Tag Archives: camp pendleton

Marines Save Camp Pendleton Crosses

With fires raging in southern California, US Marines based at Camp Pendleton took the time to rescue crosses memorializing their fallen comrades:

First Sergeant’s Hill in Camp San Mateo, California, is home to nearly two dozen wooden crosses memorializing fallen Marines from Pendleton, a sacred site created by and for Marines to remember lost comrades. When new Marines arrive at Camp Pendleton units, more senior troops will often take them to the site and explain its significance.

The fires ultimately overcame the hills, but Continue reading

Saddleback Church Hosts Military, Camp Pendleton Memorial Service

A local campus of Rick Warren’s California Saddleback Church hosted special Memorial Day services on Sunday, including a visit from a local wounded warrior:

Machine gunner Sedrick Hay, who has been a part of 2nd Battalion 1st Marines, 2nd Battalion 5th Marines and currently, the Wounded Warrior Battalion, will share his story that includes having been deployed three times, once to Iraq and twice to Afghanistan. He is a member of Saddleback Church and will lead those attending in a moment of prayer.

The article notes this is not a one-off ministry event for Saddleback. Rather, the church has partnered with the military at Camp Pendleton to provide a variety of support services for members of the military:  Continue reading

US Marine on Trial for Moral Offense

Update: The Marine, who is not named, was convicted, receiving a reprimand and loss of pay.

The US Marine Corps is court-martialing a Staff Sergeant for adultery:

A Marine is on trial at Camp Pendleton on charges of committing adultery and then lying to investigators by saying she was drunk and had been raped.

Though “prosecutions are rare,” unnamed “officials” said adultery is bad for the military:

Adultery, officials said, undermines “good order and discipline in the armed forces and [is] of a nature to bring discredit to the armed forces.”

In a profession in which men and women are charged with the power to both protect and take lives, one would hope fidelity to morals would be a virtue to uphold.

Repeated at the Stars and Stripes.

Chuck Norris, Religious Liberty, and Michael Weinstein

Chuck Norris recently cited “36 examples of religious liberty assault” (in Part 1 and Part 2) to defend an assertion that religious liberty is under attack in America.  About a third of his examples involved the US military, all of which have been discussed here before (amplifying remarks follow):

  • Culture and courts are also trumping citizens’ First Amendment rights who are refusing on religious grounds not to support or participate with groups and events that run contrary to their faith and practice. As a result, wedding cake bakers, T-shirt makers, bed and breakfast owners, pastry shops, high-school teachers, military chaplains, restaurant owners, photographers, parents, churches and others have been harassed, bullied, suspended, fired and sued for merely exercising their Christian beliefs. [As described by CARL.]
  • A three-judge panel of the U.S. Court of Appeals for the Ninth Circuit ruled that a cross displayed as part of the Mt. Soledad Veterans Memorial in San Diego, Continue reading

Atheists Broaden Attacks on Military Memorials

An atheist thinks this is an illegal “Christian shrine.”

Multiple military war memorials are now under attack by atheists who consider the presence of a Christian cross offensive.

Former soldier and current atheist Jason Torpy, the one-man association of military atheists (MAAF), has previously lodged complaints with the US Marines over the Camp Pendleton cross (which has yet to be resolved).  He is opposed to the cross in Arlington National Cemetery for the same reason.

This follows the national trend of several activist organizations that have been threatening cities and towns with lawsuits if they fail to remove memorials which contain Continue reading

Ranger Memorial Cross May Be Next Atheist Target

Jason Torpy, the former Army soldier and atheist vicariously offended when he saw the Camp Pendleton cross on the internet, may have another target.

As noted previously, crosses are used frequently in US military memorials around the world.  Torpy has already demanded that the Argonne Cross be removed from Arlington National Cemetery, and that the US Marine Corps remove locally raised crosses on Camp Pendleton — something he only knew about because he read a local (positive) news article.

Now, another memorial may face the same atheist anger.  Four US Army Ranger trainees lost their lives in a training incident nearly 20 years ago, and their fellow soldiers remember them:

On Feb. 16, 1995, four young men training to become a part of the elite military force died of hypothermia after a river rose rapidly and flooded a swamp they were training in during a mission.

A modest wooden cross marks the spot…

Photo credit: DEVON RAVINE \ Daily News

Rangers make an annual trek to the location:    Continue reading

Camp Pendleton Cross to go to Texas

A little-reported side story to the well-known controversy over the Camp Pendleton crosses was that a platoon was going to raise another cross on Pendleton, this time to honor Lance Corporal Benjamin Schmidt, who was killed in Afghanistan.  The family and his unit had planned to erect the cross — near other crosses already in place — in connection with an April memorial ceremony.

However, the complaints by atheist activist Jason Torpy, who found out about the crosses on the internet, caused Pendleton to put a moratorium on further memorials.  The Continue reading

Camp Pendleton Hosts Secular Summer Kids Camp

Though a couple of critics are claiming that non-religious events are disfavored in the US military, and at Camp Pendleton, it turns out the Marines recently hosted an entire (non-religious) summer camp just for kids:

Marine Corps Community Services started their first day of the four day class of Camp Camo for the summer at the Paige Fieldhouse on Camp Pendleton, July 31.

Camp Camo is a youth summer camp where children seven to 11-years-old learn about nutrition, exercise and how to stay healthy during the summer months.

The kids learned about healthy eating, physical activity, and had Continue reading

Camp Pendleton Cross Prompts Wider Review

The demand by Jason Torpy, speaking for the one-man Military Association of Atheists and Freethinkers, that the US Marine Corps remove its “Christian privilege” (the crosses on Camp Pendleton‘s ridge on Camp Horno) has spurred a “wider review” of similar memorials around the world:

Capt. Greg Wolf at the Pentagon headquarters of the Marine Corps said Thursday that an “operational planning team” is conducting Continue reading

Military Atheists Target Support for Wounded Warriors

In his zeal to attack all things Christian in the military, Justin Griffith — the Army Sergeant made famous by his organization of Rock Beyond Belief at Fort Bragg — once harassed the wives of deployed Fort Bragg soldiers.  Even when he realized he’d made an error — he’d thought he was criticizing the soldiers themselves, as if that’s better — he never publicly apologized.

Now, it seems he’s after the support provided to wounded warriors.  Continue reading

Atheist Jason Torpy Equates Himself with Abolitionists

Jason Torpy, the one-man Military Association of Atheists and Freethinkers, is an atheist and former Army officer.  While his MAAF is ostensibly a “community support network,” he recently revealed the true motivation behind his ideology.

In a recent display of internet frustration, Torpy took fellow atheists to task for not banding together and being “anti-” enough.  The context was a comment that people don’t join groups for things they don’t believe in, spoken by Neil deGrasse Tyson, a self-described agnostic (who says he is “often claimed by atheists”):

Do non-golf players gather and strategize? Do non-skiers…come together and talk about the fact that they don’t ski? I can’t do that. I can’t gather around and talk about how much everybody in the room doesn’t believe in God.

This is the same point raised by many people  Continue reading

Second Camp Pendleton Memorial Cross on Hold

The as-yet undecided case of the Camp Pendleton cross, a memorial facing complaints by atheists, has actually impacted a second, unrelated cross.  LCpl Benjamin Whetstone Schmidt was killed in Afghanistan by friendly fire, and members of his platoon had apparently planned to erect a cross on an overlooking hill on Camp Pendleton:

But because of a pending military review of placement of religious symbols, the parents of Lance Cpl. Benjamin Whetstone Schmidt Continue reading

Religious Freedom Group Offers to Defend Camp Pendleton Cross

The Alliance Defense Fund, a legal association which “trains, funds, and litigates” on behalf of religious freedom, has offered to defend the Camp Pendleton cross free of charge.

The Alliance Defense Fund [is] offering our services free of charge to the Camp to defend the rights of its Marines to prepare themselves mentally, emotionally, and spiritually, as they prepare themselves to make the ultimate sacrifice.

Legal counsel Joel Oster notes the ‘clause of unlimited liability’ nature of military service encourages troops to “come to grips with their emotional and spiritual [selves].”

That is why militaries have chaplains.  It is simply a Continue reading

Camp Pendleton Cross Decision Expected, Atheists Threaten Suit

FoxNews recently updated the Camp Pendleton cross controversy with an interview of one of the widows whose husband helped raise the original cross.

“It’s not a religious spot at all, it’s a place for the Marines to grieve and to grow to let go of their burdens of what they had in their soul, so they can go back down that hill and back into battle and put their own lives on the line,” says Marine widow Karen Mendoza.

It also quotes Col Nicholas Marano, the Camp Pendleton commander who retired at the beginning of the month:

Retired Marine Colonel Nick Marano tells us, “This wasn’t intended to be a religious memorial, it was just intended to be able to provide a fitting and a dignified memorial to their fallen comrades and frankly controversy was the very last thing on their minds.”

Jason Torpy has decried the memorial, which is located on the internally named Camp Horno portion of Camp Pendleton, as an example of “Christian Continue reading

Rick Warren: God Hates War, Love Soldiers

Pastor Rick Warren gave an interview to ABCNews’ Jake Tapper in which he “defended the use of military force.”  Apparently, this was newsworthy:

Military service…is a worthy and valid vocation. In fact, the greatest compliment that Jesus ever gave, he gave to a soldier in scripture. He said, “I’ve never seen such faith in all of Israel.” And the Bible said God has Continue reading