Monthly Archives: November 2009

Muslims, as All Americans, Should Continue to Serve

Groups and individuals (and there are several) who have recently proposed banning Muslims from serving in the US military as a result of the Fort Hood massacre are demonstrating naivete and an incorrect understanding of both the military and the US Constitution.

No American citizen should be prohibited from any government role, including military service, purely because of his religious beliefs.

Besides being ludicrous on its face, the enforcement of such a religious ban Continue reading

Christian Radio, Music Group Team for Military Christmas

A national contemporary Christian radio station and Christian music group Big Daddy Weave are teaming up to provide for needy military families this Christmas.

The campaign is inspired by a song on Big Daddy Weave’s 2009 Christmas album Christ is Come.  Called I’ll Be Brave This Christmas, it is sung from the perspective of a little boy who wishes not for presents, but for the safety and return of his father deployed to war.  The song, which will likely be an emotional one for those with men and women in uniform this Christmas, can be heard on the music player on Big Daddy Weave’s website and previewed on Amazon’s sale page for the album.

K-Love is a national radio station that has long sponsored a “Wall of Prayer” for Continue reading

Schwarzenegger Returns to Visit Troops in Iraq

For the second time since the war in Iraq began, California Governor Arnold Schwarzenegger visited with US troops in the region.  He landed in Baghdad, spoke for a few minutes, posed for photographs with soldiers, and handed out autographs and cigars.  He also reportedly worked out with the troops at Camp Victory.

Schwarzenegger has long been a military favorite, both for his machismo and for his support of the military.  In what may be a little known fact, Continue reading

Controversy Over UAV Flight Pay

An interesting commentary from Military.com describes an alleged controversy over the decision to give UAV “pilots” flight pay.

The “controversy” is largely speculative, as there has been no public example of the outcry the author describes:

Will we have to come up with new decorations?  For the Distinguished Flying Cross shall we create the Distinguished Sitting Cross for Continue reading

Chaplains Serve in Restricted Environment

An Army news article notes the continuing importance of Chaplains in the US military.  They serve the needs of all of their charges, a duty that Fort Benning Chaplain (COL) Glenn Davis understands well:

If you look at the mission of the chaplaincy, it is to accommodate the free exercise of religion – that’s a constitutional right.

The duties of the Chaplaincy become all the more important when the duties of Continue reading

Navy Asked to Name Destroyer for Chaplain

Rep. Michael McMahon (D-NY) has asked Secretary of the Navy Ray Mabus to name an upcoming destroyer for Chaplain (Lt.) Vincent Capodanno.  The Chaplain served with the Marines in Vietnam in 1967.  He was killed by the North Vietnamese while giving last rites to wounded and dying Marines and helping a wounded corpsman.

Chaplain Capodanno was subsequently awarded the Medal of Honor.

Military Religion Question of the Day: Hensley

In May 2009, al Jazeera broadcast a show that included film from a military chapel in Afghanistan.  In the sermon, US Army Chaplain (LtCol) Gary Hensley told his congregation they had a responsibility to be a ‘witness for Jesus.’  He said:

The special forces guys—they hunt men basically. We do the same things as Christians, we hunt people for Jesus. We do, we hunt them down.… Get the hound of heaven after them, so we get them into the kingdom. That’s what we do, that’s our business.

As a result, some organizations have accused the Chaplain of violating Continue reading

Review: Fighter Pilot Operation Red Flag

Fighter Pilot: Operation Red Flag is a documentary originally produced for IMAX.  It has a nominal plot, following a single F-15 fighter pilot as he participates in Red Flag at Nellis AFB, Nevada.  The primary officer is Captain John Stratton, who also narrates as he plans, flies, and acts as a simulated evader during combat exercises in the Nevada desert.

The film has some almost comical flaws (or theatrical necessities, depending on how you view them).  For example, Continue reading

Air Force Fighter Pilot Joins Marine Aviation

There are a variety of “non-standard” flying jobs in the US Air Force.  Air Force pilots fly the 747 that is most recognizable as Air Force One; they fly tours with a variety of foreign nations, and they also participate in exchange tours with the sister services.

The Air Force Times covers one F-15 pilot who was competitively selected to fly with the US Marines.  He will be flying Continue reading

Critics Remain Silent During Fort Hood Memorial

The moving and often emotional memorial service marking the loss of life at Fort Hood was infused with military ceremony and tradition.  Military officers explained that memorials were a part of the process in war; the units gathered to memorialize their fallen, send them home, and then gather their gear to continue the mission.

Flags flew at half-staff, the National Anthem played, speakers lauded the fallen, and the sounding of taps echoed the solemnity of the occasion.  Each fallen soldier was represented by a “battlefield cross:” a helmet atop an inverted rifle with bayonet and boots.  A uniformed soldier sang Amazing Grace

Another part of the tradition is prayers offered for the fallen, their friends, and their families.  Chaplain (Col) Michael Lembke, Army III Corps Chaplain, wore his religious stole across the shoulders of his military uniform that bore the Christian cross and prayed to “Lord God Almighty,” asking God to “draw us to You” and to “restore to us a spirit of joy and hope.”

The fitting memorial was laden with traditions that critics–including Michael Weinstein’s Military Religious Freedom Foundation–have repeatedly and vociferously opposed.

Yet today, they remained silent.

The thought that a moving ceremony such as this might be curtailed due to Weinstein’s complaints is an anathema to the American spirit.  Yet that is the Continue reading

Weinstein Emphasizes “Proselytization Factor” in Massacre

Michael Weinstein has written an article that on one hand calls the actions of Maj Nidal Malik Hasan “inexcusable,” but on the other says his alleged harassment may have precipitated his massacre at Fort Hood:

The alleged mistreatment Hasan received in the American military almost certainly played a key role in his disaffection.

He fails to note, however, that the same sources that cite the harassment note that Hasan dismissed it:

They’re ignorant. I’m more American than they are. I help my country more than they do. And I don’t care what they say.

“He felt sorry for them…He didn’t feel grudges. He felt sympathy.”

Weinstein also explicitly states that Christians are the source of all religious Continue reading

Remember American Troops on Veterans’ Day

Take a moment to thank a member of the American military for the sacrifices they make that ensure American freedoms.  Take a moment, too, to thank God for them, and to pray for their continued safety, as well as the safety of their loved ones.

While this should be a continuing endeavor, Veterans’ Day–which coincides with Armistice Day in the rest of the world, celebrating the end of the Great War–provides an excellent reminder of the cost of liberty not just in America, but around the world.

USS New York, and its Chapel, Commissioned

The USS New York was recently commissioned for sea service in its namesake state.  It is famous for the fact that seven and a half tons of steel from the World Trade Center were used in its bow.

According to a United Methodist news source, the ship’s Navy Chaplain, Chaplain (LtCdr) Laura Bender, requested that a few more pounds of that steel be used to create a Christian cross, Jewish Star of David, and Islamic crescent to be used in the ship’s chapel.  The symbols were a gift from the World Trade Center Tribute Center.

Kudos to the Chaplain for coming up with a unique way to help her Sailors and Marines integrate the faith of their soul with the soul of their ship, regardless of their religion.

First noted by Mitch Lewis.

Religion in the Military Endures Scrutiny after Fort Hood

The attack at Fort Hood has inspired almost visceral reactions around the world, potentially leading some to say things that are illogical at their core.

The New York Times has said the attack “complicated” the service of Muslims in the military.  Bryan Fischer, who lists his title as the Director of Issues Analysis for the American Family Association, posted a blog on the AFA website entitled “No More Muslims in the US Military,” suggesting that Muslims be banned until they can “prove” they are not “jihadis” and threats to national security.

Fischer’s assertions are absurd, and they contravene the protections of the US Constitution and the heart of Christianity.  In addition, the AFA is Continue reading