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.
US Army Chaplain (Maj) Julian Padgett served the men and women of Forward Operating Base Marez in Mosul, Iraq, in late 2009. In his proactive efforts to minister to those on Marez, he reportedly “made the rounds along the base perimeter to comfort troops and offer prayers,” as shown in this picture dated in September 2009:
(DoD Photo, PO1 Carmichael Yepez)
An important detail is that Chaplain Padgett ministered to all the men and women on Marez supporting the US mission, including the pictured security guard, a third country national (TCN) from Uganda with whom he shared Read more
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.