In what is now a widely read event, a Southwest Airlines 737 last week suffered a catastrophic engine failure that crippled the airplane and claimed the life of a passenger.
The pilot was Tammie Jo Shults, and her First Officer was Darren Ellisor.
A few news outlets have made a point of covering the fact Shults is a former fighter pilot, having flown F/A-18s for the Navy. A few have also noted her faith plays an important in her life and her profession:
Tammie Jo Shults…is a recognizable figure at the Texas Hill Country church, which averages 900 in worship. She has led the children’s worship program at First Baptist and taught Sunday School for children, middle schoolers, high schoolers and adults, said Staci Thompson, a longtime friend and administrative assistant in the church office…
Shults’ “biggest goal” amid the emergency landing and Read more
Michael “Mikey” Weinstein’s MRFF recently had a case of the vapors when they read the Southern Baptist Convention’s chaplaincy website, which includes the 1941 quote from Alfred Carpenter that
Every chaplain is a missionary in uniform, and an evangelist at large…
Weinstein’s group let loose the vitriol:
MRFF’s Constitutional [sic] civil-rights [sic] battle for separation of church and state in the U.S [sic] military faces vicious opposition from fundamentalist evangelical Christian dominionists hell-bent on ensuring military chaplains function as “government paid missionaries”…
As previously discussed, every Christian Read more
Michael “Mikey” Weinstein and those who work with his “charity,” the contradictorily named Military Religious Freedom Foundation, seem to have a innate problem with telling the truth. (Weinstein lackey Chris Rodda is the most famous, as she’s frequently made easily disprovable false statements in an apparent effort to defend the MRFF’s reputation.)
The most recent example of this lack of integrity came from Donald Rehkopf, the most recent legal face of Weinstein’s MRFF. (Despite being a lawyer — and the only paid member of the MRFF — Weinstein defers to others rather than act for his own organization.)
In a supreme twist of hypocrisy, Rehkopf was trying to accuse someone of lying — while not being so forthright himself.
Apparently set back on their heels by Tommy Vallejos’ defense of Sonny Hernandez, Donald Rehkopf declined to make a calm, reasoned, and rational rebuttal. Rather, the MRFF advocate submitted a response claiming Vallejos was lying. Said Rehkopf:
It is ironic to have to remind the Rev. Tommy Vallejos of one of the Ten Commandments — not to lie.
Yet, in his Opinion letter, “Don’t persecute chaplain for practicing his faith”…he makes at least two false statements.
Rehkopf then makes his first accusation: Read more
In an act that almost amounted to a display of principle, Michael “Mikey” Weinstein’s MRFF finally spoke out against US Air Force MSgts Laura and Mark Magee — both Muslim service members. The Magees were the focus of a “Through Airmen’s Eyes” article put out by the Air Force early last week which highlighted their faith. The article was entitled “Nevada ANG chaplain [sic]: ‘I want people to know Islam is not evil’“. (The title should have said “…chaplain’s assistant,” not “chaplain”.)
Weinstein’s group put out a statement saying [emphasis added]:
MRFF objects to it just as strongly as it has to the many articles published by the Air Force highlighting the faith of Christian airmen [sic]…
The MRFF complaint gives only a single example that it says violates Air Force regulations, citing the article which quoted MSgt Mark Magee saying: Read more
David Plummer, a chaplain-endorser with the liberal leaning Coalition of Spirit-Filled Churches, responded to the DoD’s decision to publish a new “Faith and Belief” list by making an aside that the
military chaplaincy is NOT about being a “government-paid pastor or missionary in uniform.”
Plummer is making a reference to a phrase made famous by Michael “Mikey” Weinstein’s MRFF, which copied (and slightly edited) a video from a 2004 chapel assembly at Dallas Theological Seminary by US Army Chaplain (Maj) Douglas Duerksen*. Chaplain Duerksen described the military society as “amoral” and “unchurched” — making it a “magnificent mission field.” He followed Read more
In a fairly bluntly worded official Air Force article, SSgt Shelton Sherrill provided a decent explanation for the sometimes misunderstood role of a military chaplain:
According to the first amendment of the Constitution of the United States, Congress shall make no law respecting an establishment of religion, or prohibiting the free exercise thereof. For military members, chaplains are one of main advocates to help them protect this right.
Chaplains…provide religious accommodations to ensure everyone is free to exercise their beliefs, provide ethical advice to leadership, unit visitations and confidential counseling.
Edit: Actually, commanders are the ones who provide religious accommodations, not chaplains, as chaplains have no authority to authorize anything. (Chaplains famously have “rank without command.”) However, Read more
As previously noted, Dr. Alex McFarland recently participated in a four-person debate with Michael “Mikey” Weinstein. Within the debate, it was refreshing to hear Dr. McFarland articulate a defense of the virtue of religious freedom, including military religious freedom.
Mikey Weinstein didn’t say anything he hasn’t already said a dozen times over the past decade — except to directly contradict Dr. McFarland’s assertion that a Christian who witnesses to another doesn’t do so because they consider them less of a person or otherwise devalue Read more
Nathan Newman, an Air Force Reserve Officer and George C. Marshall Fellow at The Heritage Foundation, responded to an article in the Colorado Springs Gazette by Tom Roeder discussing the (previously discussed) 4-year closure of the US Air Force Academy Chapel.
In it, Roeder had said:
Religion is a big deal at the academy and other military bases but not for the reasons one might suspect. The services are barred from evangelism, and promotion of faith is restricted, but the academy like the rest of the military must care for the religious needs of troops under federal law.
In the guest column, Newman responded: Read more