Dr. David Gushee is a professor at Mercer University and recently spoke on his contributions to a report entitled “Coming to Terms with Torture: Truth, Accountability, and Renunciation.” His emphasis was the treatment of detainees, and his call for an American apology headlined the article.
However, Dr. Gushee’s statement about how he became involved in the issue should be enlightening for those who hold a Christian faith and commitment to the US military:
The Abu Ghraib photos came out in 2004, and a lot of evangelical Christians are in the military, and Christianity Today was receiving requests Continue reading →
Every few months a media outlet will quietly float the topic of the prohibition on “transgender” individuals (the “T” in the traditional LGBT) in military service to see what traction the subject brings. To date each article has faded as quietly as it arose, due largely to other world events distracting the news. Given reality, however, it is likely only a matter of time before it becomes a serious contender for everyday conversation. For example, it took a just a few words from the Secretary of Defense, Chuck Hagel, saying the ban on transgender service should be “continually reviewed” for the media to declare the issue was “gaining momentum” in the run up to the military’s newly recognized sexual pride month in June.
For the uninitiated, a person who describes themselves as “transgendered” is biologically one gender but mentally or emotionally claims the opposite. In writing, the media often uses terms like “transgender male,” which means a person who is biologically female (she has XX chromosomes) but describes herself as male.
The Becket Fund for Religious Liberty is a group that advocates for religious freedom in public society. Recently, the organization was accused of becoming politicized and leaning “conservative.” In a rebuttal posted on their website, Deputy General Counsel Luke Goodrich debunked the accusation while simultaneously providing an outstanding explanation of what “religious liberty” really is:
Citing cases involving the HHS mandate and gay rights, the article suggests that there has been “a shift in the fund’s strategy.” According to unnamed “critics,” the Becket Fund “has become ideological” and is “tacking right.” It is drifting away from nonpartisan defense of religious liberty for all, and is instead becoming conservative…
But this is hardly a complete picture of the Becket Fund’s cases…The article also omits many other Becket Fund actions, including current cases, that don’t fit its narrative…
US Rep Sam Johnson (R-Tx), a Vietnam era Air Force fighter pilot, wrote at the Christian Post that attacks on religious liberty in the United States “resemble my time in the Hanoi Hilton.”
You see, I endured painful torture at the hands of communists. I brutally experienced what it’s like to truly lose the privilege to worship as you see fit. As a prisoner of war in Vietnam for almost seven years, more than half of that time in solitary confinement, I withered away in a cellblock so isolating it could only be called Alcatraz.
A petition sponsored by the Family Research Council and the Restore Military Religious Freedom coalition garnered more than 100,000 signatures before it was delivered to the US Air Force Academy last week.
The petition seems nobly intended:
The petition calls on the Air Force Academy to protect the First Amendment rights of cadets, after a recent incident in which a cadet was censored for writing a Bible verse on a white board outside of his dorm room.
and its text calls for USAFA to “protect the religious expression” of cadets:
Recently, a handwritten Bible verse on a United States Air Force Academy cadet’s dry-erase board was removed after a complaint by an anti-Christian activist group…As an American, I trust the Air Force Academy to train up the best young men and women our nation has to offer…Part of that trust hinges upon the notion that the Academy would protect the religious freedom Continue reading →
Russell Moore, president of the Southern Baptist Ethics & Religious Liberty Commission, recently held a well-attended briefing at the US Capitol. He highlighted the need — and responsibility — for Christians to engage the culture [emphasis added]:
“We have a Great Commission that demands we both make disciples and observe all that our Lord has commanded us — including the need to work for justice and righteousness, and be a voice of conviction and kindness as we seek to persuade an increasingly secular society.”
“As Christians, we recognize that religious liberty is not a grant from any government bureaucrat but is a gift from God,” he said, “and it’s important for elected officials to know that religious liberty is an issue that Southern Baptists will never back down on.”
There are some who believe that religion should be confined to the home or the four walls of the church. Fortunately, that is not what the founding fathers envisioned — though it is what some people would like to enforce.
Fortunately, there are organizations, Christian leaders, and US government officials working together to prevent that from happening.
Luke Air Force Base held a homosexual/transgender “pride” event last week. The base’s commander, BGen Scott Pleus, said
“This is exactly what we needed here today.”
The article notes that no one had heard “any negative feedback and did not expect criticism.” Since “negative feedback” and “criticism” have been met by official sanction in the military, silence should not be unexpected. The interesting assumption, though, is that silence confers agreement.
Our troops must adhere to the sharia during the Islamic month of Ramadan in Bahrain and other Muslim countries. Subjected to dawah (proselytizing) by a base Islamic cultural adviser at the Naval Support Activity, soldiers are forced to sit through lessons on Islam. No eating, drinking, alcohol, or smoking during the month of Ramadan…
US military are encouraged “to experience Iftar in a Ramadan tent.”
Why anyone who is not a Muslim must stop eating (except in secret) during Ramadan is another example of how Islamic supremacism. Unlike Jewish law which pertains only to Jews, and Canon law which pertains only to Christians, the Sharia asserts its totalitarian authority over non-Muslims.
A religious liberty panel sponsored by the Southern Baptist Convention’s Ethics and Religious Liberty Commission agreed that
religious liberty will be the civil rights issue of the next decade
The panel members included Phillip Bethancourt, Samuel Rodriguez, Rick Warren, David Platt and Russell Moore. Rick Warren spoke for many when he advocated for a “free market” of religious belief, not the restriction or imposition of any: Continue reading →
As reported at FoxNews, the union representing civilian employees at Eglin Air Force Base demanded the removal of two “senior management officials” because they displayed “I Support Phil” stickers.
Alan Cooper, the executive vice president of the local chapter of the American Federation of Government Employees, said one of the officials also displayed the “I Support Phil” decals in his office last month and offered them to subordinates.
“The BUE (bargaining union employee) was clearly offended and disgusted that a senior management official would display Continue reading →
US Army Maj. Gen. Marcia Anderson was recently profiled (at The Root, a website for “African-American influencers”) as an example of diversity in the US military, given her position as the “most senior-ranking black woman” in the military made her an indicator of the “color of change.”
While there are often many criticisms regarding the practice of highlighting “differences” in a world that is supposedly blind to such differences, Gen Anderson did make one comment that is valuable in discussions about being an example to others [emphasis added]: Continue reading →
For most military couples a deployment usually involves a significant amount of time apart. A fortunate Army Reserve same-sex couple from Plantation, Fla., has taken advantage of the opportunity to serve together in Bagram, Afghanistan.
Sgt. Angie Juarez is currently on her second deployment to Afghanistan, and it has been a little easier with her wife Sgt. Macrina Juarez by her side…
Rep. John Fleming, Louisiana Republican, criticized the military for appearing “zealous to shut down expressions of faith.”
“This is our military telling service members to raise their hands and ask permission before they dare to utter an expression of faith,” Mr. Fleming said during a speech at the Family Research Council.
Daniel Blomberg of the Becket Fund noted that Congress had twice passed laws requiring the US military to “be more accommodating to religious beliefs and practices,” laws Continue reading →
Update: Jason Torpy revived the issue enough to generate a Navy Times article, though it contained no new information. In fact, a Navy official reiterated a point made below — even humanists can’t really put bounds on a definition of “humanism:”
“Humanism’s not a defined term across the country,” the official said. “There’s a group of Jewish Humanists. The Humanist Society was once the Humanist Society of Friends, a Quaker organization.”
The official, referring to Heap, continued: “I don’t know that he represents a religious organization by any accepted definition.”
Tom Carpenter, a former Marine pilot and one of the founders of the Forum on the Military Chaplaincy — the homosexual advocacy group that lobbied for the repeal of DADT — has attacked the Navy chaplaincy for not approving the chaplaincy application of Jason Heap, a self-described non-theistic humanist. Tragically, if not predictably, Carpenter seems to base his attack on “evidence” that does not exist [emphasis added]:
…The Navy Chief of Chaplains rejected the application of Jason Heap, a highly qualified chaplain candidate who would have been the first Humanist military chaplain. All the evidence leads invariably to the conclusion this decision was based upon a Constitutionally prohibited “religious test.”
What public evidence is there the Navy rejected the application based on a “religious test?” None whatsoever.