We believe in God the Father
We believe in Jesus Christ
We believe in the Holy Spirit
And He’s given us new life
We believe in the crucifixion
We believe that He conquered death
We believe in the resurrection
And He’s coming back again, we believe
It didn’t take too long for Michael “Mikey” Weinstein’s research assistant, Chris Rodda, to pen a diatribe criticizing the US Air Force Band’s “flash mob” kick-off to the Christmas season. As is her typical style, she wrote an 800 word passive-aggressive narrative without ever really saying why she was writing it, other than a vague objection to “religiosity” on the part of the Air Force.
Near the end, though, she finally cut to the chase:
I’ll bet there are some Islamic extremists out there who are also being quite “inspired” by these viral videos of mobs of uniformed U.S. military personnel belting out lines like “Joy to the world! The Lord is come. Let earth receive her King!,” “Joy to the world! the Savior reigns,” and “This, this is Christ the king!”
Way to go, U.S. Air Force Band!
Ah! So the MRFF thinks that if Islamic extremists will hate America Continue reading
While recent changes in Air Force regulations and a favorable congressional hearing have given some groups a positive perception of the direction of religious liberty in the US military, it is worth noting that even that trend isn’t universal, and it hasn’t reversed some of the damage done over the past few years.
Naval Support Activity (NSA) Bahrain recently kicked off the holiday season with its traditional tree lighting — absent one of its longstanding traditions. In 2012, Jason Torpy — an atheist and former Army officer — single-handedly persuaded the US Navy to ban a children’s “live Nativity” from the tree lighting ceremony.
The reason? According to Torpy, the kids
threaten[ed] US security and violat[ed] the Constitution.
It was probably “easier” for the Navy to surrender to Torpy and remove the children’s event rather than try to defend it for its positive value. Thus, plastic baby Jesus Continue reading
In a scandal surprisingly little-reported by the mainstream press, a US Army aviator and commander was fired, reprimanded, forced to meet a retention board, and now faces a forced retirement — because he intervened when two uniformed officers participated in a “full blown make out session” on the dance floor during a unit formal ball.
The two officers were homosexual.
He has now filed a lawsuit saying but for that fact, the commander would not be facing the end of his career.
Two years ago, LtCol Christopher Downey intervened when he was notified that two female officers on the dance floor were acting inappropriately — and they were becoming the focus of an increasing number of cameras and cell phones. (The behavior was described several ways, including “French kissing,” “grabbing each other’s butts,” and a “full-blown make out session.”) Having just returned from commanding the unit in Afghanistan, where Continue reading
Update: Chaplain Lawhorn’s attorney responds to the Army characterization here, and Chaplain Lawhorn says
As is the case with every endeavor or circumstance in my life, my ultimate intention will be to bring honor to God. To that end, I will be praying and pursuing as this case and these circumstances continue to evolve.
The Army responded to the outcry over the story of US Army Chaplain (Capt) Joe Lawhorn being punished for sharing his personal story of battling with depression by saying he wasn’t, in fact, punished:
Maj. Gen. Scott Miller, commanding general of the Maneuver Center of Excellence, [said] in a statement on Friday: “A local letter of concern is not punishment. Rather, it is an administrative counseling tool, with no long-term consequences.”
So the Army is saying that an officer was ordered to report in to his boss’s boss, was told he was violating US Army regulations, and was told his personnel record would reflect this adverse response — but he wasn’t being punished?
Whether it is “punishment” within the military lexicon is ultimately irrelevant. The Army officially responded negatively to a chaplain only because an atheist complained that the chaplain said something religious — even when there was nothing wrong with him saying something religious. The chaplain’s lawyer maintains the official negative response is inconsistent with military regulations and the US Constitution — charges to which the Army has not yet responded.
The chaplain’s ecclesiastical endorser has likewise asked the commander to rescind the letter.
Upon hearing that Michael “Mikey” Weinstein would be testifying at a congressional hearing on religious liberty in the military, atheist activist and former Army Captain Jason Torpy had a particularly biting retort:
When will the reasonable voices get their day in Congress?
Given that Weinstein is so often accused of being an atheist, and given the core ideologies (if not the methodologies) of Torpy and Weinstein generally align, it is interesting to see Torpy’s sharp response.
On the other hand, it should not be entirely surprising. There has been bad blood between the MAAF and MRFF (particularly Chris Rodda) for some time.
It turns out Weinstein and his acolytes can be so vitriolic and derisive they alienate even those who agree with them. And if you’re an ally with the gall to criticize the MRFF’s methods, they might even turn that vitriol on you…
Chuck Holton, a former Army Ranger and author of A More Elite Soldier, in a recent interview:
“The military is being turned into this great social experiment and they’re not being allowed to go out and accomplish their mission – which is to defeat the enemy,” he said.
“Now they’re being told, ‘You have to defeat the enemy, but you have to do it without actually offending them,’” he said.
More at CBN News.
“After organizing, planning, and coordinating a Strong Bonds retreat for his Battalion soldiers that was to begin Friday, 12 September 2014, the…chaplain was notified [on] 10 Sept. a same-sex couple had just signed up for the retreat. Chaplains [of this faith group] cannot participate in such events because their historical, orthodox Christian theology and beliefs do not recognize same-sex marriages. To participate in events that in any way legitimize such unions is a violation of [their] statement of faith and doctrine.
“The…chaplain reported the problem to his commanding officer and suggested the couple be asked if they would prefer to attend a Strong Bonds retreat conducted by a chaplain who could specifically minister to their specific same-sex needs, a practice used by other chaplains in similar situations. The commander agreed. But the brigade chaplain, after being briefed on the situation, told the…chaplain (a) he could not ask the same-sex couple if they would prefer an alternative and (b) another chaplain would replace the…chaplain.
“When the…chaplain informed his commanding officer another chaplain would be conducting the retreat because he would be unable to attend it, the commander’s initial reaction was he wanted his chaplain to conduct the retreat and told the chaplain he would be fired if he could not do that. That threat Continue reading
Update: Chaplain Lawhorn’s initial LOC is now available, and, as reported, it hinges entirely on (subsequently rescinded) violations of two regulations — and this interesting justification:
As a result, an individual in attendance wrote an article about the event on http://militaryatheists.org.
It would be interesting to see the Army cite a regulation that supports action against a Soldier because “a person wrote an accusation on the internet…”
Update: Now covered at the Army Times, the Christian Post, the Gospel Herald, the Daily Caller, and Opposing Views. Atheist Jason Torpy responded to the “evangelical backlash” over his accusations against the Army.
The Liberty Institute is now representing a chaplain who was punished by the US Army for mentioning his faith during a unit training day:
On November 20, 2014, Chaplain Lawhorn conducted suicide prevention training [in which he] discussed his own personal struggles and how he used the Bible to successfully combat his depression. One of the soldiers in attendance complained to an atheist group about Chaplain Lawhorn’s presentation. In response…Colonel David G. Fivecoat, issued Chaplain Lawhorn a Letter of Concern alleging that Chaplain Lawhorn “advocated for…Christianity and used Christian scripture and solutions” and therefore violated Army regulations.
The complaint was shepherded by atheist and former Army Captain Jason Torpy, who published the complaint online 24 hours after the event — meaning it was public even before the Army had a chance to respond. The Army may also have been influenced by the publication of the “scandal.”
In a seeming admission the commander might have gone too far, Col Fivecoat apparently called Army Chaplain (Capt) Joseph Lawhorn back Continue reading
The Commanders of the ships of the 13 United Colonies are to take care that divine services be performed twice a day on board and a sermon preached on Sundays, unless bad weather or other extraordinary accidents prevent.
That’s how the Navy chaplaincy began in 1775.
It seems times have changed a bit, haven’t they?
Wheaton College — an unabashedly Christian university — has had an ROTC program since a few years after the close of World War II. Wheaton requires its faculty to be of the Christian faith, a requirement also levied upon its ROTC instructor, as the instructor is considered to be a member of the Wheaton faculty (though they are paid by the US military, not the school).
When the position of ROTC instructor was recently advertised among Army officers, the “must be of Christian faith” requirement caught the attention of a Soldier who pointed it out to Michael “Mikey” Weinstein’s MRFF. Weinstein was typically unmoved [emphasis added]:
Wheaton and its fundamentalist Christian ROTC unit are to the United States Constitution what a dog with a full bladder Continue reading
While “spouse groups” in the Air Force are technically gender-neutral, the fact remains they are often perceived as re-labeled “wives groups.” They are made up almost exclusively of women who are married to male military members. That leaves male spouses as a potentially underserved minority.
A male spouse at Aviano experienced the results of that long “history”:
Spouses are often assumed to be women and at a commander’s convention with his wife, Lt. Col. Rosie Duarte, the 31st Force Support Squadron commander, there was no exception. When spouses received their gift at the end of the event, [John] Duarte got what every spouse did — a broach.
Duarte decided to found a new group — which is explicitly male. He Continue reading
Are there too few atheists buried at Normandy?
It’s an interesting way to phrase the complaints about crosses and Stars of David when they pertain to representations of the iconic cemeteries of American soldiers in Europe.
Quoted in a Washington Times article by Valerie Richardson entitled “Anti-religion group gripes about lack of atheists buried at Normandy,” Sam Grover of the Freedom from Religion Foundation had this to say:
“It is unfortunate that the iconic headstones at the Normandy cemetery do such a poor Continue reading
This, this is Christ the King,
Whom shepherds guard and angels sing:
Haste, haste to bring Him laud,
The babe, the son of Mary.
Continuing a tradition begun last year, the US Air Force Band “flash mobbed” the Smithsonian and performed What Child is This? and Carol of the Bells, to the delight of the crowd:
The Air Force Times Flightlines blog noted that the official Air Force Band website said the first song was Greensleeves. While Greensleeves is the same tune as What Child is This?, the vocalists were clearly singing the lyrics to the latter.
Military members can Continue reading
The Air Force announced Tuesday that Capt William DuBois was killed when his F-16 crashed “in the Middle East” in support of Operation Inherent Resolve. Officially, the crash was declared not combat related and was said not to have occurred in Iraq or Syria. CNN reported it occurred in Jordan.
As with all such incidents, the Air Force will investigate the cause. The crash follows another recent fatal crash out of Tyndall AFB just last month.