Championship Winner’s Witness Criticized

As noted at the ChristianPost, Tim Tebow (as discussed previously) donned a new verse on the blacks under his eyes during his victory in the 2009 College Championship football game: John 3:16.

An atheist blogger had this initial (unedited) response:

I just want to watch a football game; I don’t want to be prosetylized to.

While he later qualified his own cynicism, he demonstrated an interesting and increasingly common prejudice toward public expressions of Christianity. Read more

Heisman Winners Share a Common Faith

The ChristianPost notes that Athletes in Action highlights the stories of both Heisman quarterbacks playing the championship game this year.

Tim Tebow (Florida Gators) was actually covered here last year, as yet another Christian who desired to use his platform to share his faith, and who prioritized his God above all else.  (He even has “Phil 4:13” on the blacks under his eyes when he plays.)

Sam Bradford (Oklahoma Sooners) listed his time in the Fellowship of Christian Athletes through high school and college as central to the growth and strength of his faith.  Perhaps ironically, the FCA–which Fisher Deberry also supported–and its role in high schools and colleges is a frequent topic of controversy; complaints on church/state separation grounds have become common.

Academies Among 100 “Best Value Colleges”

As noted at, the US military academies (AF, Navy, Army, Coast Guard, and Merchant Marine) were ranked in the “top 100” Best Value Colleges by the Princeton Review/USA Today.  The recognized strong academic programs and zero-cost education (in relative terms to other schools) contributed to the high rankings.  The survey did not appear to address the “cost” of a military commitment, though in a weak economy what was once a “commitment” may seem to be “job security.”

The rankings and their methodology may be seen at the Princeton site, which requires a free log on to see detailed data.

MRFF Targets Army Suicide Prevention

The Military Religious Freedom Foundation recently “amended” its lawsuit against the Department of Defense.  It made one substantive addition, saying Army Specialist Chalker had

sought relief for his claims by invoking an intra-army administrative process. He has exhausted this alternative remedy but has obtained no substantial relief.

The premise of the cryptically vague statement (that Chalker used the Army’s in-place grievance systems) was already included in the lawsuit, so it does not appear that an amendment was judicially required.  The announcement of the changes to the lawsuit–which was only filed approximately three months earlier–did highlight the suit in the press for a short time.

The other changes, upon which the MRFF has focused attention, have been additions to the long list of allegations (unrelated to the primary complaint) of Christian endorsement in the US military, which founder Michael Weinstein says is a “national security threat:”

The military command and control of our nation’s nuclear, biological, chemical, conventional and laser-guided weapons has been unconstitutionally compromised by a tsunami of unbridled fundamentalist Christian exceptionalism, triumphalism and proselytizing. Read more

Campus Crusade’s “Rapid Deployment Kits”

Focus on the Family has expressed support for Campus Crusade for Christ’s Military Ministry.  The Military Ministry is known for its “Rapid Deployment Kits,” which are a New Testament, Daily Bread devotional, and the evangelistic booklet How to Know God Personally, packaged in a ziploc bag.  One Air Force officer and aircrew is quoted as saying

I received the Rapid Deployment Kit a few months back and I want to extend my thanks. I carry my New Testament Bible in my flight suit when I fly. I read a Psalm before each flight Read more

Happy New Year, 2009

Amazingly, little has changed over the past year (in fact, two years) with regard to religion in the military.  No lawsuits have gone on to litigation, Congress has yet to address the controversy as they promised in 2006, and though many controversies have made the press, few have had any noticeable impact on military operations.  That may help explain why military religious issues have fallen off the “Top Ten” lists of church/state and free exercise pundits (including Time).  (By contrast, “Religion and the Military” featured prominently in 2006, even making the “#1” in some places.)

This year does have a unique potential, however, as President-elect Obama may bring a different perspective on both the use of the military and its internal governance.  Already, some are wondering what impact his administration will have on Christians’ ability (and desire) to serve in the military. Read more

Air Force Advertises Religious Inclusiveness

An Air Force article from Iraq notes that military Chaplains served all religions this past holiday-filled December:

Muslims, Jews, Christians, Hindus, Buddhists and Pagans all observe major holy days in December. Air Force chaplains here spent much of the month making sure everyone in the diverse Joint Base Balad community had an opportunity to worship according to their beliefs.

The article includes a picture of Chaplain (Capt.) Andrew Cohen, the wing Jewish Chaplain, with a Magen David Menorah, as well as officers observing a candlelit Christmas Eve service there.  Chaplain (Lt. Col.) Terese Erickson, the deputy wing chaplain in Balad, noted that

Accommodation means making sure everyone has an opportunity to worship…

and supported those words with her actions:

Army Spc. William Corum…is one of three lay leaders for a group of Wiccans and Pagans that meets here… Read more

Religious Support Teams in Iraq

An article highlights a round-the-clock team of Chaplains and assistants who minister to the patients at the Air Force Theater Hospital at Joint Base Balad, Iraq.

They visit and pray with patients and the medical staff, and “set the tone” for caring for the deceased in accordance with the servicemember’s religion.

The religious support team accommodates everyone’s religious needs, Chaplain Rome said. Outside their office one can find different translations of the Bible, the Quran in — English and Arabic — and a Book of Mormon.

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