Category Archives: Government and Religion

Senate to Military: Add Islamic Extremism to Banned Groups

A Senate committee is recommending that Islamic extremism be added to the list of groups that military members are prohibited from participating in or associating with.

The Defense Department’s existing policies for dealing with personnel that become involved in gangs and racist groups need to be expanded to cover new avenues of violence, [Sen. Joe] Lieberman [I-CT] and [Sen Susan] Collins [R-ME] say.

The two also encouraged the military to educate its members to be able to distinguish between “violent Islamist extremism” and “the practice of the Islamic faith.”

Unfortunately, the Senators’ well-intentioned recommendations are not nearly as simple as they seem to imply.  They present a labyrinth of logistical, political, and religious liberty issues, all of which the military must attempt to figure out on the fly.  It would appear most people agree that something needs to be done, but fulfilling that request without unnecessarily inhibiting religious liberty is another challenge altogether.

NATO Denies Desecrating Koran…Again

A protest in the Helmand Province of Afghanistan was inspired by a claim that international troops “destroyed copies of the Koran.”  NATO said one person was killed–a sniper targeted by coalition forces–while Afghan officials reported six deaths.

As reported on al Jazeera,

Residents in Garmsir district of Helmand province on Tuesday said that Nato-led forces raided a house in the area on Sunday and destroyed copies of the holy book in a local mosque…  Read more

Religious Freedom Day, 16 Jan 2010

Updated with President Obama’s proclamation.

Each year since 1993 the President has declared January 16th to be “Religious Freedom Day,” in order to remember the passage of Thomas Jefferson’s 1786 Virginia Statute for Religious Freedom (see 2009).  President Obama does not appear to have issued his proclamation for tomorrow yet (now available), though the day has been a topic of discussion in varying forums across the internet.

Jefferson’s statute continues to be a strong expression for the value of religious liberty even today.  Though the statute has been discussed in many places and in great depth, there are two important points to take from the statute:  Read more

Army Trains Soldiers in Positive Thinking

In its latest attempt to provide Soldiers with mental resilience, the US Army is requiring each of its Soldiers to receive psychological training conducted through a $117 million program by the University of Pennsylvania’s Positive Psychology Center.  The 10-day course

teaches concepts such as focusing on what goes right, expressing gratitude, and analyzing and correcting negative views of ambiguous events.

In short, it is “the power of positive thinking.”  The program is not without its critics, who blast the psychological theory as Read more

You Can’t be a Good Christian and a Good Soldier

The “interim CEO” of the Stand Up America Project had much to say about the ability of a religious adherent to be a loyal citizen or member of the military:

There is no doubt that a devout [Christian] must proclaim the exclusivity of [Christ] or he is an apostate. Therefore, he must always be a [Christian] first, and that means he is not only unable, but also forbidden from acting in any other fashion. If he is in our military, he may take orders, and obey, but at some level, when the order runs afoul of [Christianity], he must revert to [Christianity] first.

Except, he didn’t exactly say that.  Scott Winchell railed against Muslims in the long piece, ultimately saying  Read more

Hasan’s Superiors Worried, but Promoted Him

As noted at a variety of sites, a Defense Department review has found that Army Maj Hasan’s superiors were routinely concerned about his performance and his views, but continued to promote him anyway.  This seems to already confirm what has previously been said about Hasan: people knew and were concerned about him.

Between 2003 and 2007, Hasan’s supervisors expressed their concerns with him in memos, meeting notes and counseling sessions. He needed steady monitoring, especially in the emergency room, had difficulty communicating and working with colleagues, his attendance was spotty and he saw few patients.

The question that isn’t (officially) answered is why they didn’t do anything, though speculation has already arisen that people were afraid to say anything out of fear of being considered prejudiced against Islam.

The discussion in the article about officers being promoted despite poor performance Read more

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