Initial reports on these matters were exaggerated, taken out of context or simply false.
But she also acknowledges that, exaggerated or not, there are still some valid concerns:
For one thing, the Pentagon statement clarifying that military personnel would not be court-martialed if they “evangelize” also said that “proselytization” is considered a [UCMJ] offense. Yet the definitions of those two words are almost identical…
Further, the WSJ piece notes that regardless of any hyperbole in recent claims, there remains concern over the mere fact the Air Force met with Weinstein: Continue reading →
“The rhetoric and language [Weinstein] uses is hateful; it is violent. He threatens physical violence on people. He’ll beat them up and he’ll fight to the death,” he tells American Family News. “[Weinstein] is a nut - and I don’t use that word lightly…”
“Look at [Weinstein's] casework – oh wait, it’s very tough to find. You know why? He never won a case in court,” notes Continue reading →
For the third time in a week, the US military released a statement attempting to articulate the DoD’s policy on religious freedom. In response to multiple media questions, LtCmdr Nathan Christensen issued the following statement [emphasis added]:
There is no DOD wide policy that directly addresses religious proselytizing. Furthermore, there is no effort within the department to make religious proselytizing a specific offense within the UCMJ, including under Article 134.
Service members may exercise their rights under the 1st Amendment regarding the free exercise of religion unless doing so adversely affects good order, discipline, or some other aspect of the military mission; even then, the Department seeks a reasonable religious accommodation for the service member. In general, service members may share their faith with other service members, but may not forcibly attempt to convert others of any faith or no faith to their own beliefs.
Concerns about these issues are handled on a case by case basis by the leaders of the unit involved.
In other words, the prior statement that did try to “directly address religious proselytizing” is…retracted?
Religious groups who endorse US military chaplains have asked the US military for “equal time” after they hosted religious liberty critic Michael Weinstein at the Pentagon. Said retired Chaplain (Col) Ron Crews, of the Chaplain Alliance for Religious Liberty:
Crews says if the Air Force wants to be serious about religious liberty, its sole and exclusive meeting should not be with a man who calls religious service members “spiritual rapists” or “human monsters.”
“[Mikey Weinstein] is not the person to talk about religious liberty,” he states. “So we’re asking for a meeting with senior Air Force officials to [request that] if they’re going to revise their policy, we want to make sure that the religious liberty of all the airmen who are serving courageously in the Air Force gets maintained.”
In another setback for Michael Weinstein’s vitriolic assaults on religious freedom in the US military, the Department of Defense issued a clarifying statement (full text below) disavowing Weinstein’s characterizations and accusations.
It did so in a unique way, however:
Service members can share their faith (evangelize), but must not force unwanted, intrusive attempts to convert others of any faith or no faith to one’s beliefs (proselytization).
It’s an awkward turn of semantics, since most dictionaries don’t define “proselytizing” as being “unwanted” or “intrusive” (its a neutral term “to convert”). Over the past few years, the term has been so often associated with “coercion” it has come to have a negative connotation. (Weinstein’s research assistant, Chris Rodda, actually agrees the Continue reading →
An official Army article documents the unique stories of Chaplain (Maj) James Freitag and Chaplain (1Lt) Cecil Edwards — two men who rose to high enlisted ranks before being commissioned as chaplains:
With a combined total of 60 years of service, two former reserve component sergeants major are currently serving as chaplains and both are deployed in support of Operation Enduring Freedom at Camp Arifjan, Kuwait. Of the soldiers who enlist in the Army, very few reach the rank of sergeant major. In the history of the Army only two sergeants major have become chaplains.
In a terribly awkward PR maneuver, religious liberty critic Michael Weinstein — rebuffed by the US Air Force Chief of Staff — has now retreated to attacking the Air Force Academy directly over its link to a website that explains a Jewish holiday:
“MRFF is now making a specific demand to [Lt. Gen.] Mike Gould, the superintendent, to take down the link,” Weinstein says…
But Weinstein already complained to Gen Gould’s boss – and his boss cc’d Gen Gould on the reply to Weinstein. And guess what? Nothing has changed. So why does Weinstein think this latest screed changes anything?
Regardless, Weinstein raised the stakes to show he meant business:
Weinstein says if his demands are not met by 5:30 p.m. Thursday, his organization will take action.
We’ve reached a point where people are afraid to actually talk about what they want to say, because somebody might be offended. We’ve got to get over this sensitivity; it keeps people from saying what they really believe. It muffles people, it puts a muzzle on them; and, at the same time, keeps people from discussing important issues while the fabric of their society is being changed…
Dr. Benjamin Carson, Sr., the Director of Pediatric Neurosurgery at Johns Hopkins Hospital in Baltimore, speaking at the National Prayer Breakfast:
Why is it so important that we educate our people? Because we don’t want to go down the pathway as so many pinnacle nations that have preceded us. I think particularly about ancient Rome. Very powerful. Nobody could even challenge them militarily, but what happened to them? They destroyed themselves from within. Moral decay, fiscal irresponsibility. They destroyed themselves. If you don’t think that can happen to America, you get out your books and you start reading, but you know, we can fix it.
Assistant Attorney General Tom Perez from the Civil Rights Division of the Department of Justice…repeated a constant refrain he has heard from the Sikhs in Oak Creek: “We love this country and want to show our love for it. But we still aren’t allowed to serve in the military.” The Assistant Attorney General then said he would elevate the Sikh desire to serve in the military to the highest levels of the Obama Administration.
The article is interesting in touching on a subject not often discussed, but it also reflects that lack of consideration. For example, as commenters on the article noted, it was sensationally titled: There is no ban on Sikhs — or any other religious person — serving Continue reading →
“These chaplains were united in their belief that with God all things are possible,” and they served as an enduring witness to “the power of God to transcend chaos and calamity and produce in us the strength to do all things.”
The four chaplains were Protestants George Fox and Clark Poling; Catholic priest John Washington; and a Jewish rabbi, Alexander Goode. The chaplains famously gave up their own life vests and sank with the ship, arm in arm without regard to any person’s particular religious faith.
U.S. military commanders in Afghanistan on Thursday ordered the removal of a steeple and crucifix erected over a remote American base in the Muslim country after a soldier deployed there noted that the symbols violated Army regulations…
Doors with cross-shaped windows were reportedly boarded up until they can be replaced.