Category Archives: Government and Religion

Critics Silent during Medal of Honor Ceremony

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.

They prayed.

It was tradition.  It was fitting.  It was right.

If you believe some people, though, it was also illegal.  Read more

Mojave Cross Controversy at the Supreme Court

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

Atheists Object to Commander’s Blessing

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

Mother of Fallen Soldier at White House Iftar

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

Commander Relies on Daily Prayer

President Obama recently noted the importance of prayer in his life, saying that he “prays all the time now.”  He made the statement in an interview for Nightline.

President Obama says he starts his day with a devotional that the director of his Faith-Based and Neighborhood Partnerships initiative, Pentecostal pastor Joshua DuBois, sends to his BlackBerry each day.

The Commander in Chief also said “I’ve got a lot of stuff on my plate and I need guidance all the time.”  Like his military subordinates, Obama enjoys the liberties of free exercise guaranteed by the Constitution, as well as the freedom to let his exercise be known.

To date, there have been no significant complaints that Obama’s statements about religion or prayer have unduly influenced or discriminated against his subordinates.  (By contrast, some military officers were the subjects of complaints a few years ago for merely mentioning the biographical fact that they were Christians.)

Memorial Day 2009: Obama Calls for Day of Prayer

President Barack Obama signed a proclamation (pdf) for Memorial Day calling on Americans to remember the sacrifices of their servicmen and women, and to unite in prayer.  US law calls on the President to declare each Memorial Day as a “day of prayer for permanent peace” and designate a time for the country to unite in prayer.  A separate law designates 1500 local time as the “National Moment of Remembrance.”

From the proclamation Read more

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