Tulsi Gabbard is a Democrat representing Hawaii’s 2nd District in the US House of Representatives. She is also a Major in the Army National Guard and a recently declared presidential candidate.
She is also a Hindu.
In response to criticisms regarding her religion and her political aspirations, Gabbard wrote a strongly worded rebuttal published at Religion News Service saying “religious bigotry is un-American” [emphasis added]:
While the headlines covering my announcement could have celebrated this historic first [a Hindu presidential candidate], and maybe even informed Americans about the world’s third largest religion, some have instead fomented suspicion, fear and religious bigotry about not only me but also my supporters…
Some media outlets have chosen to craft a false narrative of intrigue by profiling and targeting all of my donors who have names of Hindu origin and accusing them of being “Hindu nationalists.”
Today it’s the profiling and targeting of Hindu Americans and ascribing to them motives without any basis. Tomorrow will it be Muslim or Jewish Americans? Japanese, Hispanic or African Americans?
While Gabbard is right to protest Read more
After all the stories about “firsts” with regard to female and African-American chaplains, the Georgia Army National Guard had its own first, with a chaplain who was a first in his faith:
[Paul] McCabe became the first Episcopal Chaplain the history of the Georgia Army National Guard.
On one hand, this seems Read more
Carl Forsling, a retired Marine MV-22 pilot, recently took to Task and Purpose to criticize the current Supreme Court appeal of court-martialed Marine LCpl Monifa Sterling. One part of Sterling’s case, as you’ll recall, centered on her decision to post a paraphrased Bible verse on her desk — which she was ordered to take down. Forsling opines:
Sterling worked in a customer-service job at an ID center, so people conducting their official business had to read the verse. This made effectively made something that was supposedly for her own personal inspiration into proselytization.
To quote Inigo Montoya: “You keep using that word…” How does a posting a verse from Isaiah translate into an attempt to convert other people to a religion? In short, it doesn’t, but claiming that Read more
Noting the US Department of Health and Human Services had designated September National Yoga Month, the Air Force published an article in which paid fitness instructors sang the praises if yoga for members of the US military:
Harold Cherry, [Joint Base San Antonio] yoga instructor [said] “They’ll [trainees] do a lot better job after that morning class,” Cherry, who retired after working 22 years in the Air Force and 18 years in civil service, said. “Everything about you will feel good. You’ll feel good about being around people, so the mission is going to come easier.”
Yoga remains the odd standout in the debates over church-state separation, as “liberals” tend to Read more
One of Michael “Mikey” Weinstein’s favorite refrains is there would be “blood in the streets” if another religion did what Christian “fundamentalists” get away with in the US military. That his dramatic statement is an irrelevant logical fallacy matters not; it appeals to emotion and energizes his acolytes to call for the government to restrict the religious freedom of Christians in the US military, the Constitution notwithstanding.
Recently, in castigating USAF Major Steve Lewis’ display of a Bible, Weinstein verbosely said [capitalization original, emphasis added]:
Can you even IMAGINE the limitless, overflowing blood in the streets which would immediately occur if, say, another USAF official chose to similarly display, just as Major Steve Lewis presently exhibits his open and yellow-highlighted Christian bible in the very center of his official USAF desk, other sectarian, theological texts such as The Satanic Bible, the Islamic Quran, the Hindu Shruti, the Sikh Adi Granth and the Atheist movementʼs leading texts…?
There wouldn’t just be “blood in the streets.” It would be there “immediately,” and it would be “limitless and overflowing.” All if another religious US troop dared to put out a religious text or symbol.
Weinstein’s fallacious implication reflects the research style of his assistant, Chris Rodda — meaning his argument is unsupported by evidence and it relies on assumptions and convenient omissions.
Why, for example, do you think Mikey Weinstein declined Read more
In a widely distributed op-ed style piece, US Air Force Academy Superintendent LtGen Michelle Johnson answered the question “Why you should consider attending a service academy,” though by “service academy” she meant USAFA. The Supe highlighted leadership, followership, sports — and also the culture of character:
At the Academy, character is paramount – while they’re evaluating our Academy we’re evaluating them to determine if they have the honor and fortitude it takes to succeed at the Academy and serve in our Air Force…
Our four-year curriculum and emphasis on character development is interwoven in all aspects of cadet life to create an atmosphere of trust and accountability amongst cadets and staff…
Our emphasis on impeccable character is why it becomes “news” when an extremely small minority of our cadets does not meet our high standards. We hold ourselves to a higher standard.
(Despite using similar language about character, LtGen Johnson’s column did not include a disclaimer as BGen McGregor’s did.)
Character is, of course, extremely important, but simply saying “impeccable Read more
As noted at Military.com, the Air Force Equal Opportunity office at Joint Base Andrews dismissed the EO complaint from contractor Deborah Schoenfeld, the self-described Hindu-interested-in-Wicca (whose complaint was previously discussed):
The office on Oct. 27 dismissed her complaint, saying she filed too late and also because the individuals she claimed discriminated against her “are not Air Force employees.”
Schoenfeld disputes the filing deadline issue, but it appears to be moot if the subjects of the complaint weren’t even in the Air Force. Schoenfeld disputes that, too, saying Read more
Update: In a letter to the MRFF, Deborah Schoenfeld publicly confirmed she was a government contractor, which means the US military was not responsible for her hiring or firing, despite Mikey Weinstein’s implications to the contrary. Weinstein’s public excoriation of the military — as opposed to her actual former employer — appears to have been little more than a publicity stunt, using “witch” references for shock value and attention.
Michael “Mikey” Weinstein has come to the defense of Deborah Schoenfeld, a civilian dental technician at Fort Meade who claims she was fired after filing an Equal Opportunity complaint claiming religious discrimination:
The Military Religious Freedom Foundation is representing a former Air Force contractor who says she was fired from a dental clinic at Fort Meade, Maryland, after complaining that her co-workers discriminated against her because she was Hindu. She claims they then accused her of being a witch.
In his public complaint, Weinstein says Read more