President Barack Obama presented the parents of Sergeant First Class Jared Monti with his posthumous Medal of Honor last Thursday. The official ceremony was attended by government officials, civilians, and military members, including the surviving members of the patrol that engaged in the firefight that took Monti’s life.
The sacrifice that SFC Monti made reflected the greatness of character that embodies the American spirit. Unfortunately, much of the coverage of Monti’s award focused on the fact that no living military member has received the Medal of Honor during the long-running wars in Afghanistan and Iraq.
On the other hand, it was interesting to note where very little attention was given, despite the display of allegedly controversial conduct that occurred–not once, but twice–during the ceremony. The President, members of Congress, military Generals and leaders, all on national television, were led by a uniformed officer in an overtly religious act.
It was tradition. It was fitting. It was right.
If you believe some people, though, it was also illegal. Read more
A short Washington Post article describes Chaplain (Lt.) Ray F. Rivers, a 45 year old Marine Lieutenant and Chaplain from South Carolina. The Chaplain is growing a beard to facilitate his meetings with local Islamic and political leaders, leading one Marine to say he “looks like Sting.”
As he demonstrates, Chaplains serve servicemembers, but they also serve the mission.
An interesting letter to the editor was written to the Stars and Stripes by a Staff Sergeant in Afghanistan:
“Run both sides of gay issue” was shocking for me as a Christian who reads and follows the Bible. Read more
Chaplain (Col) Henry Haynes, then a Lt Col, was working in the Pentagon the day it was struck by an airliner on 11 September 2001. He recalls the experience, his actions to tend the needy, and the impact of his faith: Read more
In the vein of the American Atheist’s complaint against NASA, a variety of similarly-minded groups continue to bring accusations of wrongdoing against government-associated religious organizations. For example, the ACLU has criticized the Gideons providing religious materials while in some association with a government entity (including the Gideons’ interaction with the US military).
Controversies notwithstanding, the ubiquitous nature of the Gideons ministry almost inevitably leads to the never-gets-old joke:
How do they get those Bibles in all those locked hotel rooms?
Well, in 1996 evidence arose that the Gideons were successful in getting a Bible into one of the most inaccessible nightstands in the world; in fact, it’s not even in the world. Read more
According to a US Army news release, members of the 2nd Heavy Brigade Combat Team, 3rd Infantry Division, found time to have a Bible study after training was finished for the day.
The session, led by Chaplain (Capt.) Patrick Vandurme…lasted for about an hour, giving Soldiers a chance to listen to verses from the Bible, pray, and talk to Chap. Vandurme as needed.
Officers and enlisted lauded the opportunity to exercise their faith Read more
As noted at the ChristianPost, Focus on the Family’s Clubhouse Jr. magazine has teamed with the American Bible Society to help kids provide American servicemen and women with Bibles. Called “Truth for Troops,” the effort encourages parents to help their children earn money and take a vested interest in providing Bibles for US troops, as well as send them cards and pray for them.
“It is good for Daddy to have a Bible to read in Iraq so he can have a friend there,” said 3-year-old Violet, daughter of a U.S. Army chaplain in Iraq, according to ABC. “It will make him happy and help him not to be alone. The Bible tells him that God is with him.”
The effort is scheduled to run through August 31st.
As noted at the ChristianPost, an organization called Faith Comes By Hearing and Campus Crusade for Christ’s Military Ministry have joined forces to make an innovative tool available for Christians in the military: a “military BibleStick.” The device is a small mp3 player that comes pre-loaded with an “audio drama New Testament.”
As with Bibles and other religious material provided by private organizations to contacts within the military Read more