Almost exactly a year ago, US Army General Martin Dempsey was the Chairman of the Joint Chiefs of Staff — the top ranking uniformed member of the US military and primary military advisor to the President. Known for his humility and his penchant for singing, he was not as publicly known for his faith — something that appears to be showing now that he is retired.
Appearing at Duke University on September 8th, now-retired Gen Dempsey spoke of his experiences with morality, religion, and faith in the US military — including his agreement with the belief that “there are no atheists in foxholes” [emphasis added]:
“You know that thing about ‘there’s no atheist in a foxhole?’ It’s true,” Dempsey said.
“There was none of this, ‘oh my gosh you shouldn’t be praying in your uniform, let’s keep separation of church and state’ — you go into something like Baghdad, you’re going to say a prayer before, during and after.”
The timing was surely a coincidence, but General Dempsey’s Read more
A senior military leader has again listed “moral courage” as an attribute of a good leader. Chairman of the Joint Chiefs of Staff Gen Marty Dempsey said
While physical courage is important, just as important is moral courage, he said. “Do the right thing when nobody’s looking,” he said.
In some cases, that could be written “Do the right thing when people are looking.” Taking the harder right over the easier wrong Read more
In her address to the 2015 USAFA graduating class, Secretary of the Air Force Deborah Lee James called on the new Second Lieutenants to
have the moral courage to stand up for what is right.
It is a worthy, if nearly clichéd, reminder to graduates. It is curious, though, if some parts of American society or American government can remember what “right” — or moral courage — even is.
Notably, every news article covering the 23-minute speech by Secretary James (including the official ones) noted one specific phrase, in context and in bold below: Read more
There’s a fascinating philosophical connection between the debate of Bill Nye and Ken Ham over creationism on the one hand, and reports the US Department of Defense is becoming increasingly “troubled” over troops’ ethical problems on the other.
First, Dr. Al Mohler, president of The Southern Baptist Theological Seminary, attended the Nye/Ham debate (viewable on YouTube) and made an interesting assessment. The debate wasn’t, in the end, over facts. It was over worldview — and Bill Nye’s faith that “human reason” was an ultimate solution [emphasis added]:
Bill Nye repeatedly cited the reasonable man in making his arguments. He is a firm believer in autonomous human reason and the ability of the human intellect to solve the great problems of existence without any need of divine revelation…He sees himself as the quintessential “reasonable man,” and he repeatedly dismissed Christian Read more
LtGen Benjamin Mixon, now retired, was sanctioned by the Department of Defense when he publicly encouraged US military members to contact their congressmen if they opposed the repeal of the policy known as “Don’t Ask, Don’t Tell.”
In a late summer interview by the Billy Graham Evangelical Association for a longer article, Gen Mixon stood by his original comments and indicated DADT repeal would “open the floodgates” [emphasis added]: Read more
In the face of the “sexual assault” scandal in the US military, Department of Defense leaders fanned out across graduation ceremonies to call on new and graduating officers to live out moral courage. From Secretary of Defense Chuck Hagel, speaking to the graduating class of 2013 at West Point [ellipses original]:
When you are faced with difficult decisions, you will always know that the right thing to do…is the right thing to do. Do it. Listen to yourself and be guided by what you believe is right.
Standing against the crowd and choosing the harder right instead of the easier wrong, as the Cadet Prayer prescribes, can be very lonely and frightening at times. And it requires immense moral courage.
It is an interesting position to assert that every officer knows the right thing to do — meaning many in the current controversies have been knowingly choosing to do the “wrong thing.” Of course, the “moral courage” to which Secretary Hagel refers presupposes a knowledge of right and wrong; normally, that is defined outside of “listening to yourself,” unless one includes a moral and religious upbringing in one’s character.
Secretary Hagel is Read more