In an unusual case that will probably generate support and criticism from all sides, former Air Force Chaplain (Capt) Jeffrey Montanari has alleged that after he converted from Christianity to Judaism (as a chaplain) he faced discrimination and mistreatment, and that he was ultimately denied a position as a Jewish chaplain as a result.
Chaplain Montanari is now represented by First Liberty in a scenario likely making critics of “fundamentalist Christianity” heads explode. As reported in the Air Force Times [emphasis added]:
Montanari…became an officer and a chaplain in the Air Force Reserve in 2010, endorsed by the International Church of the Foursquare Gospel…
In 2012, he transferred to a position in the California Air National Guard…
[His experiences with the local Jewish community], coupled with his discovery of his own Jewish lineage, led Montanari to begin seriously considering a conversion to Orthodox Judaism.
But that decision allegedly came at a high cost.
Superiors allegedly demeaned his character, refused to grant him a religious accommodation, segregated him from the rest of the chaplain staff, and excluded him from chaplain meetings, according to a statement from his lawyers. They effectively drove him out of the Air Force because of his change in religious affiliation, his lawyers argue.
At this point, Michael “Mikey” Weinstein would Read more
Official releases documented the trip of US Air Force Chief of Chaplains (MajGen) Dondi Costin to South Korea last month:
Chaplain (Maj. Gen.) Dondi Costin, the U.S. Air Force Chief of Chaplains, and more than a dozen Air Force chaplains and chaplain assistants from U.S. Pacific Air Forces spent time with U.S. Airmen and their South Korean counterparts in a weeklong long visit to Daegu Korea.
The chaplains and their assistants worked Read more
A US Air Force Airman took a unique opportunity — offered by the Air Force — to become a chaplain.
In 2014, the Air Force began offering a limited “career intermission program,” with the intent of allowing Airmen to leave the service for one to three years and a guarantee of a return to their previous position. Part of the logic behind the program was that by giving Airmen a “break” — and potentially letting them see the other side of the fence — they’d be more willing to stay committed to the service for the long haul.
Then-TSgt Travis Barrino saw a different opportunity:
Barrino…always felt a calling to be a pastor. As Read more
While the issue of transgenders in the US military has been at a low simmer for more than a year, it continues to be a source of consternation and angst within the military itself, just as any unresolved policy matter would be. While it seems transgenders would ultimately contribute little in the form of military readiness (some public reports indicate actual transgenders in the military number in the high-two digits), the manner in which to address this demographic continues to substantially draw on senior leader time and every troops’ moral conscience.
In an apparent effort to establish their argument as one beyond Donald Trump, the LGBT community Read more
Update: Now widely covered at various sites, those they don’t name US Army Soldier Austin Harasti.
The Army Times reports that a Soldier at the 14th Military Police Brigade at Fort Leonard Wood, Missouri, has been granted a religious accommodation to wear a beard — because he is a “Norse pagan.” From Col Curtis Shroeder’s memo to the 795th Military Police Battalion Soldier [emphasis added]:
“In observance of your Heathen; Norse Pagan faith, you may wear a beard, in accordance with Army uniform and grooming standards for soldiers with approved religious accommodations.”
Interestingly, there is no tenet of “Norse pagan faith” that requires a beard, as a heathen-advocacy site pointed out. As quoted in the article:
According to the Open Halls Project, an advocacy group for heathens serving in the military, the beard is a beloved tradition, but not a requirement.
“There is no religious requirement for beards in Heathenry,” according to a 2017 post about beards. “…We, as Heathens, have no such religious requirement with regards to hair.”
In essence, this is the same as a Christian seeking a waiver for a beard because Jesus had one. That said, Army policy is to, by default, grant the accommodation so long as Read more
In a column published by the Air Force Times, US Air Force SSgt Preston Haskell called the Chief of Staff of the Air Force, Gen David Goldfein, “wrong.”
Kind of a bold move, but he has an interesting point of view, including this tidbit on whether the Air Force values diversity over unity:
A truly pervasive cultural phenomenon is plaguing our military, and that is one of political correctness. For example, one of my most cherished feelings I have about our military is how integrated and multifaceted we all are. I absolutely love that I work with people from almost every background, race and religion our nation has to offer. So why would the Air Force encourage division?
You are allowed to be proud, and even proclaim that pride, in being black, Latino, homosexual, atheist or transgender, yet I cannot Read more
Michael “Mikey” Weinstein recently attacked a chaplain at TARDEC (a US Army facility in Michigan) for doing exactly what Mikey Weinstein demanded.
In his press release — the only public source of this information — Weinstein said a command chaplain sent an email to everyone at TARDEC:
The email from the TARDEC Command Chaplain’s Office promoted an event entitled ‘The Passion and the Glory’…
This email was sent to all TARDEC personnel (around 8,000) with no opt-out or reply options for recipients.
It was, by Weinstein’s own admission, an email of upcoming religious services (the week preceding Easter) — an informative email wholly in keeping with the purpose of US military communications. In addition, it was handled in a way Mikey Weinstein once claimed was appropriate.
Remember, just a few years ago Weinstein was on record attacking military commanders who allowed announcements of religious issues to go out through “command” channels. Weinstein claimed Read more
Update: In an interesting take, Patrick Hornbeck, a department chair of theology at Fordham University and an open homosexual, admitted that Chaplain Squires was “mistreated,” but attributed it to the natural consequences of “bureacracy” and a “well-meaning if somewhat confused investigator.”
The world waited with bated breath for Michael “Mikey” Weinstein — self-declared savior of military religious freedom — to speak on the case of Chaplain (Maj) Scott Squires. Chaplain Squires had been investigated and recommended for reprimand after he re-scheduled a Strong Bonds event just so a homosexual could attend, hosted by a different chaplain whose endorsing agency apparently is not morally opposed to homosexual “marriage.” Given the affront to his faith, and his efforts to accommodate the homosexual couple in an a different affirming event, naturally a defender of religious freedom would rally to Chaplain Squires’ side.
Noting that Chaplain Squires was following his endorsing agency’s guidance, as both the agency and the US Army requires, this was Weinstein’s response:
Our argument is [Defense Secretary Jim Mattis] ought to disqualify that particular entity as a chaplain endorsing agency.
Weinstein Read more