Various outlets have reported the US Navy reversed the “controversial” decision (highlighted here yesterday) to cancel contracts for civilian Catholic chaplains, which was reportedly done either as a cost-savings or because it didn’t serve the proper demographic, depending on who you asked.
The religious services will continue for at least the next year, Rear Adm. Bette Bolivar, commander Navy Region Southwest, said in a statement to Fox News on Tuesday.
“Contrary to previous discussions, this year we will continue contracted religious ministry programs and services similar to what we’ve had in place previously,” Bolivar said. “We will also continue to assess how best to meet the needs of our sailors and their families throughout the region.”
The decision to axe the civilian chaplain contracts was criticized by Sen Lindsey Graham (R-SC) and Archbishop Timothy Broglio, who leads the Archdiocese that encompasses the military service.
The Navy’s actions had even caught the attention of their Commander-in-Chief, with President Trump tweeting about the reversal: Read more
Various news outlets covered the US Navy’s decision not to renew the contracts of civilian chaplains who were filling critical billets in the military chaplaincy:
The Navy has declined to renew contracts with Catholic priests in a supposed “cost-cutting” move, leaving bases without enough chaplains to keep services going…
The San Diego Tribune’s headline was somewhat misleading, as “other religious services continue” because most of the contract chaplains are Catholics, so the “other religious services” will continue to be served by active duty military chaplains.
Part of the Navy’s reasoning, according to Vice Admiral Yancey Lindsey, was that chaplain contracts were ended
at bases where those services are readily available in the surrounding community outside the base.
Such reasoning is dangerous toward Read more
UPDATE: While Weinstein’s original complaint was almost completely ignored, a wide variety of sites has picked up on USAFA’s decision to ignore Weinstein. One site pointed out Weinstein was violating his own organization’s mission statement — leading one to wonder if his Board of Directors should sanction him.
For his part, Mikey Weinstein is now awkwardly spinning this incident to claim it is an MRFF “victory,” despite the fact he previously called the USAFA response “bulls–t” when it didn’t bow — and still hasn’t bowed — to his demands. It would seem not doing what Weinstein wants is also an MRFF “victory,” meaning Weinstein can never lose…
As discussed last week, Michael “Mikey” Weinstein demanded an investigation of Air Force tight ends football coach Steed Lobotzke because he “tweeted” Bible verses.
The Air Force responded with a collective yawn [emphasis added]:
All athletic coaches’ social media accounts are personal and not maintained by the Air Force Academy Athletic Department. The views and comments within these accounts are personal and not the views of the Air Force Academy or Air Force. However, we appreciate that the accounts could appear official and have advised that an appropriate disclaimer be included to avoid confusion in this regard.
The Academy remains Read more
As noted at Military.com, the Air Force Equal Opportunity office at Joint Base Andrews dismissed the EO complaint from contractor Deborah Schoenfeld, the self-described Hindu-interested-in-Wicca (whose complaint was previously discussed):
The office on Oct. 27 dismissed her complaint, saying she filed too late and also because the individuals she claimed discriminated against her “are not Air Force employees.”
Schoenfeld disputes the filing deadline issue, but it appears to be moot if the subjects of the complaint weren’t even in the Air Force. Schoenfeld disputes that, too, saying Read more
Update: In a letter to the MRFF, Deborah Schoenfeld publicly confirmed she was a government contractor, which means the US military was not responsible for her hiring or firing, despite Mikey Weinstein’s implications to the contrary. Weinstein’s public excoriation of the military — as opposed to her actual former employer — appears to have been little more than a publicity stunt, using “witch” references for shock value and attention.
Michael “Mikey” Weinstein has come to the defense of Deborah Schoenfeld, a civilian dental technician at Fort Meade who claims she was fired after filing an Equal Opportunity complaint claiming religious discrimination:
The Military Religious Freedom Foundation is representing a former Air Force contractor who says she was fired from a dental clinic at Fort Meade, Maryland, after complaining that her co-workers discriminated against her because she was Hindu. She claims they then accused her of being a witch.
In his public complaint, Weinstein says Read more
Norbertine Father Martin Benzoni is a unique Chaplain serving the US military: he isn’t in the military. He currently serves in El Segundo as the
first ever part-time civilian Catholic chaplain or contractor assigned there. The decision to hire contractors was made at the Pentagon level in order to cover the unique needs in the military…due to a priest shortage the Pentagon decided to sign contracts with the chaplains at all military facilities.
As noted, Benzoni is not the only contract Chaplain. Interestingly, the contract is between the priest’s religious order and the Air Force. For those not familiar with military contracting, this means that Benzoni is not even a federal employee. He could be moved by his Abbot and replaced with another priest; the contract merely requires the order to fulfill the requirement of having a priest there. In addition, according to the news article he cannot be deployed (though other contractors can be).