Category Archives: Commentary

US Troops Walk Out on Chaplain’s Sermon

The following account is provided anonymously, and certain details have been intentionally obscured to protect the identities of those involved.

I walked out of a church service last Sunday.

It wasn’t because I had a crying child or a vibrating cellphone. It was because when the singing stopped, the pastor who stood up in front of the congregation to deliver the sermon represented religious beliefs I disagreed with.

Now why, you might ask, was I even at a church whose pastor didn’t hold the same beliefs as me?

Easy: I’m in the US military.

Unfortunately, we don’t always have the luxury of “choosing” our church. Other times, we might choose the chapel on the post, yet watch as the pastor — the chaplain — changes from one year (or even one Sunday) to the next. And every service member will go through the process of moving, which means a new “job,” a new home, and a new church — every couple of years.

The way some people seem to tell the story, the military is being run (or overrun) Read more

The Importance of American Christians Publicly Speaking Out

Todd Starnes of FoxNews recently celebrated the reversal of Oklahoma’s East Central University plans to remove Bibles, crosses and other religious items from their campus chapel. The University made the initial decision after receiving a legal threat from Americans United for the Separation of Church and State.

Starnes attributed the change of mind to his readers contacting the University to express their disagreement. It appears the University had made its decision based on the “loudest voice in the room,” and only after Starnes’ column was published and other voices spoke up did they consider that the heckler need not be granted a universal veto.

The power of the American citizen’s voice should not be underestimated — and the impact of the absence of the Christian citizen’s voice cannot be overstated.

Just a couple of months ago Tennessee Read more

The Conflict Between Transgender Military Policies and Religious Belief

“[US troops] who…subscribe to Christian belief as set forth in the Bible [believe] that God created humans male and female; that sex is innate, and unchangeable; and that their faith prohibits them from seeing or being seen in a state of undress, and from sleeping, showering or performing private bodily functions with members of the opposite sex who are not their spouse.

“These [service members] are also aware and subscribe to the belief that science confirms the biblical account: there are over 6,500 unique differences between males and females, beyond Read more

Yes, You Are a Government-Paid Missionary in Uniform

David Plummer, a chaplain-endorser with the liberal leaning Coalition of Spirit-Filled Churches, responded to the DoD’s decision to publish a new “Faith and Belief” list by making an aside that the

military chaplaincy is NOT about being a “government-paid pastor or missionary in uniform.”

Plummer is making a reference to a phrase made famous by Michael “Mikey” Weinstein’s MRFF, which copied (and slightly edited) a video from a 2004 chapel assembly at Dallas Theological Seminary by US Army Chaplain (Maj) Douglas Duerksen*. Chaplain Duerksen described the military society as “amoral” and “unchurched” — making it a “magnificent mission field.” He followed Read more

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

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