As previously discussed, the US military has said it destroyed the local language Bibles mailed into Afghanistan by a church in the United States. Dr. Carl Moeller of Open Doors USA, which has ministries focused on delivering Bibles and support for persecuted Christians, called the destruction a waste that was “beyond necessity.”
There’s certainly many organizations that could put them to good use…I don’t think it had to go to the degree that they took it. I think it sets a very bad picture of the U.S. military’s perspective on Christianity, and frankly that troubles me.
CNN also covered the story (video). In the end, the military’s decision Read more
The internet is awash with people calling for court-martial and other repercussions for the soldiers shown on al Jazeera (as discussed previously). Some have even said their actions are evidence of a larger conspiracy, and that they have endangered their fellow troops.
Problem is, they’re talking about fictional events Read more
Updated: Obama’s proclamation can be read here. Text below the fold.
This year’s National Day of Prayer is Thursday, 7 May 2009. As discussed every year at about this time, the President proclaims a National Day of Prayer on the first Thursday in May in accordance with Public Law 100-307 (history).
Much ado was made of President Obama’s failure thus far to make the proclamation, in addition to questions that circulated over whether he would continue the tradition of hosting an observance at the White House. (Former proclamations by President Bush, which normally preceded the day by several weeks, have been removed from the White House website.) It has now been reported that Obama will make the proclamation, as required by law, but not host a White House observance of the day.
Last year Michael Weinstein’s Military Religious Freedom Foundation threatened to add military associations with the National Day of Prayer task force (a private group) to his DoD lawsuit, though he never followed through on his threat. Read more
In an apparent response to the claims that it took things out of context, al Jazeera has posted a seven minute unedited video clip of the “Bible study group” in which the local language Bibles were shown. The original video, discussed here, was severely edited and has caused an internet uproar calling for court martial for the Chaplains and discharge for all the military members involved.
The fuller video is somewhat vindicating, and demonstrates that the al Jazeera clip did, in fact, take the Chaplain’s and soldiers’ words out of context. The Chaplain, accused in some places of illegal action, gives very good, very legal advice, and talks about the “hearts and minds” of the Afghani and Muslim culture. He very specifically, and very emphatically, says violating General Order number one is not the “sword they want to fall on.” Read more
As noted at the Huffington Post, al Jazeera has posted a news article and segment (video on YouTube) showing military Chaplains in the Middle East with Bibles in the local language and preaching “conversion.”
While seemingly inflammatory on its face (as evidenced by the outrage in subsequent comments on the websites), the newsreel is actually an “exercise in context.” For example, it highlights this quote, also re-posted in both the al Jazeera and Huffington Post articles:
[T]he chaplains appear to have found a way around the regulation known as General Order Number One.
“Do we know what it means to proselytise?” Captain Emmit Furner, a military chaplain, says to the gathering.
“It is General Order Number One,” an unidentified soldier replies.
But [another soldier] says “you can’t proselytise but you can give gifts.”
The voiceover then continues, and the Huffington article goes on to emphasize the crime of conversion in Afghanistan.
Both ignore the significance of the very next statement by the Chaplain, which is almost obscured by the al Jazeera narrator. Read more
United Airlines has reportedly settled a lawsuit with a female aircrew member who complained of repeatedly finding pornographic material on the flight deck of her aircraft.
Court documents show that Stout, a United 737 captain based out of Seattle, found pornographic photos of women on more than 20 flights in 2004 and 2005…The photos were mostly found in hidden spots, such as under a cap on [the] “stick shaker,” or taped to the lid of the unused ashtray.
The reason this is of even remote interest to military Christians (particularly aviators) is that the allegation appears to duplicate a long military tradition Read more
As noted in this short article, many military cadets, strapped for time, cash, and energy, dream of the day when they will finally graduate and enter the “real” Air Force, Navy, etc. They hope for that day when they can finally have the time and resources to do the things they know they should, like give money to their church, read their Bible, or attend a fellowship. What some don’t realize is that life may be just as busy “on the outside.”
Thus, the time to integrate those Christian characteristics into their life–to turn choices into habits, which are the basis for a lifestyle–is now, because there will never be a “better” time. Read more
According to an AF news release, the Air Force is offering scholarships to Chaplain candidates from “underrepresented” faiths:
The program will help fill manning shortfalls in faiths underrepresented in the Air Force. For example, 14 percent of the 534 active duty chaplains in the Air Force are Roman Catholic, yet they provide services for 25 percent of Airmen, as well as their families, said Chaplain (Maj. Gen.) Cecil Richardson, the Air Force chief of chaplains.