Tag Archives: menorah

Atheists Force End to US Troops’ Nativity Tradition Overseas

Some people claim there’s a “war on Christmas” when retailers substitute “Happy Holidays” for “Merry Christmas.”  While some customers or employees may take issue, the retailers’ choices of words probably have little impact on anything, including their bottom line.

By contrast, some atheists are actively working against “Christmas” in the US military — which has a direct and measurable impact on US troops, especially those stationed thousands of miles from the familiar celebrations of home.

As noted previously, the annual raising of “holiday” or “Christmas” trees and Menorahs has begun on US military installations around the world.  The chapels of some bases also put up nativity scenes, as Travis AFB famously did last year.

The US military facility known as “Naval Support Activity (NSA) Bahrain” has held an annual Christmas tree lighting for years.  As part of that activity, carols have been sung, Santa has found his oversized chair, and excessive amounts of cookies and Christmas drinks have been consumed.  In addition, the event has featured a “live nativity,” composed of base children and local animals.  The event even included a photogenic camel.

Jason Torpy, a former Army captain and current atheist activist, considers “a Christmas tree, presents, some [non-Christian] songs, and even Santa Claus as trappings of secular Christmas.”  The nativity, then, had to go.  So an IG complaint was filed [emphasis Read more

The US Military Rabbi of Camp Phoenix and Kabul

The Jewish online magazine Tablet covers the story of US Army Chaplain (LtCol) Larry Bazer, who recently returned from a deployment as the “only Jewish chaplain in Afghanistan.”

The article contains some interesting commentaries on the chaplaincy in general, as well as some specifics related to life as a Jewish chaplain:

The [Camp Phoenix] chapel, said Bazer, “was a cozy little place”: a small, nondescript room built of plywood. During the day it was devoid of any religious symbols, but during the evenings a few crosses would turn it into a Protestant chapel, or some icons into a Catholic church. On Friday nights, candles and challah—sent each month by the “challah lady,” a Long Island Jewish woman—made it a synagogue.

Chaplain Bazer’s congregations varied from none to nearly 20 as he traveled Afghanistan as the only Jewish Read more

Undercurrent of Atheist Mockery at Travis AFB Christmas Display

A variety of sites have noted the decision by Travis AFB to defend its nativity and Menorah.  A few have noted the Travis AFB chaplains helped local atheist Airman SSgt Dan Rawlings erect an atheist display.

As more find out about it, more commenters are also questioning the Air Force’s decision to allow the atheist sign — not because of the sign itself, but the “flying spaghetti monster” on it [ellipses original]:

the flying spaghetti monster display is now up…mocking every belief out there. They had a great opportunity to be recognized and they turned it into a mockery. Sad, really. Great job staff sergeant…17 years without a complaint, you come along…complain, then mock everyone with your display. Isn’t that against military policies…to mock others?

As noted previously, even local non-religious people have said the atheists appear to be mocking their fellow Airmen Read more

Chaplains Applaud Travis AFB Nativity, Menorah Defense

The Chaplain Alliance for Religious Liberty, led by Chaplain (Col, USA, Ret) Ron Crews, “commended” the Air Force for its decision to allow the nativity and Menorah to stand, despite complaints and threats from Michael Weinstein.

“Our military personnel should not be coerced to abandon their religious heritage simply to appease someone’s political agenda,” said CH (COL) Ron Crews…

Chaplain Crews noted that Weinstein seems to have an unusual access to military leadership for a one-man ‘non-profit’ and called for a Congressional Read more

Military Atheists Now Target Fort Campbell Nativity, Menorah

Though they failed to get Travis AFB to remove its nativity and what they called a “token” Jewish Menorah, military atheists led by Justin Griffith have now set their sights on Fort Campbell, one of the largest US Army bases in the United States.  Fort Campbell has a Menorah and nativity at the sign near one of its entry gates.  (Don’t tell anyone, but there’s also a prominent star at the top of the post Christmas tree…)

It reads like “Welcome to Fort Campbell, where you better love Jesus…”

[Fort Campbell] need[s] to either remove the display, or at the very least let all the other points of view have an equal level of support.

How a Menorah says “you better love Jesus” is unclear, though the atheists’ (repeat) belittling of the Jewish display of faith is eclipsed only by their obsessive need to attach themselves to Christianity.

The situation is not the same as Travis AFB, though.  For one thing, Read more

Weinstein Continues Protest of Travis AFB Nativity, Menorah

Michael Weinstein’s lawyers wrote a response to the Travis AFB decision to allow the nativity and Menorah to remain where they are.  The letter, dated 19 December, demands a response the same day. Otherwise, the content is little different from their initial error-filled complaint.

Still, the letter closed with this ominous threat:

If this request is not honored by the close of business Read more

Military Atheists Join, Contradict Fight Against Travis AFB Nativity

Update: As promised, Travis AFB let local media on the base to view the display (and take pictures).  As expected, each noted the nativity and Menorah were part of a group of nearly two-dozen holiday displays.  Weinstein has managed to keep his invective fairly calm up to this point, but the more he talks, the more ridiculous he gets.  Now the nativity and Menorah are “dehumanizing:”

“You are dehumanizing people. You are marginalizing people,” Weinstein said. “We know it’s a violation of the Establishment Clause in the First Amendment.”

His basis:

“If you want something with religious symbols, be it Islamic, Jewish, Christian or whatever, put it on the grounds of the (base) chapel. That’s what the regulations say and that’s what the law says and we’re a nation of laws,” Weinstein declared.

Naturally, the former JAG doesn’t say what regulations or laws “say” that.  That’s likely because, despite his authoritative-sounding assertion, none do.  He’s trying to create a “new” law in the military restricting faith to the chapel.

Not to be outdone, Army atheist Justin Griffith is going one step further than Weinstein:

[Military bases] not only have a right to ban Nativity scenes, they have an obligation to do so.

He forgot to mention the Menorah.  Like Weinstein, he also fails to say why the government is ‘obligated’ to ban religious (Christian) displays.

Weinstein has reportedly said he is considering a federal lawsuit over the issue, but he has threatened lawsuit over just about every controversy over the past few years without following through.


Justin Griffith, the “military director” of American Atheists, has belatedly joined the attack by Michael Weinstein against Travis Air Force Base’s holiday card lane, which contains a nativity and Menorah, among nearly two dozen other displays.  Writing in the third person, Griffith says

Staff Sergeant Dan Rawlings is an atheist stationed at Travis. Rawlings contacted American Atheists about putting up an Atheist-themed display as well. The display was intended to go up next to the Nativity Scene and the token Jewish Menorah. Justin Griffith, the Military Director at American Atheists offered to provide and pay for an equivalent display for Staff Sergeant Rawlings to submit.

Note, of course, the atheists’ intent to put up a response to the religious displays, rather than take independent action (as has been the ideological trend of atheists).  Note, too, they came up with the idea only after they read about the displays in the news (though the displays have been up for some time):

Rawlings was told by his USAF chaplain that he could not Read more

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