It’s always interesting to see how the military, and even the different branches within it, navigate “the holidays” at this time of year. Some, it seems, sincerely think mentioning the Christian celebration that occurs at this time every year is somehow forbidden.
For the record, however, Secretary of Defense James Mattis didn’t hesitate to send a message to the Armed Forces saying “Merry Christmas.”
The New York National Guard participated in an uncensored Christmas Eve Road March.
Task Force Raider in Poland “spread Christmas cheer” at a local Read more
The South Dakota National Guard published a press release celebrating a “historic ceremony” in which Chaplain (Capt) Kelley Thury became the SDNG’s first female chaplain:
Thury is now the chaplain for the largest battalion in the SDARNG, the 153rd Engineer Battalion.
“Having the first female chaplain is really awesome, especially in the Engineer Corps where having females in the Engineer Corps hasn’t been a long-standing policy in the U.S. military,” said Lt. Col. Trent Bruce, former 153rd commander. “Integrating females into the Engineer Corps in itself is historic, but as a chaplain as well, is amazing.”
Several units have now made “headlines” with female chaplains. But what’s more interesting about Chaplain Thury is her attitude toward her fellow chaplains.
It seems Thury is connected to the Forum on the Military Chaplaincy, the homosexual Read more
Army Specialist Samuel Keenan of the Massachusetts National Guard recently wrote an article out of Hanscom AFB entitled “Getting in the foxhole: how chaplains serve nonreligious service members” — apparently a subtle play on the “no atheists in a foxhole” phrase.
In short, the article uses the example of Guard Air Force Chaplain (Capt) Derek White to show that chaplains serve everyone, even those without a religious faith:
“It doesn’t matter if they’re religious or if they have no religious preference,” said White. “The fact that I am the person that they feel they can share their life with… that’s a really great feeling…”
“Regardless of religious preference, or non-preference, everybody hits a wall with human limits,” said White. “Chaplains provide hope that the wall is not an obstacle that cannot be overcome.”
That’s a valid discussion — even if the “non-religious” issue feels somewhat forced to the exclusion of everything else. Based on the article, it seems Keenan, more than Chaplain White, focused on the non-religious aspect. There’s no clear reason why.
Unfortunately, Keenan relied on an “interesting” source for part of his article: Read more
An unnamed Air Force chaplain sent a formally formatted complaint to Michael “Mikey” Weinstein in early May, claiming the National Guard Bureau had established “Protestant Christianity” as the “official religion” of the Guard’s Strong Bonds program.
As if to reinforce the fact the letter was written specifically for public consumption, just a few hours after receiving it Weinstein sent off his “demand” letter to General Joseph Lengyel, Chief of the National Guard Bureau. Weinstein made no new allegations but asserted those of the chaplain, who had complained about a line from a National Guard MOI on Strong Bonds. Regarding Strong Bonds events, the official Memorandum of Instruction said
One voluntary worship service will be conducted at all overnight training sessions, serving to the extent possible, the largest religious demographic represented in accordance with the Constitutional mandate to provide for the “free exercise of religion”. (See “DODI 1300.17”; “AFI 52-101”).
Military regulations can sometimes be ambiguous, vague, and even self-contradictory, so it is understandable that even well-meaning or intelligent members of the military might misunderstand them.
But even graciously speaking, that’s not what happened Read more
Members of the Unit Ministry Team of the Virgin Islands National Guard — yes, that’s a thing — were deployed to the National Capital Region to support the US troops who were supporting the inauguration:
“Our job was basically to ensure that soldiers’ morale and welfare remained upbeat,” said Capt. Dion Christopher, VING’s chaplain…
“We were based out of Ludlow Elementary school…where virtually all of Task Force Capital met, so we were able to bed down with the soldiers there, meet with them, and participate in a worship experience on the night prior to the inauguration,” [Sgt. Terry Phillip, religious affairs specialist] said.
The US military’s support for the inauguration is Read more
The Army was actually instrumental in my salvation.
– Capt Roger Taneus, Maryland National Guard
Chaplain (Capt) Roger Taneus just became the newest chaplain in the Maryland National Guard. In an Army article, he talked about how he became a Christian while at West Point thanks to a para-church ministry: Read more
The local Alaska Dispatch News reported on US Army National Guard Soldier Richard Mitchell, who recently climbed Flattop Mountain carrying a wooden cross:
I just felt called to do it. It made me remember why I’m here on this earth, and I also wanted to do it for people out there suffering from depression and contemplating suicide. For me, religion has always helped…
His climb memorialized the crucifixion of Jesus Christ, he said, but he Read more
Jason Torpy, the former Army Captain and perpetually offended atheist, recently took issue with a deployment ceremony conducted by the the 1st Battalion, 182nd Field Artillery Regiment, Michigan National Guard. The reason? The ceremony was performed in a church. The official Guard news release noted
family, friends and guests [gathered on] October 17th at the Tabernacle Missionary Baptist Church Sanctuary in Detroit to honor the Michigan Army National Guard, 1st Battalion (HIMARS), 182nd Field Artillery Regiment as they depart for Read more