The US Air Force Academy published an article featuring cadets attending a seminar on “ethical dilemmas.”
Eight special operations captains from Kirtland and Cannon Air Force Bases, Academy active-duty Airmen and Air Force retirees shared ethical dilemmas that have occurred in their personal and professional lives with about 70 cadets, to engage in reflective conversation, focus on character and leadership, identify pressure that make ethical action challenging and how to improve them.
While the class was certainly long-scheduled, the timing of the public affairs piece is probably not coincidental, given the recent focus on ethics — more accurately, ethical failures — in the US military.
The cadets were introduced to the USAFA Center for Character Development’s ARDA model for decision-making: Awareness, Reasoning, Decision and Action. They then rotated through tables where they interacted with active duty officers who spoke to them about ethical dilemmas they had experienced.
There’s a fascinating philosophical connection between the debate of Bill Nye and Ken Ham over creationism on the one hand, and reports the US Department of Defense is becoming increasingly “troubled” over troops’ ethical problems on the other.
First, Dr. Al Mohler, president of The Southern Baptist Theological Seminary, attended the Nye/Ham debate (viewable on YouTube) and made an interesting assessment. The debate wasn’t, in the end, over facts. It was over worldview — and Bill Nye’s faith that “human reason” was an ultimate solution [emphasis added]:
Bill Nye repeatedly cited the reasonable man in making his arguments. He is a firm believer in autonomous human reason and the ability of the human intellect to solve the great problems of existence without any need of divine revelation…He sees himself as the quintessential “reasonable man,” and he repeatedly dismissed Christian Continue reading →
After a few states recently legalized marijuana, a local paper’s article on the military and marijuana, repeated at the Stars and Stripes, raises the question of how the military will treat the active duty spouses of civilian marijuana dealers. The active duty member would be married to, federally speaking, an illegal drug dealer — though the federal government has declined to pursue such charges when the states have legalized it. (The Air Force Academy recently reminded Airmen and cadets that marijuana was still illegal for them.)
The state law [legalizing marijuana] is in direct conflict with federal law and the Uniform Code of Military Justice, which criminalize possession and distribution of pot. A service member who is found carrying drugs, or tests positive for them, may face administrative separation or worse. Security Continue reading →
Michael “Mikey” Weinstein has frequently claimed that the public acknowledgement of Christians in the US military — as when a group of US Marines was baptized on a California beach — has provided propaganda and motivation for America’s extremist Islamic adversaries. As has been noted before, Weinstein’s claim has no basis in fact; Osama bin Laden railed against America’s support for Israel far more than he did any presence of Christianity in the US military.
Khalid Sheikh Mohammed, imprisoned in Guantanamo Bay, was recently able to release a “rambling manifesto” (available here) that mentions many things, which might have given him the opportunity to indicate the motivation behind his alleged personal planning of the attack on 9/11. While the document is addressed to the “crusaders of the military commissions” and Mohammed once refers to “crusader Soldiers,” as before, this word does not seem to be a religious attribution. In fact, Mohammed seems to claim the opposite: The evil of the Western world is its atheism and immorality: Continue reading →
Jeff Iorg, president of Golden Gate Baptist Theological Seminary, recently said immorality itself is not a “final step” in a failing society; that final step is the celebration of and support for immorality — which he believes is happening now in the United States:
“The final act of an unraveling society isn’t immoral behavior; it’s canonizing immoral behavior as a ‘new normal’ and celebrating it as a ‘moral victory.’”
Importantly, however, Iorg noted that Christians should not oppose immoral behavior for behavior’s sake. Behavior is an outward expression of the condition of the heart — and the heart needs Jesus: Continue reading →
Too often in the past the Army has emphasized competency over character and commitment, Sgt. Maj. of the Army Raymond Chandler told troops during town hall meetings at bases in eastern Afghanistan. “The most dangerous person in our Army today is someone who is highly competent but has little or no character,” Chandler said. “Too often we tolerate mediocrity.”
“We have no government armed with power capable of contending with human passions unbridled by morality and religion. Avarice, ambition, revenge, or gallantry, would break the strongest cords of our Constitution as a whale goes through a net. Our Constitution was made only for a moral and religious people. It is wholly inadequate to the government of any other.”
“Each of you is responsible for the character of this Air Force, and its reputation,” Donley said. “And I therefore charge you to serve with integrity, and by example — to lead, to say and to do what is right for our Air Force.”
Serve with integrity and character. Do the right thing. It seems like the Air Force is encouraging a high moral standard.
Living morally is consistent with Christian officership, but doing the right thing is also consistent with professional officership. Unfortunately, a few forget that the right choice is not always the easy choice. Fortunately, “right” normally prevails, even if at some cost.
Obama said he is pleased that Hagel and Dempsey are looking at proposals on Capitol Hill and elsewhere to address the problem. “What I’ve said to them is I want to leave no stone unturned and I want us to explore every good idea that’s out there,” he said.
What do you think the chances are that the US military will consider the “good idea” that religious faith plays a substantial role in supporting moral conduct? That’s not Continue reading →
Dr. Albert Mohler, president of the Southern Baptist Theological Seminary, has a lengthy but fascinating article on the argument against “homosexual marriage” from a perspective outside of morality. Importantly, he brings up an interesting discussion on the “revisionist” view of marriage which
is vitally important, even essential, to any conversation about marriage in our modern context, for it points far beyond the issue of same-sex marriage to the prior assaults on conjugal marriage brought by no-fault divorce and the replacement of personal responsibility with mere personal autonomy. Sadly, the revisionist view of marriage is embraced by millions of heterosexual couples, married and unmarried, but it is essential to the very idea of same-sex marriage.
He also notes what has been said here several times before (much to one or two people’s chagrin), and was first intimated by Justice Antonin Scalia: Continue reading →
In reference to implications the Republican Party might move to recognize homosexual “marriage,” former Governor and Presidential candidate Mike Huckabee noted that the party would get a lot smaller, because “evangelicals will take a walk.” The reason, he explained, is that Christians believe in an unchanging, objective standard:
If we have subjective standards, that means that we’re willing to move our standards based on the prevailing whims of culture. Politicians have an obligation to be thermostats, not just thermometers. They’re not simply to reflect the temperature of the room, or the culture, as it were. They’re to set the standards for law, for what’s right, for what’s wrong, understanding that not everybody’s going to agree with it.
“On this issue, I recognize the culture is moving away from the traditional standard, but it’s almost like saying, well, we have a basketball team and nobody on the team can hit the goal that’s 10 feet off Continue reading →