The United Methodist Reporter has named “the military Chaplain” as the United Methodist of the Year:
For being the symbol of the courageous and steady support offered to members of the U.S. Armed Forces—in a year that saw a deadly assault at an Army base—the military chaplain is our 2009 United Methodist of the Year.
US military Chaplains serve a sacrificial and necessary role in preserving the religious freedom of military men and women called to duty by their nation.
Via Mitch Lewis.
Rabbi Menachem Stern answered a 2008 ad for military chaplains, “went through all the hoops,” and in July 2009 was told
that the Accession Board had approved him, and at one point “I actually got orders to appear. I received a letter saying that if I agreed to a commission, I should report for swearing-in.”
Subsequently, that invitation was revoked because Stern, who represents an Orthodox sect of Judaism, wears a beard.
“For me, my beard is part of my religious garb,” he explained. “…By not trimming my beard, I show that I represent the unadulterated view of the holy Torah. While there would be ways around it, and many of these ways are kosher, keeping to the original version of the Torah is the only way we as members of the Chabad Lubavitch community believe a person should live.”
According to the Aleph Institute, the Army Chaplaincy isn’t opposed Read more
Despite the occasional accusation to the contrary, the US military is not a bastion of conspiratorial theocrats. As is routinely shown even on this site, the Chaplains of the US military go beyond the call in their efforts to support all military members, no matter what religion (if any), and often no matter what nationality.
At Keesler Air Force Base, Chaplain (Capt.) Charles Mallory recently had an opportunity to organize a new group to discuss issues of belief. The Chaplain was approached by an enlisted Airman about starting a discussion group that would ultimately be called “The Query of Orthodoxy,” designed to give Read more
Chaplain (Capt.) Emil Kapaun, a World War II and Korean War Chaplain who died in captivity in North Korea, was recommended for the Medal of Honor by outgoing Secretary of the Army Pete Geren.
According to the Stars and Stripes,
Kapaun was captured by the Chinese in the fall of 1950, when Communist forces overran the 1st Cavalry Division in northern Korea near the Chinese border. American commanders had ordered their forces to retreat, but Kapaun, a Catholic priest with the 3rd Battalion, refused and stayed to care for the men who couldn’t flee.
Stripes also called Kapaun a “prisoner of war,” which while commonly understood is technically inaccurate. Read more
The Military Times papers have now picked up on the previously noted story about Army Chaplain (Lt) Thomas Dyer, a former Marine and Baptist pastor who converted to Buddhism and joined the Army National Guard (as published in the Tennessean).
The most recent article did have some interesting (and sometimes controversial) comments. For example, despite the accusations that Chaplains can never evangelize, the article does provide the qualifier: Read more
Army Chaplain (Capt.) Rebekah Montgomery has been selected by the Military Chaplain’s Association as their Chaplain of the Year. The Unitarian-Universalist is a member of the Maryland’s Army National Guard. She is the brigade chaplain for the 58th Troop Command in Maryland, and also works at the National Guard Bureau. About the difficulty of quantifying a Chaplain’s role, she said
“We don’t see the direct results, but we trust God is using us in a profound and positive way,” she said. “You can’t quantify how many divorces didn’t happen. You can’t quantify how many suicides didn’t happen.”
The Military Religious Freedom Foundation recently “amended” its lawsuit against the Department of Defense. It made one substantive addition, saying Army Specialist Chalker had
sought relief for his claims by invoking an intra-army administrative process. He has exhausted this alternative remedy but has obtained no substantial relief.
The premise of the cryptically vague statement (that Chalker used the Army’s in-place grievance systems) was already included in the lawsuit, so it does not appear that an amendment was judicially required. The announcement of the changes to the lawsuit–which was only filed approximately three months earlier–did highlight the suit in the press for a short time.
The other changes, upon which the MRFF has focused attention, have been additions to the long list of allegations (unrelated to the primary complaint) of Christian endorsement in the US military, which founder Michael Weinstein says is a “national security threat:”
The military command and control of our nation’s nuclear, biological, chemical, conventional and laser-guided weapons has been unconstitutionally compromised by a tsunami of unbridled fundamentalist Christian exceptionalism, triumphalism and proselytizing. Read more
Under Orders is subtitled “A Spiritual Handbook for Military Personnel,” has a rare endorsement from active duty General Petraeus, and is written by an experienced chaplain. It has exemplary reviews on various websites. It seems like an excellent reference for a military Christian.
The book’s intended audience are those who are non-religious, non-church-going, depressed, or traumatized. Nothing is said to those who already have a spiritual faith.
Chaplain McCoy, who is sponsored by the Lutheran denomination, doesn’t speak confidently about his own faith. In fact, he has little positive to say about the Christian faith at all. He belittles fellow Read more