Update: Now widely covered at various sites, those 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
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
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
Michael “Mikey” Weinstein’s “charity,” the MRFF, recently published a bit of fan-mail from a person excoriating President Trump’s Tuesday proclamation of Religious Freedom Day.
And even Weinstein’s own research assistant, Chris Rodda, probably grimaced.
The letter, written by a “30-year Active Duty Air Force Officer”, lambasts Trump’s proclamation, claiming it is a “dog whistle of Fundamentalist Christian Dominionism.” As proof [formatting original]:
To understand his real declaratory intent, we need only look at his last paragraph in which he says, “I have hereunto set my hand this sixteenth day of January, in the year of our Lord two thousand eighteen…”
…[Trump] ENLARGES the views of those that see 2018 as ‘The Year of Our Lord,’ i.e., Christians only.
Longevity in the military is clearly no guarantor of intellectual acuity.
As anyone with an elementary education and an internet connection could tell you, the Read more
The year 2017 was, once again, much lower on the scale with regard to headlining issues of religious liberty and the US military — to a degree.
Over at the left-leaning Baptist Joint Committee, the only military related story listed by Don Byrd was the Bladensburg cross. However, several others deal with religious freedom that does still affect the military, like Masterpiece Cakeshop, and Senators “cross[ing] the line” in questioning political nominees about their religious beliefs.
Howard Friedman of the objective Religion Clause listed transgenders in the military as one of the top stories of the year, which many would (incorrectly) argue isn’t actually a “religious” issue. He also listed Masterpiece Cakeshop as a lead story.
As for ChristianFighterPilot.com, the following Read more
The Air Force Times reports that the Family Research Council and American Family Association delivered a petition to the Air Force last week calling for the reversal of adverse action taken against Col Leland Bohannon.
The petition…was accompanied by a letter signed by a coalition of 31 religious liberty advocacy groups that also asks Air Force Secretary Heather Wilson to correct Air Force policy on religious expression.
The letter (PDF), signed first by Gen Jerry Boykin, reiterated the legitimate Read more
A group of US Senators has written a letter (PDF) asking US Air Force Secretary Heather Wilson not only to “restore justice” to unjustly punished Colonel Leland Bohannon, but also to explain how the Air Force’s actions comport with its — and her — stated support for religious liberty [emphasis added]:
We therefore ask that you, as Secretary of the Air Force, clarify the branch’s position on religious liberty. We ask that you instruct the Air Force to issue formal guidance and provide adequate training to commanders so that they know how to properly and respectfully address the religious liberty rights of their subordinates.
Lastly, we request that you investigate Read more