In what has become his trademark fashion, President Donald Trump issued a major policy statement 140 characters at a time yesterday, effectively re-enacting the DoD’s prohibition on transgenders serving in the US military.
The critics immediately pounced.
As accurately noted, the tweet does not explain how this new policy will be implemented — specifically, what it means to transgenders who have been allowed to served openly since President Obama made a similar unilateral decision last year. That said, it seems reasonably obvious that the ban on enlistment will continue.
This is, of course, exactly what the policy was just one year ago under President Obama — as well as Bush, Clinton, Bush, Reagan, etc, etc. President Trump has done nothing more than restore a longstanding policy.
The rebuttals were predictable, and weak: Read more
One of the roles of a military chaplain is to advise commanders on the religious rules and rights of both the commanders and their subordinates. Retired Air Force Chaplain Norris Burkes recently tried to capitalize (again) on his military career by publishing an awkwardly worded article in which he admitted giving bad advice.
Burkes told the story in prose:
“What’s this about, Chaplain?” asked the USAF squadron commander.
“It’s the fish, sir.”
“Yes sir,” I said, pointing Read more
Hemant Mehta recently stumbled all over himself trying to say that the Southern Poverty Law Center’s designation of “hate groups” is fine when it comes to Christians, but not when it comes to atheists (something he first tried to do last November).
Just a few days ago Mehta defended the SPLC when Guidestar, a charity review site, began including the SPLC’s ‘opinion’ on charities it claims are “hate groups”. Within the conversation, Mehta appropriated the SPLC’s “hate group” designation for some Christian groups. When those groups complained they were being targeted for their beliefs, Mehta said “that’s a lie” and celebrated the idea they would lose charitable donations for the designation. (Guidestar subsequently dropped the categorization under pressure.)
Then, the news broke that Maajid Nawaz is suing the SPLC. He’s a former Read more
Every now and then someone critiques the idea of there being a “Christian Fighter Pilot.” For some (generally non-Christians), it is the perceived “oxymoron” of being a follower of Christ while simultaneously being a military combatant. Many who are trying to find something to gripe about critique the idea that there needs to be a “descriptor” to discriminate about types of fighter pilots. Why not just be fighter pilots?
In fairness, though, Christians haven’t been the only ones to “celebrate” their contribution to the military mission — or even being a fighter pilot. For example, a few years ago, the Atheist Fighter Pilot made a short-lived showing here, and religious groups and organizations have sprung up for a variety of faiths.
Apparently, pilots can be known for their faith, their lack of faith…
…and how they like to have sex.
This past weekend, one of the participants in the Capital Pride Read more
Critics have come out in force against US Senator Bernie Sanders (I-Vt) after he said he would not support President Trump’s nominee for the deputy director of the White House Office of Management and Budget, Russell Vought. Sanders’ reason? Vought has Christian beliefs, which he expressed in a column defending Wheaton College in 2016 in which he said that “Muslims stand condemned”:
Muslims do not simply have a deficient theology. They do not know God because they have rejected Jesus Christ his Son, and they stand condemned.
In his questioning during the confirmation hearing for Vought’s nomination to the OMB, Sanders asked:
Do you believe people in the Muslim religion stand condemned? Is that your view?
…I don’t know how many Muslims there are in America. Maybe a couple million. Are you suggesting that these people stand condemned? What about Jews? Do they stand condemned too?
In your judgment, do you think that people who are not Christians are going to be condemned?
I would simply say, Mr. Chairman that this nominee is really not someone who this country is supposed to be about.
Atheists, liberals, and Christians alike have condemned Read more
As previously announced, on May 23rd Chaplain (LtCol) Khallid Shabazz took over as the Division Chaplain for the 7th Infantry Division at Joint Base Lewis McChord:
Shabazz…became the Army’s first Islamic chaplain at the division level at a Change of Stole ceremony…officiated by Maj. Gen. Thomas James Jr., 7th Infantry Division commanding general.
The “changing of the stole” appears to be strictly a US Army chaplaincy tradition, as Read more
In 2012, then-US Army Major Ray Bradley complained that he was a humanist but was unable to put “humanist” in his military records as his “religion” in his military records (and reflected on his dog tags).
In 2014, the US Army added “humanist” to the list of faith codes.
In a new memo dated 27 March 2017 (PDF), the DoD Assistant Secretary of Defense for Manpower and Reserve Affairs published a change that established standardized DoD-wide faith codes across the force — including “Humanist.”
For his part, Bradley had originally envisioned the recognition as the first step to achieving “lay leader” status as a humanist (with humanist “chaplain” to follow). That’s the same conclusion for which Jason Torpy pined when his MAAF reported on this new memo.
Kimberly Winston of the Religion News Service — sitting Read more
As previously noted, Dr. Alex McFarland recently participated in a four-person debate with Michael “Mikey” Weinstein. Within the debate, it was refreshing to hear Dr. McFarland articulate a defense of the virtue of religious freedom, including military religious freedom.
Mikey Weinstein didn’t say anything he hasn’t already said a dozen times over the past decade — except to directly contradict Dr. McFarland’s assertion that a Christian who witnesses to another doesn’t do so because they consider them less of a person or otherwise devalue Read more