Last July, Michael “Mikey” Weinstein’s MRFF complained to the US military that Shields of Strength was combining US military trademarks with Bible verses on novelty dog tags. SoS did have authorization to use the military trademarks, but the Army told SoS to stop to prevent the “negative press.” A few weeks ago, the Marines did the same thing. First Liberty has come to their defense.
In an op-ed published at the Military Times earlier this week, First Liberty’s Mike Berry told the story:
Kenny Vaughan started Shields of Strength (“SoS”). SoS is a small, faith-based company from Texas that produces military-themed items inscribed with encouraging Bible verses. For more than two decades, Kenny has been making these inspirational replica dog tags for service members and first responders. To date, SoS has donated hundreds of thousands of its replica dog tags to military units…
Over the years, SoS replica dog tags became so popular and so nearly ubiquitous that, according to author and historian Stephen Mansfield, “aside from the official insignias they wear, [the SoS dog tag] is the emblem most often carried by members of the military in Afghanistan and Iraq.”
Berry and First Liberty sent Read more
An article from the Nebraska National Guard details the story of US Army Chaplain (Maj) Tyler Wilterding:
Wilterding is a full-time Baptist pastor in Kearney, but in order to be effective in his mission of offering moral and spiritual support to Soldiers, he must be well versed in multiple religions and denominations including Catholicism, Christianity, Judaism, Islam, Buddhism and more…
While the article on Wilterding emphasizes — to a fault — the “generally spiritual” mission of chaplains and the counseling they can provide, it is worth recognizing that Read more
US Navy Chaplain (LT) Trevor Carpenter is pastoring and discipling Marines in Hawaii, and he’s apparently making a big impact doing it:
“I currently have around 70 Marines and their spouses digging into Scripture each week through the H.E.A.R. journaling method,” said Carpenter, who’s stationed at Marine Corps Base Hawaii.
Carpenter said he picked up the journaling concept in a study Bible and carried it with him to Hawaii. He now has a study for a half-dozen married couples, single Marines, and 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
The Marine Times reports that Col Dom Ford, commander of Marine Corps Communication-Electronics School at Twentynine Palms, California, wrote an email to his staff recently in which he called suicide “shameful” and encouraged his Marines to “read some scripture.” According to the article, which does not include the body of the email, Col Ford
…called on Marines to read some scripture to boost their religious and spiritual wellness and help combat the suicide epidemic.
“Suicide is a shameful act. Period. Getting help is not,” Ford wrote to Marines under his command. “Life isn’t fair, and every day won’t be rainbows and sunshine.”
The colonel explained in the email that increased mental health issues may be a “byproduct” of a “godless age” amid Read more
More from the USS Wasp, as US Marines participate in a “renewal of faith and baptism” ceremony while afloat.
Because faith and religious liberty don’t Read more
Afloat in the contentious East China Sea, US Navy Chaplain (Cmdr) Steven Stougard offers an invocation during a baptism ceremony on the flight deck of Read more
Michael “Mikey” Weinstein bristles at accusations his organization is “anti-Christian”, despite a deep well of examples to bolster that characterization. To defend himself, Weinstein frequently touts the unsupported — and irrelevant — claim that “96% of his clients” and many of his friends and family are Christians. He and his research assistant, Chris Rodda, are also quick to tout instances in which the MRFF (says it) has defended Christians to rebut the accusation it spends all of its time attacking Christians, and Christians alone.
To that point, the MRFF recently said it had “assist[ed] [a] senior Christian military chaplain” with regard to a complaint that arose as a result of his chapel sermon. As published by the MRFF [emphasis added]:
A senior active duty Christian Military Chaplain [sic] contacted MRFF President/Founder Mikey Weinstein for assistance in responding to an investigation initiated after a sermon he preached during a worship service at his military base chapel. This investigation resulted from…complaints levied by a congregation member alleging Conduct Unbecoming an Officer and Contempt for the President of the United States based on the content of this MRFF client’s sermon.
Briefly, the Navy chaplain declined Read more