Category Archives: Government and Religion

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 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

General Encourages Troops to Express Views on DADT

A letter to the editor at the Stars and Stripes is attributed to LtGen Benjamin R. Mixon of Fort Shafter, Hawaii.  LtGen Benjamin R. Mixon is the three-star commanding general of US Army Pacific.  In that position, he is in charge of all US Army units in the Pacific theatre.

The General’s letter calls the proposed repeal of Don’t ask, Don’t tell, “ill-advised.”  He encourages troops to write both their elected officials and their chain of command to let their views be known, with the potential outcome of correcting the misperception in the media that the majority of the military is in favor of ending DADT.

LtGen Mixon is the highest ranking officer behind Marine Gen James Conway to disagree with President Obama’s proposed repeal of the law, and he appears to be the first to encourage average military members to make their views known.  As noted earlier, Read more

Christian Officer Commands Combined Arms Center

LtGen Robert Caslen assumed command of Fort Leavenworth, home of the US Army Combined Arms Center, this week.  (Caslen recently returned from a year-long deployment to Iraq, and he pinned on his third star just prior to the assumption of command.)  Home of 16 US Army professional military schools and centers, the CAC is the “intellectual center of the Army” and is responsible for much of the professional training of US Army leaders.  It is also now creating a Mission Command center of excellence to focus on battle command and future Army leader needs.  The CAC website says

CAC provides Army-wide leadership and supervision for leader development and professional military and civilian education; institutional and collective training; functional training; training support; battle command; doctrine; lessons learned; and other specified areas that the TRADOC Commander designates.

All of these are focused toward making CAC a catalyst for change and to support the development of a relevant and ready ground force to support joint, interagency and multinational operations anywhere in the world.

Now an influential military leader, LtGen Caslen is a model of professional success and Christian officership.

Weinstein Defines Religions, Assigns Followers

According to the Advocate, a homosexual advocacy publication, Michael Weinstein’s Military Religious Freedom Foundation is on a new crusade: supporting the repeal of “Don’t Ask, Don’t Tell.”

Comically, Weinstein, who has been taken to task for his displays of Constitutional ignorance, again displays his lack of knowledge with regard to the ongoing controversy.  The Advocate asked him…twice…what power the President had to repeal the policy on homosexuals in the military.  Twice, the former White House counsel talked vaguely about executive orders without explaining how an executive order can overturn a law passed by Congress (Title 10, Subtitle A, Part II, Chapter 37, § 654).  (Answer: it can’t.)

When asked about who the MRFF is “fighting,” Weinstein again displayed his tendency to make up his own definitions of religious groups–and then to assign people to them as he saw fit.

We’ve got this fanatical religiosity in fundamental Christianity… Read more

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