Sometimes lost in the “scandals” regarding religion in the US military is the fact that religion is still practiced frequently, and freely, by US troops around the world.
For example, in a variety of locations the US military supported Christmas celebrations, operations, and events. Notably, the camera often pointed away from some of the more direct Christmas iconography — but it was there.
Such discretion apparently wasn’t necessary for the worldwide celebration of Hanukkah, in which US troops were photographed celebrating the Jewish holiday from Japan to Afghanistan. Yes, even though Read more
It’s always interesting to see how the military, and even the different branches within it, navigate “the holidays” at this time of year. Some, it seems, sincerely think mentioning the Christian celebration that occurs at this time every year is somehow forbidden.
For the record, however, Secretary of Defense James Mattis didn’t hesitate to send a message to the Armed Forces saying “Merry Christmas.”
On Jan. 17, the [MRFF] petitioned Marine Brig. Gen. William Jurney — commander of the boot camp and the Western Recruiting Region — to let troops of other faiths put up religious displays near the creche…
On Feb. 10, Jurney’s staff judge advocate general, Lt. Col. Jeffrey Munoz, told the foundation in a letter that such concerns were “premature” because there’s no longer a creche on the depot grounds and “the (next) holiday season is months away.”
Weinstein’s MRFF claims this response is “religious bigotry.”
At sundown on Saturday, Navy Lt. Lauren Sucher of Annapolis, Md., and Navy Chief Petty Officer Kent Frosch of Washington, D.C., stepped outside at Resolute Support headquarters in Kabul to celebrate the first night of Hanukkah.
The short Stars and Stripes article is a reminder that regardless where the US military sends its troops, it generally supports their ability to practice their religion — even if some people might find it uncomfortable.
In this case, these Jewish US troops are surrounded by an Islamic nation and Read more
Despite deployment and austere conditions at locations around the world, the US military tries to provide its troops the resources and opportunities they need to celebrate Christmas, as well as the freedom to interact with local communities to honor the Christmas season. In most, but not all, cases, the military isn’t afraid to say “Christmas” or “Hanukkah” or otherwise acknowledge the point of what’s being celebrated — despite the occasional criticism from Scut Farkus. Some recent examples, from Colorado Springs to Japan:
Led by their battalion commander, LtCol Lawson Bell, Soldiers out of Fort Carson, Colorado, participated in an all-night march to downtown Colorado Springs, where they teamed with Catholic Charities to support the Marian House Soup Kitchen.
Four years after Jason Torpy’s third-party atheist complaint brought an end to a children’s live nativity in Bahrain, the US Air Force Academy continues the same tradition this week:
The Christmas tree and Hanukah Menorah lighting ceremony begins at 5 p.m. with a Hanukah [sic] and Nativity story performed by children.
In 2012 Jason Torpy, vicariously offended that a Naval base in Bahrain would allow its children to re-enact the nativity scene, filed an IG complaint alleging the kids were violating the US Constitution. The local Read more
It has become somewhat of an amusing annual tradition to observe government and military officials attempt to say something about December 25th and its surrounding days without offending anyone. Of course, as the Happy Holidays/Merry Christmas wars have proven, not matter what they say, someone will be offended. The only question is who.
It seems the US Air Force is leading off the fight this year with Secretary of the Air Force Deborah Lee James, Chief of Staff Gen David Goldfein, and outgoing Chief Master Sgt of the Air Force James Cody sending non-specific non-holiday salutations for the months of November and December [emphasis added]: Read more
Around the country and around the world, US military bases are helping troops celebrate the season of Christmas. (Many bases are also simultaneously celebrating Hanukkah, though the Jewish holiday is this week, preceding Christmas by a couple of weeks this year.) For the most part, it seems many bases aren’t shying away from calling them what they are, though a few are sticking to the more generic “holidays.”