A few sailors aboard the USS John C. Stennis, a nuclear-powered aircraft carrier, were recently highlighted for their unique exercise of religious freedom. From the official news release:
Heathenry, a religion with roots in Norse culture and mythology, is being practiced by a small, committed group of Sailors aboard the aircraft carrier USS John C. Stennis (CVN 74).
Aviation Electrician’s Mate 2nd Class Joshua Wood, from Eagle River, Alaska, is John C. Stennis’ Heathen lay leader.
The story is “interesting” enough that the normally sleepy Navy news report has been widely repeated across the media, though it seems to have Read more
This year issues of military religious freedom have boiled to the surface in two primary ways: free exercise and public expression.
For example, in its “top ten” list for 2018, The Baptist Joint Committee, a left-leaning group on religious liberty issues, highlighted the Masterpiece Cakeshop at #8 and the Bladensburg Peace Cross at #7. Similarly, Howard Friedman at the Religion Clause put Masterpiece Cakeshop at #1. The resolution of the Masterpiece Cakeshop case, which is arguably still ongoing, is directly related to the military: The case will ultimately Read more
Just in case you were wondering what the pilots (aka “naval aviators”) were doing in the lead up to the 21-ship flyover of the President George HW Bush internment (video):
Not just tolerance of faith, but the value of it.
Navy Chief of Chaplains (RAdm) Brent Scott on the fortifying power of faith, and calling on Sailors to live their faith:
Afloat in the contentious East China Sea, US Navy Chaplain (Cmdr) Steven Stougard offers an invocation during a baptism ceremony on the flight deck of Read more
Howard Friedman’s Religion Clause reported on the summary judgment granted in In re Navy Chaplaincy, a very long-running lawsuit alleging the US Navy chaplaincy was essentially rigged for liturgical/Catholic chaplains. The DC federal district court ruled against the chaplains.
However, given how many years the lawsuit has been running its course, it is worth noting who is leading the US Navy chaplaincy now:
In fact, the rest of the US military chaplaincy leadership reads much the same. With one possible exception, the list reads like a who’s who of conservative and Read more
Moody AFB published an interesting article about A1C Kornkawee Rue Art, who started out life as a Thai Buddhist monk until an encounter with an old friend inspired him to join the US Air Force. Ironically, the meeting occurred when he was on a missionary trip — to the US:
In Thailand, a monk is one who studies Buddhism, practices in its ways, follows the rules of and lives at the temple. They practice and teach meditation, along with being spiritual consultants and lead ceremonies. A common pilgrimage monks undergo is missionary work, traveling across the world to bolster their faith in other countries.
In an interesting admission, Rue Art noted Read more
Michael “Mikey” Weinstein bristles at accusations his organization is “anti-Christian”, despite a deep well of examples to bolster that characterization. To defend himself, Weinstein frequently touts the unsupported — and irrelevant — claim that “96% of his clients” and many of his friends and family are Christians. He and his research assistant, Chris Rodda, are also quick to tout instances in which the MRFF (says it) has defended Christians to rebut the accusation it spends all of its time attacking Christians, and Christians alone.
To that point, the MRFF recently said it had “assist[ed] [a] senior Christian military chaplain” with regard to a complaint that arose as a result of his chapel sermon. As published by the MRFF [emphasis added]:
A senior active duty Christian Military Chaplain [sic] contacted MRFF President/Founder Mikey Weinstein for assistance in responding to an investigation initiated after a sermon he preached during a worship service at his military base chapel. This investigation resulted from…complaints levied by a congregation member alleging Conduct Unbecoming an Officer and Contempt for the President of the United States based on the content of this MRFF client’s sermon.
Briefly, the Navy chaplain declined Read more