This year issues of military religious freedom have boiled to the surface in two primary ways: free exercise and public expression.
For example, in its “top ten” list for 2018, The Baptist Joint Committee, a left-leaning group on religious liberty issues, highlighted the Masterpiece Cakeshop at #8 and the Bladensburg Peace Cross at #7. Similarly, Howard Friedman at the Religion Clause put Masterpiece Cakeshop at #1. The resolution of the Masterpiece Cakeshop case, which is arguably still ongoing, is directly related to the military: The case will ultimately 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
In early November Jason Torpy posted a profile on Jared Anderson, a man who presents himself as a chaplain endorsed by the Humanist Society. A former Mormon (Latter Day Saint) — or a current LDS who doesn’t follow LDS theology, depending on how you look at it — Anderson advocates “religious humanism.”
The nice thing about the United States of America is you can call yourself whatever you want. However, that does not mean you get to do whatever you want, nor that the government or society are required to support your choice (gender and pronouns notwithstanding, apparently).
That’s something Anderson apparently doesn’t understand, as he claims he wants to be a military chaplain (and the US military doesn’t have non-religious religious leaders) [emphasis added]: Read more
The US Supreme Court has agreed to hear the appeal regarding the Bladensburg Peace Cross, which was declared unconstitutional by the 4th Circuit Court of Appeals despite widespread support.
Though Justice Kavanaugh has yet to make his mark on the bench, even critics of religious liberty seem pessimistic, thinking religious liberty will prevail of their offense.
The case could be historic, given the amount of hostility toward religious displays in public and how many anti-cross cases there have been: Read more
A study entitled “Death, Trauma and God: The Effect of Military Deployments on Religiosity” was covered at the Economist, in which the authors noted
According to a working paper published this week by Resul Cesur, Travis Freidman and Joseph Sabia, a trio of economists in America, there is some truth to the adage that there are no atheists in foxholes. Or rather, wartime trauma often makes people turn to God.
The article refers to two different analyses conducted in the study, in which
They find compelling evidence that those who have served in combat zones and directly engaged the enemy are more likely to attend religious services regularly than are those who have not.
There is some degree of Read more
Update: Covered by Todd Starnes, who apparently received a visit from Gen Teichert while Starnes was in the hospital.
Michael “Mikey” Weinstein’s latest target in his war against Christians in the US military — despite his repeated assurances he is not attacking Christians — is US Air Force BGen E. John Teichert.
Until last month, BGen Teichert was the commander of the 11th Wing and Joint Base Andrews in the Washington, DC, area — home to the presidential fleet of aircraft, among other things. He recently took command of the 412th Test Wing at Edwards AFB, CA.
Though it is difficult to tell exactly, it seems Mikey Weinstein is trying to accuse BGen Teichert of using his rank and position to convert people to Christianity, though it took a tortured, cynical, and twisted series of steps to come to that conclusion.
The difficulty is poorly laid out in the 22-page letter [PDF] written by Read more
More than 100 members of Congress filed an amicus brief supporting the Bladensburg cross, a “Peace Cross” that was erected after World War I to honor local war dead. The memorial was initially found to be permissible, but the Fourth Circuit court of appeals overturned that ruling, declaring it a violation of the US Constitution. The case has been appealed to the Supreme Court — which, to date, has not explicitly ruled on the long-running war on war memorials with religious iconography: Read more
Gen Robert Neller, Commandant of the Marine Corps and a member of the Joint Chiefs of Staff, recently attended an iftar meal ending Ramadan fasting in Baltimore. Generally speaking, such events should be non-events, though senior military leaders publicly attending religious events occasionally brings criticism (normally when they’re Christian events).
One notable statement from Gen Neller [emphasis added]:
Neller shared some stories about his travels as a Marine to places where he was the minority as a white, Catholic American. He spoke about using what he knows about Islam to find common ground with Iraqi leaders during a year spent in Anbar province.
“We’re all sons of Abraham – why are you fighting me?” Neller recalled telling them.
It’s a fascinating statement on several levels. It’s a valid Read more