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.
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
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
FoxNews repeats the Politico report noting the US Army pulled a cross off the front of a US military chapel at Camp Marmal, Afghanistan, which was dedicated just a few months ago.
Before and after courtesy photo originally published at Politico.com.
At first, this situation seems similar to the US Army’s removal of crosses from the chapel in Kosovo a few years ago.
However, the current issue is actually somewhat more complex.
First, US military policies are not necessarily Read more
Though it seems they’re most often the object of Michael Weinstein’s criticism, cadets who organize into faith groups recently made the news for the positive event of coming together to support a local food bank.
Council members and chaplains spent two hours at Care and Share Food Bank of Southern Colorado packing and palletizing boxes for distribution to families in need of assistance.
Chaplain (Capt) Shawn Menchion received permission from Read more
Two USAFA Chaplains and two cadets recently attended the 116th Jewish War Veterans Convention to brief the US Air Force Academy’s religious respect program and give “insight into the life of a Jewish cadet.”
Jewish Chaplain (Maj.) Joshua Narrowe and Protestant Chaplain (Capt.) Shawn Menchion represented the Academy’s Chaplain Corps at the convention. Cadet 2nd Class Jolie Grossman from Cadet Squadron 23 and Cadet 3rd Class David Harris from CS 11 also attended to provide their perspective as cadets.
Within the article Chaplain Narrowe made an observation many seem to forget: The Academy is a college, and it draws 18-year-olds from all corners of the American society. USAFA then has to train them — and they get a whole six weeks before they enter the cadet wing.
The Academy itself has a wide variety of Read more
The name of the US Air Force Academy’s “Cadet Chapel Falcon Circle” was noted yesterday in the discussion of its dedication. In a response to a Washington Times editorial that accused the Academy of “pandering” to fringe ideas, Michael Weinstein now claims USAFA was “insensitive” in the naming of the area, which led to the “resignation” of the pagan lay leader at USAFA. If you can get past Weinstein’s gratuitously florid language, he says:
The Times article showed a picture [captioned] as “the Pagan lay leader at the Academy.” Wrong again, Times editorial buffoons. [The pagan lay leader], a courageous MRFF client, resigned that titular post a fair number of weeks ago in direct protest over the blatant, strong-arming insensitivity, which the Academy was using in the administration of the naming of that stone circle…
Always quick to resort to the grade school antic of name-calling, Weinstein apparently failed to realize the Times didn’t Read more
The creation of a “pagan area” under the auspices of the US Air Force Academy Cadet Chapel was highly controversial more than a year ago. Originally, a “dedication” was scheduled in March 2010. It seems the ceremony was delayed more than a year.
USAFA announced it had dedicated the “Cadet Chapel Falcon Circle” last week on May 3rd. As previously discussed, the US military does not make a site “sacred,” so the “dedication” seems to have been more ceremonial or functional in nature.
Interestingly, the article seems to indicate a slight tweak on the original purpose of the outdoor chapel. Originally, USAFA was said to be adding “a worship area for followers of Earth-centered religions.” The new wording was somewhat more careful this year: Read more
Despite Fort Bragg bearing a brunt of repeated criticisms over its handling of the atheist “Rock Beyond Belief” — including being painted as liars, predators and bigots — the US Army command has maintained the high ground. Even as it was accused of unConstitutional conduct, its Garrison commander, Col Stephen Sicinski, continued to say he supported the right of the atheists to hold their event, should the event-holders decide to un-cancel it (as they are hinting, while still highlighting the cancellation).
In a related vein, a recent news article notes the Fort Bragg atheists’ attempt to form a “distinct faith group” under the Army’s fairly unique recognition system. The Army has been helping them along the way, in more ways than one: Read more