The US Naval Academy has an interesting arrangement in which a civilian pastor is officially part of the chapel staff to minister to faculty and midshipmen. That position is now filled by Bart Physioc:
Physioc fills a unique position in a congregation that encompasses active duty and retired military, civilians and staff. Because Navy chaplains have responsibilities that limit their ability to pastor the whole church, Physioc helps cover visitations and ministers to and disciples the members.
He isn’t new to the military, however. It turns out Pastor Physioc is actually retired US Army Chaplain (Col) Physioc, with 25 years of service that ended just in 2014.
Chaplain Physioc wasn’t Read more
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
Master Chief Petty Officer Bob Sebaste of the US Coast Guard had a retirement ceremony in June in which he was presented with an interesting gift [emphasis added]:
I retired recently after 29 years of service in the US Navy and US Coast Guard. The guys I work with know that I am an ordained minister in the Church of the Flying Spaghetti Monster. For our holiday party, for example, I ensured that His Noodly Goodness was properly represented, as well as the Festivus pole and other more mainstream (mundane) religious symbols.
In any case, at my retirement ceremony, they presented me with this most excellent headgear, appropriately decorated with my CG rank insignia.
The concept of the “flying spaghetti monster” is Read more
US military leaders publicized their “holiday messages” in a series of videos just before Christmas. Outgoing Secretary of Defense Chuck Hagel and his wife made a point of saying “Merry Christmas,” as well as including a still photo from a homosexual proposal during a homecoming ceremony.
Chairman of the Joint Chiefs of Staff Gen Marty Dempsey and his family sang “Jingle Bells” and wished everyone a “Merry Christmas.”
Secretary of the Air Force Deborah Lee James and her Read more
The US Navy routinely performs burials at sea for qualified veterans, ceremonies that follow religious traditions despite the complaints of some who see a collusion between religion and the military.
The US Coast Guard recently performed a ceremony for World War II veteran Andrew Haines, and it honored his request as well — for what the Navy Times called a “Viking funeral“:
Haines…wanted a burial at sea…. On Sept. 29, the Station Atlantic City Coast Guard conducted the burial about three miles off the coast of New Jersey.
[The] handcrafted wooden Norse-style vessel…was lowered into a recess on the Coast Guard ship, where the shavings inside the boat were lighted with a flare and pushed out to sea.
Boatswain’s Mate 1st Class Christopher Fonseca, the unit’s operations officer, Read more
One of the main arguments for repealing the ban on homosexuals serving in the United States military was that it would be a “non-event,” and all anyone had to do was ‘shoot straight, not be straight.’ In an interesting bit of irony (or hypocrisy), various organizations continue to emphasize the sexuality of homosexuals, rather than de-emphasize it as they did in the runup to repeal.
For example, a group called the National Lesbian, Gay, Bisexual, and Transgender Veterans Memorial Project has been working for a few years to publicize and fund a DC-area memorial for homosexual veterans. To be clear, that memorial would be for veterans of the military who were notable for their sexuality.
Similarly, cities continue to host the “Gay Games,” which make Read more
While it may not always seem so, attacks on religious freedom in the military are phased and timed. Critics likely know that if they pick and lose the wrong battle, or too many battles, they will lose their access to the press and even some of their own supporters. Some critics also know how to work the press, holding onto stories while there are major world events ongoing, and waiting for a lull (and a Tuesday).
That’s why Michael “Mikey” Weinstein recently went after the “so help me God” in the cadet honor oath: it was an easy target, about which few outside of USAFA even cared. It was enough to get him back in the media without over-selling his point.
That’s also likely one reason Read more
Buzzfeed obtained a video of Coast Guard Commandant Adm. Robert Papp speaking to US Coast Guard Academy cadets on January 8th. In it, he recounts a meeting with President Obama in 2010, in which the President told the “5 service chiefs” to support his plan for repeal of the policy known as “Don’t Ask, Don’t Tell” — or get out:
Papp revealed that Obama was unwilling to compromise with service leaders over DADT during a meeting in 2010. “We were called into the Oval Office and President Obama looked all five service chiefs in the eye and said, ‘This is what I want to do.’ I cannot divulge everything he said to us, that’s private communications within the Oval Office, but if we didn’t agree with it — if any of us didn’t agree with it — we all had the opportunity to resign our commissions and go do other things,” he said.
The context of the answer was a question from cadets about Read more