The Supreme Court ruled (5-4) yesterday that injunctions preventing the Department of Defense from implementing a change to President Obama’s transgender policy were stayed while the case worked its way through the courts. This allows the DoD Policy proposed by then-Secretary of Defense James Mattis to take effect.
Previously, lower courts had ruled in both directions on the policy.
While the policy is about medical and mental conditions, critics of the ruling blamed it on religion — that is, Christianity.
Tris Mamone, a member of the awkwardly named LGBTQ Humanist Alliance, is quoted saying [emphasis added]
Today’s ruling is another example of bigotry and Christian nationalism overriding legal protections for all Americans.
Michael “Mikey” Weinstein similarly called it a product of the [emphasis added] Read more
A variety of websites reported on the FBI report released last month that indicated occurrences of “hate crimes” had risen in 2017.
Most noted the largest portion were “racial and ethnic bias,” but there was also a substantial increase in “hate crimes” based on religion:
There was also a nearly 23 percent increase in religion-based hate crimes in 2017…
Reports also highlighted the increase in anti-Semitic crimes, though anti-Muslim offenses actually decreased. From the report: Read more
For the second time, the US Navy has denied the application of Dr. Jason Heap to become a “humanist chaplain” in the sea service. A Navy board had supported his appointment; when word of that decision leaked, members of both the House and Senate wrote the Navy in protest. Those congressmen have now revealed that the Navy has rejected Heap’s application, again.
Heap’s application as been widely opposed by religious liberty groups, largely because humanism isn’t a religion — and the chaplaincy is religious.
On that point, Hemant Mehta, the poorly Read more
In an article on the recent changes in DoD policy regarding religious accommodation, USA Today made this observation:
The wide variety of worship or lack thereof is reflected in the ranks of the 1.3 million active-duty force. Troops aren’t compelled to report but many do. The most popular affiliations: Christian, no denomination chosen, 346,752; no religious preference, 277,563; Roman Catholic, 262,248.
Elsewhere in the ranks, there are 301 Quakers and 1,561 troops who practice witchcraft. But you won’t an agnostic in the Army. There are 3,126 atheists but not one agnostic.
To be fair, the same demographics note there are more than 6,000 agnostics in the other three services. Apparently everyone in the Army is certain — one way or the other.
Repeated at the Air Force Times.
A few weeks ago, the Air Force Times solicited comments from its readers after noting the “improved religious climate” at the US Air Force Academy. They asked:
What do you think? Have you found the service and its members to be tolerant of Muslims, Jews, Hindus, Wiccans and others who are not Christians?
It would appear, based on the most recent Air Force Times article, that the responses were largely positive. The article is entitled “Respect healthy for different faiths,” which seems to indicate a positive environment for “different faiths” within the Air Force.
Within the article, however, the author focuses on those who take issue with Christianity in the military, rather than the ‘healthy respect’ that is apparently evident. The article begins with the presumption of truth in claims that the culture of the Air Force causes an ‘assumption’ of Christianity:
A predominance of Christians in the Air Force creates an atmosphere that assumes all airmen are Christians, allowing prayers and other religious displays at everything from football games and holiday parties to commander’s calls and change-of-command ceremonies, according to non-Christian airmen interviewed by Air Force Times.
While there is a “predominance of Christians” in the United States and in its military, the presence of prayer is not inherently a Christian endeavor, and Read more
As noted here late last year, the US military has increased its public relations emphasis on the virtues of its Chaplaincy and spiritual environment. This was likely to counter allegations and perceptions of religious intolerance or impropriety within the US military. All of the military branches now routinely publish news releases on Chaplains of varying faiths selflessly serving their troops, as well highlighting the inclusive spiritual atmosphere within the US military.
An article from Keesler Air Force Base appears to be the most blunt to date. Entitled “Chaplains guard constitutional right to religious freedom,” it features Chaplain (Capt) Charles Mallory reciting Read more
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
Despite the occasional accusation to the contrary, the US military is not a bastion of conspiratorial theocrats. As is routinely shown even on this site, the Chaplains of the US military go beyond the call in their efforts to support all military members, no matter what religion (if any), and often no matter what nationality.
At Keesler Air Force Base, Chaplain (Capt.) Charles Mallory recently had an opportunity to organize a new group to discuss issues of belief. The Chaplain was approached by an enlisted Airman about starting a discussion group that would ultimately be called “The Query of Orthodoxy,” designed to give Read more