As noted when the push was first announced late last year, it is entirely appropriate for the military to allow its troops the freedom to exercise their faiths. The military is made up of men and women from all walks of life, beliefs, and ideologies. Just as Christians are permitted to gather and share their common faith, so, too, can atheists.
While some supporters are holding their breaths as if this is a watershed event, it is essentially standard operations within the military. The only reason such an event hasn’t happened to date has been that no one asked.
It is possible and even likely that the atheist event will come and go with little fanfare.
On the other hand, like any ideological gathering, Rock Beyond Belief may Continue reading →
The exact circumstances of his release are unclear:
Mr. Mussa…was released…after prosecutors determined there was insufficient evidence to go forward with the case, said Gen. Qayoum Khan, the detention center director. But…a senior prosecutor involved in the case, speaking on condition of anonymity, said he was released only after agreeing to return to Islam.
Musa appears to have left the country, as did the last public convert to Christianity threatened with execution in Afghanistan. Other Christian converts — as many as 26 were arrested at the same time as Musa — reportedly remain jailed.
An Associated Press article printed in New Zealand noted that combat may “officially” be over for US forces, but lethal threats still remain.
However, the picture chosen as the lede was far more interesting than the article itself:
US Army Lt Daniel McCord (left) Staff Sergeant Marc Krugh (centre) and Sergeant Christopher Torrentes, from the 3rd Armored Cavalry Regiment, pray before heading out on a patrol south of Baghdad. (AP)
They chose a photo of the men praying together to communicate the character, attitude, seriousness, and heart of the US Soldiers. The picture is sincere, heartfelt, and even moving — despite being only vaguely connected to the topic of the article. It seems even newshounds are inexplicably drawn to the meaning-filled act of Soldiers who join together to ask God’s protection and guidance as they launch to accomplish their mission.
As previously noted, the US Army recommended Chaplain (Capt) Emil Kapaun for a Medal of Honor in 2009. Kapaun died in captivity in North Korea in 1951 after he was captured by the Chinese; he had stayed behind when the unit retreated in order to remain with those who could not flee. Stories told by repatriated Soldiers were of Kapaun’s continual service and sacrifice, even at great personal risk, to tend to the physical and spiritual needs of the captives.
C-SPAN recently published footage of Ronald Reagan acting in World War II military training films.
In this US military video aptly entitled For God and Country, Reagan plays a Chaplain. Reagan comforts and prays with the men on Christmas, and ultimately dies trying to save one. From the end of the film:
A Soldier: unarmed, yet not unarmed. For what better weapons may a soldier carry with him into battle than those of courage, of unswerving devotion to his faith and to his fellow man?
Interestingly enough, it appears there were no atheists in his foxhole…
The director of the Air National Guard, LtGen Harry Wyatt recently addressed a graduation of an Equal Opportunity course for the Reserve Component. Wyatt described “equitable treatment” as a “moral imperative:”
[Equal opportunity] graduates are the ‘change agents’ that help to educate people on the need — the moral imperative — to be equitable in our treatment of all people.
The semantic choice is interesting, if you think about it, because he doesn’t say equal treatment. Equitable means “fair;” equal means “the same;” the distinction is often missed.
An interesting website over at GeneralWashington.net sponsors a sort of ‘living history’ of George Washington’s life. The “blog” on the site follows the dates of Washington’s actual correspondence on those dates more than 200 years ago.
The Continental Congress having been pleased to order, and direct, that there shall be one Chaplain to two Regiments, and that the pay of each Chaplain shall be Thirty-three dollars and one third, pr Kalendar Month–The Revd. Abiel Leonard is appointed Chaplain to the Regiment of Artillery, under the command of Col Knox, and to the 20th. Regiment, at present commanded by Lt. Col Durkee.
In the US Air Force, aviators generally — though not always — command aviation units. (Aviators do sometimes command non-aviation units, but even those units are often support elements to a flying mission.)
In the Navy, though, command above a certain level requires you to drive a boat. So that’s what fighter pilots (“Naval aviators”) do.
The Navy Times notes new commands have opened up for aviators working their way up the ship command system. Apparently, aviators often serve as second-in-command of a carrier, then command a non-carrier vessel, then return to command a carrier.
Of course, the article also notes that giving aviators these commands eliminates more slots from the Surface Warfare Officers — the guys whose actual jobs is to command the boats.
The training is not short. The new Lieutenants have already completed flight screening, must conduct a significant amount of T-6 simulator training, RPA basic training, and then finally to the basic qualfiication course for UAVs. The “pipeline” is programmed as about a year.
The US Army’s latest technological marvel for the average Soldier has reportedly seen combat in Afghanistan. The XM25 is an anti-defillade weapon, using lasers and programmable shells to deny the enemy the opportunity to hide behind protective cover. Dubbed “the Punisher,” the XM25 has seen limited use in Afghanistan in an experimental status, but it has received continuous praise: Continue reading →
“Raise the church pennant and lower the colors to half mast,” was spoken in a solemn and firm tone over the ship’s general announcing system. The ensign was lowered and the burial detail prepared to send their shipmates to the deep…
“Being buried at sea is meaningful,” said Bataan Chaplain Cmdr. Steven Souders. “It has tradition. So as Sailors begin to see these traditions, it begins to build that legacy in them.”
The families…will receive a ceremonial folded flag, and the shell casings from the rounds fired during the 21-gun salute. A letter from the captain, a chart listing the latitude and longitude of where the cremains were committed, and still photos of the ceremony will also be provided.
Michael Weinstein, generally bereft of actual victories in his fight against religious freedom in the military, is often forced to take his fight to the media. He did so again recently in The Nation, a “progressive” independent publication.
The article is essentially a fluffed up summary of Weinstein’s crusade. (Given the fact Weinstein apparently threatens to sue newspapers that criticize him, perhaps the light-touch is understandable.) It seems to take Weinstein’s word as gospel, and doesn’t appear to once take a critical look at his accusations.
It even starts to compare Weinstein to Jesus.
Still, the article has some interesting highlights. After fulfilling Weinstein’s psychological need to tell everyone Continue reading →
He’s not getting out of the Navy scot-free. As part of his honorable discharge, Izbicki will have to reimburse the Navy for his education at the Naval Academy. Normally men and women attend the service academies free of charge.