An official Army.mil article introduces Army Spc Mikail Lawal, a Muslim soldier (pictured below, reading the Koran) who is living out his faith and considering a career as a Chaplain.
DoD Photo (Sgt Ben Hutto)
His current job is essentially a customer service representative at a FOB in Iraq, making sure passengers get on the correct helicopter. He goes out of his way to be respectful and helpful, a spirit attributed to his “deep faith in Islam.”
In explaining why he wanted to become a Chaplain, 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.
A DoD news release notes the practice of Chaplains travelling throughout Afghanistan to serve even at the smallest forward-deployed units in combat. The lengths to which these Chaplains go, FOB-hopping throughout the combat area, are another indicator of the importance of religious exercise within the US military.
A US Army National Guard Chaplain is under investigation for violating “Don’t Ask, Don’t Tell” by allegedly “telling” a superior Chaplain that he was gay.
Aris Fokas is a United Church of Christ minister who joined the Pennsylvania Army National Guard in 2003 at the age of 39. Fokas has reportedly denied the disclosure, though he reportedly
declined to say anything about his sexual orientation other than to acknowledge he is single and has never been married.
He noted, too, that the United Church of Christ ordains openly gay and lesbian ministers, a denomination-wide policy since 1980.
In an apparent attempt to defend himself, Fokas says Read more
The US Air Force’s Air University has published Attitudes Aren’t Free: Thinking Deeply about Diversity in the US Armed Forces. It contains a variety of opposing ideas on religion in the US military, homosexuality, race and gender, and social policy.
While the nearly 600 page work will take time to review, it will be interesting to see how (or even if) it is received. It has the potential to be an interesting point of discussion, or perhaps little more than a minor publishing opportunity for some of its authors.
The tome contains articles from Barry Lynn, Gordon Klingenschmitt, Chris Rodda, Jay Sekulow, and Elaine Donnelly, among others. It can be viewed or downloaded as a PDF here. The primary website is DoDPolicy.org.
While the topic of National Prayer Breakfasts at local military installations was already discussed, the events continue to occur at various locations around the world. At Fort Benning, a picture showed the nature of the breakfast within the military:
Jewish Chaplain (Maj) Carlos Huerta talks with Muslim imam Dawud Salahuddin Bin Pearson before the start of the National Prayer Breakfast. (US Army Photo)
The celebration was open to all faiths and included prayers by Muslim imam Dawud Salahuddin Bin Pearson and Jewish Chaplain Read more
The US District Court for southern California ruled in late February (pdf) that a school district erred when it demanded that a teacher remove banners from his room due to their “Judeo-Christian” and “particular sectarian viewpoint.” The banners contained quotes from American founding documents and mottos that made reference to God.
While the academic environment of the case may not seem relevant to Christianity in the military, realize that the school district (and occasionally the teacher) was treated as a government actor, as the military is (and often military members are). The government’s treatment of religion in this case, and the court’s response, was extremely enlightening.
The most interesting part of the case was the fact that while the school district said that the presence of the banners might raise concerns under the Establishment Clause of the First Amendment to the US Constitution, the court ultimately ruled that the school district’s actions actually violated the Establishment Clause. The reason was simple: Read more
US Army Chaplain (Capt) Carl Subler is profiled by the San Francisco Examiner in a revealing article that describes the comradery the Catholic priest shares with the Army troops he serves in Afghanistan.
His perspective on faith and suffering, while somewhat unique to hear someone say, is actually fairly commonly held:
I find the more creature comforts are taken away from us, in many ways, we look to God with even more hope.
Read more of the interesting article at the Examiner. Chaplain Subler was previously profiled here.
Via the Army Chaplaincy blog.