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 →
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.
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.
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.
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].”
“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.
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.”
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 →
Update: Another California paper accuses the LA Times of being “too close” to Camp Pendleton in their failure to get an “obligatory” comment from the ACLU when they first reported on the Camp Horno cross.
An Associated Press article updates the protest by atheist Jason Torpy over the memorials located on Camp Horno, on the Camp Pendleton Marine post in California. It repeats much of the recent local article, noting a decision isn’t coming until next year, though its title is telling:
Atheists, Marines debate Camp Pendleton crosses
Even if inadvertently, the AP accurately notes it is a ‘battle’ between Torpy and the US Marines, not any other group.
The article also says Torpy is happy for the rest of the memorial to remain, just not the cross. Ironically, this seems to counter not only the concept of Continue reading →
A group of reporters was allowed to make the trek to see the memorial upon which the controversy was based. To his credit, Mark Walker of the North County Times accurately gave some depth to the content of the memorial:
The site is home to numerous mementos, as well as the crosses, neither of which is visible from nearby Interstate 5.
Each is surrounded by thousands of rocks carried up by Marines from sea level at Camp Horno as a homage to troops killed in Iraq or Afghanistan. Many of those rocks have hand-scrawled messages of love and remembrance.