UPDATE: The Jewish Welfare Board’s Jewish Chaplains Council — which works with the military to provide support to Jewish service members — published a notice saying they would wait for the outcome of the investigation but that “Jewish services continue at Fort Campbell.”
Fort Campbell’s public affairs announced the Army post would be welcoming a new Distinctive Religious Group Leader (DRGL) for the Jewish community in May.
The volunteer position, referred to as a Distinctive Religious Group Leader, provides Friday night Shabbat services and holy day observances on post. They are certified by recognized religious organizations, and meet the religious needs of soldiers and their family members that military chaplains cannot meet, Jenkins said.
“Pending certification, Fort Campbell continues to provide a DRGL to its Jewish community,” Jenkins said.
Just a few days ago Michael “Mikey” Weinstein’s complaint against Fort Campbell went public, in which his group essentially accused the Fort Campbell chaplains of anti-Semitism in the “firing” of Read more
Various news sites are reporting that Fort Campbell is looking into a complaint by a volunteer Jewish lay leader over being “fired” by the Fort’s chaplains. The Army Times provocatively implied the chaplains were accused of “dismantling on-post programs for Jewish soldiers“:
Jeanette Mize, her husband, Curt, and son, Lawrence, served as lay leaders for Jewish worship on the installation for nearly two decades. On Feb. 28, the three were allegedly fired without cause under the direction of the division chaplain, Col. John Murphy, and his deputy chaplain, Lt. Col. Sean Wead.
Some of the article contain a bit of sensationalism in what may be an effort to “explain” their roles. After all, you can’t fire or “terminate” a volunteer.
Michael “Mikey” Weinstein vaunted his Read more
A group of atheist US Army Soldiers from Fort Campbell, Kentucky, recently entered an anti-Christmas float in the Clarksville, TN, Christmas parade.
“We are people that enjoy the holidays just like everyone else, but we don’t subscribe to the religious dogma,” says MASH member Patrick Horst, an active duty soldier at Fort Campbell.
He said last year’s float was well received. “People are very tolerant, they understand that everyone is not Christian and we even picked up a few new members from having a float in the parade last year,” Horst said.
To their credit, the Soldiers tried to be clever rather than caustic. But by Read more
Baptist Press highlights a story from the Southern Baptist’s North American Mission Board, which notes it sends chaplains around the world to reach where the church cannot — including through the US military:
From foreign battlefields to American corporate board rooms to hospital bedsides to the front seats of police cars and more, Southern Baptists minister through their chaplains in some of the most hard-to-reach locations…
A current military chaplain noted the reach of military ministry:
“When chaplains preach during our worship services here on post at our Protestant services, they have the freedom to preach a powerful evangelistic message,” said Col. Jeff Houston, the installation chaplain at Fort Campbell, Ky. “We regularly baptize folks who have come to trust Jesus Christ as their personal Savior.”
Notably, Read more
In an interesting twist, the ACLU recently praised a decision by the US Army that “protect[ed] First Amendment rights” of Soldiers — but it was precisely the opposite position of Michael “Mikey” Weinstein, who claims his MRFF is the “sole group” providing soldiers that very protection. The ACLU said [emphasis added]:
[There have been] reports that Army diversity trainings have labeled various religious and socially conservative organizations as “extremist” or “hate groups.”
In response to some of that criticism, Army Secretary John McHugh recently suspended these trainings. The ACLU commended that move in a letter to the Army last week that dispels the perception left by some that the trainings were uniquely anti-Christian. The ACLU also urged the Army to better protect the First Amendment rights of military personnel going forward and offered suggestions on how to do so.
The Restore Military Religious Freedom coalition similarly applauded the decision by the Army to end and standardize those briefings. (To be fully accurate, the Read more
The Fort Campbell Religious Support Office recently sponsored a “ministry fair” attended by
nearly 200 ministry leaders, mental health professionals and volunteers
for the purpose of helping the faith and military communities work together to support troops.
Fort Campbell’s Religious Support Office hosted the ministry fair to familiarize the faith community with the 571 support programs the military base offers to help soldiers and military families in crisis, encompassing 40 different areas of need, including soldier and family assistance, chaplaincy, medical support and prevention programs.
The effort is similar to one by the Southern Baptist Convention, led by retired Read more
A quick article local to Fort Campbell notes the vast religious support structure provided to Army Soldiers at the sprawling base, as well as the troops’ demand for it:
There are over 50 chaplains and 50 chaplain assistants at Fort Campbell…There are seven chapels on post…
In addition to Catholic services, there are Protestant services for those who are Baptist, Presbyterian, United Methodist, Episcopal, Church of Christ, Assembly of God and other Protestant traditions, as well as Read more
If one wasn’t aware of her history, it might have been surprising to see a recent pair of articles highlight the intellectually inconsistency of the MRFF’s Chris Rodda.
Rodda recently went on record defending the construction of the US Air Force Academy chapel facility called the “Falcon Circle” from those who claimed it was an inappropriate use of government money for three cadets (a separate issue discussed elsewhere). She said:
Designating the stone circle as a chapel facility simply accommodates a religious group with a worship area that meets their needs, something taken for granted by other religious groups at the Academy. Whether the users of that worship space number in the hundreds or in single digits is completely irrelevant when it comes to providing a place for them to worship according to their beliefs.
Comically, four days later an article appeared in the Tennessean quoting the Military Religious Freedom Foundation’s 2009 criticism of the construction of a different chapel at Fort Campbell.
The [MRFF] felt it looked too much like a megachurch Read more