A FoxNews article highlights the criticism of the US military for an invitation to Franklin Graham for a May 6 day of prayer.
A military spokesman had an interesting statement:
“We are an all-inclusive military. We hold observances throughout the year. This one happens to be a Christian-themed event,” [Army Col. Tom] Collins said.
This is a somewhat unique statement, because many people seem to be assuming a military chapel event has to be “inclusive.” However, the Colonel Read more
A local paper documents the upcoming return to combat of a Catholic Priest and US Army Chaplain. The article focuses on details from Chaplain (Maj) Brian Kane’s prior tour in 2005, and several of the anecdotes highlight the strong need for Chaplains in the US military.
The men went to the Al Anbar province at Al Asad airbase in western Iraq. Due to the shortage of priests, Kane spent the year traveling more than 5,500 miles by helicopter or convoy. He visited small bases that didn’t have a Catholic priest and small field hospitals, hearing confessions, saying Mass and counseling anyone who wanted to talk…
In one of the more interesting stories, he would ultimately Read more
The Department of Defense announced yesterday that 26 recommendations from the investigation of the Fort Hood massacre would be implemented in the “near term.” Some articles have focused on the decision to implement a DoD-wide privately owned weapon policy, but a more interesting policy change is about Chaplains (as was the related portion of the original report).
The DoD will implement a policy Read more
A “change of command” is a process in which a military unit publicly sees its leadership change from one person to another. The 1st Infantry Division, or “Big Red One,” recently saw a “time honored tradition” in a similar ceremony when a new division Chaplain assumed his duties.
Chaplain (Lt. Col.) Timothy Mallard, division chaplain for the 1st Inf. Div., donned the stole, which bears the names of the head chaplains for the division since the Balkans.
The changing of the stole ceremony is based on the Old Testament Read more
The recent religious “high holidays” highlighted US military efforts to accommodate the faiths of those within its ranks.
Two important perspectives were recently expressed in reaction to the celebration of Passover in Iraq by US servicemembers. First, from a young celebrant:
“It’s a big deal for morale, especially for Jewish Soldiers,” said Jason Kocsis [of the] Louisiana National Guard. “To be able to get together with other Soldiers of the Jewish faith and share what you normally share back at home with family, it gives you more of a taste of home and what we have to look forward to.” (emphasis added)
Second, from a senior officer who is not only a celebrant, but also a commander:
“The Army and these Soldiers are a part of our extended family during war-time,” said Lt. Col. Mednick, who is in charge of all aviation operations in the [northern] area of operations…”It’s very important to not spend this holiday alone and I’m proud to provide that culture for these Soldiers.” (emphasis added)
Finally, it is also important to note the military supports the religious exercise Read more
US Army Chaplain (Capt) Geoffrey Whitaker, the garrison Chaplain at COB Marez, Iraq, took a unique path to the Chaplaincy. He was originally a Navy SEAL; in 2003, he fell during a helicopter speed rope and crushed his skull. Doctors gave him a 10% chance of survival, with far less a chance he’d ever recover.
He rejoined his SEALs within 12 months.
He said he owes his recovery to the thousands of people praying for him around the world. Read more
The US Navy’s only Buddhist Chaplain is currently deployed to Afghanistan. She recently posted a short blog celebrating Buddha’s birth and noting the attendance of local Marines at the service.
As noted here often, the US military protects religious freedom of its servicemembers, even when that religious freedom may be contrary or offensive to locals or America’s adversaries. While some often connect such offense with Christianity, it was just a few years ago that the Taliban ordered the destruction of “false idol” statues of Buddha in Afghanistan–which had stood for 1,500 years.
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