Tag Archives: chapel

Air Force Chapels Raise $250K for Japan

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

Military Religion Question Answered: Advertising a Bible Study

Recently, an email from an officer announcing a Bible study at Kirtland AFB was the subject of a complaint from Michael Weinstein’s Military Religious Freedom Foundation, leading to the question here, “Can a military officer advertise a Bible study?”

Some relevant quotes from the original complaint, as sent to (and publicized by) the MRFF by an enlisted Airman:

During the past 6-7 months a unit commander, who is now the Deputy Group Commander decided to send mass e-mails to the wing regarding bible study sessions. These are sessions that were led by the individual sending the e-mails…a person in a command position, clearly a conflict of interest. A lot of us expressed concern about the perception that leadership is endorsing what should clearly be a chaplain endorsed and led activity.
 
Just imagine the following scenario… if you were a young Airman wanting to look good for a Below the Zone package, the Deputy Group Commander is leading a bible study, a young impressionable person might Read more

Chaplains Call for Troop Protections over DADT

The recent controversy over the Navy’s apparent acceptance of homosexual marriages in base chapels (quickly reversed after Congressional disapproval) spurred a response by Chaplain endorsing agencies representing “over a thousand military chaplains.”  The groups wrote a letter calling for conscience protections not only for Chaplains — but also for every servicemember:

When guidance…is forthcoming from senior leadership that implies protected status for those who engage in homosexual behavior and normalizes same-sex unions in base chapels, any outside observer would conclude that both homosexuality and homosexual unions officiated as marriages in base chapels are normative.

This creates an environment that is increasingly hostile to the many chaplains — and the service members they serve — whose faith groups and personal consciences recognize homosexual behavior as immoral and unsafe and do not permit same-sex unions.

For this reason, and particularly in light of the growing confusion regarding how DADT repeal will play out — indeed, we were told that issues like same-sex weddings were not a concern because of DOMA just months ago — we strongly encourage the adoption of broad, clear, and strong protections Read more

Comprehensive Soldier Fitness, from General Marshall

Chaplain (Maj) Bill Scritchfield, currently serving in Afghanistan, has an interesting perspective on the Comprehensive Soldier Fitness program, reaching all the way back to General Marshall:

Scritchfield…believes Gen. George Marshall explained the significance of Soldier spirituality best, “The Soldier’s heart, the Soldier’s spirit, the Soldier’s soul are everything. Unless the Soldier’s soul sustains him, he cannot be relied on and will fail himself and his country in the end.”

The context of the article is US Army SPC Turquoise Dawson, who volunteers as an usher at Bagram’s chapel services.  Her conscious decision to usher with a happy heart

illustrate[s] some of the behaviors and strategies that help one adapt and cope with challenges – behaviors and strategies Army officials hope to pass on to other soldiers.

Critics continue to imply an impending lawsuit over some portions of the Army’s CSF program.

Buddhist Chaplain Celebrates Vesak

As noted previously, Chaplain (Capt) Somya Malasri recently celebrated the Buddhist Vesak at Joint Base Lewis-McChord.  Chaplain Malasri is reportedly the only active duty Buddhist Chaplain in the US Army.  (Buddhist Chaplain (Lt) Thomas Dyer is in the Army National Guard.)

Like Chaplains of other faiths, Malasri’s presence provides a unique support for members in the military of his faith:

Part of [Chaplain’s Malasri’s] service to others includes providing weekly Buddhist services on base. Spc. Lawrence Ross…attends regularly.
 
“(It gives me) a sense of belonging, where a group can connect without any animosity of judging,” he said.
 
Ross, who became a Buddhist in 2008, says that it has helped him become a better Soldier and that having a Buddhist presence on base helps people see another side of the Army.
 
“It’s not all about kicking down doors and killing people,” he said. “It’s all about helping people. Bottom line.”

Malasri has an interesting take on the apparent contradiction of a Buddhist Chaplain/Soldier — a religion stereotypically “peaceful.”  Read more

Navy Chaplain Reverses Course on Gay Marriage

Head Navy Chaplain (Rear Adm) Mark Tidd has reportedly issued a “one-line” statement suspending his prior decision allowing US Navy Chaplains to perform homosexual marriages in military chapels.

As previously noted, members of Congress had objected to the announcement, saying it was in conflict with the Defense of Marriage Act.

If nothing else, the controversy stands in contrast to those who have had a dismissive attitude toward repeal, claiming it would be a non-event and transparent in its removal.  As demonstrated by the concerns raised during training and the sensitivity of this announcement, it very evidently isn’t.

DADT Update: Marine Training, June Target, and Military Weddings

Below:

  • Camp Pendleton Marines ask the same DADT questions
  • Obama said to be aiming for repeal in June
  • Navy head of Chaplains says gay marriages permissible in military Chapels

Camp Pendleton Marines recently went through the required DADT training for the upcoming repeal of the policy most often known as “Don’t Ask, Don’t Tell.”  Despite some people dismissing the concerns of servicemembers Read more

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