According to the Army Times, the US Army is investigating claims that Soldiers were punished when they declined to attend a concert by a Christian music group in May.
The Army said Friday it was investigating a claim that dozens of soldiers who refused to attend a Christian band’s concert at a Virginia military base were banished to their barracks and told to clean them up.
Interestingly, the punishment was reportedly telling the Soldiers to go back to their barracks.
As others have noted elsewhere, this “scandal” may be a result of Read more
Despite running a self-founded “religious freedom” organization, Michael Weinstein is apparently calling for the US military to restrict religious free exercise within its ranks. His reason? The Constitutionally-protected liberty offends al Qaeda.
Unlike most mainstream organizations, Weinstein’s Military Religious Freedom Foundation still revels in publicizing his organization’s communications, wearing both the hate mail and the kudos as badges of honor. (They even republish comments from their website, because apparently being posted once isn’t good enough…) Recently, MRFF board member Richard Baker responded to a contact with a lengthy message in which he included many standard MRFF talking points, like this one: Read more
Michael Weinstein of the Military Religious Freedom Foundation may have finally proven his reliance on conspiracy theories to advance his cause. He recently gave an interview to American Muslims Today, broadcasting in Nebraska, which headlined the interview thusly:
Who would Jesus bust a cap on?
In this part of the series we discuss The New Crusade. We explore how the fundamentalist Christians have fully infiltrated and some say taken over the US military.
(Apparently the impending repeal of DADT is actually an elaborate diversion by fundamentalist Christians in the military…)
In the interview, Weinstein says he can “basically trace the start Read more
Chaplain (Col) Jacob Goldstein often attracts attention when he visits military units, as he is one of the few personnel sporting a full beard in his Army fatigues. Goldstein is one of seven orthodox Jewish Chaplains serving in the US Army.
A recent article notes his presence at a local training event in California. In the article, Goldstein takes an interesting view on spirituality in the armed forces:
“The military gives great deference to religion,” said Goldstein, “You ask any commander – any Soldier that is spiritual and has some religion makes for a good Soldier. The fact the Soldier has some kind of comfort and has some faith – regardless of that faith – if you believe in something, that’s important.”
Such a statement — a spiritual soldier makes a good soldier — might ordinarily draw a stern and caustically worded rebuke from Michael Weinstein or his Military Religious Freedom Foundation, if it came from a Christian. This is particularly relevant since two of his litigation vehicles have been atheists. (Interestingly, Goldstein has previously defended the military against Weinstein’s accusations.) Ironically, though, a member of the MRFF has recently been taken to task for degrading atheists.
Reza Aslan is reportedly Read more
On 13 July 2010 US Army 1LT Chris Goeke was killed in combat in Afghanistan. He was one of three Soldiers to die in that firefight and his loss, like theirs, has been mourned across the continents.
The legacy of Goeke lives on, however. He was known not only as a good Soldier, but also as a good Christian. This was told in the first person by his friend, Rajiv Srinivasan, a Hindu, at a blog at the New York Times:
Chris discovered his personal relationship with God and served as one of his finest Christian servants… Read more
On the continuing theme of military papers discussing religion in the military comes Lt Col Jimmy M. Browning’s “Religious Expression or Religious Coercion: Commanders Caught in the Crossfire.” LtCol Browning, a Colonel-select, was an Air War College student when he published the paper in February of this year. He is also a USAF Chaplain.
The paper brings an interesting perspective to the “conflict” between those who believe in a right to religious expression and those who believe religious expression is de facto coercion in a military environment:
[The] Military Religion [sic] Freedom Foundation (MRFF) is one group that describes itself as a watchdog against religious coercion…These groups are especially leery of evangelical Read more
USA Today has duelling articles on the potential impact of the repeal of the policies commonly known as “Don’t Ask, Don’t Tell.”
“No, the mission is to serve all soldiers.”
Arnold Resnicoff, a former Navy Chaplain, responds in the negative. Resnicoff was also a special assistant to the Secretary of the Air Force from 2005 to 2006, when the Air Force Academy “Christian scandal” made news. (Michael Weinstein called Resnicoff an “unmitigated disaster.”)
Resnicoff’s primary argument is that
good chaplains can preach and teach, true to their beliefs — respecting rights while challenging what they believe is wrong. (emphasis original)
He maintains there would be zero impact to Chaplains.
“Yes, religious liberty is in real jeopardy.”
Daniel Blomberg of the Alliance Defense Fund answers in the affirmative. In contrast to Resnicoff, Blomberg says the change would “likely harm” Chaplains: Read more
The UK’s Guardian has said that General Stanley McChrystal’s ouster from leading NATO forces in Afghanistan has dealt a blow to a long and slow improvement in US-Muslim relations. The article summed it up this way:
McChrystal’s strategy in Afghanistan also had major implications for US relations with the world’s 1.4bn Muslims. McChrystal’s message was simple: we respect you. We honor you. We are here to protect you. You have a great religion and a great culture, and we will help you preserve it and secure a future for your children.
The article calls the choice of General Petraeus to replace McChrystal “solid,” which has been the general feeling in the public (Petraeus was approved unanimously in the Senate). Ironically, however, while McChrystal apparently sported friendly credentials with the local Muslim populations, Petraeus has been accused of being a fundamentalist Christian predator, at least by one person:
General Petraeus has, by his own hand, become a quintessential poster child of this fundamentalist Christian religious predation, Read more