Tag Archives: blessing of the fleet

American Atheists File Lawsuit over Blessing of the Animals

A county-run animal shelter’s annual “Blessing of the Animals” is the subject of a federal lawsuit filed by American Atheists in New Jersey. As noted at the Religion Clause:

The complaint in American Atheists, Inc. v. Bergen County, objects to the use of public resources and employee time to promote and host a ritual that is performed by Franciscan clergy annually in honor of St. Francis of Assissi.

A member of the American Atheists — who knew about the blessing ceremony in advance — happened to show up in person (to adopt a pet, of course) just as the ceremony was occurring. Just in time to very conveniently be offended.

While a county pet shelter may not seem relevant to the US military, the contrived Read more

Navy Conducts Annual Blessing of the Fleets

The US Navy reported that the annual “Blessing of the Fleet” ceremony was held at the Navy Memorial in Washington, DC, last week.

Chaplain of the Marine Corps and Deputy Chief of Navy Chaplains, Rear Adm. Brent W. Scott, gave the invocation and blessing to the centuries-old tradition…

The Blessing of the Fleets ritual is intended to safeguard crews and ships from the danger of the seas.

This was the 25th annual ceremony, though the tradition extends for centuries.

To date, it has apparently Read more

Navy Conducts Blessing of the Pilot Wings

The US Navy conducts an annual “blessing of the fleet,” a tradition intended to “safeguard crews and ships” from the hazards of the oceans through a religious blessing.

It turns out the Navy also conducts a “blessing of the wings” as part of new Naval Aviators’ winging ceremonies. An official Navy article recounts that the chapel at Naval Air Station Corpus Christi held its first services on the infamous December 7, 1941, and as the new aviators went off to war, chaplains began “blessing” their wings:

According to the chaplains, during World War II, many Catholic chaplains began blessing the wings of Catholic aviators. This tradition continued throughout the years and eventually became a “Blessing of the Wings” service in chapels around the world.

Eventually the service included Read more

Blessing of the Fleet Canceled over First Amendment

A 16-year tradition of a “blessing of the fleet” has been canceled because the Americans United for the Separation of Church and State complained.

This wasn’t the military, though.  It was a grade school.

South Bristol Elementary School eighth-graders will launch their handmade skiffs next month without the traditional “blessing of the fleet” after a letter from…Americans United for Separation of Church and State informed the school that student involvement with the historic maritime ceremony violated the First Amendment.

The US Navy and various small towns conduct “blessings of the fleet” in accordance with centuries of maritime tradition.  Indeed, the US Navy just performed theirs.

Just don’t tell the AU…


US Navy Blesses the Fleet

While the US Air Force still only needs two digits to measure its age, the US Navy, or naval power in general, has been around for multiple centuries.  With that long history comes many centuries-old traditions, including the annual “Blessing of the Fleet.”  An official Navy article gives a quick note:

The Blessing of the Fleets ceremony is a centuries-old ceremony rooted in seafaring heritage around the world…

and then proceeds to focus on the “Year of Military Women.”

Another Navy site, a non-governmental organization that runs the US Navy Memorial that hosts the annual event, described the event this way:

The centuries-old “Blessing of the Fleets” ceremony is intended to safeguard crews and ships from the danger of the seas through a traditional blessing given by a clergyman Read more