Category Archives: Commentary

The US Military, Leadership, and the Harder Right

chaplainAn institutional bias is often found in many large organizations, including the US military: The desire that employees simply do their jobs and bring no attention on themselves or the institution. In point of fact, this bias may actually be stronger in the US military by virtue of its strict reliance on uniformity — and its resulting institutional disdain for those who appear to break with such single-mindedness.

In some instances, this bias leads to an injustice: For example, when a subordinate or employee makes a special request for accommodation, it may be granted out of obligation, but that employee has, for better or worse, highlighted himself as someone requiring additional effort — something rarely viewed positively by such institutions. Or, if a subordinate or employee is criticized or attacked for permissible conduct that others might have found disagreeable, this bias may cause a superior to try to appease the critic to make the boat-rocking go away, rather than take the extra effort necessary to defend their subordinate.

Regardless, this bias represents a failure in leadership. It is Read more

Atheists Broaden Attacks on Military Memorials

An atheist thinks this is an illegal “Christian shrine.”

Multiple military war memorials are now under attack by atheists who consider the presence of a Christian cross offensive.

Former soldier and current atheist Jason Torpy, the one-man association of military atheists (MAAF), has previously lodged complaints with the US Marines over the Camp Pendleton cross (which has yet to be resolved).  He is opposed to the cross in Arlington National Cemetery for the same reason.

This follows the national trend of several activist organizations that have been threatening cities and towns with lawsuits if they fail to remove memorials which contain Read more

Weinstein’s Attacks Don’t Dampen US Military Charity

Marines spread joy of Christmas, Soldiers donate to Catholic Charity, Toys for Tots teams with Christian non-profit…

Members of the US military continue to participate in traditional acts of charity and community service, even when such efforts are connected (however remotely) with religious organizations — despite Michael Weinstein’s efforts to quash such efforts last month.

The reason, of course, is that despite a somewhat unusual reaction from the US Air Force Academy last month, the US military has had no problem associating itself with religious organizations in their efforts to conduct humanitarian or charitable work.  In fact, it seems the majority of such work is conducted in concert with organizations that are in some way connected to a faith group, probably because so many humanitarian and charitable organizations are faith-based to begin with.

And that’s OK — because there is no military policy, regulation, or Read more

Don’t Ask, Don’t Tell: The Military Christian’s Perspective

The ongoing public debate over homosexuality and the US military (most often referred to as “Don’t Ask, Don’t Tell”) presents a unique conflict for Christians in the military.  There are those who believe homosexuality is morally wrong and must be prohibited at every possibility, and there are those who believe people have the freedom to do as they please in their private lives.  This situation has implications from both the Christian perspective and the military perspective (in isolation), though they must be integrated to form the military Christian’s perspective.  Each of these three is addressed individually below.

The Christian Perspective

The Christian faith considers homosexuality a sin, just as theft, adultery, murder, and lust are sins.  Still, Christianity does not condemn the person who expresses a homosexual preference.  In addition, while many people in this world are tempted to sin (as was Jesus during his incarnation), the temptation to participate in sinful conduct is not itself wrong.  Finally, man is a fallen creation and has a sinful nature; thus, succumbing to temptation and sinning are a common experience of many on this earth — even the stereotypically staunchest Christians.

For a Christian, it is disheartening to see the culture, government, and now military move to end opposition to immoral behavior.  This is a dramatic indicator of the direction of cultural morality in the United States:  Few other issues have so rapidly moved from Read more

Weinstein Fails to Intimidate with Lawsuit, Military Complaint

Michael Weinstein of the Military Religious Freedom Foundation isn’t shy about litigation.  He previously sued the US Air Force Academy and the US Department of Defense (twice).  He has threatened Trijicon with litigation after Trijicon said their critics were “not Christian.”  He threatened to sue a critic who sent him mocking emails.  He is currently suing former Navy Chaplain Klingenschmitt and his endorsers for “terrorist acts.”  His organization claims to be preparing to sue the Army over the treatment of a Muslim US Soldier.  And these are just the examples made public.

Now, Weinstein has threatened to file yet another lawsuit in his efforts to “litigate and agitate” his way into influence with regard to religion in the US military.

His latest lawsuit target?  ChristianFighterPilot.com.

The lengths to which Weinstein will go — even beyond a lawsuit — are a testament to his desperation.  Read more

“How do I become a fighter pilot…?”

While ChristianFighterPilot.com has seen recognition among jurists, activists, soldiers, civilians, Christians and atheists from all points of view, it also remains a source of information for those asking some more basic questions:

How do I become a fighter pilot in the Air Force/Navy/Marines?

Questions on becoming a fighter pilot, from medical qualifications to the pilot lifestyle, remain one of the most often addressed topics (as are questions on fighter pilot lingo).  Much of the answer is available in the FAQ (and new questions are added as they are asked).  Believe it or not, there are actually few reliable sources of information on how to become a fighter pilot.  Even the official military sites can be confusing, incomplete, or contradictory, often because the information changes faster than the websites.

An internet search for “become a fighter pilot” will likely find the website of Marine fighter pilot Ed Rush, who has made a virtual living answering this question. His website, http://www.becomefighterpilot.com/, features teases of dramatic “top secret” ways to virtually guarantee being selected as a fighter pilot.  He sells a “fighter pilot power pack” (the “current” price is $97) that claims to have the “tips and tricks” to give his customers an advantage over everyone else. Read more

Christianity in the Military: Truth with Feet

The following article uniquely addresses the spirit of “evangelism” promoted by many Christian military ministry organizations–the evangelism of life example.  Christian officers are encouraged to witness with “their feet”–the often silent witness of their everyday words, choices, and actions.  While there may be an appropriate time and place for cracking open a Bible and explaining the Gospel, far more often the Gospel is seen when Soldiers, Airmen, Sailors and Marines observe the lives of the military Christians in their midst.  Encouraging military Christians to live as models of Godly character–so that their example might influence others–is the heart of military ministry.

This article was written by Lieutenant Colonel Tom Schmidt, USA (Ret.), and is reprinted here in its entirety.

Truth with Feet

In his short, personal letter to Gaius, the apostle John commends his friend for walking in the truth. “It gave me great joy to have some brothers come and tell about your faithfulness to the truth and how you continue to walk in the truth” (3 John v.3).

Truth has feet. More than information merely shoved into our heads, truth is meant to fill our hearts and spill into our entire lives. John expounds Read more