As previously noted, the Colorado Springs Gazette has reported that the Military Religious Freedom Foundation will present an “alternative view” on Islam and the War on Terror at the Air Force Academy on April 9th.
As one of the speakers, Weinstein has maintained that the military is overrun with fundamentalist Christians, who he recently referred to as
homophobic, misogenistic (sic), anti-Semitic and Islamophobic [with] a virulent desire to subordinate the Constitution … to…the weaponized gospel of Jesus Christ. (the Aspen Times).
To counter this, he plans to show portions of a soon-to-be-released documentary (in which he and his family play a role), which focuses on
Christian anti-Semitism as the model for all religious hatred, exposing the cross as a symbol of a long history of violence against Jews and Moslems.
Reza Aslan, another invitee, is also on the record sharing Weinstein’s beliefs.
The Academy forum is being held under the auspices of academic freedom.
Easter commemorates our Savior’s triumph over sin, and we take joy in spending this special time with family and friends and reflecting on the many blessings that fill our lives…On this glorious day, we remember our brave men and women in uniform who are separated from their families by great distances. We pray for their safety and strength, and we honor those who gave their lives to advance peace and secure liberty across the globe.
– President Bush’s Easter Message, March 2008
As reported at ChristianPost, U.S. soldiers pray as they celebrate Easter with a sunrise service at Camp Victory, in Baghdad, Iraq, Sunday, March 23, 2008. (Photo: AP Images/Dusan Vranic)
Keep us safe…
As reported at AF.mil, “Airmen…at an Army camp in Southwest Asia bow their heads March 2 during a prayer before heading off on a convoy.” (USAF Photo/SSgt Patrick Dixon)
Though critics of religion in the military continue to oppose it, public prayer–in uniform, on duty, with Chaplains, civilians, and within mixed ranks of officers, enlisted, superiors and subordinates–remains an acceptable and protected form of religious practice, even in the US military.
According to an AF.mil article, Staff Sgt. Jacob DeShazer (the bombardier on the last B-25 in the Doolittle Raid) has died. DeShazer was famous not only for his role in the raid, but also for his post-war activities. The man who once hated his Japanese enemies with a vitriolic passion would become a Christian in their prison and return to evangelize them. His story led to the conversion of Captain Mitsuo Fuchida, said to be the flight leader of the attack on Pearl Harbor. Fuchida himself became a missionary in Asia and the United States.
The text of a pamphlet DeShazer wrote, which was widely distributed in Japan after the war, can be seen at the bottom of this website. His story was also made into a documentary called From Vengeance to Forgiveness. His story was also chronicled several years ago here.
More than a week after the initial melee, the New York Times picked up the story on the Naval Academy chapel practice of dipping the US flag at the altar (previously noted here).
There is nothing significantly new in the article, though it does seem to indicate that the initial hysteria over the incident (generated primarily by Weinstein’s Military Religious Freedom Foundation) was misplaced. (For example, no one “disobeyed a direct order.”)
Interestingly, columnists are quick to reference the US flag code, which says the flag should never be dipped. However, the US flag code is a guide, not a punitive regulation. Previous attempts to make it punitive were struck down by the Supreme Court as unConstitutional. Thus, while someone may disagree with the practice, it is not prohibited.
NYT reference courtesy of the Religion Clause, and recently updated on ADF.
According to a FoxNews article, 11 Navy members have been disciplined for falsifying tests they conducted on their nuclear reactor, as well as cheating on officer advancement exams.
It was just a little more than a year ago that the Air Force also had a cheating scandal regarding officer tests. On that situation, a discussion on integrity, situation ethics, and “gouge” was previously posted here.
The AP has released an article describing how Weinstein dropped his lawsuit against the Army (discussed in previous posts 1, 2) so he could re-file it, adding an allegation that Specialist Jeremy Hall, his plaintiff, has been passed over for promotion as a result of the ongoing lawsuit. The text of the new suit is not yet available. As noted in the previous commentary, the lawsuit previously listed virtually every Christian ministry to the military as illegal entities, and continued to cite “Constitutional violations” about units that no longer existed.
As reported on the Religion Clause.
According to the Associated Press, the Military Religious Freedom Foundation, an organization that has lambasted the Air Force for allegedly supporting evangelical Christianity, is being invited to the AF Academy to present its view of Islam. This follows the previous panel on terrorism, which had three panelists that the MRFF criticized for being Christian and unqualified. (See previous posts, 1 & 2.)
Two invitees are members of the MRFF board. Joseph Wilson was a Clinton era consultant on African affairs and acting ambassador to Iraq. Reza Aslan is an academic teacher and writer on Islam. Aslan recently went on the record (on a CNN blog) criticizing the Academy for hosting “fundamentalist Christians” during the last panel.
The third and final invitee is Weinstein himself, a Reagan era lawyer and founder of the MRFF. It is unclear what his qualifications are to speak as an “expert on Islam.”
Just as the MRFF accused the three “former terrorists” of ulterior motives, it seems unlikely that the MRFF–which has expressed no interest in Islamic issues–would be a legitimate source of “balance” for a previous panel on Islamic terrorism. The MRFF has a political agenda centered on evangelical Christianity. According to a San Diego news site (which implied that the MRFF was getting “equal time”), Weinstein has indicated that “deprogramming” may be a part of their upcoming panel–even though no accusations of religious impropriety occurred after the previous panel.
What is clear is that non-Islamic religious issues will be a focus of Weinstein’s visit.
As reported on the ADF and Religion Clause.
This is the third in a series of articles on military Christians and life priorities. The first addressed the necessity of the priority of God in a Christian’s life, and looked into the potential responses that others may have to that priority. The second emphasized the importance of a military Christian’s family. The third priority of a military Christian should be his career.
A military Christian’s third priority should be his job. The job priority means assessing how decisions and actions will impact work, professional advancement, and a career. For fighter pilots in particular, the word “job” is used and placed here in priority for a very specific reason: being a fighter pilot is a job, it is not a life.
Fighter pilots generally enjoy their jobs and excel at them. In the end, though, it is still just a job. Read more