The decision in Salazar v Buono directly relates to faith in the military profession, as its very basic premise has far reaching implications:
Is a cross on government land an unConstitutional endorsement of the Christian faith?
A variety of organizations reported on the Supreme Court ruling Wednesday essentially allowing the World War I memorial Mojave cross to remain standing. The ruling reversed the appeals court decision initially declaring the cross on federal land unConstitutional, and then declaring the US Congress transfer of land to the VFW invalid due to its attempt to “avoid” the injunction.
The Supreme Court issued six separate opinions, with no single majority opinion. The decision itself (pdf) is largely procedural, though the net effect Read more
Maj Nidal Malik Hasan’s attorney, John Galligan, has told the press he has received notice the military plans to present evidence of “aggravating factors” to the Article 32 hearing which will determine the judicial course of the case. According to Galligan and others, the only reason to include such factors would be to support a capital sentence.
Hasan faces 13 counts of premeditated murder, among other charges.
The Alliance Defense Fund has previously stated its position that the “repeal” of DADT would ultimately result in untenable conflicts between the moral, religious positions of military Chaplains and the new policy. The ADF is now publicizing a 6-page letter signed by 41 “distinguished” Chaplains opposing the policy change.
The letter says, in essence, that if homosexuals were allowed to serve openly by direct military policy, the Chaplains would be forced to choose “to obey God or to obey men.” Chaplains would be forced to avoid preaching on certain topics, or would face Read more
Updated with statement from Tony Perkins.
US Senator Roger Wicker expressed concern, and a US House member is now calling for hearings on the US military’s treatment of “prominent conservative Christian leaders.”
Rep. Jack Kingston (R-Ga.) said
“I am concerned about it,” Kingston said. “It shows that the Pentagon is using a systematic practice of weeding out preachers and leaders of the clergy who are willing to give biblically-based messages and sermons Read more
Last year, the Military Religious Freedom Foundation and Americans United for the Separation of Church and State complained to the military that former Navy Chaplain Gordon Klingenschmitt was representing himself as a current Chaplain. In the end, Klingenschmitt responded by adding a disclaimer to his publications saying he was a former Chaplain. Rob Boston, one of the lead voices of the AU, subsequently said Read more
An interesting lawsuit has been filed against the Jet Propulsion Laboratory and CalTech after an employee was reportedly demoted and reprimanded for handing out DVDs at work.
David Coppedge sued JPL (pdf) claiming harassment and religious discrimination. Coppedge had reportedly distributed copies of two DVDs that supported the concept of Intelligent Design to “interested” and “willing coworkers.” The DVDs themselves make no reference to religion, though his supervisors reportedly said they “amounted to ‘pushing religion’ and were ‘unwelcome’ and ‘disruptive.'” Coppedge notes that no one ever expressed those sentiments to him prior to his reprimand; he was told it was his responsibility to correctly “interpret a co-worker’s “body language.”” The written warning threatening termination Read more
In an interesting turn of events, during his North Carolina vacation President Obama visited Billy Graham and his son, Franklin Graham — after a week that saw the Pentagon rescind an invitation to the younger Graham over his religious views. Though the visit was initiated after the Pentagon’s announcement, it is likely Obama’s intent was to visit the elder Graham. The Obamas received a gift, and the two gentlemen prayed for each other:
At the end, Graham presented Obama with two Bibles — one for him and the other for first lady Michelle Obama, Ross said. The two men then prayed together, with Obama first praying for Graham and then Graham “concluded with a prayer for the president, his family and his administration,” according to Ross.
Update: Franklin Graham apparently got the ear of the President — and a seemingly supportive (or diplomatic) reply — over the recent incident:
In reference to the invitation being rescinded, Franklin Graham told The Associated Press that he told the president that activists were trying to remove all religion from the military, and he said Obama pledged to look into it.
The “disinvitation” of Franklin Graham from the Pentagon’s National Day of Prayer has continued to raise the ire of a variety of public figures. Read more
It is now common knowledge that Franklin Graham’s invitation to speak at the prayer day hosted by the Pentagon Chaplaincy was “rescinded.”
Army spokesman Col. Tom Collins confirmed today, that at the Army’s request, the Pentagon Chaplain’s Office had contacted Graham to withdraw the invitation extended to him to be the main speaker at the Pentagon’s observance of the National Day of Prayer.
As a result, the National Day of Prayer Task Force is also not participating in the Pentagon event. Graham responded:
I regret that the Army felt it was necessary to rescind their invitation to the National Day of Prayer Task Force to participate in the Pentagon’s special prayer service. I want to express my strong support for the United States military and all our troops. I will continue to pray that God will give them guidance, wisdom and protection as they serve this great country.
(Some have claimed the NDoP itself is unConstitutional, consistent with Read more