While the majority of US troops reportedly ascribe to some form of Christianity, Department of Defense press releases on the faiths of US troops might make some people think otherwise.
The vast majority of official US military press releases dealing with religion focus on one of two things: military chaplains or a religious holiday. It is not unusual for a DoD article to highlight a Chaplain’s support of Christmas or Ramadan, for instance, as the DoD did with US Army Chaplain (Maj) Dawud Agbere, who celebrated the Muslim holy month in Afghanistan with American and allied troops, as well as local nationals.
In general, though, there are very few articles that focus on an individual line soldier — and that individual person’s religious faith. When those articles do come out, they are almost exclusively about non-traditional minority faiths.
For example, the Army once wrote about SSgt Muna Nur, specifically focusing on her status as a “Muslim medic.”
The military has routinely highlighted Read more
Wisconsin Army National Guard state command chaplain, Chaplain (Col) Douglas Fleischfresser, recently welcomed 1LT Christopher Mohr to the Guard as Wisconsin’s first (and only) Buddhist chaplain.
“I think it speaks for where we’re going in diversity and the need to have a diverse viewpoint in spirituality,” said Fleischfresser…
During his first two-weeks Read more
Chaplain (Capt) Thomas Dyer, the US Army’s Baptist-preacher-turned-Buddhist-Chaplain is opening a meditation center in Afghanistan.
The Bagram Dharma Center in Afghanistan will be classified as a “faith-based resiliency center,” and it gives [Chaplain] Capt. Thomas Dyer…a better way to connect his Eastern beliefs, Southern roots and Middle Eastern deployment.
The article goes on to describe what it will be: Read more
Dover Air Force Base, most famously known for its service as the military’s “port mortuary,” dedicated a new chapel facility at the end of February:
A meditation pavilion is among its amenities, said Chaplain Lt. Col. Dennis Saucier. Those families can also make use of the new chapel, which has 20 pews stocked with hymnals and the Holy Bible, an altar, a wood-paneled reredos and tall, stained glass windows featuring four white doves in flight.
The chapel center also has an “all faiths” room, a neutral Read more
Update: Former Navy Chaplain Gordon Klingenschmitt says the Marines should be considering Christianity, not Buddhism:
“I think getting rid of anxiety is important. We need to decrease the suicide rate among our Marines,” he agrees. “But Buddhism is not the way to do that. I think Christianity is intellectually a better way to promote healthy mental awareness.”
Like Chaplain Lee, Klingenschmitt wonders where the normally vociferous critic Michael Weinstein is right now [emphasis added]: Read more
In early December the Washington Times posted a lengthy article on the US Marines “expanding use of meditation training” — essentially, aspects of yoga and Eastern religions. The article was little different than the ones noted here over the past several years, documenting the increasing official acceptance — and even mandatory use — of the physical aspects of some Eastern religions.
More recently, the FRC‘s Tony Perkins criticized the military’s incorporation of “meditation:”
In the military, it’s out with God — and in with the goofy!…As part some new training, Marines are being asked to join weekly yoga and meditation classes…
Former Army Captain Elizabeth Stanley…insists the new age Read more
An LA Times article on the drawdown in Afghanistan had an interesting lede:
Photo at LATimes.com (David S. Cloud / Los Angeles Times / December 9, 2012)
KANDAHAR, Afghanistan — Fifteen U.S. soldiers huddle in a circle. A blue Toyota packed with explosives has been reported somewhere in the city. The troops bow their heads and clasp hands.
“Dear Lord, protect us and protect those entrusted to us as Read more
The Reverend Sarah Lammert, the next President of an overarching group of US military chaplain endorsers, the National Conference on Ministry to the Armed Forces, has endorsed a surprisingly hostile article on the role of military chaplains.
OutServe — the homosexual advocacy magazine focused on the US military — recently published an article questioning whether military chaplains were “force multipliers” or “force distracters.” The author, a reserve US Army Lieutenant Colonel and homosexual, centered much of her discussion on a quote from a “code of ethics” for military chaplains. In particular, she returned to:
When conducting services of worship that include persons of other than my religious body I will draw upon those beliefs, principles, and practices that we have in common.
Through several paragraphs LtCol Vicki Hudson ultimately seemed to distill her displeasure down to chaplains praying, and she said: Read more