Category Archives: Government and Religion

Military Aviation, God Willing

Stars and Stripes penchant for finding religion in a story continues with its headline “Wing and a prayer.”  The title is evidently a reference to the Islamic “cultural view” cited in the article:

The members of the air corps are “the cream of the cream of the crop” when it comes to the Afghan army, Rennell said. Still, an “inshallah” (God willing) mind-set dominates the ranks, a cultural view that clashes with the strict protocols required for operating highly technical aircraft.

While insha’allah is traditionally compared with the Southern Baptist “Lord willin’,” others have considered it more a statement of realism or fatalism.  In what may be an urban legend based on stereotype, stories have been told about Islamic pilots Read more

Mount Soledad Cross Case at Appeals Court

The decades-long battle to remove the Mount Soledad cross from the hills of San Diego is once again at the appeals court.  In various formats, lawsuits have challenged the Mount Soledad cross for years.  In this most recent iteration, the US District court in July 2008 ruled in favor of those who support the cross remaining at its current location.

The basic complaint is that the cross is an inherently religious symbol, and by sustaining it on public land, the US government violates the Constitutional prohibition against “establishing” a religion.

The ACLU, which is representing the plaintiffs, has had to defend itself against accusations that it wants to remove crosses (and any memorials with them) from all public lands–including military cemeteries.  An attorney for the American Legion, Read more

US Military Provides Diverse Spiritual Support

A legitimate question that all new members of the military (or those aspiring to be) have is to what degree they will be able to exercise their religious faith while in the service.  Regardless of the service, the role of the US military corps of Chaplains is to ensure the troops’ access to free exercise of their religion, as well as act as a focal point for the protection of religious freedom within the military.  Such freedoms are restricted only as necessary by the needs of the military mission.

While an occasional complaint makes the news implying that the military supports only a single religion, a veritable plethora of counterexamples undermine that claim.  Recently, the Pulaski County Daily Read more

Letter Inspires Responses: God’s Role in Combat

A letter to the editor at the Stars and Stripes complained of offense when the paper quoted a soldier apparently expressing a belief in God (discussed here). The “non-believer’s” letter spawned a spate of responses.

Three responses directly addressed the original letter writer’s question.  The first attempted to explain the sovereignty of God by pitting free will versus God’s will, a complicated subject at best for the opinion section of a newspaper.  A second letter also taught a theological lesson, as well as bluntly communicating a Christian message.

The third addressed a more basic concept in the original letter, noting that God has allowed many to die–and live–when man cannot comprehend why.  The first sergeant makes an astute observation about the self-contradiction of the initial complaint:  Read more

Academy Hosts ‘Religious Warrior Weekend’

The US Military Academy at West Point recently hosted civilian college students and fellow military academy cadets at its annual religious Warrior Weekend at the cadet chapel.  Designed to give the civilians a sense of their religious military heritage, it also gave the military cadets the opportunity to “immerse” themselves in their culture.

The event, described below, is an admirable effort by cadets and officers to do two important things: convey to civilians that their faith is not inconsistent with military service; and remind military cadets of the depth of Read more

A Day which Will Live in Infamy

December 7, 2009, marks 68 years since the surprise attack on Pearl Harbor that propelled the United States into what was already the second World War.  While Remembrance Day is an annual event (see the Presidential declaration), memories of Pearl Harbor have been more vivid since what some have implied was the 21st Century Pearl Harbor: the terrorist attack on the US on 11 September 2001.

Many recognize the opening line and a choice phrase or two, but Read more

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