Category Archives: Government and Religion

Chaplain Accused of Violating DADT

A US Army National Guard Chaplain is under investigation for violating “Don’t Ask, Don’t Tell” by allegedly “telling” a superior Chaplain that he was gay.

Aris Fokas is a United Church of Christ minister who joined the Pennsylvania Army National Guard in 2003 at the age of 39.  Fokas has reportedly denied the disclosure, though he reportedly

declined to say anything about his sexual orientation other than to acknowledge he is single and has never been married.

He noted, too, that the United Church of Christ ordains openly gay and lesbian ministers, a denomination-wide policy since 1980.

In an apparent attempt to defend himself, Fokas says  Read more

AF Diversity Tome Quotes Disagreement on Religion

The US Air Force’s Air University has published Attitudes Aren’t Free: Thinking Deeply about Diversity in the US Armed Forces.  It contains a variety of opposing ideas on religion in the US military, homosexuality, race and gender, and social policy.

While the nearly 600 page work will take time to review, it will be interesting to see how (or even if) it is received.  It has the potential to be an interesting point of discussion, or perhaps little more than a minor publishing opportunity for some of its authors.

The tome contains articles from Barry Lynn, Gordon Klingenschmitt, Chris Rodda, Jay Sekulow, and Elaine Donnelly, among others.  It can be viewed or downloaded as a PDF here.  The primary website is DoDPolicy.org.

Military National Prayer Breakfasts Include Many Faiths

While the topic of National Prayer Breakfasts at local military installations was already discussed, the events continue to occur at various locations around the world.  At Fort Benning, a picture showed the nature of the breakfast within the military:

Jewish Chaplain (Maj) Carlos Huerta talks with Muslim imam Dawud Salahuddin Bin Pearson before the start of the National Prayer Breakfast. (US Army Photo)

Jewish Chaplain (Maj) Carlos Huerta talks with Muslim imam Dawud Salahuddin Bin Pearson before the start of the National Prayer Breakfast. (US Army Photo)

The celebration was open to all faiths and included prayers by Muslim imam Dawud Salahuddin Bin Pearson and Jewish Chaplain Read more

Soldiers Fellowship with Like-Minded Atheist Peers

When criticizing para-church organizations that ministered to servicemembers, MRFF creator Michael Weinstein used to cite the number of US military bases around the globe, as if the number somehow made the existence of the organizations more insidious.  But as someone very recently said, the presence of groups of religious adherents at military bases arises from a far more basic human need: fellowship.

“If there’s one thing church groups get right is fellowship [sic],” Johnson said. “Everyone wants to be around people who are like them.”

The person quoted is supporting the existence of such groups, but she isn’t at all religious.  She is Kathleen Johnson, founder of the Military Association of Atheists and Freethinkers and currently Vice President and Military Director of American Atheists.  She is reportedly a former Army first sergeant, retired after 21 years of service.  (Her organizational profile pictures continue to show her in a military Read more

Restrictions on Judeo-Christianity Ruled UnConstitutional

The US District Court for southern California ruled in late February (pdf) that a school district erred when it demanded that a teacher remove banners from his room due to their “Judeo-Christian” and “particular sectarian viewpoint.”  The banners contained quotes from American founding documents and mottos that made reference to God.

While the academic environment of the case may not seem relevant to Christianity in the military, realize that the school district (and occasionally the teacher) was treated as a government actor, as the military is (and often military members are).  The government’s treatment of religion in this case, and the court’s response, was extremely enlightening.

The most interesting part of the case was the fact that while the school district said that the presence of the banners might raise concerns under the Establishment Clause of the First Amendment to the US Constitution, the court ultimately ruled that the school district’s actions actually violated the Establishment Clause.  The reason was simple:  Read more

Huckabee: Engage the Fighter Pilot Culture

The origin of ChristianFighterPilot.com is the misperception among some people that one cannot be both a good fighter pilot and a good Christian.  The assumption is that the two are mutually exclusive; one must overpower the other.  While the fighter pilot culture can be hostile to a Christian spirit, being both a fighter pilot and a Christian is not an oxymoron.  In fact, the sometimes carnal nature of the fighter pilot profession makes it the perfect place for a Christian, not one to be avoided.

Former Presidential candidate and now Fox News commentator Mike Huckabee seems to agreeRead more

Chaplain Ministers to All, Even Other Nations

US Army Chaplain (Maj) Julian Padgett served the men and women of Forward Operating Base Marez in Mosul, Iraq, in late 2009.  In his proactive efforts to minister to those on Marez, he reportedly “made the rounds along the base perimeter to comfort troops and offer prayers,” as shown in this picture dated in September 2009:

(DoD Photo, PO1 Carmichael Yepez)

(DoD Photo, PO1 Carmichael Yepez)

An important detail is that Chaplain Padgett ministered to all the men and women on Marez supporting the US mission, including the pictured security guard, a third country national (TCN) from Uganda with whom he shared Read more

“Blackhawk Down” Pilot Relied on God

The story of how Army Sgt Jeff Struecker became US Army Chaplain Struecker is fairly well-known.  Less publicized is the faith of Michael Durant, the helicopter pilot whose UH-60 Blackhawk was shot down over Mogadishu; the shootdown ultimately resulted in the deaths of his crew at the hands of the Somalis.  Also killed were two Delta snipers, MSG Gary Gordon and SFC Randall Shughart, who received the Medal of Honor after volunteering to mount a vastly outnumbered defense for the beleaguered survivors.

Durant was a speaker at a National Prayer Luncheon at the US Army’s Redstone Arsenal in Alabama.  He said that prayer was central to his survival:  Read more

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