Tag Archives: chapel

Buddhist Military Chapel “Represents Tolerance”

National Public Radio (NPR) recently reported that the Buddhist Chapel at the Air Force Academy, a room in the lower floors of the iconic Cadet Chapel, “represents tolerance” of beliefs at within the military institution.

The Buddhist hall within the Chapel has actually been in use for years (it was even renovated in 2007) so it is unclear why NPR is covering the story now.  However, they do provide several quotes that indicate the religious climate at the Air Force Academy has “improved” from Read more

USNA Chapel Ceremony Revisited

More than a week after the initial melee, the New York Times picked up the story on the Naval Academy chapel practice of dipping the US flag at the altar (previously noted here).

There is nothing significantly new in the article, though it does seem to indicate that the initial hysteria over the incident (generated primarily by Weinstein’s Military Religious Freedom Foundation) was misplaced.  (For example, no one “disobeyed a direct order.”)

Interestingly, columnists are quick to reference the US flag code, which says the flag should never be dipped.  However, the US flag code is a guide, not a punitive regulation.  Previous attempts to make it punitive were struck down by the Supreme Court as unConstitutional.  Thus, while someone may disagree with the practice, it is not prohibited.

NYT reference courtesy of the Religion Clause, and recently updated on ADF.

Naval Academy Chapel Ceremony Derided

As covered on Military.com, some people are upset that a Protestant chapel service ritual at the US Naval Academy includes “dipping” the American and Brigade flags at the altar.

In particular, Michael Weinstein was upset that the Academy Superintendent, Vice Admiral Jeffrey Fowler, had issued an order that the ceremony stop, only to later allow it to continue.  In criticizing the reversal, Weinstein said, in typical fashion,

Vice Admiral Fowler…wins the ‘Fundamentalist Christian Most Intimidated Award’ for 2008…Such profound duplicity and cowardice fatally disgraces the U.S. Naval Academy…

The implication in the article is that the Vice Admiral had his order overruled.  (Given that the article also says the Admiral would refuse to return if not “obeyed,” which is an unusual thing for an officer giving an order to say, it is possible that an “order” was not given, but that he expressed a preference that is being misreported.)

It might be somewhat ironic that Weinstein, who founded the Military Religious Freedom Foundation (MRFF), would back a military officer who attempted to dictate the rituals of a religious chapel service.  That very issue–that a state actor would direct a subordinate’s religious observance–was probably what led to the reversal, as such an order would be unConstitutional.

Also reported on Reasoned Audacity.

Buddhist Hall Opens in AF Cadet Chapel

As first noted on the Religion Clause, the Air Force Times reported the opening of a room in the Air Force Academy cadet chapel for Buddhists.

The paper reported that the room “opened Monday.”  Notably, Buddhists have had opportunity to use the rooms in the chapel for years, so it is possible that this is simply the first truly dedicated space they have utilized.  As noted in the article, dozens of faith and non-faith groups use the chapel facilities.

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