Tag Archives: pagan

US Marines Honor Patron Saint of Artillery

The Quartermasters have Saint Martin, but Marine artillery has Saint Barbara, whom they honored in a ceremony in Afghanistan:

Marines…smiled as all in attendance lifted their cups in a toast to honor the patron saint of artillery, Saint Barbara.

According to legend, the tyrant Dioscorus, a pagan, kept his daughter Barbara secluded in a tower to shelter her from the world. In her solitude she gave herself to prayer and became a Christian. Her father, Read more

Liberty Protected: The Non-Persecution of Military Atheists

When the US Air Force Academy “Falcon Circle” chapel facility went through its various controversies over the past year, one group was oddly silent:  atheists.  There were no loud cries from atheists over the US military’s waste of money to create yet another religious facility, nor were there any over the fact military atheists can’t even use the facility.

Like many US military bases, USAFA restricts the use of chapel facilities to religious gatherings:

All services held at the Cadet Chapel must be religious in nature and be conducted by a clergyperson or led by a lay-leader approved by the Cadet Wing Chaplain or designee.

Thus, unless an atheist group can sincerely say it is “religious in nature,” it can’t use the Falcon Circle as a barbecue pit this summer, while every religious Read more

MRFF’s Chris Rodda Criticizes One Military Chapel, Defends Another

If one wasn’t aware of her history, it might have been surprising to see a recent pair of articles highlight the intellectually inconsistency of the MRFF’s Chris Rodda.

Rodda recently went on record defending the construction of the US Air Force Academy chapel facility called the “Falcon Circle” from those who claimed it was an inappropriate use of government money for three cadets (a separate issue discussed elsewhere).  She said:

Designating the stone circle as a chapel facility simply accommodates a religious group with a worship area that meets their needs, something taken for granted by other religious groups at the Academy. Whether the users of that worship space number in the hundreds or in single digits is completely irrelevant when it comes to providing a place for them to worship according to their beliefs.

Comically, four days later an article appeared in the Tennessean quoting the Military Religious Freedom Foundation’s 2009 criticism of the construction of a different chapel at Fort Campbell.

The [MRFF] felt it looked too much like a megachurch Read more

USAFA Falcon Circle was “Right Thing to Do”

Update: Also repeated at Military.com.


Don Branum of the US Air Force Academy wrote a comprehensive article entitled “Why building Falcon Circle was ‘right thing to do'”, referencing the outdoor chapel area dedicated for use by members of USAFA claiming an “earth-centered” faith.  The article appeared to respond to Associated Press reports USAFA had spent $80,000 on the facility for but a few cadets.  (It did not appear to be related to the report by Senator Coburn, which did not use the $80K figure.)

The article covers the history — the factual history — of both the cadet chapel and pagans in the US military in general.  In so doing, it naturally compares the Falcon Circle to the Cadet Chapel.

As noted previously, it is neither reasonable nor appropriate to directly compare Read more

Senator Lists USAFA Pagan Chapel in Government Waste

The 2011 edition of the annual “Wastebook” (pdf) published by Senator Tom Coburn (R-OK), which contains a list of “wasteful and low priority government spending,” includes the “Falcon Circle” erected by the US Air Force Academy earlier in the year.

79) Air Force Academy Builds “Stonehenge-like Worship Center” – (CO) $51,474

The worship center is “for the handful of current or future cadets whose religions fall under the broad category of ‘Earth-based,'” which includes Wiccans, druids and pagans.

Three students out of 4,300 students self-reported as currently having an “earth-based” religion…

The American people support religious freedom, but this investment challenges their faith in government to ever make smart budget choices.

Senator Coburn seems to make the point that his complaint is an issue of “smart budget choices” rather than a lack of desire to support religious freedom.  It’s also important to note that millions of dollars are spent on US military facilities to support the religious liberty of US troops.

While one could argue the “per capita” for pagans was Read more

New Chapel Rising at Fort Campbell

The US Army post at Fort Campbell is getting a new chapel to support its 20 different religious services attended by more than 2,000 congregants each week:

The post’s seven chapels are getting too small for the needs of the soldiers and their families, said Chaplain (Col.) Roger Heath, the installation chaplain at Fort Campbell.

The $8.4 million, 32,900-square-foot complex will hold 1,200 people and include supporting campus areas.  It is scheduled to be Read more

Pagans Get “Warm Welcome” at Lackland AFB, USAFA

A “pagan newswire collective” article on the religious environment in the US Air Force painted a picture of a tolerant, accepting, and respectful military treatment of even the most minority religions.

Really.

The pagan report is only the most recent outside observer to highlight the positive religious environment in the US Air Force.  Starting at Lackland Air Force Base:

“Our airmen…should know that the Air Force has gone to great lengths to ensure their spirit was nurtured while in basic training,” says Rev. Tamie Rieth…, the Wicca Distinctive Faith Group Leader (DFGL) at Lackland for just over 6 years.  Rev. Rieth is one of 5 instructors who lead the weekly Wiccan services for BMT trainees.

The article says 150 to 300 trainees attend the Sunday Read more

USAFA Accepts Pagans, Druids, witches, etc.

The Los Angeles Times is fast becoming a frequent commenter on all things military and religion, with the US Air Force Academy high on that list.  In an unusual twist from the norm, its articles are biased toward the positive.

(For example, it published the original story about the baptism of US Marines to which Michael Weinstein objected, and most recently gave favorable coverage to the Camp Pendleton cross, now a controversy in its own right.)

In its most recent article on the topic, it notes the “Air Force Academy adapts to pagans, druids, witches and Wiccans:”

“We’re here to accommodate all religions, period,” [USAFA Chaplain (Maj) Darren] Duncan says. The building of the Cadet Chapel Falcon Circle on the hilltop, he says, is no different from the past conversion of chapel rooms into worship spaces that serve this year’s 11 Muslim, 16 Buddhist and 10 Hindu cadets. There are also 43 self-identified atheist cadets whose beliefs, or lack of them, Duncan says are also to be respected.

Never one to let good will go unspoilt, the article quotes Michael Weinstein as saying he Read more

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