The Air Force Times reports on Air Force SSgt Garrett Sopchak, who just became the first US Air Force Airman to be allowed to wear a beard — because he adheres to Norse Heathen religious beliefs.
The Army granted a similar waiver last year, and beard exemptions have been granted for a growing number of Sikhs and Muslims — though not atheists.
Sopchak, a 28-year-old aerospace ground equipment craftsman at Hill Air Force Base in Utah, on July 8 become the first airman to get approval to wear a beard in accordance with his Heathen faith.
Sopchak said in a Tuesday interview that in the old sagas, a beard was Read more
Public Affairs for the USS John C Stennis (CVN 74) recently published two personal interest stories on the Sailors who act as lay leaders for the Muslim and wiccan populations onboard. For the Islamic Sailors,
Marron Diaz, from Ft. Lauderdale, Florida, is the aircraft carrier USS John C. Stennis’ (CVN 74) Security department’s urinalysis coordinator, but on Sunday evenings he is the ship’s Muslim lay leader…”
For those Sailors claiming wicca, Read more
The Air Force Times reports an unidentified Airman is under investigation after posting multiple YouTube videos of himself railing against homosexuals and other religions — while in uniform:
[The] airman…denounc[ed] gay people as “sodomites,” “pedophiles,” “roaches” and “vermin scum,” among other slurs.
[He] posted videos on YouTube under the name “Baptist Dave 1611” before taking down his account over the weekend, also voiced support for Grayson Fritts…and his views supporting the execution of gay people…
The videos are no longer available, so the accusations are absent any verifiable context. Assuming the Air Force Times portrayal is correct, the Airman will almost certainly soon be — and certainly should soon be — a civilian. At least as is reported, his conduct seems unrecoverable.
Not everything the Air Force Times quoted was impermissible on Read more
Update: SPC Valdovinos has apparently now asked Fort Carson for a copy of the report, and, as is glaringly obvious and noted below, was told to file a FOIA. She’s complained no one told her she’d need to do that. You know who should have told her? Her supposed legal representation, Michael “Mikey” Weinstein. His incompetence is staggering.
Remember US Army SGT Cesilia Valdovinos? Back in April she was Michael “Mikey” Weinstein’s golden ticket, with her story of Islamophobic persecution at the hands of the US Army garnering him international attention. Multiple headlines portended an upcoming lawsuit against the US military for its treatment of the Muslim Soldier.
SGT Valdovinos was promptly forgotten, including, it seems, by Mikey Weinstein.
The Colorado Springs Gazette, on the other hand, stayed on the story and obtained a copy of the local investigation directed by the Brigade Commander, Col David Zinn. The investigator, Capt Jeremey Kinder, included
more than a dozen interviews in assembling a 67-page report. It cleared the Army of the discrimination claims but also showed the service has plenty of learning to do.
“I find that better communication with all parties involved would have de-escalated the situation and recommend that future inspections of a personal nature be conducted in complete privacy…”
The report also noted that SGT — now SPC, following an unrelated demotion — Valdovinos Read more
There’s been much ado about the fact the State Department declined to authorize US embassies to fly “gay pride” rainbow flags from the main embassy flagpoles. (The wailing and gnashing of teeth failed to acknowledge the “ban” only applied to flagpoles, and such flags or other similar decorations were allowed to be flown elsewhere. In fact, one report seemed to think the continued displays were “defiance”, when Vice President Pence explicitly stated no other restrictions were placed on the display of “pride”.) President Obama had begun declaring June “gay pride month,” a “celebration” that has largely fallen silent under President Trump.
US Rep Ilhan Oman even claimed the denial was “bigotry and discrimination” by the Trump administration — strong words, given the traditional treatment of homosexuals by her Islamic faith.
And while the US State Department would not allow “gay pride” to join the US flag around the world, a US Air Force AWACS crew decided they’d advertise on the flight line of in a deployed location:
“On our deployment Read more
In a first for the Service, the US Air Force has allowed a Sikh Airman to wear a beard in uniform:
The U.S. Air Force has granted a religious accommodation to an active duty Sikh airman that will allow him to wear a turban, beard and unshorn hair in accordance with his faith.
In a statement, Airman 1st Class Harpreetinder Singh Bajwa said he was “overjoyed that Read more
US Air Force Academy Computer Science professor Barry Fagin is continuing his role as an inside source for Michael “Mikey” Weinstein’s vendetta against religious freedom at USAFA. Last Wednesday he attended an Easter-themed presentation (only because he wanted to report on it) sponsored by Christian Faculty Fellowship on the topic of the Shroud of Turin. As dutifully repeated by the MRFF mouthpiece, Pam Zubeck [emphasis added]:
Barry Fagin…argues the school’s seeming endorsement of the talk…is embarrassing in light of scientific evidence that the shroud is merely a 14th century forgery…
Military Religious Freedom Foundation founder Mikey Weinstein says that 23 people — cadets, faculty and staff — complained to him about the lecture…Weinstein says he was told by the complainants that they were disappointed…
A former insider, former Col and now retired BGen Marty France, moved directly from USAFA to Weinstein’s board and wrote a letter to USAFA complaining about the presentation on Read more
As has now been widely reported, US Army SPC Cesilia Valdovinos — who converted to Islam in March 2016 — has claimed discrimination over her wear of the hijab, for which she was granted a religious accommodation just last summer. According to Valdovinos, a senior enlisted leader required her to remove her hijab to prove her hair was being correctly worn underneath it. (While the accommodation was granted, she is still required to maintain certain standards, even under the hijab.) The reason for the “inspection” was the belief her hair was not properly maintained while under her hijab, as was required. When she removed the hijab, her hair was, indeed, down — though Valdovinos says it was because it was held up by the hijab itself. Valdovinos apparently found this exchange inappropriate and filed an EO complaint.
There are aspects to this story on both sides that Read more