The US military has just updated its regulations with the intent of improving the protection of military religious freedom.
Department of Defense Instruction (DoDI) 1300.17 was previously known as “Accommodation of Religious Practices Within the Military Services,” but is now re-titled simply “Religious Liberty in the Military Services” (PDF). The new DoDI title sets the tone for a policy that presupposes religious liberty, rather than treats it as an outlier that may sometimes be “accommodated.”
That change in tone mimics the tone change in religious liberty policies in the Air Force – which may not be a coincidence. The new DoDI was approved by Undersecretary of Defense Matthew Donovan – a former Air Force fighter pilot who has been both an Undersecretary of the Air Force and even the Acting Secretary of the Air Force in the past few years, during which the tenor (if not always the actions) of Air Force policy leaned toward religious freedom.
It seems President Trump’s selection of Undersecretary Donovan may have set the stage for improving religious liberty in the US military.
As to the DoDI itself, it notably Read more
- The US Air Force hasn’t had a male Secretary of the Air Force since 2013.
- The outgoing Chief Master Sergeant of the Air Force is African American. The incoming CMSAF is female and Asian American.
- The incoming Chief of Staff of the Air Force is African American.
- Of the last three Chiefs of Staff of the Air Force, two were Jewish.
- Both the US Army and US Air Force (acting) have been led by a homosexual Service Secretary.
Every day it seems there’s an article about the first woman to do something in the Air Force (with an all-female crew), or the Army (again), or the first black woman to do something in the Air Force, or the first Sikh woman to do something in the Army, or how many different ways the Air Force can launch aircraft with only one skin color or gender on board (and the Navy does it, too).
See “Diversity: You’re Doing it Wrong.”
Yet, somehow, the US military, and the US Air Force in particular, manage to be accused of institutional racism, gender discrimination, religious extremism, and intolerance — by those very same people. In recent days, US Air Force and other military leaders have been practically tripping over themselves running to microphones, hand-wringing and expressing contrition for unclear — or imagined — affronts. Or, in other cases, those leaders are simply making direct accusations against their own Service [emphasis added, capitalization original]: Read more
Secretary of the Air Force Heather Wilson visited FE Warren Air Force Base last week — not long after FE Warren and its commander, Col Stacy Huser, were in the news for removing a Bible from public display at Michael “Mikey” Weinstein’s request.
It seems her visit was likely planned prior, but given the publicity the topic was certainly broached.
It would have been interesting to hear the conversation between Read more
Secretary of the Air Force Heather Wilson has announced that Col Leland Bohannon was wrongly punished last October after he expressed religious objections to affirming homosexuality. Explaining the results of the Air Force Review Board, which had received Col Bohannon’s appeal, Secretary Wilson said (PDF) [emphasis added]
The Director concluded that Colonel Bohannon had the right to exercise his sincerely held religious beliefs and did not unlawfully discriminate when he declined to sign the certificate of appreciation for the same sex spouse of an Airman in his command.
The Air Force has a duty to treat people fairly and without discrimination… and met that duty by having a more senior officer sign the certificate.
That’s a clear win for religious liberty. The Air Force has proactively Read more
Michael “Mikey” Weinstein, perennial critic of religious freedom in the US military, celebrated the close of 2017 by happily saying, essentially, he’d ‘transitioned’ into a well-paid blogger. Apparently stung by the revelation he was soliciting funds for lawsuits that weren’t actually happening, Weinstein now says his primary mission is to communicate, not litigate [emphasis added]:
MRFF’s mission to ensure military religious freedom scored big wins this year with battles achieving massive publicity…
We [need your money to] fuel MRFF’s campaign to illuminate federally funded fundamentalism. We must open the public’s eyes. The spread of knowledge is our arsenal’s most potent weapon.
In other words, whereas Mikey Weinstein once bragged of how much he accomplished, he now brags of how much he talks. Apropos.
More tellingly, Weinstein included a list of 14 “achievements” for 2017 that read like a list of non-events — and other people’s events.
Within that list of 14, Read more
A group of US Senators has written a letter (PDF) asking US Air Force Secretary Heather Wilson not only to “restore justice” to unjustly punished Colonel Leland Bohannon, but also to explain how the Air Force’s actions comport with its — and her — stated support for religious liberty [emphasis added]:
We therefore ask that you, as Secretary of the Air Force, clarify the branch’s position on religious liberty. We ask that you instruct the Air Force to issue formal guidance and provide adequate training to commanders so that they know how to properly and respectfully address the religious liberty rights of their subordinates.
Lastly, we request that you investigate Read more
UPDATE: This topic must have hit close to the mark, as Tom Carpenter is a bit upset. Still, based on his inspiration, consider using #GivingTuesday (or any day) to support First Liberty, the non-profit organization currently working in Col Bohannon’s defense.
Tom Carpenter’s Forum on the Military Chaplaincy — which was founded to support the repeal of DADT — recently shared on Facebook Col Bohannon’s story as covered at Military.com. The response from his supporters was predictable — yet still shocking.
LtCol Elisa/Victor Valenzuela — an Air Force active duty homosexual-turned-transgender presumably threatened by President Trump’s policies — asked, apparently sincerely, if Col Bohannon would let his homosexual troops die.
Victor Michael Valenzuela So if he was in a war zone and a gay man came under fire, would the Col be exempt from helping him because of his religious bias? This is a serious question. We are in the military and as leaders, we advocate for all.
That’s moronic, but completely predictable. Amazingly, the homosexual Read more
On Monday, US Air Force BGen Kristin Goodwin assumed command of the 4,000-member Cadet Wing at the US Air Force Academy in Colorado. Gen Goodwin’s selection has had an interesting backstory, with her sexual preference making headlines as well as her seemingly friendly relationship with Michael “Mikey” Weinstein’s MRFF “charity” — which has normally had hostile relations with USAFA leadership over the years.
Secretary of Defense James Mattis swore in new Secretary of the Air Force Heather Wilson on Tuesday.
For those keeping track, the Commandant Read more