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
Sailors onboard the aircraft carrier USS Nimitz did take the time to celebrate Christmas along with their families while in port.
A facility in Qatar was decked out in a “winter wonderland” complete with Christmas tree.
Business Insider did a photographic piece on Christmas in the military, which Read more
In an article entitled “I Will Make You Fishers of Men,” the US Navy discusses how some of its newest chaplain candidates received an introduction to fleet operations:
Twenty-three chaplain students from the Navy Chaplaincy School and Center in Fort Jackson, South Carolina, came aboard USS Harry S. Truman (CVN 75) for Read more
US Navy Chief of Chaplains Chaplain (RAdm) Margaret Kibben was one of a host of national and religious leaders who helped christen Washington DC’s newest museum: The Museum of the Bible.
“Hallow this moment, open this door to reveal how active and alive your word has been through the centuries,” Adm. Margaret Kibben, chief of the U.S. Navy chaplains, prayed Read more
A fascinating story at the Boston Globe recalls the steps taken to ensure the religious freedom of deployed US Sailors — in 1956:
Elihu Schimmel…was responsible for the medical care of men on dozens of ships. Often he had to be transported — by helicopter, by launch, by seaplane — from the Lindenwald to another vessel to see a patient.
But with Rosh Hashana (the Jewish New Year) and Yom Kippur (the Day of Atonement) just around the corner, Schimmel was wondering whether a few men could be moved in the other direction. Specifically, a few Jewish men: enough to assemble a minyan, a quorum of 10, so that services could be held on the most sacred days of the Jewish year.
Schimmel figured he had nothing to lose by asking — and both Read more
Mitchell Flint, a World War II US fighter pilot who was one of the founding members of the Israeli Air Force, recently passed away. Flint was 94.
Flint was one of the founding members of “Machal,” a group of non-Israelis who fought in the 1948 Arab-Israeli War. He was one of the original members of the Israeli Air Force’s first fighter squadron and Read more