Tag Archives: christmas tree

The US Military Celebrates Christmas Around the World

Despite deployment and austere conditions at locations around the world, the US military tries to provide its troops the resources and opportunities they need to celebrate Christmas, as well as the freedom to interact with local communities to honor the Christmas season. In most, but not all, cases, the military isn’t afraid to say “Christmas” or “Hanukkah” or otherwise acknowledge the point of what’s being celebrated — despite the occasional criticism from Scut Farkus. Some recent examples, from Colorado Springs to Japan:

Sailors at Fleet Activities Sasebo (Japan) brought Christmas gifts to orphans through the Salvation Army’s Angel Tree program.

Led by their battalion commander, LtCol Lawson Bell, Soldiers out of Fort Carson, Colorado, participated in an all-night march to downtown Colorado Springs, where they teamed with Catholic Charities to support the Marian House Soup Kitchen.

The III MEF Band at Read more

US Air Force Academy to Host Live Nativity

Four years after Jason Torpy’s third-party atheist complaint brought an end to a children’s live nativity in Bahrain, the US Air Force Academy continues the same tradition this week:

The Christmas tree and Hanukah Menorah lighting ceremony begins at 5 p.m. with a Hanukah [sic] and Nativity story performed by children.

In 2012 Jason Torpy, vicariously offended that a Naval base in Bahrain would allow its children to re-enact the nativity scene, filed an IG complaint alleging the kids were violating the US Constitution. The local Read more

US Air Force Band, Military Bases Show Christmas Spirit

Around the country and around the world, US military bases are helping troops celebrate the season of Christmas. (Many bases are also simultaneously celebrating Hanukkah, though the Jewish holiday is this week, preceding Christmas by a couple of weeks this year.)  For the most part, it seems many bases aren’t shying away from calling them what they are, though a few are sticking to the more generic “holidays.”

Senior Air Force Officer Defends Mikey Weinstein

Michael “Mikey” Weinstein recently published an anonymous, 3,000-word essay from a “senior officer” describing why MRFF “clients” always remain anonymous in their complaints against Christians and religion in the US military.

While the treatise is meant to provide justification for the “clients” in Weinstein’s anonymous attacks on Christians in the military, many people would likely agree with the general, neutral premise — highlighting oneself can negatively affect a military career. For example, Tony Carr blogging at John Q. Public and many others have become outlets for members of the military unwilling to name themselves out of fear for their careers. As Weinstein’s acolyte says:

One doesn’t need to commit a punishable offense…to derail a career and if I’m a commander judging a group of subordinates, I don’t even need to bother myself with the mountains of paperwork that would come with actually initiating disciplinary action against one of my junior officers…

Instead, I just can as easily kill the career of an unchosen one with sweet kindness and honesty…If you don’t have a complete, unbroken string of golden soccer trophies for every assignment and year of service, you’re done…

Again, the implication is not Read more

Chris Rodda Mocks Military Menorah, Ignores White House

It seems the US military can’t please those who criticize its tolerance of religion, no matter what it does.

Over the past week, the Air Force was hammered for bowing to Michael “Mikey” Weinstein — again — and pulling down a Nativity next to the base Christmas tree.

One of the official Air Force positions was that because the Nativity was the “sole display,” it had to be taken down. Many who supported the MRFF’s position similarly claimed it would have been acceptable if other viewpoints had been included.

Those critics either missed or ignored the fact others were invited to participate — and chose not to.

The Travis AFB Christmas tree, flanked by a Menorah, as well as the Nativity the MRFF apparently missed.

Even when an Air Force Base goes out of its way to be inclusive of other displays, however, they still get taken to task.

A few weeks ago this site raised the open question about whether Menorahs would come out on military bases as part of a traditional “holiday season,” even though Hanukkah fell much earlier this year and would be over by the time most Christmas decorations came out.

It seems a pre-offended MRFF member was eagerly waiting for a Menorah to appear, and contacted the MRFF because a Menorah popped up at the Travis Air Force Base Christmas tree lighting on December 5th — the last day of Hanukkah, when the displays are normally removed, not lit.

Proving that even when the military is inclusive its not really inclusive, Rodda was ecstatic, saying in a little-noticed post [formatting original]:  Read more

Shaw AFB Statement on Nativity

FOR IMMEDIATE RELEASE
NATIVITY SCENE AT SHAW AFB

SHAW AIR FORCE BASE, S.C. – Last week a group of volunteers set up a nativity scene near Memorial Lake. All faith-based and secular groups were offered an opportunity to put up holiday displays; however, only one group elected to do so resulting in the nativity scene being the sole display.

Based on only one faith group being represented, 20th Fighter Wing officials determined the appropriate course of action was to celebrate the holiday season consistently and elected to remove the nativity scene from Memorial Lake. In previous years, the nativity scene had been displayed on the grounds of the base chapel. All faith-based and secular groups wishing to place a holiday display on the grounds of the chapel this year are encouraged to coordinate with the Shaw chaplain staff.

So, if Christians want to put up a display, they are allowed to do so only if they create one from another faith?

There’s an interesting discussion here about the difference between equal opportunity and equal outcome.

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Shaw AFB Tries to Articulate Nativity Policy

Following the revelation that Shaw Air Force Base had removed a Nativity scene immediately following Michael “Mikey” Weinstein’s request, public outcry has left the Air Force “mulling” how to respond to the other side of the issue — those who view such a move as both unconstitutional and a questionably inappropriate relationship with Weinstein.

Though Weinstein was able to get action from the Air Force in “two hours and 15 minutes,” other normal Americans and a few reporters had trouble even getting a statement — which inspired Fox News columnist Todd Starnes to publish the (publicly available) phone numbers and emails of Shaw Public Affairs to see if others would have more success (they didn’t). This may be because most people did try to go through Public Affairs — while Weinstein had managed to get connected through the Base Command Post. (In what is unlikely a coincidence, Shaw AFB removed their Command Post phone number from their website yesterday.)

Shaw has subsequently clarified the situation, noting that a Shaw AFB chapel congregation put the Nativity up next to the Base Christmas tree, which Read more

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