This is the second in a series of articles on military Christians and life priorities. The first addressed the necessity of the priority of God in a Christian’s life, and looked into the potential responses that others may have to that priority. The second priority that a military Christian must consider is that of his family.
The Family Priority
A military Christian’s second priority should be family. The Air Force has generally been regarded as the more “family friendly” of the services, and it continues to recognize that a military member’s family life directly influences the performance of his duties. (Incidentally, November is National Military Family Month, as noted by the Chief Master Sergeant of the Air Force’s recent Enlisted Perspective.) Still, the nature of the military environment virtually ensures that there will be conflict between the military profession and a service member’s family. Read more…
As first noted on the Religion Clause, the Air Force Times reported the opening of a room in the Air Force Academy cadet chapel for Buddhists.
The paper reported that the room “opened Monday.” Notably, Buddhists have had opportunity to use the rooms in the chapel for years, so it is possible that this is simply the first truly dedicated space they have utilized. As noted in the article, dozens of faith and non-faith groups use the chapel facilities.
Often, debates over the role of religion and the military can turn political, since they frequently devolve to the “church/state” debate, which inevitably involves the state. Thus, it is worth noting that the October 10th Airman’s Roll Call highlighted the proper relationship between active duty military members and political activity. The cited regulation is AFI 51-902.
According to reports, Malaysia has issued guidelines for Muslims to observe Islamic rituals while on the International Space Station. This was brought about by the October 10 launch of a Muslim into space.
The situation is interesting to Christians in the US due to the American take on the same subject. In 1969, Madalyn Murray O’Hair of the American Atheists sued NASA (O’Hair v. Paine) after the Apollo 8 crew read the first few verses of Genesis over the air during a broacast (mentioned on the Atheist website here). O’Hair apparently believed that NASA ordered the astronauts to read the Bible in order to show the “godless Communists” that the “Christian US” was better than they, though this ignores the fact that all three Abrahamic religions acknowledge Genesis.
Though the case was dismissed, the “irritant” of the suit caused NASA to advise Buzz Aldrin of the Apollo 11 crew not to mention his observance of communion while in space (IHT). In a manner of speaking, then, O’Hair achieved her objective.
First reported on the Religion Clause.
At the direction of Congress, the Government Accounting Office conducted a study of conscientious objectors, the trends in the military, and the military processes.
A summary of the report, which also contains a link to the full report, indicates that over the past 5 years there have been 425 applications for conscientious objector status; 53% were approved and 44% were denied, with the others having some form of administrative status. Of those that were approved, all but 14 received honorable discharges. The remainder received “general” discharges. Average time for application processing was 7 months.