During a wide-ranging interview with NBC’s Matt Lauer a few weeks ago, President Obama spoke once again of his family’s position regarding attending church regularly, or “joining” a particular church. In one of the more underreported comments, he singled out a military Chaplain for strong praise:
We love the chapel up in Camp David. It’s probably our favorite place to worship because it’s just family up at Camp David. There’s a wonderful chaplain up there who does just a great job.
It is rare enough for a military officer to get such stark praise Read more
Last September, Chris Rodda, a researcher for Michael Weinstein and his Military Religious Freedom Foundation, wrote an article enumerating her “Top Ten” list of Christian travesties in the US military, emphasizing acts which “convince the Muslims we’re on a crusade.” A less combative version of this same list was re-published in the US Air Force’s Attitudes Aren’t Free just a few weeks ago.
At number 8, Rodda lists this rather interesting way in which the US military is showing the Muslim world America is on a crusade: Read more
It is not uncommon for people of a religious faith–Christian or not–to occasionally speak of the difficulty of celebrating their faith while in the military. This is particularly true in intense training environments, as well as the obvious restricted areas of combat. The military culture is sometimes hostile (even unintentionally) to the spirit of a religious faith, and the logistical environment sometimes restricts the ability to fully exercise one’s faith.
Despite the challenges encountered, it is important to highlight the fact that the US military has a responsive environment of both commanders and Chaplains to see to the religious needs of all of its servicemembers. Though there are obvious logistical hurdles in some cases, there is no institutional support for or bias against any particular faith. In fact, the opposite is true.
For example, the Aleph Institute, a DoD Chaplain endorsing organization and valuable support agency for Jews in the US military, recently said they had to come to the rescue of a Soldier seeking spiritual resources, and because of “red tape” a Jewish Soldier has “almost no chance” of getting spiritual resources like prayer books and kosher field rations.
History, however, demonstrates the opposite. In fact, Jewish military Read more
A Fort Leavenworth chapel program is using a Biblical approach to helping returning Soldiers and their families “reunite” for the long term. The program is called “Faith-Based Solutions to the Combat Experience” and uses two Military Ministry (links) products: When War Comes Home and The Combat Trauma Healing Manual.
The program is open to all and is purely a military Chapel function. The goal isn’t psychological healing, but an intimate and faith-based effort to strengthen family relationships:
Facilitators are looking at reintegration into society after combat from a personal, faith-based perspective.
Chaplain (LtCol) Mike Thompson lauded the value of faith in the approach, Read more
The Sacramento Bee has a collection of high-quality photos of Chaplains at work in Afghanistan. Included are
- Catholic Chaplain (Capt) Carl Subler, shown delivering Mass and praying prior to a convoy (previously covered here)
- Chaplain Gary Lewis, shown in a FOB Chapel, complete with Chapel library
- Chaplain (Maj) Shon Neyland, shown singing in a Gospel service
- Chaplain (Capt) Loren Aderhold, shown delivering a sermon
- Chaplain (Capt) Kevin Burton, shown both counseling and using his electrician’s experience
and an interesting picture of Chaplain’s assistant Sgt. Oscar Santiago, shown carrying a rifle in one hand and a guitar in the other.
Via the Army Chaplaincy blog.
Katie Drummond writes an article for AOL News that is essentially a fluff piece on the advocacy of the Military Religious Freedom Foundation, as virtually every example in the article is an MRFF talking point.
The most recent “issue” is the participation of military base Chaplains with Focus on the Family, which has reportedly simulcast various resources, including its landmark Truth Project, to military bases. (Drummond calls FotF’s relationship with the military “lucrative,” without explaining the basis for her belief of financial involvement.) When explaining his opinion that these “voluntary” religious events aren’t really voluntary, Michael Weinstein Read more
Chuck Holton at “Boots on the Ground” happened upon a first-person video capturing the aftermath of an IED attack on US forces in Afghanistan. The candid video shows both the resilience of the military vehicles in which US forces were riding (they were damaged but not destroyed) as well as the resilience of American forces themselves.
Near the end of the 8 minute video, the troops hold a worship service, led by a guitar-playing Chaplain. The makeshift chapel resounds with the voices of those who truly know that God is a God of wonders.
US Army Chaplain (Maj) Julian Padgett served the men and women of Forward Operating Base Marez in Mosul, Iraq, in late 2009. In his proactive efforts to minister to those on Marez, he reportedly “made the rounds along the base perimeter to comfort troops and offer prayers,” as shown in this picture dated in September 2009:
(DoD Photo, PO1 Carmichael Yepez)
An important detail is that Chaplain Padgett ministered to all the men and women on Marez supporting the US mission, including the pictured security guard, a third country national (TCN) from Uganda with whom he shared Read more