The US Air Force Academy closed its investigation into the placement of the shape of a cross at a pagan site on the Academy grounds. No new information was apparently determined, nor was any action taken. To their credit, the Colorado Springs Gazette printed the most accurate description so far of the incident, saying
The cross – consisting of two railroad ties propped against a boulder…
Other organizations and individuals had inaccurately implied a ‘large cross’ was ‘made of railroad ties’ and ‘carried to the site’ to be ‘erected in the center’ of the pagan circle. The Gazette left out only the facts the two boards were not connected and were already on the site before the incident occurred.
In noting the end of its investigation, the Air Force refused to characterize the incident as a hate crime: Read more
A few days ago, this site noted that a self-described religious freedom organization, Michael Weinstein’s MRFF, had criticized deployed servicemembers for publicly celebrating Easter in the combat theatre.
In an interesting convergence of topics, a message by President Obama recently cited just such a celebration of Easter–and not by just any servicemembers, but by a unit of deployed fighter pilots. A fascinating photo (below) helps explain.
In his “holiday greetings” distributed on 3 April 2010, the President commented on “war time” observances of Easter, saying: Read more
As noted nearly 18 months ago, the US Marines at Camp Lejeune directed 25-year Marine veteran Jesse Nieto to remove stickers from the back of his car that they deemed offensive. Nieto sued, and a federal judge has now ruled that the base violated Nieto’s rights.
The stickers were described as “anti-Islam;” Nieto put the stickers on his car not long after his son, a Navy Sailor, was killed on the USS Cole when it was bombed in 2000.
Interestingly, it appears the judge did not rule the policy that Camp Lejeune used was inherently bad; instead, he seemed to say it was the unbalanced application Read more
Have a joyous celebration of the resurrection of Christ, and take time to remember our troops deployed around the world.
Sailors worship at Easter. (DoD Photo)
Last September, Chris Rodda, a researcher for Michael Weinstein and his Military Religious Freedom Foundation, wrote an article enumerating her “Top Ten” list of Christian travesties in the US military, emphasizing acts which “convince the Muslims we’re on a crusade.” A less combative version of this same list was re-published in the US Air Force’s Attitudes Aren’t Free just a few weeks ago.
At number 8, Rodda lists this rather interesting way in which the US military is showing the Muslim world America is on a crusade: Read more
It is not uncommon for people of a religious faith–Christian or not–to occasionally speak of the difficulty of celebrating their faith while in the military. This is particularly true in intense training environments, as well as the obvious restricted areas of combat. The military culture is sometimes hostile (even unintentionally) to the spirit of a religious faith, and the logistical environment sometimes restricts the ability to fully exercise one’s faith.
Despite the challenges encountered, it is important to highlight the fact that the US military has a responsive environment of both commanders and Chaplains to see to the religious needs of all of its servicemembers. Though there are obvious logistical hurdles in some cases, there is no institutional support for or bias against any particular faith. In fact, the opposite is true.
For example, the Aleph Institute, a DoD Chaplain endorsing organization and valuable support agency for Jews in the US military, recently said they had to come to the rescue of a Soldier seeking spiritual resources, and because of “red tape” a Jewish Soldier has “almost no chance” of getting spiritual resources like prayer books and kosher field rations.
History, however, demonstrates the opposite. In fact, Jewish military Read more
Sgt David Travis Bishop was court-martialed in August 2009 for being AWOL and disobeying orders when he missed his unit’s deployment to Afghanistan. Bishop had said he began to read his Bible in Iraq and came to believe that war was wrong, but did not realize he could apply for conscientious objector status.
According to news reports, Bishop has now been released from custody, in part due to clemency.
Update: The Army announced that General Mixon will not be reprimanded.
LtGen Benjamin R. Mixon, commanding general of US Army Pacific, previously wrote a letter to the editor encouraging servicemembers to “speak up” about their views on the potential repeal of “Don’t Ask, Don’t Tell.” His letter was used as the second example of an active duty officer publicly disagreeing with the proposed change, when he said
If those of us who are in favor of retaining the current policy do not speak up, there is no chance to retain the current policy.
This was particularly salient, because, as the General pointed out, there has been little public opposition from those in the military on the topic. (By contrast, present and former members of the military who oppose the ban have been a common item in the media, some in clear violation of military regulations.) The supposition was that military members did disagree, but feared the reaction of the military if they expressed disagreement with their Commander in Chief and senior officers.
Secretary of Defense Robert Gates and Chairman of the Joint Chiefs of Staff Admiral Mike Mullen, who have expressed support for President Obama’s proposal to lift the ban, called General Mixon’s letter “inappropriate“: Read more