A few weeks ago the Colorado Springs Gazette published a short email excerpt from the designated pagan leader at the USAF Academy, TSgt Brandon Longcrier. In the quote, the Gazette highlighted Longcrier’s fear for his cadets in the face of what he described as a “hate crime” (the crossed shoe boards at the pagan circle).
Not much later, the Military Religious Freedom Foundation, to whom the letter was addressed, published a series of letters it had received on the subject. The authors’ names were redacted, but in one the author clearly identified himself as the person who found the cross at the pagan site and took “the picture,” which is known to be Longcrier. In addition, it includes the quotes from the Gazette article attributed to him.
Longcrier’s message reiterates the “hate crime” and criticizes the Air Force Academy for its response. More interesting, however, is his attitude toward the cadets — particularly those of the Christian Read more
A blog by a USAFA cadet reaffirms prior comments that the new pagan circle at the US Air Force Academy is in an area frequented for other purposes, and even has a unique spiritual history.
The area is collectively referred to as the “LZ,” and the clearing has been used–for years–as a station on the hill for which to conduct “training” for fourth class cadets. The author of Wonderings and Wanderings has a post on the 14th of January that says his squadron used the LZ for training–3 days before the “cross incident” occurred (which, incidentally, was also a long weekend). At the time, no one knew Read more
A group recently called for Congress to “probe” the US Air Force Academy after allegations of religious “insensitivity”—but not likely the insensitivity of which most immediately think. After years of criticism that USAFA has favored Christianity, and in the wake of news that a cross had been found at the newly created pagan circle at the Academy, the Catholic League for Religious and Civil Rights is calling for a probe to investigate “insensitivity to Christians” at the US Air Force Academy.
Catholic League President Bill Donohue decried the military’s characterization of the cross incident at the pagan circle–in which two railroad ties were picked up and laid against a rock–which Academy Superintendent LtGen Michael Gould seemed Read more
This incident has been so mis-reported that it was initially just ignored; however, when General Gould published a statement agreeing that this incident has been “sensationalized,” he gave credence to the view that this situation is being grossly mischaracterized, and that people are inappropriately using it for their personal advancement. An analysis thus follows…
Despite the positive hullabaloo over the US Air Force Academy pagan circle, Michael Weinstein’s Military Religious Freedom Foundation has now denounced the placement of a cross at the site, an act that occurred before the recent positive press reports. Though the incident took place several weeks ago, the MRFF appeared to time the press release to counter the recent spate of “good news” about religious tolerance at USAFA.
For the record, it should go without saying that Read more
The US Air Force Academy cadet chapel is expanding to the outdoors. Along with its Christian, Jewish, Islamic, and Buddhist chapel areas, the cadet chapel will now officially include a “pagan circle” located on a hill just above the chapel grounds.
The Academy pagan group is led by USAF TSgt Brandon Longcrier, an NCO who works in the astronautics lab within the academic faculty. Longcrier was effusive in his praise of the Academy and the Chaplains in their support for his efforts, which included pagan rituals for Basic Cadet trainees over the summer.
“There really haven’t been any obstacles for the new circle,” he said. “The chaplain’s office has been 100-percent supportive.”
According to Longcrier, the pagans meet during each Monday night (chapel-sponsored SPIRE meets that night).
It would appear that those who claim the US military is officially “Christian” are losing any vestiges of evidence to support their claim.
While some seem to imply that only Christians associate their religious ideology with their military service, public examples on all sides demonstrate that is not the case.
A Pennsylvania paper recently covered a local story in which a group of pagan veterans are encouraging those with similar beliefs to, in their words, “come out of the broom closet.” Charles Arnold is the “‘national commander’ of the Pagan Veterans of the United States,” which he formed earlier this year. He says pagan veterans “number Read more
Groups and individuals (and there are several) who have recently proposed banning Muslims from serving in the US military as a result of the Fort Hood massacre are demonstrating naivete and an incorrect understanding of both the military and the US Constitution.
No American citizen should be prohibited from any government role, including military service, purely because of his religious beliefs.
Besides being ludicrous on its face, the enforcement of such a religious ban Read more
As previously discussed, a civilian author recently criticized a military Chaplain for “expressing contempt” for the Constitution when he made “derogatory remarks about Islam:”
When a uniformed officer of the US military makes derogatory remarks about Islam, he’s violating [his] oath and expressing contempt of the First Amendment.
The comment was made by Jeff Sharlet, posting under the moniker Ishmael, on the Daily Kos website. Sharlet is also the author of The Family, a book that purports to be an expose on a secretive and conspiratorial religious organization (the “Christian Mafia”) attempting to influence the US government.
The comment was in defense of Chris Rodda, the Military Religious Freedom Foundation researcher, when she criticized Camp David Chaplain (LtCdr) Carey Cash for his religious views. Sharlet’s use of the word “derogatory” notwithstanding, is he right? Can a religious leader of one faith in the military say nothing negative about another–even if such statements are consistent with the tenets of their faith?
The core question: Can a Chaplain (or any other military officer) espouse specific, even exclusive, religious ideology?
The shortest, most accurate answer: Read more