A short article at Army.mil details the sermon of a US Army Chaplain to Haitians during his humanitarian deployment. Chaplain (Maj) Brad Baumann was invited to preach in a devastated church in Port-au-Prince. His Chaplain assistant, Spc. Midine Beauvais, grew up in Haiti and was able to translate much of the sermon to Creole.
The most interesting part of the article, though, was the Haitians surprise at the presence of a Christian Chaplain in the military:
The locals don’t expect people in the military to be Christian and take time for God while on a mission…so they appreciated that the soldiers attended the service at their church.
Though there is often an emphasis on the “risks” of associating Christianity with the US military, people often forget that there can be cultural advantages to the mission, as well.
A somewhat under-the-radar controversy erupted in late January at Vanderbilt University. Apparently, the Muslim Students Association and the Army and Navy ROTC programs jointly sponsored a discussion about Muslims in the military, a forum entitled “Common Ground: Being Muslim in the Military.”
Vanderbilt junior Devin Saucier, who is also a member of the Youth for Western Civilization, and Vanderbilt Islamic chaplain Awadh Binhazim participated in a heated exchange that was videotaped and made the rounds of the internet. (It received enough publicity that Vanderbilt issued a statement clarifying Binhazim’s relationship with the school and expressing its support for free speech.)
Through several iterations of the question, Saucier asked Binhazim if he supported the Islamic belief that homosexuality was a capital crime. After a variety Read more
The Military Association of Atheists and Freethinkers was one of several groups that recently met with White House staff members as part of a White House meeting with the Secular Coalition for America.
According to the MAAF web page on the meeting, president Jason Torpy presented a briefing at the meeting that claimed to explain the relative percentages of faiths represented in the military. His briefing grossly misrepresented numeric government data, apparently in an attempt to strengthen the MAAF position and demands.
In what the MAAF called a “new MAAF demographics study,” which was actually an MAAF presentation of a study done by the Defense Manpower Data Center, the MAAF said
DoD data show nearly one-quarter of the military is nontheistic
Using the DMDC data, the MAAF claimed that 23.4% of the Department of Defense was “nontheistic.” Based on this number, according to the MAAF, “nontheists constitute a significant portion of the military.” Thus,
Military and Civilian leadership must recognize and support this significant demographic
Some might say numbers don’t lie, but the MAAF certainly demonstrated that one can misrepresent them to support untrue Read more
An article at Army.mil explains the unique roles and necessity of the Chaplaincy to the success of the Army mission, something that applies across the services to the US military as a whole. One of the command Chaplains noted the value of the Chaplaincy goes beyond the tangible:
I would hate to think what the Army would be like without the Chaplain Corps. What if all of the positive spiritual emphasis in the world was removed in a moment? What would the world look like? It would be ugly.
Though not often said, there are moral virtues supported by religion and the Chaplaincy that positively contribute to the mission of the US military. Regrettably, those positive contributions are often forgotten, until they are removed and the impact of their loss is felt.
Via the Army Chaplaincy blog.
Just days after noting the potential impact that the “Don’t Ask, Don’t Tell” repeal might have on military Chaplains, there are now widespread articles on the decision by an Air Force base Chaplain’s office to rescind the invitation of a speaker who opposed President Obama’s proposed repeal.
The actions were those of an individual Chaplain’s office and were not necessarily indicative of the decisions of higher level leadership. However, the decision itself is a perfect example of the conflict that organizations opposing the repeal intend to highlight.
Family Research Council President Tony Perkins had been invited in October by the Chaplains’ office to speak at the February 25 National Prayer Luncheon at Andrews Air Force Base (now known as Joint Base Andrews). Perkins is a US Marine veteran and ordained minister. Supposedly, after President Obama used his State of the Union to call for a repeal of DADT, and Perkins and the FRC vocally opposed him, the Chaplain’s office rescinded the invitation. (Notably, the Chaplain’s office is free to invite or disinvite anyone they choose; it is their public reasoning for doing so that makes this case interesting.)
The letter from the Chaplain’s office rescinding the invitation reportedly said: Read more
With the Obama administration’s recent efforts to allow homosexuals to openly serve in the US military, some organizations are beginning to describe the impact that such a policy change could have on US military Chaplains.
As reported by the Catholic News Agency, the Alliance Defense Fund is one such group. The CNA said
Proposed changes allowing homosexuals to serve openly in the military could marginalize military chaplains from religions which consider homosexual acts sinful, a religious liberty group has warned.
The ADF specifically said that the ‘affirmation’ of homosexuality in the military Read more
A few weeks ago the Colorado Springs Gazette published a short email excerpt from the designated pagan leader at the USAF Academy, TSgt Brandon Longcrier. In the quote, the Gazette highlighted Longcrier’s fear for his cadets in the face of what he described as a “hate crime” (the crossed shoe boards at the pagan circle).
Not much later, the Military Religious Freedom Foundation, to whom the letter was addressed, published a series of letters it had received on the subject. The authors’ names were redacted, but in one the author clearly identified himself as the person who found the cross at the pagan site and took “the picture,” which is known to be Longcrier. In addition, it includes the quotes from the Gazette article attributed to him.
Longcrier’s message reiterates the “hate crime” and criticizes the Air Force Academy for its response. More interesting, however, is his attitude toward the cadets — particularly those of the Christian Read more
The Supervisor of Flying, a pilot stationed in the control tower to oversee flight operations on the airfield, received a call from local emergency responders relaying reports of a loud boom and possible fireball. A roll call of all airborne aircraft revealed one aircraft missing. Officers around the base opened their Mishap Response Checklists. An aircraft was down.
The controllers stopped all further launches and began the task of recovering other aircraft that were airborne; the assets of the base as well as the local community were now focused on the rescue and recovery of the downed aircraft and crew. An air traffic controller guided an experienced pilot to the last known location of the aircraft, and the crash location was fixed. Helicopters flown by local law enforcement and the US Marines were dispatched to the crash site. Simultaneously, officers throughout the base began the procedures of securing all equipment associated with the flight–from the maintenance records of the aircraft to the pilot’s gradebook and records. Ultimately, a commander would don his service dress uniform and request the accompaniment of a Chaplain.
Regrettably, the fighter pilot career field is a dangerous one. In this case, Read more