Gen Robert Neller, Commandant of the Marine Corps and a member of the Joint Chiefs of Staff, recently attended an iftar meal ending Ramadan fasting in Baltimore. Generally speaking, such events should be non-events, though senior military leaders publicly attending religious events occasionally brings criticism (normally when they’re Christian events).
One notable statement from Gen Neller [emphasis added]:
Neller shared some stories about his travels as a Marine to places where he was the minority as a white, Catholic American. He spoke about using what he knows about Islam to find common ground with Iraqi leaders during a year spent in Anbar province.
“We’re all sons of Abraham – why are you fighting me?” Neller recalled telling them.
It’s a fascinating statement on several levels. It’s a valid Read more
Update: In an interesting take, Patrick Hornbeck, a department chair of theology at Fordham University and an open homosexual, admitted that Chaplain Squires was “mistreated,” but attributed it to the natural consequences of “bureacracy” and a “well-meaning if somewhat confused investigator.”
The world waited with bated breath for Michael “Mikey” Weinstein — self-declared savior of military religious freedom — to speak on the case of Chaplain (Maj) Scott Squires. Chaplain Squires had been investigated and recommended for reprimand after he re-scheduled a Strong Bonds event just so a homosexual could attend, hosted by a different chaplain whose endorsing agency apparently is not morally opposed to homosexual “marriage.” Given the affront to his faith, and his efforts to accommodate the homosexual couple in an a different affirming event, naturally a defender of religious freedom would rally to Chaplain Squires’ side.
Noting that Chaplain Squires was following his endorsing agency’s guidance, as both the agency and the US Army requires, this was Weinstein’s response:
Our argument is [Defense Secretary Jim Mattis] ought to disqualify that particular entity as a chaplain endorsing agency.
Weinstein Read more
In what seems to be second case of Equal Opportunity offices gone wild, another US military EO office has determined that a Christian military officer is guilty of discrimination — and should be reprimanded — because of his religious beliefs about sexuality.
US Army Chaplain Scott Squires was apparently tasked to host a Strong Bonds marriage retreat — and a homosexual couple signed up. Chaplain Squires is a Southern Baptist, and his ecclesiastical endorser has said Southern Baptist chaplains can’t perform ministry that might appear to condone sexual sin. (This would be equally true for any Catholic or Muslim chaplain.) Thus, Chaplain Squires rescheduled the Strong Bonds event to a weekend in which another chaplain — one whose faith group would support a homosexual “marriage” — could host the event.
That wasn’t good enough. The Soldier complained to EO — and the EO office said the chaplain should be reprimanded [emphasis added]: Read more
After all the stories about “firsts” with regard to female and African-American chaplains, the Georgia Army National Guard had its own first, with a chaplain who was a first in his faith:
[Paul] McCabe became the first Episcopal Chaplain the history of the Georgia Army National Guard.
On one hand, this seems Read more
The South Dakota National Guard published a press release celebrating a “historic ceremony” in which Chaplain (Capt) Kelley Thury became the SDNG’s first female chaplain:
Thury is now the chaplain for the largest battalion in the SDARNG, the 153rd Engineer Battalion.
“Having the first female chaplain is really awesome, especially in the Engineer Corps where having females in the Engineer Corps hasn’t been a long-standing policy in the U.S. military,” said Lt. Col. Trent Bruce, former 153rd commander. “Integrating females into the Engineer Corps in itself is historic, but as a chaplain as well, is amazing.”
Several units have now made “headlines” with female chaplains. But what’s more interesting about Chaplain Thury is her attitude toward her fellow chaplains.
It seems Thury is connected to the Forum on the Military Chaplaincy, the homosexual Read more
The US military has approved the awarding of a Silver Star to Father Aloysius Schmitt, a Catholic chaplain who was aboard the USS Oklahoma when it was struck and capsized during the attack on Pearl Harbor on December 7, 1941. More than 400 Sailors perished. Chaplain (LTjg) Schmitt is reported to have helped several men through their only means of escape — a porthole — and when it appeared he might get stuck in the porthole, declined the opportunity to escape himself, allowing others to live.
The Oklahoma was righted in 1943, and Read more
Chaplain (1Lt) Brett Campbell recently became the US Air Force’s first (and only) Buddhist chaplain [emphasis added]:
The Iowa native who was raised Catholic discovered meditation and was introduced to Buddhism while at Iowa State University. He was attracted to the religion because it was more of a life philosophy and that he was frustrated with the mainstream church culture and system that was so susceptible to corruption.
After graduation, Campbell joined the Peace Corps and served in Mongolia where he said he began identifying as a Tibetan Buddhist.
That’s an interesting Read more
An interesting US Air Force story describes how US Air Force Chaplain (Maj) Chris Conklin is acting as an advisor to the Afghan Air Force Religious and Cultural Affairs office, a rough equivalent to their chaplaincy:
Chaplain (Maj.) Chris Conklin is the first air advisor charged with assisting the Afghan military’s religious and cultural affairs program with the mission of effective religious care and spiritual readiness for those who defend their nation.
Interestingly, the article makes a point to say their discussions aren’t religious in nature: Read more