Retired US Air Force General Roger Brady made some waves in 2005 when he led an investigation of the US Air Force Academy’s religious climate. Much to some activists’ dismay, the report said there were some issues and perceptions, but there was not a systemic or institutional religious problem at USAFA. (Gen Brady also famously criticized Airmen who contacted their congressmen — an explicitly protected form of communication within the military.)
General Brady was interviewed recently by Christianity Today on faith and the military in a Veterans’ Day article that led off noting the recent “controversy” surrounding Air Force BGen John Teichert — as initiated by “former Air Force Captain and activist attorney Mikey Weinstein“.
The interview was highlighted by the Baptist Joint Committee — a liberal leaning group — as having “both some troubling and some heartening perspectives and insights.” That seems accurate, as Gen Brady says thing both sides of the religious liberty debate will support and oppose. In fact, in just two sentences he managed to hit both sides of the fence [emphasis added]: Read more
More than 100 members of Congress filed an amicus brief supporting the Bladensburg cross, a “Peace Cross” that was erected after World War I to honor local war dead. The memorial was initially found to be permissible, but the Fourth Circuit court of appeals overturned that ruling, declaring it a violation of the US Constitution. The case has been appealed to the Supreme Court — which, to date, has not explicitly ruled on the long-running war on war memorials with religious iconography: Read more
While the issue of transgenders in the US military has been at a low simmer for more than a year, it continues to be a source of consternation and angst within the military itself, just as any unresolved policy matter would be. While it seems transgenders would ultimately contribute little in the form of military readiness (some public reports indicate actual transgenders in the military number in the high-two digits), the manner in which to address this demographic continues to substantially draw on senior leader time and every troops’ moral conscience.
In an apparent effort to establish their argument as one beyond Donald Trump, the LGBT community Read more
Update: Now widely covered at various sites, though they don’t name US Army Soldier Austin Harasti.
The Army Times reports that a Soldier at the 14th Military Police Brigade at Fort Leonard Wood, Missouri, has been granted a religious accommodation to wear a beard — because he is a “Norse pagan.” From Col Curtis Shroeder’s memo to the 795th Military Police Battalion Soldier [emphasis added]:
“In observance of your Heathen; Norse Pagan faith, you may wear a beard, in accordance with Army uniform and grooming standards for soldiers with approved religious accommodations.”
Interestingly, there is no tenet of “Norse pagan faith” that requires a beard, as a heathen-advocacy site pointed out. As quoted in the article:
According to the Open Halls Project, an advocacy group for heathens serving in the military, the beard is a beloved tradition, but not a requirement.
“There is no religious requirement for beards in Heathenry,” according to a 2017 post about beards. “…We, as Heathens, have no such religious requirement with regards to hair.”
In essence, this is the same as a Christian seeking a waiver for a beard because Jesus had one. That said, Army policy is to, by default, grant the accommodation so long as Read more
The recent incident involving a POW/MIA memorial table — in which Michael “Mikey” Weinstein claimed a Bible was an illegal promotion of Christianity — serves as a potent reminder of the danger of trying to appease Weinstein.
Consider Weinstein’s response to the Navy’s decision to rebuff his demand [emphasis added]:
MRFF has long enjoyed considerable success in the very recent past in getting Christian bibles removed from military and civilian agency POW/MIA display tables…
He’s right. Weinstein has “enjoyed” coercing agencies into removing Bibles — because they’ve surrendered to him. But they didn’t surrender because they had to. There was no legal, Read more
For the second time, the US Navy has denied the application of Dr. Jason Heap to become a “humanist chaplain” in the sea service. A Navy board had supported his appointment; when word of that decision leaked, members of both the House and Senate wrote the Navy in protest. Those congressmen have now revealed that the Navy has rejected Heap’s application, again.
Heap’s application as been widely opposed by religious liberty groups, largely because humanism isn’t a religion — and the chaplaincy is religious.
On that point, Hemant Mehta, the poorly Read more
UPDATE: Fort Jackson says “there are no plans to rescind the invitation,” as reported by MRFF-friendly Nina Burleigh at Newsweek. Fort Jackson said [emphasis added]:
The Prayer Breakfast is open to all community members, is entirely voluntary, and is cost free to the Army and attendees. Mr. Copeland’s participation in the prayer breakfast is not an endorsement by Fort Jackson of him or of any comments that he may present. Fort Jackson respects and protects all individual’s rights under the First Amendment to the Constitution, including ensuring access to religious services and events for those who wish to participate and protecting the rights of those who do not.
Michael “Mikey” Weinstein has sent an email to Fort Jackson, SC, demanding the Army post disinvite Kenneth Copeland from their upcoming National Prayer Breakfast. Addressing MajGen John Johnson, Fort Jackson’s Commanding General, Weinstein wrote that Fort Jackson’s upcoming speaker:
is the universally despicable, discredited, fundamentalist Christian extremist/supremacist Kenneth Copeland. Do you know ANYthing of moment about this feckless, religious bully/provocateur, General Johnson?
Weinstein went on to call Copeland “disgusting,” “a miserable, fundamentalist Christian wretch,” a “divisive and corrosive individual/religious predator and bully” and “hideously reprehensible fundamentalist Christian charlatan cum exclusivist bigot.”
Clearly, Mikey Weinstein has a thing for Kenneth Copeland.
But other than his dripping vitriol and thesaurus-like list of adjectives of disdain for the prosperity gospel minister, Weinstein never Read more
In what has become his trademark fashion, President Donald Trump issued a major policy statement 140 characters at a time yesterday, effectively re-enacting the DoD’s prohibition on transgenders serving in the US military.
The critics immediately pounced.
As accurately noted, the tweet does not explain how this new policy will be implemented — specifically, what it means to transgenders who have been allowed to served openly since President Obama made a similar unilateral decision last year. That said, it seems reasonably obvious that the ban on enlistment will continue.
This is, of course, exactly what the policy was just one year ago under President Obama — as well as Bush, Clinton, Bush, Reagan, etc, etc. President Trump has done nothing more than restore a longstanding policy.
The rebuttals were predictable, and weak: Read more