An Associated Press article repeated at the local Gazette and other sources says of the US Air Force Academy:
Religious tolerance has improved dramatically since allegations five years ago that evangelical Christians harassed cadets who didn’t share their faith.
The article even quotes critic Michael Weinstein, who sued the Air Force for incidents at the Academy, agreeing with the assessment:
This is the first time we feel positive about things there.
While the initial complaints were that the Air Force was foisting Christianity on its cadets, the Air Force investigation instead determined that the situation was far simpler: cadets of minority faiths did not feel appropriately accommodated as was permissible under military regulations. Thus, the Air Force addressed Read more
The US Military Academy at West Point recently hosted civilian college students and fellow military academy cadets at its annual religious Warrior Weekend at the cadet chapel. Designed to give the civilians a sense of their religious military heritage, it also gave the military cadets the opportunity to “immerse” themselves in their culture.
The event, described below, is an admirable effort by cadets and officers to do two important things: convey to civilians that their faith is not inconsistent with military service; and remind military cadets of the depth of Read more
Michael Weinstein and his Military Religious Freedom Foundation have been repeatedly called out over the past few weeks for displaying an odious double standard: Weinstein has demanded various military Christians be court-martialed, accusing them of using their positions of power to proselytize and coercing subordinates based on their religion. He has failed to make any similar call against accused Fort Hood gunman Maj. Nidal Malik Hasan, even though Hasan has been accused of doing exactly the same things.
However, Michael Weinstein has finally asked, “Should Hasan be court-martialed?” Oddly, he never answers his own question.
To his credit, Weinstein does make a (qualified) statement that Hasan should have been court-martialed. That would be the most serious, if parsed, statement Weinstein has made against a person not of the Christian faith in the military. However, Read more
A recent Military Religion Question of the Day involved a sermon delivered in Afghanistan by Chaplain (LtCol) Gary Hensley. The question and subsequent answer have already been discussed. The discussion noted that groups used Hensley’s sermon as proof of religious impropriety in the military, though their accusations were demonstrably false.
The relationship of the Military Religious Freedom Foundation to this incident, however, requires further illumination. Read more
As the national intrigue continues into the events leading up to the massacre at Fort Hood, one question generating interest even at the Congressional level is why no one ever said anything about Hasan’s ‘militant’ behavior or statements. Reports indicate that fellow medical students did complain, but no official reports were lodged because no one wanted to be viewed as prejudiced against a Muslim.
Michael Weinstein, of the Military Religious Freedom Foundation, “doesn’t believe” those medical students, for a very specific reason: Read more
The moving and often emotional memorial service marking the loss of life at Fort Hood was infused with military ceremony and tradition. Military officers explained that memorials were a part of the process in war; the units gathered to memorialize their fallen, send them home, and then gather their gear to continue the mission.
Flags flew at half-staff, the National Anthem played, speakers lauded the fallen, and the sounding of taps echoed the solemnity of the occasion. Each fallen soldier was represented by a “battlefield cross:” a helmet atop an inverted rifle with bayonet and boots. A uniformed soldier sang Amazing Grace.
Another part of the tradition is prayers offered for the fallen, their friends, and their families. Chaplain (Col) Michael Lembke, Army III Corps Chaplain, wore his religious stole across the shoulders of his military uniform that bore the Christian cross and prayed to “Lord God Almighty,” asking God to “draw us to You” and to “restore to us a spirit of joy and hope.”
The fitting memorial was laden with traditions that critics–including Michael Weinstein’s Military Religious Freedom Foundation–have repeatedly and vociferously opposed.
Yet today, they remained silent.
The thought that a moving ceremony such as this might be curtailed due to Weinstein’s complaints is an anathema to the American spirit. Yet that is the Read more
Michael Weinstein has written an article that on one hand calls the actions of Maj Nidal Malik Hasan “inexcusable,” but on the other says his alleged harassment may have precipitated his massacre at Fort Hood:
The alleged mistreatment Hasan received in the American military almost certainly played a key role in his disaffection.
He fails to note, however, that the same sources that cite the harassment note that Hasan dismissed it:
They’re ignorant. I’m more American than they are. I help my country more than they do. And I don’t care what they say.
“He felt sorry for them…He didn’t feel grudges. He felt sympathy.”
Weinstein also explicitly states that Christians are the source of all religious Read more
As previously discussed, a civilian author recently criticized a military Chaplain for “expressing contempt” for the Constitution when he made “derogatory remarks about Islam:”
When a uniformed officer of the US military makes derogatory remarks about Islam, he’s violating [his] oath and expressing contempt of the First Amendment.
The comment was made by Jeff Sharlet, posting under the moniker Ishmael, on the Daily Kos website. Sharlet is also the author of The Family, a book that purports to be an expose on a secretive and conspiratorial religious organization (the “Christian Mafia”) attempting to influence the US government.
The comment was in defense of Chris Rodda, the Military Religious Freedom Foundation researcher, when she criticized Camp David Chaplain (LtCdr) Carey Cash for his religious views. Sharlet’s use of the word “derogatory” notwithstanding, is he right? Can a religious leader of one faith in the military say nothing negative about another–even if such statements are consistent with the tenets of their faith?
The core question: Can a Chaplain (or any other military officer) espouse specific, even exclusive, religious ideology?
The shortest, most accurate answer: Read more