Though it doesn’t seem to have broken into the mainstream press, a US Air Force instructor pilot at Columbus AFB, Mississippi, has been fighting for months to have the military honor his religious objection to wearing a mask. Two of the pilot’s superiors approved the request, despite some misgivings. However, a third superior overturned that approval. As discussed in July:
The unnamed airman, identified as Capt. John Doe by the nonprofit First Amendment litigation firm Liberty Counsel, argues his “Christian beliefs do not permit him to wear a mask,” said the firm, which specializes in religious freedom cases. He was suspended from duty on May 17 and from flying on June 8…
As hills to die on go, this wouldn’t be an ideal choice… but he does have a point.
In the Air Force policy requiring masks published last February, the very first exception was for religious beliefs:
Effective immediately all individuals on Department property…will wear masks… The DAF-wide exceptions are as follows:
(1) when necessary to reasonably accommodate a religious belief…
Capt “Doe” notes that two chaplains verified Read more
Early in June, Michael “Mikey” Weinstein’s so-called “religious freedom” group ensured the sanctity of religious liberty in the US military by forcing the leaders of Fort Sill, Oklahoma, to pull down a banner advertising Vacation Bible School at the chapel:
An advocacy group that says it fights “church/state violations and noxious abuse” in the military said Friday it forced the removal of a banner advertising a Vacation Bible School program from the main gate at the Fort Sill Army Base in Oklahoma.
The Military Religious Freedom Foundation…said the banner’s slogan, “Jesus [Power] Pulls Us Through,” was objectionable when displayed at the base entrance.
Here’s the thing: VBS has been extremely popular at military bases throughout Read more
The Army has decided not to punish US Army Chaplain (Maj) Andrew Calvert with a General Officer Memorandum of Reprimand, creating the path for his record to be cleared.
In January, Calvert commented on an Army Times Facebook post that discussed Secretary of Defense Lloyd Austin’s support for allowing transgenders to serve in the US military. Calvert’s comments – which questioned the mental fitness of transgenders for military service and noted the similarity with believing the earth to be flat in the face of overwhelming evidence to the contrary – drew criticisms and a formal investigation.
The Army’s 15-6 investigation declared that Chaplain Calvert had committed unlawful discrimination and improper political activity – points that didn’t seem to be supported by the facts. Further, since Chaplain Calvert was clearly expressing his personal and religious views – and not any official view of the Army – it was the Army, not Calvert, that was treading close to violating the law and military policies. As First Liberty Institute stated in an appeal letter published in May: Read more
US Army Chaplain (Maj) Andrew Calvert made a Facebook comment in January that attracted the attention of critics – and eventually his chain of command. It has now been revealed that Chaplain Calvert received a “General Officer Memorandum of Reprimand” (also called a “GOMOR”) from III Corps commander LtGen Robert “Pat” White. This reprimand from a General Officer (rather than a lower level supervisor or commander) is a potentially career-ending punishment, and it accuses Calvert of “violating military equal opportunity policy and violating Department of Defense policy on political activities.”
With the help of First Liberty, Chaplain Calvert is appealing that punishment.
Chaplain Calvert was the subject of a 15-6 Investigation, so Read more
The US military continues to struggle with the changing social mores and perceptions on gender – so much so that it frequently contradicts its own message.
That struggle hasn’t been helped by President Biden’s Executive Order that reversed the Executive Order by President Trump banning people who identified as transgender from serving in the military. While the decision has now been made, how to actually make that happen remains up in the air. The military already has a problem trying to say both genders are equal yet not; adding a third gender option only adds fuel to the seeming dumpster fire that passes as attempted policymaking.
Some recent points of interest: Read more
The US Senate confirmed Biden appointee — and former Obama Chief of Staff — Denis McDonough as the Secretary of Veterans Affairs on Monday.
A relatively unnoticed office for most of the US public, the VA Secretary has, like so many positions, become increasingly political and controversial. Robert Wilkie, the previous VA Secretary under President Trump, made waves when the VA decided to put the VA motto on plaques at 142 VA cemeteries last summer. This wouldn’t seem like a big deal, except the VA motto is a quote from a speech made by President Abraham Lincoln: Read more
President Joe Biden’s reversal of the military ban on transgenders hadn’t even been announced for minutes before it claimed its first controversy.
US Army Chaplain (MAJ) Andrew Calvert posted a comment on the Army Times Facebook page discussing Secretary of Defense Lloyd Austin’s support for repeal. As quoted by the Army Times in a follow-up story, Chaplain Calvert said
“How is rejecting reality (biology) not evidence that a person is mentally unfit (ill), and thus making that person unqualified to serve,” Andrew Calvert posted on the Army Times Facebook page Monday. “There is little difference in this than over those who believe and argue for a ‘flat earth,’ despite the overwhelming evidence to the contrary…
“The motivation is different,” Calvert continued, “but the argument is the same. This person is a MedBoard for Mental Wellness waiting to happen. What a waste of military resources and funding!”
First of all, it used to be a standard talking point in training Read more
With the airwaves and mainstream media clogged with politics and other drama, issues of religious freedom in the US military largely fell to the wayside these past few months. The reason is that most (not all, but certainly most) military religious freedom issues begin as attacks from outside the military. With an inattentive public, those who would attack the religious liberty of US troops for their personal benefit haven’t been able to gain public traction – or have simply chosen not to, given the low monetary return they would see for their efforts.
Thus, organizations like Americans United for the Separation of Church and State, the Freedom From Religion Foundation, and the Military Religious Freedom Foundation have been either silent or largely ignored these past few months. (Mikey Weinstein’s Facebook page has been entertaining, as he’s been paying to promote otherwise ignored posts only to have the comments filled with “Who is this guy?” and “Why is this #$%$ on my feed!?!”)
With a new administration, there will certainly be changes that Read more