As previously noted, the House Armed Services subcommittee on military personnel heard testimony from several witnesses on religious freedom in the military after the DoD’s recent changes to accommodation policy.
The Stars and Stripes noted that while many have focused on ‘turbans and beards,’ Congress didn’t:
Accommodation for minority religions was not the main concern of the primarily Republican House members present Wednesday, however. Many of their questions centered around allegations that free expression of faith by Christian believers was being suppressed…
Instances of Christians being told Read more
The House Armed Services Committee heard testimony from several DoD and civilian sources on Wednesday on the topic of religious accommodation in the US military. Witnesses included Deputy Assistant Secretary of Defense for Military Personnel Policy, Ms. Virginia Penrod, US Army Deputy Chief of Chaplains (BGen) Charles Bailey, US Air Force Deputy Chief of Chaplains (BGen) Bobby Page, and US Navy Chief of Chaplains (RAdm) Mark Tidd. The statements, questions, and answers in the hearing were quite interesting. The hour-long CSPAN-worthy video can be viewed here, with highlights discussed below.
Military.com summarized the session as “Lawmakers Accuse Military of Anti-Christian Bias,” and the Religion News Service noted “Top brass say they’re not aware of bias against military chaplains.” It would seem the public perception of the hearing was somewhat different than what the participants thought.
Retired US Army Chief of Chaplains Chaplain (MajGen) Doug Carver Read more
A few weeks ago it was noted that the Air Force reacted to Michael Weinstein — a civilian critic of religious freedom in the military — nearly instantaneously, while it had failed to respond to Congress — the governmental body that writes its rules and authorizes its paychecks — in weeks. In fairness, it is worth noting the Air Force did eventually respond.
US Rep Doug Lamborn (R-Co) had co-signed a letter demanding explanations for the April meeting the Air Force held with Weinstein. The response from the Air Force explains that Weinstein met with nine Air Force staff members, including TJAG LtGen Richard Harding and Deputy Chief of Chaplains Chaplain (BrigGen) Bobby Page. The one “gotcha” — the Congressional inquiry whether the Air Force was “aware” of Weinstein’s history of vitriolic attacks on Christians — was vaguely answered by Acting Secretary Eric Fanning: Read more