Tag Archives: Navy

Atheists Call on Defense Secretary Mattis to End Military Prayers

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

Integrity and the “High Ranking Gay Jewish Chaplain”

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

Military Atheist Documents Counseling with Navy Chaplain

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

Military Religious Freedom in the Arctic

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

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