Military and veteran atheists, transgenders, and homosexuals are in conflict over President-elect Donald Trump’s decision to nominate retired Gen James Mattis for Secretary of Defense.
Military atheists have been generally supportive of Gen Mattis, noting he was wildly popular as a leader and, speaking to their primary concern, never gave them reason to worry over issues of religion. (As an example of the conduct that helped his subordinates respect him, consider how he reacted when his pilots landed at the wrong airport.)
This has put some atheists at odds with their sometimes allies in the LGBT movement, who see Mattis as a potential means for Trump to undo their “progress” over the past few years — though they can’t directly connect it to a religious issue over which to complain.
That said, Don Branum, a former US Air Force Academy Public Affairs staffer who has implied he was improperly treated for speaking his views against Christians, still managed to claim Mattis is Read more
US Air Force Academy PA Don Branum writes a post-event update on last week’s Religious Respect Conference, and it contains some amazingly positive comments on the environment of religious freedom at USAFA [emphasis added]:
Cadet 4th Class Wasim Soomro [from a Muslim family] captured the attention of the attendees with a recollection of his experiences.
Soomro didn’t have to put his faith aside for BCT. The military guidance officer for Soomro’s unit, Cadet Squadron 39, visited him on his second night of basic cadet training. The officer knew from Soomro’s biography that he was Muslim and wanted to know how to meet his religious needs.
“He asked me what times of day I was supposed to pray,” Soomro said. “I told him the morning was huge, and then the midday…” Read more
The Colorado Springs Gazette, local to the US Air Force Academy, carried a variety of positive comments from participants in USAFA’s second Religious Respect Conference. In fact, USAFA chaplains are advocating for their programs to be implemented Air Force-wide. In “AFA religious respect program could soon go service-wide,” reporter Erin Prater noted
Chaplains hope to transition the Religious Respect Training Program throughout the Air Force as soon as possible, chaplain Maj. Shawn Menchion said…
David Oringderff, a local Wiccan leader, had high praise for USAFA’s efforts: Read more
Update: Also repeated at Military.com.
Don Branum of the US Air Force Academy wrote a comprehensive article entitled “Why building Falcon Circle was ‘right thing to do'”, referencing the outdoor chapel area dedicated for use by members of USAFA claiming an “earth-centered” faith. The article appeared to respond to Associated Press reports USAFA had spent $80,000 on the facility for but a few cadets. (It did not appear to be related to the report by Senator Coburn, which did not use the $80K figure.)
The article covers the history — the factual history — of both the cadet chapel and pagans in the US military in general. In so doing, it naturally compares the Falcon Circle to the Cadet Chapel.
As noted previously, it is neither reasonable nor appropriate to directly compare Read more