Yesterday, Vice President Mike Pence swore in Gen John “Jay” Raymond as the first Chief of Staff of the Space Force. As covered at SpaceNews, the event was notable because the United States has never had a Space Force before; in fact, the US hasn’t had a major Service added to the force since the Air Force became an independent Service in 1947. It was a historic event.
NPR, though, noted the other highlight of the event in a parenthetical aside [emphasis added]:
With one hand placed on a Bible whose “official” blessing on Sunday sparked sharp criticism, Raymond was sworn in by Vice President Pence at the vice president’s ceremonial office.
Clearly, the government was moved by Michael “Mikey” Weinstein’s complaint about the Bible yesterday — probably because it was “full-throated” — and completely ignored him.
Contrary to Weinstein’s all-caps claim that military officers are “NOT ever ‘sworn-in’ to their positions”, the narrator of the ceremony noted the oath was required under Article VI of the Constitution (as an “executive officer” of the United States) and is prescribed in Title V of the US Code: Read more
The National Cathedral published a photograph of the “blessing of a Bible” to be used for swearing-in within the new Space Force. The ceremony was featured in the Washington Post. Pictured were Rev. Randolph Hollerith, the dean of the Washington National Cathedral, the Rev. Carl Wright of the Episcopal Church, and US Air Force Chief of Chaplains Chaplain (MajGen) Steven Schaick:
The gift they gave Chaplain Schaick was a King James Bible donated by The Museum of the Bible, which is in Washington, D.C., a few miles from the National Cathedral.
“Accept this Bible which we dedicate here today for the United States Space Force,” intones the Rev. Randolph Hollerith, dean of the National Cathedral, “that all may so diligently search your holy word and find in it the wisdom that leads to peace and salvation, through Jesus Christ our Lord, amen.”
This was all too much for Michael “Mikey” Weinstein, who issued a “full-throated” response: Read more
The Army & Air Force Exchange Service (AAFES), which runs the retail store base exchanges on Army posts and Air Force bases, responded to Michael “Mikey” Weinstein’s complaint about the religious-themed Christmas candy he’d found in the Colorado Springs area Peterson AFB.
Earlier this month, Weinstein’s lawyer Donald Rehkopf had asserted that selling the candy was “illegal” and violated the US Constitution.
As quoted by the MRFF’s Chris Rodda, AAFES said they would not re-stock the candy after their “very small quantity” was exhausted due to “limited historical demand.” (One of the pictures provided by the MRFF even had the red clearance mark-down sticker on Read more
In June, A1C Sunjit Rathour became the first Sikh to graduate US Air Force basic training at Lackland AFB while wearing his turban and beard. In September he was the first to graduate from the Security Forces course.
Similarly, Gurchetan Singh will soon go to basic training before he joins the 194th Air National Guard wing as a Sikh wearing the articles of his faith.
While the ability to exercise one’s faith is important to one’s own religious practice, A1C Rathour also explained why it can be important for others: Read more
Brandon Trent East of the Alabama National Guard and Dalton Woodward of the Georgia National Guard were recently discharged over their connections to white supremacist groups.
Oddly, they were both supposedly pagans — and white supremacists:
Earlier in 2019, the Atlanta Antifacists group published a report saying East and Woodward were leaders of the Norse pagan group Ravensblood Kindred. The group is part of the Asatru Folk Assembly, which researchers say endorses white supremacy.
East said he had just been looking for an alternative to Christianity: Read more
The US Navy is set to name its newest submarines for two of the most famous vessels from the attack on Pearl Harbor in 1941:
Acting Secretary of the Navy Thomas B. Modly [said]:
“I am honored and humbled to name the next two Virginia-class nuclear fast-attack submarines to be built as the USS Oklahoma (SSN-802) and the USS Arizona (SSN-803). It is my fondest wish that the citizens of the great states of Arizona and Oklahoma will understand and celebrate our Navy’s desire to memorialize the 1,177 heroes who perished in USS Arizona (BB-39) and the 429 more in USS Oklahoma (BB-37) in Pearl Harbor, on Dec. 7, 1941.”
Naming vessels for such Read more
Nevada Army National Guard Soldier SFC Benjamin Hopper has been granted a waiver allowing him to wear a beard — because he believes it is a “sacred and defining feature of masculine men” consistent Read more
President Obama’s Secretary of Defense Ash Carter has been doing interviews to hawk his book, Inside the Five-Sided Box: Lessons from a Lifetime of Leadership in the Pentagon, and spoke with the Military Times in September. In the interview he explained away the complexities, morality, and responsibility of some of the key DoD decisions with the simple “we had no choice.”
On the continuing presence of US troops in Afghanistan [emphasis added]:
I really do believe we’ve been on the best course, and the only course available to us.
On integrating women in combat arms within the US military [emphasis added]: Read more