US Army Chaplain (Capt) Geoffrey Whitaker, the garrison Chaplain at COB Marez, Iraq, took a unique path to the Chaplaincy. He was originally a Navy SEAL; in 2003, he fell during a helicopter speed rope and crushed his skull. Doctors gave him a 10% chance of survival, with far less a chance he’d ever recover.
He rejoined his SEALs within 12 months.
He said he owes his recovery to the thousands of people praying for him around the world. Read more
Last September, Chris Rodda, a researcher for Michael Weinstein and his Military Religious Freedom Foundation, wrote an article enumerating her “Top Ten” list of Christian travesties in the US military, emphasizing acts which “convince the Muslims we’re on a crusade.” A less combative version of this same list was re-published in the US Air Force’s Attitudes Aren’t Free just a few weeks ago.
At number 8, Rodda lists this rather interesting way in which the US military is showing the Muslim world America is on a crusade: 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.
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
It is unlikely that this article will be very interesting to many, but some may find it illuminating. It doesn’t deal directly with religion and the military, but analyzes an organization that frequently involves itself in that topic. The MRFF frequently relies on a strict application of “the rules” to forward its political agenda with regard to Christians in the military, and it appears it may have its own issues with rules regarding its conduct. For those that are interested: Read more
This incident has been so mis-reported that it was initially just ignored; however, when General Gould published a statement agreeing that this incident has been “sensationalized,” he gave credence to the view that this situation is being grossly mischaracterized, and that people are inappropriately using it for their personal advancement. An analysis thus follows…
Despite the positive hullabaloo over the US Air Force Academy pagan circle, Michael Weinstein’s Military Religious Freedom Foundation has now denounced the placement of a cross at the site, an act that occurred before the recent positive press reports. Though the incident took place several weeks ago, the MRFF appeared to time the press release to counter the recent spate of “good news” about religious tolerance at USAFA.
For the record, it should go without saying that Read more
As previously discussed, a civilian author recently criticized a military Chaplain for “expressing contempt” for the Constitution when he made “derogatory remarks about Islam:”
When a uniformed officer of the US military makes derogatory remarks about Islam, he’s violating [his] oath and expressing contempt of the First Amendment.
The comment was made by Jeff Sharlet, posting under the moniker Ishmael, on the Daily Kos website. Sharlet is also the author of The Family, a book that purports to be an expose on a secretive and conspiratorial religious organization (the “Christian Mafia”) attempting to influence the US government.
The comment was in defense of Chris Rodda, the Military Religious Freedom Foundation researcher, when she criticized Camp David Chaplain (LtCdr) Carey Cash for his religious views. Sharlet’s use of the word “derogatory” notwithstanding, is he right? Can a religious leader of one faith in the military say nothing negative about another–even if such statements are consistent with the tenets of their faith?
The core question: Can a Chaplain (or any other military officer) espouse specific, even exclusive, religious ideology?
The shortest, most accurate answer: Read more