Four years after Jason Torpy’s third-party atheist complaint brought an end to a children’s live nativity in Bahrain, the US Air Force Academy continues the same tradition this week:
The Christmas tree and Hanukah Menorah lighting ceremony begins at 5 p.m. with a Hanukah [sic] and Nativity story performed by children.
In 2012 Jason Torpy, vicariously offended that a Naval base in Bahrain would allow its children to re-enact the nativity scene, filed an IG complaint alleging the kids were violating the US Constitution. The local Read more
The US military has annually restricted the conduct of US troops in the Middle East to appease religious sensitivities in the region.
This year, an article in the Stars and Stripes notes the US Navy’s 5th Fleet has “ease[d]” clothing restrictions, but other restrictions remain:
U.S. personnel will be restricted from eating, drinking and smoking in public, including while driving, during daylight hours…
This year, Defense Department personnel…and their dependents will be allowed to wear shorts and short-sleeved shirts during Ramadan.
Preemptively responding to criticisms about religious liberty, the Navy command chaplain, Read more
While recent changes in Air Force regulations and a favorable congressional hearing have given some groups a positive perception of the direction of religious liberty in the US military, it is worth noting that even that trend isn’t universal, and it hasn’t reversed some of the damage done over the past few years.
Naval Support Activity (NSA) Bahrain recently kicked off the holiday season with its traditional tree lighting — absent one of its longstanding traditions. In 2012, Jason Torpy — an atheist and former Army officer — single-handedly persuaded the US Navy to ban a children’s “live Nativity” from the tree lighting ceremony.
The reason? According to Torpy, the kids
threaten[ed] US security and violat[ed] the Constitution.
It was probably “easier” for the Navy to surrender to Torpy and remove the children’s event rather than try to defend it for its positive value. Thus, plastic baby Jesus Read more
A report at FoxNews highlights a message from US Army Col. Kevin Glasz, brigade commander of the Uniformed Services University of the Health Sciences, regarding respect for Islam during Ramadan:
“This is a period of great personal restraint and commitment in addition to renewed focus on worship,” Brigade Commander Col. Kevin Glasz wrote. “I’d like to encourage you to learn just a little more about this religion, but more importantly, I’m asking you to be considerate and do not consume food or drink in front of our Muslim colleagues; it is a simple, yet respectful action.”
In contrast from policies governing US military personnel in Bahrain, which was highlighted here last month, the USUHS is in Maryland, and there are no laws in Maryland governing Ramadan.
Optimistically viewed, it is just a supportive statement from the military to help others respect the faiths of those around them. But as an anonymous Marine officer is quoted in pointing out, this kind of “supportive statement” is only used in reference to Islam: Read more
The US Navy is being accused of forcing civilians, Sailors, and their families to comply with Islam during the month of Ramadan. Pamela Geller, a well-known critic of “Islamization” and Islamic extremism, said
Our troops must adhere to the sharia during the Islamic month of Ramadan in Bahrain and other Muslim countries. Subjected to dawah (proselytizing) by a base Islamic cultural adviser at the Naval Support Activity, soldiers are forced to sit through lessons on Islam. No eating, drinking, alcohol, or smoking during the month of Ramadan…
US military are encouraged “to experience Iftar in a Ramadan tent.”
Why anyone who is not a Muslim must stop eating (except in secret) during Ramadan is another example of how Islamic supremacism. Unlike Jewish law which pertains only to Jews, and Canon law which pertains only to Christians, the Sharia asserts its totalitarian authority over non-Muslims.
While her characterization isn’t entirely accurate, it is Read more
Chuck Norris recently cited “36 examples of religious liberty assault” (in Part 1 and Part 2) to defend an assertion that religious liberty is under attack in America. About a third of his examples involved the US military, all of which have been discussed here before (amplifying remarks follow):
- Culture and courts are also trumping citizens’ First Amendment rights who are refusing on religious grounds not to support or participate with groups and events that run contrary to their faith and practice. As a result, wedding cake bakers, T-shirt makers, bed and breakfast owners, pastry shops, high-school teachers, military chaplains, restaurant owners, photographers, parents, churches and others have been harassed, bullied, suspended, fired and sued for merely exercising their Christian beliefs. [As described by CARL.]
- A three-judge panel of the U.S. Court of Appeals for the Ninth Circuit ruled that a cross displayed as part of the Mt. Soledad Veterans Memorial in San Diego, Read more
Update: A letter to the editor of the Stars and Stripes questions Torpy’s “odd idea of religious freedom.”
Former Army Captain and current atheist Jason Torpy was working overtime doing damage control over the past week, as various outlets picked up the story of his complaint over the “live nativity” occurring during NSA Bahrain’s annual “Holiday Tree Lighting.” His comments appeared on a variety of sites covering the controversy; in each case, he basically said he didn’t demand NSA Bahrain cancel it — he just called it “unconstitutional” and a danger to US troops — that’s all. Of course, he did say that cancelling it was “preferable to” letting it happen:
If the scene had to be cancelled, that is unfortunate but it is also preferable to the government-sponsored proselytism [*See note, below] the Live Nativity would have added to an otherwise positive celebration.
FoxNews accurately reported that Torpy’s complaint to the Inspector General led to the cancellation of the event to occur during Read more
FoxNews picked up the story of atheist Jason Torpy’s IG complaint about NSA Bahrain’s children’s “live Nativity.” In comments on many of the articles now featuring this topic, Torpy has been roundly criticized as a Grinch — and it seems he lost the support even of some fellow atheists.
At the Christian Post, OneNewsNow, and DC CBS.