In February the US Supreme Court will hear the case of the Bladensburg Peace Cross, a near-century old war memorial in Maryland that anti-religious groups claim is an illegal endorsement of religion.
The Cross was ruled “unconstitutional” by the Fourth Circuit, and that is how the case approaches the Supreme Court.
Many have spoken out in defense of the memorial, which might explain why one group that filed a brief in support of the cross went unnoticed.
A group of retired flag officers are asking the Court (PDF) to “correct the court of appeals’ stilted view of the First Amendment” and defend the cross. Those officers include:
US Air Force Chief of Chaplain (MajGen) Cecil Richardson recently spoke to the Fairchild AFB National Prayer Luncheon on prayer, where he also noted the “relentless attacks on people of faith and traditional values” that have recently characterized the public discourse:
“It’s to pray for ourselves, our community, units, friends, families and leaders,” said the Air Force’s ranking chaplain.
“It’s also a time to pause and remind ourselves despite the relentless attacks on people of faith and traditional values, Read more
As noted last week, Arlington National Cemetery’s Jewish Chaplains’ Memorial was added to Chaplains’ Hill and dedicated yesterday. Despite the claims of some military atheists, speakers at the event noted there are chaplains on the front lines of America’s battles, serving the troops who serve their country:
“The 14 men we honor today were rabbis in uniform,” said Maj. Gen. Cecil Richardson, the Air Force chief of chaplains. “These men did much more than preach sermons. … They walked where warriors walked, and that is what made them military chaplains. Read more
The universal Chaplain’s Badge suggested by former Navy Chaplain Rabbi Arnold Resnicoff may not be far fetched.
The Washington Post noted Chaplain (Major General) Cecil Richardson, the Air Force Chief of Chaplains, is on board with Resnicoff’s idea:
Top brass at the Pentagon have endorsed Resnicoff’s idea of a universal-yet-denominational insignia, if not his actual sketches.
“I like the idea of developing a new chaplain insignia Read more
The Stars and Stripes recently had two articles on atheism in the military, one on atheism at the service academies and one in the military in general. Both were written by reporter Chris Carroll.
The first, “Atheists groups find doors open to them at service academies,” notes that all three primary service academies have groups for “nonbelievers.” The one at the Naval Academy is sponsored by Jewish Chaplain (LtCmdr) Seth Phillips:
“The group is no different than any other student group with connections to the outside world,” Phillips said. “The Baptists are supported by the Baptist Student Union, and some other Christian groups get support from the Navigators. In no way is this group unique, different or specially privileged.”
Of course, Chaplain Phillips’ comment makes the most sense with regard to student religious groups. Because there is a Constitutional protection of the human liberty of religious freedom, religious groups may have “unique” or “different” treatment than, Read more
The public affairs office at Joint Base McGuire-Dix-Lakehurst recently put out an article that extensively discussed the role of Chaplains in the military, though not necessarily perfectly.
“We are accepting of everybody, regardless of their faith,” said Chaplain (Capt.) Raphael Berdugo. “We’re here to help everyone.”
The chaplain’s mission is to promote comprehensive and agile spiritual readiness for America’s most combat ready, mobility and expeditionary warfighters. The chaplains also provide spiritual guidance to the community members such as: spouses, children and retirees.
On the presence of specific faith Chaplains: Read more
According to an official Air Force release, the US Air Force chapel community raised more than a quarter million dollars to aid the victims of the earthquake and tsunami in Japan.
In the wake of the earthquake and tsunami that struck Japan March 11, members of the Air Force Chaplain Corps on 43 installations helped raise more than $257,000 toward relief efforts for victims of the disaster, officials said here June 9.
The effort began with a call from the Air Force Chief of Chaplains:
On March 15, Chaplain (Maj. Gen.) Cecil R. Richardson, the Air Force Chief of Chaplains, encouraged chapel community Airmen and their families to take designated offerings at worship services to assist the earthquake victims.
The funds went to a variety of aid organizations, including a Catholic aid group and the Billy Graham-founded Samaritan’s Purse: Read more
US military Chaplains are deployed in the Horn of Africa
to establish lines of communication with local religious leaders.
Chaplain (CAPT) Jon Cutler and Chaplain (LtCol) David Terrinoni met with religious leaders and visited a Catholic orphanage. While their main goal was to interact with the locals, the Chaplains also ministered to the needs of their own team:
“There is religious diversity here, but no synagogues, which make me glad Chaplain Cutler could visit,” said Chief Petty Officer Richard Anthonissen…
Cutler was able to serve Anthonissen in a way that only a rabbi can.
“During my last [CTFJ-HOA] tour, there were only Jewish lay-leaders available,” said Anthonissen. “While they meet your faith needs, a rabbi is much more – a rabbi is a teacher who makes you think and challenge your assumptions in a good way.”
Elsewhere, Chaplain (MajGen) Cecil Richardson, Read more