Veterans’ Day 2007

What started out as Armistice Day nearly 90 years ago continues to be a day in the US that acknowledges the sacrifices of American military veterans.

The Washington Times reports that the VA is asking veterans to wear their medals this Veterans’ Day to

show the world the unity of our support for U.S. armed forces [and] teach the meaning and the value of military service to the children of America.

According to the article, while many have poor opinions of the Global War on Terror, 71% still have a favorably opinion of the US military, with another poll indicating 81% of Americans consider a military career “prestigious.”

The Second Priority of Military Christians

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

Buddhist Hall Opens in AF Cadet Chapel

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.

Guidelines Issued for Islamic Observance in Space

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.

GAO Publishes Conscientious Objector Study

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.

Update: Weinstein Lawsuit Case Law

In previous posts (original, update) regarding the MRFF lawsuit against Jeremy Hall’s superior officer and the Defense Department, it has been noted that the American judicial system has been loathe to interfere with the separate judiciary of the military.  It has also been noted that, to this point, it does not appear Hall utilized the in-place grievance systems.

So as not to depend on “urban legend” and rumor, a little research resulted in finding the Supreme Court case of Chappell v. Wallace (1983), which addresses both of these concerns, and is quoted extensively below.

In Chappell v. Wallace, 462 U.S. 296 (1983), which can be referenced in its entirety here, the US Supreme Court held that superiors could not be sued by their subordinates because Read more

Military Christians and the First Priority

“What is the most important thing in your life?”

When asked what takes precedence in their lives, many active Christians have answered that their priorities are God, family, and their job, friends, or others. The answer is often repeated across career and social boundaries. Football players, soldiers, and politicians have all listed similar priorities: God, family, and job. This series of articles will expand on those three priorities, beginning with the first, or “God priority.”

One beginning note, however: A Christian’s priorities should serve as a guide, not necessarily a list of rules engraved in stone. Even if he has his priorities “set,” there are times that sacrifices must be made, and situations in life may require temporary adjustments to priorities to achieve a required goal or fulfill obligations. In the most obvious example, war often demands that soldiers be separated from their families for years at a time, which obviously has a negative impact on a military Christian’s “family priority.” The priority of family, though, does not override a serviceman’s duty to defend his country in time of war. Each situation, then, must be assessed on its own; in many cases, it depends… Read more

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