The White House announced that President Obama observed the
auspicious holiday of Diwali, or festival of lights, in the East Room of the White House.
making him the first US President to do so. Diwali is reportedly
a major pan-Indian festival celebrated around the day of the new moon in October-November.
Obama lit and bowed to a ceremonial Diwali lamp.
According to a court filing, Michael Weinstein, president of the Military Religious Freedom Foundation, and his wife Bonnie are suing Jim Ammerman and Gordon James Klingenschmitt. Ammerman is the head of the Chaplaincy of Full Gospel Churches, which is also named in the suit. The CFGC was one of Klingenschmitt’s endorsing agencies. Klingenschmitt is a former US Navy Chaplain who was court-martialed and discharged after he disobeyed orders not to appear in uniform at a protest event.
Weinstein filed the suit due to the allegedly threatening remarks from the defendants. The accusations against Ammerman in the lawsuit are somewhat vague:
[Ammerman] made speeches and statements attacking Mikey and his family and containing virulent anti-Semitic comments. He described Mikey as a madman…and said other hurtful and despicable things.
Weinstein seems to say that Ammerman’s comments were offensive, but does not say that they were threatening. In response to Ammerman’s speeches, Weinstein said he was “undeterred.” His main concern was that Klingenschmitt was “Ammerman’s…henchman.”
Klingenschmitt publicized an “imprecatory prayer” quoting the Psalms asking God to, among other things, make Weinstein’s “days be few:” Read more
President Obama recently marked both Eid-ul-Fitr, the Islamic celebration of the end of Ramadan, and Rosh Hashanah, the Jewish New Year.
From his message on the Eid: Read more
President Barack Obama presented the parents of Sergeant First Class Jared Monti with his posthumous Medal of Honor last Thursday. The official ceremony was attended by government officials, civilians, and military members, including the surviving members of the patrol that engaged in the firefight that took Monti’s life.
The sacrifice that SFC Monti made reflected the greatness of character that embodies the American spirit. Unfortunately, much of the coverage of Monti’s award focused on the fact that no living military member has received the Medal of Honor during the long-running wars in Afghanistan and Iraq.
On the other hand, it was interesting to note where very little attention was given, despite the display of allegedly controversial conduct that occurred–not once, but twice–during the ceremony. The President, members of Congress, military Generals and leaders, all on national television, were led by a uniformed officer in an overtly religious act.
It was tradition. It was fitting. It was right.
If you believe some people, though, it was also illegal. Read more
In 1934, the Veterans of Foreign Wars (VFW) erected a cross on a non-descript area of the desert in California as a war memorial. In 2001, the ACLU filed suit to have it removed. A district court ruled that the primary purpose of the cross was to advance religion; therefore the presence of the cross on government land was unConstitutional. Currently, the now-steel cross is covered by a wooden box to obscure its shape.
The case will be heard by the Supreme Court on October 7th.
While the ACLU repeatedly claims it is not trying to remove crosses Read more
Organizations who oppose religion in public life (including the military) generally dismiss as ‘ludicrous’ the assertions that their goal is to scrub all vestiges of religious expression from government institutions, like the military.
American Atheists recently undermined that defense when they decried President Obama’s use of “God bless you” in his address to school children yesterday. The logic was particularly disturbing because it is the same as some activists who oppose religious associations in the military– Read more
Islamic US Army soldiers in Iraq, including Spc. Linda Boyed and Spc. Fatima Benasser, two Arabic interpreters, note the challenges in exercising their faith during Ramadan while still executing their mission.
Finding time to pray in a high op tempo can be difficult, Read more
President Barack Obama hosted an iftar at the White House Tuesday night, celebrating the end of Ramadan. Among the guests were Secretary of Defense Robert Gates, Navy Chaplain (Lt. Cmdr.) Abuhena Saifulislam, the second Islamic Chaplain in the US Navy, and Elsheba Khan, whose 20-year-old son, Army Spc. Kareem Rashad Sultan Khan, was killed in Iraq on 6 August 2007.
Chaplain Saif, a Bangladeshi immigrant, was one of two Chaplains Read more