The Baptist Press notes a concern that the controversy over the repeal of the policy commonly known as “Don’t Ask, Don’t Tell” may be completely avoided until after the November elections, in order to avoid potential backlash on members of Congress from conservative districts.
In a move that would potentially stoke that controversy, one Senator is preparing to offer amendments to the Defense Authorization Act that will address not only the DADT provision, but also that on abortion:
Sen. James Inhofe, a Republican from Oklahoma and member of the Senate Armed Services Committee, said he’s prepared to offer amendments striking the Don’t Ask, Don’t Tell and pro-abortion language from the bill.
The Senator also supported the growing current of comments indicating members of the military oppose the change but feel unable to express that concern (while those who support it are doing that very thing):
Inhofe said he recently returned from a trip to Iraq in which military personnel expressed to him concern that their voice isn’t being heard. He said personnel told him, “We want to be heard and now we find out that … they’ve already decided how it’s gonna turn out.”
As noted at Fox News, Christians in Memphis reportedly fear they will be the victims of discrimination if an anti-discrimination ordinance is passed. A local church which made news when it banned a softball team with a homosexual coach is apparently concerned it would be cut off from interaction with government entities, or be subject to sanction, should it continue to support its religious beliefs that oppose homosexual conduct.
Most interesting, however, is the response by the homosexual advocacy group that sponsored the bill to the church’s concern:
[Jonathan] Cole [of the Tennessee Equality Project] stressed that his group is willing to make some concessions and perhaps offer churches an exemption from the proposed law.
“We’re willing to start somewhere by giving them an exemption,” he said. “At least for the time being.”
“For the time being?”
A few months ago Chairman of the Joint Chiefs of Staff Admiral Mike Mullen told reporters
if there is either policy direction that someone in uniform disagrees with…and you feel so strongly about it — you know, the answer is not advocacy; it is in fact to vote with your feet.
The New York Times is reporting that those who oppose service by open homosexuals are beginning to wonder just how they can do that. Unlike General Mixon, the impetus of Mullen’s commentary, most servicemembers cannot simply resign. Many, even Read more
On the continuing theme of military papers discussing religion in the military comes Lt Col Jimmy M. Browning’s “Religious Expression or Religious Coercion: Commanders Caught in the Crossfire.” LtCol Browning, a Colonel-select, was an Air War College student when he published the paper in February of this year. He is also a USAF Chaplain.
The paper brings an interesting perspective to the “conflict” between those who believe in a right to religious expression and those who believe religious expression is de facto coercion in a military environment:
[The] Military Religion [sic] Freedom Foundation (MRFF) is one group that describes itself as a watchdog against religious coercion…These groups are especially leery of evangelical Read more
The Associated Press reported that charges against US Army Lt Dan Choi and former Captain James Pietrangelo had been dropped. The charges were failure to obey police after they chained themselves, in Army uniforms, to the perimeter fence at the White House.
Prosecutor Christine Chang declined to comment on why the government dropped the case. Choi said he believes Obama administration officials didn’t want to draw attention to the policy.
While Pietrangelo would have to be recalled to active duty to face charges from the military, there are no public indications that Choi, who remains in the Army, will be charged for his political protest while wearing a uniform.
Choi had previously indicated his plans to subpoena the President.
According to a recent official news release, the US Army is researching “alternative treatments to medication” in its efforts to compose a “comprehensive pain-management strategy” including acupuncture, meditation, yoga, and biofeedback.
The first three of those have some form of spiritual or ethereal undertones, almost exclusively from eastern religious traditions. The proposals, as discussed by Army surgeon general Lt. Gen. Eric B. Schoomaker, are an attempt to reduce the reliance on medication for every complaint.
Of course, religious faith does play a role in many aspects of life, including both physical and emotional healing. Campus Crusade’s military ministry (see Links) has invested considerable energy in creating faith-based resources for returning servicemembers struggling with PTSD.
The Alliance Defense Fund’s Speak Up website has an article entitled “Faith Under Fire: DADT and Religious Liberty” that summarizes and includes links to the variety of organizations and individuals who have opposed the repeal of the policy commonly known as “Don’t Ask, Don’t Tell.”
The site also includes a video of a half dozen retired Chaplains — ranging from Lt Commander to Brigadier General — addressing the issue of normalizing homosexual behavior and its impact on religious freedom in the US military.
US Army Chaplain (1LT) Thomas Dyer — the Baptist-Pastor-turned-Buddhist-Priest who became the US Army’s first Buddhist Chaplain — led 200 people in a celebration of the holiest day of the Buddhist calendar while deployed to Iraq in May.
US military members from across Iraq were invited to the celebration and were allowed to travel to the base specifically for the observance.
The official effort the US military puts into allowing — even encouraging — its members to participate in the religious services of their choosing is significant. Military members can take comfort in knowing that their leadership has their spiritual resiliency in mind and will, to the extent the mission allows, protect their free exercise.
Still, all is not without controversy. Read more