncompromising life for Christ can be a successful life even in this world.

National Anthem Anniversary Recalls Faith in God

This year marks the 200th anniversary of the writing of the Star-Spangled Banner, which was adopted as the US National Anthem in 1931.  Francis Scott Key penned the lyrics in September 1814.

Most are at least familiar with the first stanza; few realize there are actually more words to the song. Tellingly, the song closes with a stanza recalling the Nation’s reliance upon God:

O, thus be it ever when freemen shall stand,
Between their lov’d homes and the war’s desolation;
Blest with vict’ry and peace, may the heav’n-rescued land
Praise the Pow’r that hath made and preserv’d us a nation!
Then conquer we must, when our cause is just,
And this be our motto: “In God is our trust”
And the star-spangled banner in triumph shall wave
O’er the land of the free and the home of the brave!

With reference to the Smithsonian.

Two F/A-18s Lost at Sea, One Pilot Recovered

The US Navy reported two F/A-18Cs crashed while flying from the USS Carl Vinson in the Pacific.

Two F/A-18 Hornets from Carrier Air Wing 17 embarked on the aircraft carrier USS Carl Vinson (CVN 70) crashed at 5:40 p.m. local time, today, while operating at sea in the western Pacific Ocean.

The F/A-18C is the single-seat version of the legacy Hornet. One pilot was “rapidly located” while a search was conducted for the second.  The search was eventually suspended and the pilot, 26-year old Lt. Nathan Poloski, was declared presumed dead.  The aircraft are believed to have collided.

Also at the Military Times (and updated).

Jewish Chaplain Integrates Faith, Military Profession

Chaplain (Capt) Michael Bram made the news as the first Jewish chaplain to serve at Elmendorf since the 1970s:

According to Bram, there are only six Jewish chaplains on active duty in the U.S. Air Force. The first Jewish chaplain at JBER in the last 25 years, Bram said he is used to the curiosity that can surround a man in a uniform and a yarmulke.

“The question I am asked, more than any other question, is, ‘How does it stay on your head?’”

Chaplain Bram has a fascinating story, told at Continue reading

Air Force Seeks DoD Review of Oath

Update: Patrick Vaughn, general counsel for the American Family Association, wrote an article saying “The U.S. Constitution makes it clear: American atheists are not and should not be barred from serving their country through military service.”

Facing scrutiny for its letter-of-the-law requirement that Airmen enlist with “So help me God,” the Air Force has asked the DoD General Counsel to provide an official legal opinion:

The Air Force said Tuesday it was awaiting a legal opinion from the Defense Department’s top lawyer on whether an enlisted airman who’s an atheist can opt out of the phrase “so help me God” in his re-enlistment oath…

“The opinion that we’re seeking will help inform future decisions and the latitude that can be taken with the oath,” Air Force spokeswoman Rose Richeson said Tuesday. “But the Air Force has to comply with law.”

From an objective position, Continue reading

Mikey Weinstein Threatens Lawsuit over Navy Bibles

Riding the coattails of the Freedom From Religion Foundation, Michael “Mikey” Weinstein has threatened to sue the US Navy if it fails to remove Bibles from its lodging rooms:

If the Navy refuses to pull the Bibles “out of every single room,” said Mikey Weinstein of the Military Religious Freedom Foundation, “we are looking to file a federal lawsuit.”

For the record, Weinstein threatens to sue someone at every turn.  It is likely this threat is as empty as virtually all the others.  (He lost the few lawsuits he filed many years ago, further undermining his threats.)

Weinstein’s apparent paranoia was on full display:  Continue reading

Air Force Oath: Atheists Protest Right Thing the Wrong Way

The American Humanist Association — the same group vying for an atheist chaplain — has threatened to sue the Air Force because the military enlistment oath ends in “So help me God,” and an Airman at Creech AFB lined out part of the oath on his enlistment form:

According to the AHA, the unnamed airman was told Aug. 25 that the Air Force would not accept his contract because he had crossed out the phrase “so help me God.”…

That is unconstitutional and unacceptable, the AHA said.

“The government cannot compel a nonbeliever to take an oath that affirms the existence of a supreme being,” Miller said. “Numerous cases affirm that atheists have the right to omit theistic language from enlistment or reenlistment contracts.”

They’re correct. The problem with the AHA’s position is they demonstrated an amazing lack of comprehension of the law — and basic public relations skills.

After three pages of pontificating in their demand letter, the AHA Continue reading

President Proclaims Days of Prayer and Remembrance

President Obama proclaimed 5-7 September “as National Days of Prayer and Remembrance”:

Each year as our Nation mourns, our faith restores us and summons within us the sense of common purpose we rediscovered after the attacks. Prayer and humble reflection carry us forward on the path we travel together…These lasting virtues sustain us not just for one day, but every day.

On this solemn anniversary, let us reaffirm the fundamental American values of freedom and tolerance — values that stand in stark contrast to the nihilism of those who attacked us. Let Continue reading