The recent Military Religion Question of the Day involved accusations that an Air National Guard Chaplain, LtCol Dan Hornok, was “blatantly proselytizing” in a commentary he published on an Air Force website. The article and initial commentary can be seen here.
The basic questions were:
- Was the Chaplain “blatantly proselytizing?”
- What if the writer had not been a Chaplain?
- What do the Chaplain’s words—and the critic’s—say about the spiritual environment in the military?
Was the Chaplain “blatantly proselytizing?”
The shortest, most accurate answer: Read more
God and Country will return on 28 December. In the meantime, we leave you with the words of President Barack Obama, chatting with children during a visit to a Boys and Girls Club in Washington, DC. Amazingly, at least one person has implied Obama violated the Constitution in making these comments. The relationship between those in government service, the Constitution, and religion is certainly controversial–and misunderstood–in America today. Kudos to the President for not shying away from the legitimate discussion of religious beliefs, as well as respecting those of the children.
Have a wonderful celebration of the birth of our Savior. Merry Christmas.
THE PRESIDENT: You know, I think that the most important thing is just to remember why we celebrate Christmas.
CHILD: I know!
THE PRESIDENT: Do you know?
CHILD: The birth of baby Jesus.
THE PRESIDENT: The birth of baby Jesus, Read more
The decades-long battle to remove the Mount Soledad cross from the hills of San Diego is once again at the appeals court. In various formats, lawsuits have challenged the Mount Soledad cross for years. In this most recent iteration, the US District court in July 2008 ruled in favor of those who support the cross remaining at its current location.
The basic complaint is that the cross is an inherently religious symbol, and by sustaining it on public land, the US government violates the Constitutional prohibition against “establishing” a religion.
The ACLU, which is representing the plaintiffs, has had to defend itself against accusations that it wants to remove crosses (and any memorials with them) from all public lands–including military cemeteries. An attorney for the American Legion, Read more
As noted here late last year, the US military has increased its public relations emphasis on the virtues of its Chaplaincy and spiritual environment. This was likely to counter allegations and perceptions of religious intolerance or impropriety within the US military. All of the military branches now routinely publish news releases on Chaplains of varying faiths selflessly serving their troops, as well highlighting the inclusive spiritual atmosphere within the US military.
An article from Keesler Air Force Base appears to be the most blunt to date. Entitled “Chaplains guard constitutional right to religious freedom,” it features Chaplain (Capt) Charles Mallory reciting Read more
The delegates to the constitutional convention signed what would become the American Constitution on this date in 1787.
It would be nearly a year before the Constitution was finally ratified, a year and a half before the US government officially convened under the Constitution, and more than four years before the Constitution would be amended with the Bill of Rights. Still, the 222nd anniversary of the signing at the convention marks the birth of the United States’ governing document.
The Constitution is more than a topic in High School American Government class to those in the US military. Read more
The Stanford Progressive, a “left-leaning” student paper which boasts a circulation of “members of the Stanford community,…student residences and…community centers,” recently interviewed Michael Weinstein of the Military Religious Freedom Foundation. The interview, laced with profanity and transcription errors, is available here.
To the question, “what are the Officer’s Christian Fellowship and Campus Crusade?”, Weinstein opined:
They are blights on America and a disgusting example of extremist prejudice and bigotry in this country.
In the interview Weinstein clearly discriminates between “evangelical” Christians and “dominionist” Christians. He says they both have “religious philosophies” that he “[hates],” and they both Read more
Prior to dropping its previous lawsuit against the Department of Defense, the Military Religious Freedom Foundation filed a new lawsuit on behalf of an Army soldier who was required to attend military formations at which “sectarian Christian” prayers were delivered.
The relief sought by the MRFF is not that the prayers end, but that the soldier not be required to attend those mandatory formations. The unwieldiness of implementing this relief would have the effect of requiring all mandatory formations (whether in fact or perceived) to be free from sectarian prayer (which the 11th Circuit said would be impossible to define), or simply free from any prayer at all.
In its current filing, the MRFF does not attempt to prove that the prayers advanced a religion Read more
Casey Weinstein, son of MRFF founder Michael Weinstein, was stationed at Wright-Patterson AFB with his wife while they were both on active duty. He remains in the area looking for a job as a reservist. Now, a local Jewish paper is carrying an article in which Michael Weinstein has said
Wright-Patterson Air Force base is a “hotbed” of “unconstitutional religious intolerance.”
The younger Weinstein reportedly complained about a “prayer in Jesus’ name” that was a “violation of Air Force regulations” (a conclusion which is actually incorrect). He also “got in [the] face” of his superior over an email about John Gibson’s The War on Christmas. [Casey Weinstein, a 2004 Air Force Academy graduate, was a fairly vocal supporter of his father’s accusations against the military even while the younger Weinstein was on active duty. (He also posted an interestingly accusatory comment here.)] Read more