Tag Archives: Church and State

US Troops Celebrate Easter in the Middle East

US troops celebrated the resurrection of the Jesus Christ around the world, including in the Middle East:

U.S. Army Soldiers deployed to the Middle East in support of Operation Spartan Shield greet the Easter morning sunrise on a hilltop in Jordan less than 60 miles from where many Christians recognize as the resurrection site for Jesus of Nazareth, April 4, 2021. (Photo by U.S. Army Sgt. 1st Class Suzanne Ringle, Task Force Spartan Public Affairs)

A few years ago, Chris Rodda claimed Read more

Military Religious Freedom in a new Era

With the airwaves and mainstream media clogged with politics and other drama, issues of religious freedom in the US military largely fell to the wayside these past few months. The reason is that most (not all, but certainly most) military religious freedom issues begin as attacks from outside the military. With an inattentive public, those who would attack the religious liberty of US troops for their personal benefit haven’t been able to gain public traction – or have simply chosen not to, given the low monetary return they would see for their efforts.

Thus, organizations like Americans United for the Separation of Church and State, the Freedom From Religion Foundation, and the Military Religious Freedom Foundation have been either silent or largely ignored these past few months. (Mikey Weinstein’s Facebook page has been entertaining, as he’s been paying to promote otherwise ignored posts only to have the comments filled with “Who is this guy?” and “Why is this #$%$ on my feed!?!”)

With a new administration, there will certainly be changes that Read more

Military Religious Freedom in a Stay At Home World

A few years ago, it seemed issues of religion in the military – scandals, some might say – dominated the news cycle for weeks out of the year. Every December the “top ten” religion media stories of the year included several regarding the US military. More recently, however, such “scandals” have fallen out of the news. To be sure, issues of religion in the military still pop up every now and then, but now those stories tend to involve actual issues of religion in the military, not manufactured outrage. Media stories are now far more likely to be about the changes that allow a Sikh to wear a turban or beard than about some random member of the military saying “have a blessed day” or having a Bible on their desk.

Part of the reason for this change has been the rise of religious liberty organizations who have defended the religious rights of US troops. The Becket Fund, First Liberty Institute, the ACLJ and others like them have become prominent and public defenders of religious freedom in the US military. While they were available to troops as a resource for many years, these organizations have gradually become more proactive, to the point that recent changes in US law and military policy have been proposed – and successfully passed – because of these groups. These laws and policies have dampened some of the prior years’ flail because they unified and standardized the military’s response to faith and free exercise. Rather than a cycle of military bases having repeats of the same kerfuffle, overarching policies govern the reaction of the entire DoD. (Sometimes.)

The end result is Read more

Religious Freedom Day 2020. If You Blinked, You Missed It.

Did you know that last Thursday, 16 January 2020, was Religious Freedom Day in the United States?

The Day commemorates Thomas Jefferson’s Statute for Religious Freedom — written before the US Constitution — which says, among other things:

All men shall be free to profess, and by argument to maintain, their opinion in matters of religion, and that the same shall in no wise diminish, enlarge, or affect their civil capacities…

The rights hereby asserted are of the natural rights of mankind…

President Trump’s proclamation repeated the quote above and began with:  Read more

Christians against Christian Nationalism Falters, a Tired Trope

More than a month ago the Baptist Joint Committee, a left-leaning group that tends to object to religion in the public square, trumpeted a new movement of “Christians against Christian nationalism,” complete with a “petition” of sorts and a website. The site explains Christian nationalism as something that

demands Christianity be privileged by the State and implies that to be a good American, one must be Christian.

Those views are advocated in the mainstream by almost… no one. In their FAQ, they have the obvious question “Can you give some examples of christian nationalism?” to which they provide none — except to say

Christian nationalism in the hands of extremists can lead to acts of violence, such as the shootings at Mother Emanuel AME Church in Charleston, South Carolina, and Chabad of Poway synagogue near San Diego, California…

The inclusion of those incidents with the prior description is illogical (as well as contrary to public accounts of both incidents). In any case, any person would Read more

Update: Mikey Weinstein Compares President Trump with Assassinated Roman Emperor

Regarding the speech discussed earlier today by Vice President Pence, Michael “Mikey” Weinstein eventually followed through and did not disappoint, calling Pence

one of the most repulsive and repellent fundamentalist Christian supremacists and bullies…

It’s almost funny to hear the vituperative, loud-mouthed, threat-filled Mikey Weinstein called Mike Pence — one of the most peaceable, humble men in politics today — a “bully.” Project much, Mikey?

President Trump re-tweeted Read more

VP Mike Pence to Mikey Weinstein: The Bible Stays

Vice President of the United States Mike Pence spoke at the American Legion National Convention in Indianapolis yesterday, and he had a message about a lawsuit against the Manchester VA for its display of a Bible on a POW/MIA table (previously discussed here):

You might’ve heard even today that there’s a lawsuit to remove a Bible that was carried in World War II from a Missing Man Table at a VA hospital in New Hampshire. There’s a lawsuit underway. It’s really no surprise because, under the last administration, VA hospitals were removing Bibles and even banning Christmas carols in an effort to be politically correct. But let me be clear: Under this administration, VA hospitals will not be religion-free zones.

We will always respect the freedom of religion of every veteran of every faith. And my message to the New Hampshire VA hospital is: The Bible stays.

A standing ovation followed.

Pence is Read more

Supreme Court: Bladensburg Cross Will Stand

A government that roams the land, tearing down monuments with religious symbolism and scrubbing away any reference to the divine will strike many as aggressively hostile to religion. Militantly secular regimes have carried out such projects in the past…
– Justice Samuel Alito

Yesterday the US Supreme Court issued a 7-2 decision that the Bladensburg Peace Cross could continue to stand and be maintained by the state — even though it was “undoubtedly a Christian symbol.” (Of note, the case was reversed and remanded “for further proceedings,” not simply dismissed.)

Some reports focused on the multiple opinions published by the justices, though these reports largely seemed to come from critics who believed that emphasizing the “splintered” nature of the ruling would Read more

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