The LA Times blog on the beach baptism of US Marines at Camp Pendleton generated an unusually high amount of vitriol toward religious exercise in the military. There were also accusations of command influence and coercion.
A recent comment posted at the original blog attempts to rebut those accusations with the first public first-hand account of the event:
As a Marine Officer and the Public Affairs Officer who covered this event I would like to say that this amazing event was completely voluntary. In fact the event started with a hand-full of Marines who approached the chaplain to do it. As others heard about it they all got on board. Continue reading
The third installment of pictures documenting religion and its place in the US military begins with photographs of free exercise. The first set includes photographs of the US military’s efforts to support expressions of the Jewish faith.
These pictures continue to demonstrate that the US military goes out of its way to support the free exercise of its troops, even when that free exercise might raise eyebrows among conspiracy theorists when it is associated with the US government or the US military. Celebrations of holy days, the wearing of religious artifacts in uniform, religious celebrations while armed and in uniform, even something as simple as a bar mitzvah in Iraq are shown among the photographs.
Men and women of faith can be in – and express their faith within — the US military. These pictures and those to come – all of which are publicly available – show that faith has a fitting and integral role in many lives in the military.
These photo galleries are now part of the Resources page of ChristianFighterPilot.com.
The Sikh Times notes the continuing struggle of minority religions in Afghanistan, focusing primarily on Sikhs and Hindus. One Sikh, Awtar Singh, is the only non-Islamic member of Afghanistan’s parliament, and he feels powerless to support those of his or other minority faiths:
“No one in the government listens to us, but we have to be patient, because we have no other options,” says Singh…
While tens of thousands of Muslim Afghans have [similar] problems, they at least have politicians or leaders fighting their corner.
The article also noted a fascinating highlight of the differing cultural understandings and acceptance of religious freedom:
Afghan Hindus were baffled by Western outrage at one Taliban decree – ordering them to wear a yellow tag to identify their religion Continue reading
Following the first installment of pictures documenting religion and its place in the US military, the second is now posted on the Resources page. These photos largely show uniformed military members in prayer, practicing their right to free exercise of religion, even while in the US military.
Men and women of faith can be – and express their faith — in the US military. These pictures and those to come – all of which are publicly available – show that faith has a fitting and integral role in many lives in the military.