The National Cathedral published a photograph of the “blessing of a Bible” to be used for swearing-in within the new Space Force. The ceremony was featured in the Washington Post. Pictured were Rev. Randolph Hollerith, the dean of the Washington National Cathedral, the Rev. Carl Wright of the Episcopal Church, and US Air Force Chief of Chaplains Chaplain (MajGen) Steven Schaick:
The gift they gave Chaplain Schaick was a King James Bible donated by The Museum of the Bible, which is in Washington, D.C., a few miles from the National Cathedral.
“Accept this Bible which we dedicate here today for the United States Space Force,” intones the Rev. Randolph Hollerith, dean of the National Cathedral, “that all may so diligently search your holy word and find in it the wisdom that leads to peace and salvation, through Jesus Christ our Lord, amen.”
This was all too much for Michael “Mikey” Weinstein, who issued a “full-throated” response: Read more
Sometimes lost in the “scandals” regarding religion in the US military is the fact that religion is still practiced frequently, and freely, by US troops around the world.
For example, in a variety of locations the US military supported Christmas celebrations, operations, and events. Notably, the camera often pointed away from some of the more direct Christmas iconography — but it was there.
Such discretion apparently wasn’t necessary for the worldwide celebration of Hanukkah, in which US troops were photographed celebrating the Jewish holiday from Japan to Afghanistan. Yes, even though Read more
Remember Shields of Strength?
In July, this site highlighted the complaint by Michael “Mikey” Weinstein that caused the US military to tell Shields of Strength to stop putting Bible verses on their military-themed faux dog tags.
As noted at the time, contrary to Weinstein’s claims, the military is free to license its trademarks to anyone it wants — so long as it doesn’t discriminate on the basis of religious beliefs when it does so.
And that’s precisely what it did with the license to SoS.
First Liberty has now taken up the cause of Kenny Vaughan and Shields of Strength, sending a letter to the Army telling them what they already know: They’re guilty of viewpoint discrimination — restricting Shields of Strength only on the basis of the content of their beliefs. Said Mike Berry of First Liberty:
“The government grants licenses to people and entities all the time,” Berry said over the telephone. “What the government can’t do is discriminate when it grants those licenses. … It is basically saying ‘we’re happy to grant licenses to anyone, as long as it’s not religious.’ And that’s clearly what the Army is doing here.”
That’s precisely what the military is doing — and they’re clearly wrong to do so.
In July, Weinstein tried to Read more
In what amounts to a repeat of his prior attacks on Christians, Michael “Mikey” Weinstein last week published a release saying the MRFF “fervently denounces” the Christian group OCF performing “spiritual commissioning” ceremonies for new officers. Officers’ Christian Fellowship is one of several para-church organizations that ministers to the military — and one Weinstein seems to hold much animus toward.
Oddly, Weinstein declined to provide his own typically vociferous and alliterative quote, and instead deferred to an “anonymous” letter from a purported retired Army Colonel — who is also “on the membership rolls” of OCF. Referring to OCF’s Command magazine, which covered the commissioning, the Colonel
demand[ed] a retraction and full apology from OCF…Their old-guard OCF leadership will continue to push their radical agenda. Therefore, I ask that ALL COMMISSIONING sources, including all federal Service Academies and state ROTC universities, review Officer Christian Fellowship chapter local practices on their respective campuses…
To be clear, a retired O-6 — who said he had supported OCF both as a cadet and Academy faculty member — apparently lacked the intestinal fortitude to tell OCF his thoughts and instead “filed” a public complaint through the MRFF.
Beyond his hurt feelings, it’s not clear.
The complaint says Read more
As noted at the Religion Clause, a Federal District Court in Arizona found that a plaintiff did not have standing to sue over Flagstaff’s annual “Grand Menorah Lighting” held at the City Hall. It turns out the plaintiff, Jack Taylor, only even knew about it because he’d read about it in the paper. As quoted at the Religion Clause [emphasis added],
Plaintiff did not allege that he has had direct contact with the Grand Menorah Lighting at City Hall, or any other religious ceremony purportedly held in City Hall. According to the Complaint, Plaintiff’s contact with the Grand Menorah Lighting at City Hall has, at most, been via newspaper articles Read more
Task & Purpose reports on a “leaked” US Naval Academy email that announced the advent of Satanic services to be held on the Academy grounds. (The story was subsequently picked up by the Military Times and FoxNews.) It turns out the email was “premature” and inaccurate:
a group of midshipmen “with beliefs aligned with those practiced by The Satanic Temple”…had requested a space for a “study group” to discuss their satanic beliefs — and not, as the email in question indicated, for holding satanic religious services.
The problem, of course, is The Satanic Temple isn’t a religious group. It’s an anti-religious group. From their own webpage [emphasis added]:
DO YOU WORSHIP SATAN?
No, nor do we believe in the existence of Satan or the supernatural. The Satanic Temple believes Read more
More than a month ago the Baptist Joint Committee, a left-leaning group that tends to object to religion in the public square, trumpeted a new movement of “Christians against Christian nationalism,” complete with a “petition” of sorts and a website. The site explains Christian nationalism as something that
demands Christianity be privileged by the State and implies that to be a good American, one must be Christian.
Those views are advocated in the mainstream by almost… no one. In their FAQ, they have the obvious question “Can you give some examples of christian nationalism?” to which they provide none — except to say
Christian nationalism in the hands of extremists can lead to acts of violence, such as the shootings at Mother Emanuel AME Church in Charleston, South Carolina, and Chabad of Poway synagogue near San Diego, California…
The inclusion of those incidents with the prior description is illogical (as well as contrary to public accounts of both incidents). In any case, any person would Read more
Michael “Mikey” Weinstein and his research assistant, Chris Rodda, recently criticized the presence of military symbols on products sold by Shields of Strength, an online jewelry/accessory store that sells various religious and patriotic-themed items, including some with Bible verses. (While Weinstein has claimed he never acts without a complaint from a member of the military, this complaint appears to have been generated by a FoxNews article and nothing more.) The duo took specific aim at the SoS line of dog tags, which combine Bible verses with the emblems of the US Armed Forces. From Chris Rodda [emphasis added]:
The problem? The use of official Armed Forces emblems and logos on blatantly religious items like these dog tags is not only an unconstitutional government endorsement of religion, but also violates the Department of Defense’s regulation on what items can and cannot be licensed to contain the official DoD emblems and logos.
The first accusation is laughable. No one thinks the government is establishing or endorsing a religion because a private company produces dog tags with Bible verses on them. The reference to Read more