Since the demise of its last lawsuit seeking an end to public religious expression in the military, the Military Religious Freedom Foundation has been searching for a cause. (Michael Weinstein promised to file an appeal, though it appears he has not done so.) After the Trijicon scandal was quickly defused, Weinstein made a furtive effort to revive it a few months later–with little public reaction. He also tried to attach his organization to the “Don’t Ask, Don’t Tell” media frenzy without much success. Weinstein is struggling for relevancy even among his own supporters; a recent fundraiser garnered few contributors.
In his latest bid for publicity, Weinstein demanded Read more
The past week or so has seen the renewal in notice of a 2008 paper written by Army Maj Brian L. Stuckert. (The paper was criticized in December 2009 by the WorldNetDaily, and defended by MediaMatters in the same period.) Entitled “Strategic Implications of American Millennialism,” (pdf) the Major’s paper is largely critical of some aspects of Christian belief.
First, points of clarification: The paper was written as an academic product while Stuckert was a student at the School of Advanced Military Studies, which is an official professional military education course. Such military courses often permit a wide variety of topics for their students’ papers. The topic of religion is not off limits in this environment. In addition, Read more
The recent religious “high holidays” highlighted US military efforts to accommodate the faiths of those within its ranks.
Two important perspectives were recently expressed in reaction to the celebration of Passover in Iraq by US servicemembers. First, from a young celebrant:
“It’s a big deal for morale, especially for Jewish Soldiers,” said Jason Kocsis [of the] Louisiana National Guard. “To be able to get together with other Soldiers of the Jewish faith and share what you normally share back at home with family, it gives you more of a taste of home and what we have to look forward to.” (emphasis added)
Second, from a senior officer who is not only a celebrant, but also a commander:
“The Army and these Soldiers are a part of our extended family during war-time,” said Lt. Col. Mednick, who is in charge of all aviation operations in the [northern] area of operations…”It’s very important to not spend this holiday alone and I’m proud to provide that culture for these Soldiers.” (emphasis added)
Finally, it is also important to note the military supports the religious exercise Read more
The US Navy’s only Buddhist Chaplain is currently deployed to Afghanistan. She recently posted a short blog celebrating Buddha’s birth and noting the attendance of local Marines at the service.
As noted here often, the US military protects religious freedom of its servicemembers, even when that religious freedom may be contrary or offensive to locals or America’s adversaries. While some often connect such offense with Christianity, it was just a few years ago that the Taliban ordered the destruction of “false idol” statues of Buddha in Afghanistan–which had stood for 1,500 years.
During a wide-ranging interview with NBC’s Matt Lauer a few weeks ago, President Obama spoke once again of his family’s position regarding attending church regularly, or “joining” a particular church. In one of the more underreported comments, he singled out a military Chaplain for strong praise:
We love the chapel up in Camp David. It’s probably our favorite place to worship because it’s just family up at Camp David. There’s a wonderful chaplain up there who does just a great job.
It is rare enough for a military officer to get such stark praise Read more
An Army Staff Sergeant wears an unusual nametape. His first name is Soldier, and his last name is 4theLord.
The name isn’t fake; he points out the Army wouldn’t let anyone wear a fake name. In 2004, he legally changed his name to Soldier 4theLord, which had previously been his internet go-by name: Read more
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