The UK’s Guardian has said that General Stanley McChrystal’s ouster from leading NATO forces in Afghanistan has dealt a blow to a long and slow improvement in US-Muslim relations. The article summed it up this way:
McChrystal’s strategy in Afghanistan also had major implications for US relations with the world’s 1.4bn Muslims. McChrystal’s message was simple: we respect you. We honor you. We are here to protect you. You have a great religion and a great culture, and we will help you preserve it and secure a future for your children.
The article calls the choice of General Petraeus to replace McChrystal “solid,” which has been the general feeling in the public (Petraeus was approved unanimously in the Senate). Ironically, however, while McChrystal apparently sported friendly credentials with the local Muslim populations, Petraeus has been accused of being a fundamentalist Christian predator, at least by one person:
General Petraeus has, by his own hand, become a quintessential poster child of this fundamentalist Christian religious predation, Read more
According to Politico, Lieutenant Dan Choi and former Captain James Pietrangelo intend to subpoena President Obama in their defense of their White House protest in March.
The subpoena of the President is necessary for the defense to prove that Defendants were following and obeying lawful orders or directives by their President and Commander in Chief, Read more
According to an official release, the Department of Defense distributed 400,000 emailed surveys yesterday to military members on the topic of the implementation of the repeal of the policy most commonly known as “Don’t Ask, Don’t Tell.”
Half of the surveys went to active-duty servicemembers, and half were sent to the reserve components. Troops who received the surveys were selected based on age, rank, service, component, military specialties, education, marital status and other factors to ensure broad and thorough feedback on a potential repeal, Ham said.
The Military Times said the actual questions were “under wraps,” but the survey Read more
Cardinal Daniel DiNardo is chairman of the Committee on Pro-Life Activities for the US Bishop’s conference has asked Congress not to approve language in the Defense Authorization Act that would permit US military facilities to conduct abortions.
The Cardinal noted that federal policies have prohibited military facilities from performing abortions since 1988, with the exception of 1993-1995 when Clinton overturned the policy (it was later re-instituted by Congress).
The Cardinal joined with military diocese Archbishop Broglio Read more
A frontpage photo on the Wall Street Journal a few weeks ago highlighted the presence of faith even in the struggle of war. From the caption:
RESCUE AND PROTECT: Staff Sgt. Edward Rosa reads the Bible and extends a cigarette to Pfc. Jorge Rostra Obando, who was stunned by an explosion in Afghanistan’s Arghanab Valley. One comrade was killed and two injured in the blast. Pfc. Rostran asked the sergeant to read Psalm 91, a favorite from his childhood. (Ricardo Garcia Vilanova for The Wall Street Journal)
Wall Street Journal photo
In the comments on the WSJ site, a poster who said he was Obando’s father chimed in with pride for his son’s faith; someone who said they were a Gideon even pointed out the fact it was a freely distributed (and well worn) Gideon Bible the two Soldiers were sharing.
Of course, some organizations have demanded that the military “close their doors” to the Gideons, and the publication of the photo brought out similar detractors: Read more
In a vaguely related article that purports to highlight potentially “false” converts from radical Islam, the author quotes the MRFF’s Michael Weinstein in a provocative statement:
With the U.S. engaged in active combat in the heart of the Islamic world, Weinstein believes Christian fundamentalists in the U.S. military are actively promoting terrorists-turned-Christians — with potentially deadly consequences.
“These guys are spewing Islamophobic hatred, and the Pentagon laps it up. This is the kind of prejudice and bigotry that can lead to genocide,” said Weinstein.
So Weinstein is suggesting that someone — American military Christians? the Pentagon? — is leading the way to “genocide?” Weinstein leaves no clue as to how he jumped to such a melodramatic conclusion (though perhaps he believes it will be committed by the “shadow government” the MRFF believes is actually running the country). Insane conspiracy theory though it is, it isn’t the first time he has made the accusation. From 2007:
In Plan A, evangelical Christians with a smile on their face will ask you to please, please, please accept their biblical worldview of Jesus. The problem with that is, inevitably, Plan A morphs into Plan B. They stop asking so nicely, and then you have the Holocaust, Read more
As the United States of America celebrates 234 years since it declared its independence, let us not forget the sacrifices made by hundreds of thousands of US military servicemembers in the name of the freedoms of their fellow countrymen.
We hold these truths to be self-evident, that all men are created equal, that they are endowed by their Creator with certain unalienable Rights…
We, therefore, the Representatives of the united States of America, in General Congress, Assembled, appealing to the Supreme Judge of the world for the rectitude of our intentions…
And for the support of this Declaration, with a firm reliance on the protection of divine Providence…
The Declaration of Independence, as well as the Constitution of the United States and other relevant documents, can be found at the ChristianFighterPilot.com Religion and the Military page of this site.
The Youngstown (Ohio) news covers the story of local Falak Mir Shafi, an immigrant from Pakistan who became a US citizen in the fast-track process provided by service in the US military. The article notes Shafi’s faith — he is a Sunni Muslim — and also attempts to highlight the “problems” of being a Muslim in the US military:
In some cases, Muslims and noncitizens have filed discrimination complaints against military branches. Atty. Mikey Weinstein, director of the Military Religious Freedom Foundation, says such discrimination is as omnipresent as gravity.
The discrimination is so ubiquitous, apparently, that there are precisely zero examples provided in the article. In fact, the counterexample is presented instead: Read more