Each year since 1993 the President has declared January 16th to be “Religious Freedom Day,” in order to remember the passage of Thomas Jefferson’s 1786 Virginia Statute for Religious Freedom. President Trump has not yet released his proclamation.
Update: From President Trump’s proclamation [emphasis added]:
Our Constitution and laws guarantee Americans the right not just to believe as they see fit, but to freely exercise their religion. Unfortunately, not all have recognized the importance of religious freedom, whether by threatening tax consequences for particular forms of religious speech, or forcing people to comply with laws that violate their core religious beliefs without sufficient justification. These incursions, little by little, can destroy the fundamental freedom underlying our democracy…No American — whether a nun, nurse, baker, or business owner — should be forced to choose between the tenets of faith or adherence to the law.
Jefferson’s statute continues to be a strong expression for the value of religious liberty even today. Though the statute has been discussed in many places and in great depth, there are two important points to take from the statute. First, Read more
Retired US Army LtCol Tom Gray, now a contractor at the global nuclear US Strategic Command (STRATCOM) at Offutt Air Force Base, Nebraska, recently issued a press release (PDF) celebrating his “vigilance” over the “separation of church and state.” Gray announced he’d had Dr. Philip Kayser of the Dominion Covenant Church in nearby Omaha disinvited from speaking at the Offutt Chapel. According to Gray, Kayser had planned on giving “a class on leadership from a Christian perspective.” Gray objected:
Dr. Kayser’s beliefs…can be found online. I brought my concerns to Captain Yi, the USSTRATCOM chaplain, and the invitation was revoked.
The STRATCOM decision to disinvited the local pastor is problematic — and disturbing.
First, it’s worth noting even Gray — despite Read more
Noting the US Department of Health and Human Services had designated September National Yoga Month, the Air Force published an article in which paid fitness instructors sang the praises if yoga for members of the US military:
Harold Cherry, [Joint Base San Antonio] yoga instructor [said] “They’ll [trainees] do a lot better job after that morning class,” Cherry, who retired after working 22 years in the Air Force and 18 years in civil service, said. “Everything about you will feel good. You’ll feel good about being around people, so the mission is going to come easier.”
Yoga remains the odd standout in the debates over church-state separation, as “liberals” tend to Read more
Whether or not you believe in the concept of the exact tithe, charitable giving remains one of the basic tenets of Christian living. Besides “passing the plate” on Sunday, the Combined Federal Campaign (CFC) is one of the more popular means through which members of the military have an opportunity to give.
The video below is a Washington Post interview in which LtGen Robert Caslen, US Military Academy Superintendent, addressed his response to Michael “Mikey” Weinstein’s complaint about the team prayer requested by West Point football Coach Jeff Monken. The 4 minute response is worth watching, as he speaks with nuance that is often lost when he is subsequently quoted.
That said, nuance isn’t everything:
LtGen Caslen said they removed the original video that included the prayer because it was “offensive” — a seemingly illogical explanation. PETA finds the use of live mules as Army mascots offensive, but the Army continues to do it. The practice of liberty ensures that someone will be offended, and since Read more
The Freedom From Religion Foundation, whose apparent mission is to scour the public landscape for things over which to be offended, recently told the town of Hondo, Texas, that their welcome sign was unconstitutional.
The City Attorney, Frank Garza, told the “humorless” FFRF what he thought of that, noting first that the sign “clearly” survives the Lemon Test, and, more importantly, no one has been harmed: Read more
Annie Laurie Gaylor, one of two people representing the Freedom From Religion Foundation she co-founded with her husband Dan Barker, is demanding that the city of Hondo, Texas, remove a sign that calls the area “God’s Country”:
This is God’s Country. Please Don’t Drive Through It Like Hell.
Turns out the sign has been around for decades: Read more