While the issue of transgenders in the US military has been at a low simmer for more than a year, it continues to be a source of consternation and angst within the military itself, just as any unresolved policy matter would be. While it seems transgenders would ultimately contribute little in the form of military readiness (some public reports indicate actual transgenders in the military number in the high-two digits), the manner in which to address this demographic continues to substantially draw on senior leader time and every troops’ moral conscience.
In an apparent effort to establish their argument as one beyond Donald Trump, the LGBT community Read more
Update: Now widely covered at various sites, though they don’t name US Army Soldier Austin Harasti.
The Army Times reports that a Soldier at the 14th Military Police Brigade at Fort Leonard Wood, Missouri, has been granted a religious accommodation to wear a beard — because he is a “Norse pagan.” From Col Curtis Shroeder’s memo to the 795th Military Police Battalion Soldier [emphasis added]:
“In observance of your Heathen; Norse Pagan faith, you may wear a beard, in accordance with Army uniform and grooming standards for soldiers with approved religious accommodations.”
Interestingly, there is no tenet of “Norse pagan faith” that requires a beard, as a heathen-advocacy site pointed out. As quoted in the article:
According to the Open Halls Project, an advocacy group for heathens serving in the military, the beard is a beloved tradition, but not a requirement.
“There is no religious requirement for beards in Heathenry,” according to a 2017 post about beards. “…We, as Heathens, have no such religious requirement with regards to hair.”
In essence, this is the same as a Christian seeking a waiver for a beard because Jesus had one. That said, Army policy is to, by default, grant the accommodation so long as Read more
In a column published by the Air Force Times, US Air Force SSgt Preston Haskell called the Chief of Staff of the Air Force, Gen David Goldfein, “wrong.”
Kind of a bold move, but he has an interesting point of view, including this tidbit on whether the Air Force values diversity over unity:
A truly pervasive cultural phenomenon is plaguing our military, and that is one of political correctness. For example, one of my most cherished feelings I have about our military is how integrated and multifaceted we all are. I absolutely love that I work with people from almost every background, race and religion our nation has to offer. So why would the Air Force encourage division?
You are allowed to be proud, and even proclaim that pride, in being black, Latino, homosexual, atheist or transgender, yet I cannot Read more
Update: In an interesting take, Patrick Hornbeck, a department chair of theology at Fordham University and an open homosexual, admitted that Chaplain Squires was “mistreated,” but attributed it to the natural consequences of “bureacracy” and a “well-meaning if somewhat confused investigator.”
The world waited with bated breath for Michael “Mikey” Weinstein — self-declared savior of military religious freedom — to speak on the case of Chaplain (Maj) Scott Squires. Chaplain Squires had been investigated and recommended for reprimand after he re-scheduled a Strong Bonds event just so a homosexual could attend, hosted by a different chaplain whose endorsing agency apparently is not morally opposed to homosexual “marriage.” Given the affront to his faith, and his efforts to accommodate the homosexual couple in an a different affirming event, naturally a defender of religious freedom would rally to Chaplain Squires’ side.
Noting that Chaplain Squires was following his endorsing agency’s guidance, as both the agency and the US Army requires, this was Weinstein’s response:
Our argument is [Defense Secretary Jim Mattis] ought to disqualify that particular entity as a chaplain endorsing agency.
Weinstein Read more
In what seems to be second case of Equal Opportunity offices gone wild, another US military EO office has determined that a Christian military officer is guilty of discrimination — and should be reprimanded — because of his religious beliefs about sexuality.
US Army Chaplain Scott Squires was apparently tasked to host a Strong Bonds marriage retreat — and a homosexual couple signed up. Chaplain Squires is a Southern Baptist, and his ecclesiastical endorser has said Southern Baptist chaplains can’t perform ministry that might appear to condone sexual sin. (This would be equally true for any Catholic or Muslim chaplain.) Thus, Chaplain Squires rescheduled the Strong Bonds event to a weekend in which another chaplain — one whose faith group would support a homosexual “marriage” — could host the event.
That wasn’t good enough. The Soldier complained to EO — and the EO office said the chaplain should be reprimanded [emphasis added]: Read more
There was surprisingly little media coverage of the wailing and gnashing of teeth from LGBT activists over the decision by the Air Force to reverse the punishment of Col Leland Bohannon. Last October Col Bohannon had a superior officer sign a spouse appreciation certificate for a homosexual subordinate, rather than affront his religious beliefs by signing it himself. The Air Force fired him but now admits it was wrong to do so.
It seems even the general public thought getting a two-star General to sign the certificate was a fair compromise that should have made everybody happy. Showing homosexual activists in a frenzy over this reasonable accommodation might have made them look foolish.
Enter Ashley Broadway-Mack.
Now heading the homosexual activist American Military Partner Association, Broadway — a self-described “devout Christian” — said the Air Force’s decision to defend Col Bohannon’s constitutionally-protected religious liberty, rather than promote her preferred sexual behavior, was “alarming” [emphasis added]:
“This colonel’s action sent a dangerous message to the entire command that he disapproves of every same-sex spouse that supports their service member throughout their military career. That’s a severe failure of leadership.”
Read that again carefully, and consider the ramifications.
“This colonel’s action” resulted 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
US Air Force Academy Superintendent LtGen Jay “Tonto” Silveria may have gotten a bit in front of his Commander-in-Chief when he re-entered the public debate over diversity last week (following his much-watched “get out” speech over a racist event that turned out to be a hoax).
Writing in an Op-Ed published at CNN entitled “Why Diversity?“, Gen Silveria said [emphasis added]
our real advantage is the intellect, innovation, creativity and courage of our troops. If any among us thinks these qualities are defined by race, ethnicity, religion, sexual orientation or identity or any other factor of the human condition, then the Air Force Academy and our military is not the place for them…
To put it in the terms of a military leader: Diversity is a force multiplier. We must do this together — all ranks and ages, races and religions, sexual orientations and identities — all of us.
The problem is Gen Silveria’s boss, President Trump, has indicated the opposite — he’s said Read more