In a recent article the Air Force indicated that despite the recent publicity of Airmen and other military members being granted waivers to grow religious beards, there hasn’t been a marked increase in the requests:
The Air Force, citing privacy concerns, declined to identify how many airmen have obtained waivers based on religious exemptions but said the publicity surrounding approvals in recent years has not caused an increase in waiver requests.
The article also revealed that despite the publicity surrounding the “heathen” beard approval for SSgt Garrett Sopchak, he was actually the second Airman to get one for “norse heathenism”, after SSgt William Bailey in March.
The policy changes that have supported Read more
It was bound to happen: The Headquarters of the US Army has denied a young Soldier’s request for a religious accommodation to wear a beard.
US Army SPC John Hoskins claimed to be a “Pastafarian,” whose “deity,” if you will, is the Flying Spaghetti Monster.
In January, LtGen Thomas Seamands, the Army’s Deputy Chief of Staff for personnel, denied the request [emphasis added]:
1. I have considered your request for a religious accommodation to permit you to grow a beard in observance of your Pastafarian beliefs, along with the recommendations of your chain of command. I deny your request for an exception to Army personal appearance and grooming standards. A copy of this disapproval memorandum will be placed in your Army Military Human Resource Record (AMHRR).
2. Your request for an accommodation is denied based on a lack of a sincerely held religious belief.
3. This decision is final with Read more
Michael “Mikey” Weinstein currently has an opportunity to display something he rarely has to date: principle.
May 15th will be the first day of Ramadan. In honor of that Islamic holy event, a unit of the US military will wish its neighbors Ramadan blessings:
The Star Tribune reports that when [Minnesota Army National Guard] leaders hold their annual training camp next month, they will be displaying a lawn sign with the words “To Our Muslim Neighbors: Blessed Ramadan.”
Every December, Mikey Weinstein argues the presence of displays acknowledging Christmas is illegal, a loathsome constitutional violation, and generally a crime against humanity. On occasion he has said or implied he would cease his hate-filled ravings if said signage was accompanied by a host of other other/non-sectarian symbology or moved to the grounds of the base chapel.
Here’s his chance. Now he can say the same thing with Islam as the target instead of Christianity.
In an effort to show Read more
As if it needed to be said, a US District Court has ruled that the Flying Spaghetti Monster and his creed of Pastafarianism is satire, not religion:
In a 16-page decision, the U.S. District Court of Nebraska ruled on April 12 that Pastafarianism is satire, not sacred, and that anyone who thinks it is a religion has made an error “of basic reading comprehension.”
(This comes as the Associated Press trumpeted the “First Pastafarian Wedding.”) This has affected the US military in the past, when atheists and critics Read more
Master Chief Petty Officer Bob Sebaste of the US Coast Guard had a retirement ceremony in June in which he was presented with an interesting gift [emphasis added]:
I retired recently after 29 years of service in the US Navy and US Coast Guard. The guys I work with know that I am an ordained minister in the Church of the Flying Spaghetti Monster. For our holiday party, for example, I ensured that His Noodly Goodness was properly represented, as well as the Festivus pole and other more mainstream (mundane) religious symbols.
In any case, at my retirement ceremony, they presented me with this most excellent headgear, appropriately decorated with my CG rank insignia.
The concept of the “flying spaghetti monster” is Read more
Along with Sikhs, Humanists, homosexuals, and transgenders, another group seeking “official” US military recognition is heathens. Writing at Religion News Service, Kimberly Winston — normally RNS’s atheist hired writer — recounts the stories of self-described military heathens who want to put “heathen” on their dog tags:
Jeremiah McIntyre wants to be called a Heathen.
The 38-year-old Army sergeant follows the old Norse religion Asatru, in which the god Thor swings his hammer in the sky and Odin rules a heavenly place called Valhalla. Should McIntyre die, the U.S. Department of Veterans Affairs would allow a hammer of Thor on his tombstone.
But the Army does not otherwise currently recognize the active-duty soldier’s faith…
That much is true, as has been previously discussed more than once. Winston then digresses into what she perceives as affronts to the unrecognized heathen masses: Read more
Michael “Mikey” Weinstein, a self-described religious liberty advocate, is threatening to sue the US Air Force Academy if it fails to punish cadets who exercised their religious liberty.
As previously noted in the original discussion, a large group of cadets responded to the original story of Weinstein successfully getting a Bible verse erased from a cadet whiteboard by posting verses of their own — from the Bible, Qur’an, movies, the Helix, and even the Flying Spaghetti Monster. (One said “go atheists!”)
According to an update at TheBlaze, Weinstein wants everyone who posted verses punished, for some reason, though he didn’t mention Read more
A federal district court has ruled that the City of Warren, Michigan, was within its rights to exclude an atheist display from its annual public Christmas display. In short, the court said the purpose of the atheist display was to be nothing more than a counter-display and its content could be disruptive.
[T]he Mayor sets forth permissible bases for denial—that the Sign was meant to counter the Nativity Scene, not celebrate the holiday season, and that the anti-religious language of the sign, in this context, could lead to a disruption of city business. There is nothing indicating the Mayor denied placement of the Sign solely in defense of religion; religion was simply not the appropriate subject-matter.
The case was Freedom from Religion Foundation, Inc. v. City of Warren, Michigan.
This is relevant to the military because atheists last year tried the same Read more