Category Archives: Religion and Culture

Pagans to Gather in DC on July 4th

On July 4th, the AU’s Barry Lynn will be one of several speakers near the White House and the Veterans’ Administration.  The gathering is to “celebrate” the “victory” of getting the VA to add the pentacle to its list of approved symbols, demand that the VA add more pagan symbols, and advocate for a pagan military chaplain.The call for a pagan chaplain is problematic, since the military requires that chaplains be ordained in their faith.  Since paganism is, by definition, an unorganized belief system, it is difficult for them to create an organization that is consistent with their dogma (or lack thereof).  Even the “world’s largest public school of Wicca and the Magical Arts” (Our Lady of Enchantment) makes a point of saying that their program is designed for those “interested in creating their own spiritual tradition.”  They say they can meet the requirements of legal recognition of ministerial rights without “making a commitment to any particular Wiccan or Magickal tradition.”  Thus, they are “priests” of only their own belief system.

Of the four scheduled speakers that are listed as “reverends,” only Barry Lynn is legitimately ordained in his own faith.  Neither Fox nor Ellison list the source of their “reverend” title.  Akin is ordained through the Universal Life Church–which will “legally ordain” anyone with a valid email address.

The Ethics of Gouge

The recent cheating scandal at the Air Force Academy has highlighted, once again, that the temptation to compromise one’s integrity is a continuing threat.  In this case, nearly three dozen cadets are accused of cheating by sharing answers on an ‘inconsequential’ military knowledge test.  Other cases have revealed that the same temptation occurs on active duty.  In 2005 a dozen students were kicked out of pilot training for obtaining the answers to an Emergency Procedures Quiz (EPQ) prior to the test administration; an instructor pilot facing court martial for providing those answers subsequently resigned under less than honorable conditions.  Again, the EPQ was an ‘inconsequential’ quiz. 

Why would cadets or officers risk their careers over such insignificant tests?  Read more

Religious Freedom Day, 2007

Religious Freedom Day passed quietly, with virtually no mainstream media press coverage, even though struggles continue over the proper role of religion in government, the military, and public society.  The President’s proclamation is here, and a private organization has started a website to better publicize the day.

The Constitution and Military Christianity

Christian fighter pilots face a unique challenge in their roles as “government officials” and religious individuals.  The struggle is ongoing in large part because the American public is confused or misinformed about the correct relationship between religion and society.  Weak Christian responses to these public misperceptions have failed to reverse the resulting rise of secularism in America.

Misunderstandings of the proper role of religion in American society have 200 years of history behind them and center on a few simple words in the US Constitution:

Congress shall make no law respecting an establishment of religion, or prohibiting the free exercise thereof.

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