According to an ongoing story covered at FoxNews, Utah Air National Guard TSgt Layne Wilson was reprimanded after writing a letter to a West Point chaplain regarding a post-DADT chapel ceremony, which presumably occurred last December. The text of his letter does not appear to be completely available, but it said in part
Our base chapels are a place of worship and this is a mockery to God and our military core values. I have proudly served 27 years and this is a slap in the face to us who have put our lives on the line for this country. I hope sir that you will take appropriate action so this does not happen again.
Apparently, West Point complained to the Utah Air National Guard, and Wilson’s supervisor gave him a Letter of Reprimand because he
“failed to render the proper respect to a commissioned officer.”
Given that only part of the story is public, it is difficult to fully discuss. On the other hand, another part of the conversation is public and may stand on its own. As noted in a memo from LtCol Kevin Tobias, 130th Engineering Installation Squadron commander, following this incident [emphasis added]:
“We talked about his feelings about DADT and Read more
As noted at FoxNews, a Colorado Springs-based US servicemember posted her opinion on Facebook — and has been threatened by her commander as a result:
The soldier, who is an evangelical Christian, said she returned home from church on Sunday and was watching a documentary about a minister who endorsed homosexuality…
Her Facebook message read:
“A lot ticked off, now to all my gay friends you know I care about you so don’t think otherwise. I’m watching this documentary and this gay guy went to a church and the Pastor was telling him that he needs to embrace his way and know that it is not a sin. Ok umm wow, dude it is. I’m sick of people making Gods word what it’s not. Yes God loves you as a person but He hates the sin. Tired of hearing about Pastors being ok with homosexuality.”
She was reportedly told to
either remove the post or face a reduction in rank and pay.
There is contradictory information about whether she is an Airman or a Soldier, which may be just as well, as she wasn’t seeking to make a public statement and actually asked Fox to pull the article, which it did for a short time. She appears to have substantial Read more
Ever since US Rep Jared Polis (D-Co) tried to specifically authorize atheist chaplains in the US military there has been one misrepresentation after another over what the government is “required” to do, or what atheist troops even want.
The most interesting argument is that Congress cannot require a Chaplain to be “religious” because of the Constitution’s prohibition on “no religious test” for public office. It’s a bit pedantic, but at least you can see the (attempted) logic of the argument. (Given the language and reasoning of George Washington’s creation of the military chaplaincy, and even Congress’s own centuries-old chaplaincy, it is unlikely that such semantic gymnastics were their intent.)
Another repeated but misrepresented claim has been that the Appropriations bill amendment sponsored by US Rep John Fleming (R-La) did “nothing” (according to atheist Jason Torpy) because the current regulations allow non-theistic chaplains, so long as their organization is endorsed by the IRS. A PhD writing a blog at the Huffington Read more
In a revealing outcry, many “non-religious” persons have criticized the vote by the US House to prevent non-religious personnel from becoming chaplains.
In that vein, atheist Jason Torpy has tried to promote the premise that the Defense Appropriations amendment proposed by US Rep John Fleming (R-La) didn’t actually do anything, demonstrating the “ignorance” of the Congressman.
“The [amendment] only requires adherence to the applicable instruction, which in no way restricts chaplains to only those who believe in some higher power,” he said. “Their amendment does nothing…It just shows their ignorance about atheists, humanists, and military regulations.”
Actually, Torpy’s statement demonstrates his ignorance. The clear language of the amendment indicates it wasn’t written to restrict chaplains to “those who believe in a higher power.” Torpy simply erected a straw man. What it was intended to do was prevent non-religious personnel from entering the religious field of the chaplaincy — and that it clearly does. The amendment simply requires the DoD to continue Read more
Update: The House passed the Appropriations bill along with the amendment referenced below requiring chaplains to have endorsers — effectively prohibiting non-theistic chaplains (along with any new endorsers). Rep Doug Collins (R-Ga) accused atheist activists of having the real goal of covertly undermining the entire institution of the military chaplaincy.
The Obama Administration has threatened to veto the 2014 Department of Defense Appropriations Act, saying it is too generous with military pay and too stingy with civilian pay.
As a point of clarification, the Defense Appropriations Act is a distinct entity from the Defense Authorization Act (or NDAA), which has been the point of focus for the past few months. The Authorization Act describes how the US DoD is “authorized” to organize and operate; the Appropriations Act “appropriates” the money to accomplish that end.
The appropriations bills were actually already passed by each house of Congress, but have yet to come out of conference committee.
Additionally, the recent push for atheist chaplains has now generated an official Congressional response — twice. First, US Rep Jared Polis (D-Co) offered an amendment (#295) to the authorization act that would have permitted Read more
Michael Weinstein has threatened to file a lawsuit if Congress passes the 2014 National Defense Authorization Act with the religious liberty amendment intact.
Weinstein said that he would immediately sue if the amendment passes, calling it “completely unconstitutional.”
No one need worry. It seems every time you turn around Weinstein is threatening to sue someone. (For a short list, web search “Mikey Weinstein tell it to the judge.”) Weinstein followed through on his threats against the US military only four times (and lost every time). He then promised to appeal (“Technicality!” he cried)… and he then did nothing. He appears to know that saying “I’ll sue” will get him quoted in the press, which is all he really wants.
As an aside, it is somewhat entertaining to see how the Religion News Service described Weinstein: Read more
Archbishop for the Military Services, Rev. Timothy Broglio, announced his support of the recent coalition advocating for religious freedom in the US military:
The Archdiocese congratulates the Family Research Council and all the members of the Restore Military Religious Freedom Coalition on their announcement of the formation of the coalition. The Archdiocese looks forward to working closely as an ally as all seek to ensure the continued protection of the 1st Amendment Rights of Free Speech and the Free Exercise of Religion of the men and women of the United States Military. No one who raises a right hand to defend the Constitution should sacrifice one of its fundamental principles!
“Likewise, the Archdiocese applauds the work of Doctor Fleming and all those Members of Congress who continue to work so diligently to ensure the 1st Amendment Rights of Free Speech and Free Exercise of Religion of the men and women of the United States Military.”
This is particularly notable because the coalition Read more
On FoxNews (video), US Rep John Fleming (R-La) said the NDAA clause the House passed and the Senate cleared through the Armed Services committee says that:
…military members are fully entitled to express their faith, as long as it is within certain confines, which would be military readiness, good order and discipline, military necessity, and of course without any coercion to others, and for some reason, the [Obama] administration has been against that.
That’s what Michael Weinstein calls a “nasty amendment” that is a “license to kill?” On its face, it is a preeminent and explicit Read more