Many US military members have taken advantage of their unique access to Biblical history while they have been deployed to Iraq. A recent US Army article reports on the visit by some US Soldiers to a traditional resting place of Abraham. As with some other visits, a proactive Chaplain helped the Soldiers understand the history of the location.
[Chaplain] Capt. Michael T. Lanigan…has studied the Bible and the history of the site.
“Abraham’s oasis was one of the few stopping points that … according to the oral tradition of the Bedouins, was where Abraham and his family stopped before going on to Canaan, which is Jerusalem, the promised land, where God had called him,” said Lanigan…
The Soldiers recognize Read more
The US Air Force Academy cadet chapel is expanding to the outdoors. Along with its Christian, Jewish, Islamic, and Buddhist chapel areas, the cadet chapel will now officially include a “pagan circle” located on a hill just above the chapel grounds.
The Academy pagan group is led by USAF TSgt Brandon Longcrier, an NCO who works in the astronautics lab within the academic faculty. Longcrier was effusive in his praise of the Academy and the Chaplains in their support for his efforts, which included pagan rituals for Basic Cadet trainees over the summer.
“There really haven’t been any obstacles for the new circle,” he said. “The chaplain’s office has been 100-percent supportive.”
According to Longcrier, the pagans meet during each Monday night (chapel-sponsored SPIRE meets that night).
It would appear that those who claim the US military is officially “Christian” are losing any vestiges of evidence to support their claim.
A New York paper covers the story of First Lt. Marjana Mair Bidwell [updated link], a US Army intelligence officer and wife of another Army officer. She “worshipped as a Muslim for 18 years,” but converted to Christianity while in college–which was the US Military Academy at West Point.
When I left Islam during college, I considered myself to have a Christian mindset because I related to a lot of the teachings. I was never baptized, though I did attend church out of curiosity.
Apparently, she began learning about Catholicism because her husband is Catholic.
I did not start with the intent of converting to Catholicism. It was just to learn more about my husband’s religion. I didn’t choose Catholicism, it chose me. Halfway through the classes, I realized that the Catholic Church is very straightforward and that there’s something very moving about the Eucharist. That was the turning point for me.
The classes to which she is referring are the religious education classes taught by the Chaplain Read more
The Cadet Wing Commander at the US Air Force Academy is the top military ranking cadet over all cadets. The current semester’s commander, Cadet 1st Class Andrew Van Timmeren, has an article in the base paper that reveals an interesting history:
Cadet 1st Class Andrew Van Timmeren…almost didn’t stay past his second day of Basic Cadet Training.
Cadet Van Timmeren, then a basic cadet, was ready to pack it in and head home until a chaplain challenged him that if he left then, he would accomplish nothing.
He seems to say his style has Read more
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