Officers’ Christian Fellowship and First Liberty Institute recently participated in an episode of OCF’s fledgling Crosspoint podcast in which retired Navy JAG CAPT Chris Blake and First Liberty lawyer (and Reserve Marine JAG) Mike Berry discussed the “religious rights of those in uniform.”
At one point, CAPT Blake asks “what has changed” over the past few decades that makes it seem the support for religious freedom has waned since the unashamed exercise of faith years ago. To that, Mike Berry had a witty reply:
The opponents of religious freedom have become louder…but that doesn’t make them more correct.
That was an observation Read more
The College of the Holy Cross in Massachusetts has decided to abandon their historic mascot, The Crusader.
The Jesuit school said they had decided to retire its beloved Knight for the sake of “inter-religious understanding and dialogue.”
“For some, knight imagery alone could convey nobility, chivalry and bravery. However, the visual depiction of a knight, in conjunction with the moniker Crusader, inevitably ties us directly to the reality of the religious wars and the violence of the Crusades. This imagery stands in contrast to our stated values,” College president Philip Boroughs said in a statement.
Apparently the College is going to retain the name Crusaders, but Read more
Responding to the leaked news that the Navy is considering a “humanist” chaplain, Republican Senator Roger Wicker wrote a column published at FoxNews that said an atheist should not be put in the “undeniably religious position” of a military chaplain:
I oppose the appointment of a “secular-humanist” chaplain, and I have formally requested that the secretary of the Navy and the chief of naval operations reject this application. I am not alone in my request. Twenty-two of my colleagues in the Senate have joined me in this effort.
Senator Wicker notes with some irony that Read more
Though not officially announced, a few websites and organizations have revealed that the Navy Chaplain Appointment and Retention Eligibility (CARE) Advisory Group has recommended that Jason Heap, an atheist, be appointed a US Navy chaplain. (The official silence may be because CARE’s decision was leaked in violation of Navy policy, which dictates the sessions be “closed” with members forbidden from “discussing deliberations or recommendations”.)
Heap had previously sued the Navy over its denial of his application to become a chaplain. The lawsuit was largely dismissed, though some claims proceeded. One site claimed the suit was subsequently “settled” under unpublicized terms.
Navy regulations say the CARE group is primarily composed of senior chaplains and other senior leaders. CARE ensures the “full spectrum” of professional qualifications is considered when someone applies to be a chaplain. The objective, in context, is to prevent people from becoming chaplains just because they meet the bare minimum requirements.
CARE’s role is to validate Read more
An interesting article about Navy chaplains noted a recent annual training event whose topic was “A Strategy for the Delivery of Religious Ministry to None, Dones, and Millennials.”
The [course] is designed to provide chaplains and [chaplain assistants] with the knowledge, skills and abilities to deliver meaningful religious ministry to millennials who are religious, have no religious preference, or who have disaffiliated from religion.
Some militant atheists have said the only Read more
The Freedom From Religion Foundation and American Atheists sent a letter (PDF) yesterday to Secretary of Defense James Mattis calling on him to act to end “coerced religious observances” within the military. Alison Gill and Rebecca Markert write that
The complainants allege, among other things, that facility organizers regularly include scheduled prayer in graduation ceremonies, cadets who opt not to attend worship services on Sundays are instead given menial tasks to perform, and instructors regularly lead recruits in prayers prior to administering tests.
The letter provides no examples. It appears to Read more
The Times of Israel recently covered the retirement (last April) of US Navy Chaplain (CAPT) Jon Cutler — who was notable, apparently, because he was both Jewish and homosexual.
The article is rich in unintended irony, including celebrating the free exercise of the Jewish faith by US service members in the Middle East — in an era when some are advocating the free exercise of Christian troops be restricted, even within the borders of the United States.
Further, the theme of integrity returns to the issue of homosexuality in the military: With regard to serving as a homosexual before the repeal of DADT: Read more
Petty Officer 3rd Class Eduardo Otero is a US Navy Sailor and an atheist, as he describes in a uniquely toned article entitled “Not Applicable: The Story of an Atheist, a Navy Chaplain and a Search for Hope.” Otero, a Navy “mass communication specialist” (essentially a public affairs officer), wrote the article in a staccato future perfect tense — making it seem at times like an odd trip down a future memory lane that is unsure of its own footing.
Ultimately, it boils down to PO3 Otero desiring counseling from a chaplain, and he met with a Catholic priest, Chaplain (LTjg) Jason Burchell.
And that’s really about it. The article eventually becomes a “chaplain 101” story in which Otero seems to have transitioned his counseling into interviews with his chaplain, both personally and professionally.
Some of what Otero cites might seem like fodder for Michael “Mikey” Weinstein’s crusade against Read more