December 7, 2009, marks 68 years since the surprise attack on Pearl Harbor that propelled the United States into what was already the second World War. While Remembrance Day is an annual event (see the Presidential declaration), memories of Pearl Harbor have been more vivid since what some have implied was the 21st Century Pearl Harbor: the terrorist attack on the US on 11 September 2001.
Many recognize the opening line and a choice phrase or two, but Read more
A war story from Afghanistan recounting an Army patrol’s encounter with an improvised explosive was fascinating, but perhaps more interesting was Stars and Stripes choice of title:
‘Don’t tell me there isn’t a God.’
Specialist Burch Swigert survived the explosion of an IED Read more
Ever since Madalyn Murray O’Hair of the American Atheists sued NASA in 1969, the relationship between the space agency and all things religious has been interesting. Even forty years later, as noted here, American Atheists complained about NASA allowing Astronaut Patrick Forrester to carry a piece of Nate Saint’s airplane with him into space.
Still, NASA hasn’t shied away from all things religious. A previous article noted that God of Wonders has been one of the more popular “wake-up songs” broadcast to the shuttle crew in space. (Each crewman’s family can pick a song as the wake-up call for the start of each day.) The most recent trip (STS-129) just ended, with space shuttle Atlantis returning to Earth just after Thanksgiving. During the mission, the shuttle heard MercyMe’s I Can Only Imagine, the Newsboys’ In Wonder, and Bob Carlisle’s Butterfly Kisses, among several other songs for the crew. Read more
The White House blog details the Sikh celebration of the “540th anniversary of the birth of Guru Nanak Dev Ji” that took place on November 13th. President Obama did not attend (he was on the first leg of his Asia trip), and it does not appear he made a statement on the celebration.
The White House notes that this is the first Sikh celebration to occur in the White House. It is not, however, the first time this event has been recognized Read more
Despite the occasional accusation to the contrary, the US military is not a bastion of conspiratorial theocrats. As is routinely shown even on this site, the Chaplains of the US military go beyond the call in their efforts to support all military members, no matter what religion (if any), and often no matter what nationality.
At Keesler Air Force Base, Chaplain (Capt.) Charles Mallory recently had an opportunity to organize a new group to discuss issues of belief. The Chaplain was approached by an enlisted Airman about starting a discussion group that would ultimately be called “The Query of Orthodoxy,” designed to give Read more
Groups and individuals (and there are several) who have recently proposed banning Muslims from serving in the US military as a result of the Fort Hood massacre are demonstrating naivete and an incorrect understanding of both the military and the US Constitution.
No American citizen should be prohibited from any government role, including military service, purely because of his religious beliefs.
Besides being ludicrous on its face, the enforcement of such a religious ban Read more
The moving and often emotional memorial service marking the loss of life at Fort Hood was infused with military ceremony and tradition. Military officers explained that memorials were a part of the process in war; the units gathered to memorialize their fallen, send them home, and then gather their gear to continue the mission.
Flags flew at half-staff, the National Anthem played, speakers lauded the fallen, and the sounding of taps echoed the solemnity of the occasion. Each fallen soldier was represented by a “battlefield cross:” a helmet atop an inverted rifle with bayonet and boots. A uniformed soldier sang Amazing Grace.
Another part of the tradition is prayers offered for the fallen, their friends, and their families. Chaplain (Col) Michael Lembke, Army III Corps Chaplain, wore his religious stole across the shoulders of his military uniform that bore the Christian cross and prayed to “Lord God Almighty,” asking God to “draw us to You” and to “restore to us a spirit of joy and hope.”
The fitting memorial was laden with traditions that critics–including Michael Weinstein’s Military Religious Freedom Foundation–have repeatedly and vociferously opposed.
Yet today, they remained silent.
The thought that a moving ceremony such as this might be curtailed due to Weinstein’s complaints is an anathema to the American spirit. Yet that is the Read more
Michael Weinstein has written an article that on one hand calls the actions of Maj Nidal Malik Hasan “inexcusable,” but on the other says his alleged harassment may have precipitated his massacre at Fort Hood:
The alleged mistreatment Hasan received in the American military almost certainly played a key role in his disaffection.
He fails to note, however, that the same sources that cite the harassment note that Hasan dismissed it:
They’re ignorant. I’m more American than they are. I help my country more than they do. And I don’t care what they say.
“He felt sorry for them…He didn’t feel grudges. He felt sympathy.”
Weinstein also explicitly states that Christians are the source of all religious Read more