President Bush and First Lady Laura Bush lit the national Christmas tree for the last time this year. Notably, there was no attempt to obscure the “Christmas” nature of the Christmas tree. During the ceremony, which takes place at the tree planted on the Ellipse of the Washington Memorial, President Bush said
The simple story we remember during the season speaks to every generation. It is the story of a humble birth in a quiet town, and the story of one life that changed millions more. For two millennia, the story of Christmas has brought joy to families, comfort to communities, and hope to hearts around the world.
He then turned his attention, as he often does, to the men and women in the Armed Forces: Read more
President Bush proclaimed September 5th through the 7th as the annual “National Days of Prayer and Remembrance.” From the announcement:
We also pray for the safety and success of the members of our Armed Forces now serving freedom’s cause. We seek God’s grace on their families, and commit to Heaven’s care those brave men and women He has called home…As we defend our country against its enemies, we pray for help in protecting the gift of freedom from those who seek to destroy it, and we ask the Almighty to strengthen all those securing liberty on distant shores.
The Colorado Springs Gazette covers the President’s commencement address at the US Air Force Academy on Wednesday.
Our nation is once again contending with an ideology that seeks to sow anger and hatred and despair – the ideology of Islamic extremism. In today’s struggle, we are once again facing evil men who despise freedom, and despise America, and aim to subject millions to their violent rule. And once again, our nation is called to defeat these adversaries – and secure the peace for millions across the world. And once again, our enemies will be no match for the men and women of the United States Air Force….
Be officers of character and integrity. Keep your wings level and true. Never falter; do not fail. And always know that America stands behind you.
Thank you. May God bless, and congratulations to the Class of 2008.
See the full text.
As noted on the Charlotte Observer, Rep. Sue Myrick (R-NC) has called for a
government investigation of all US military chaplains who were approved by Abdurahman Alamoudi.
All military Chaplains are required to have an endorsement by an ecclesiastical body. Alamoudi formed the American Muslim Armed Forces and Veterans Affairs Council, which provided such an endorsement for Muslim Chaplain candidates.
Alamoudi is now serving 23 years in jail on terrorism related charges, after having been involved financially with Libya and with an assassination plot on Saudi Prince Abdullah.
Though Myrick has been criticized for her statement, it is noteworthy that Rep. Charles Schumer (D-NY) voiced the same concerns over 5 years ago.
Depending on the source, there appear to be approximately a dozen Muslim Chaplains in the military. Notably, one government web article in 2006 stated that there were more Muslim and Jewish Chaplains than there were Catholic per military observant.
As noted at FoxNews and other news sources, some people are upset that a resolution acknowledging Christmas was opposed by 9 members of the House, while resolutions honoring other religions were passed unanimously. HR 847 (Christmas, Yes: 372/No: 9/Present/No Vote: 50) was identical in many respects to HR 635 (Ramadan, Y:376/N:0/P:56).
One lawmaker’s staff said she had
previously has opposed similar bills on Christianity because she “has concerns about separation of church and state.”
Apparently, those concerns apply only to Christianity, as the Representative voted “yes” on resolutions regarding Islam and Indian religious observations.
Many blogs and pundits have also skewered the Congress for wasting time, foisting Christianity on Americans, and entangling the government with religion, while those same people said nothing regarding the previous resolutions on other religions.
Some people, including the bill’s sponsor, Representative Steve King (R-Iowa), believe this is further proof of an undue hostility in America not toward religion, but toward Christianity. Whether true or not, the furor surrounding the resolution is indicative of the cultural sensitivity of Christianity in the public square, something military Christians would do well to remember.
(King acknowledged that he essentially proposed the resolution to make a point. Previously, he voted “present” on the other religious resolutions.)
Often, debates over the role of religion and the military can turn political, since they frequently devolve to the “church/state” debate, which inevitably involves the state. Thus, it is worth noting that the October 10th Airman’s Roll Call highlighted the proper relationship between active duty military members and political activity. The cited regulation is AFI 51-902.
Topic: Church and State
God & Government is an updated version of Chuck Colson’s 1987 Kingdoms in Conflict. Subtitled “an insider’s view on the boundaries between faith and politics,” it is an interesting and generally centrist evaluation of the complex relationship between religion and the state.
The book is a worthwhile read for a military Christian for several reasons. First, Colson adequately addresses both sides of the “church/state controversy,” an issue that is constantly cited in arguments against Christian activity in the military. He acknowledges that there are some Christians who would like nothing more than to elect a President-Pastor, and some secularists who would like nothing more than to eliminate the public existence of religion. He maintains that Read more
On 12 July 2007, Rajan Zed, a Hindu resident* of Nevada, delivered a mantra for the traditional daily opening prayer in the US Senate. Few Americans know his name, and fewer know what he said. What many Americans know, however, is that he was interrupted.
Objectively, three people were removed from the Senate chamber during Zed’s chant. Depending on the news source cited, the “activists,” “protesters,” “Christian patriots,” or “heroes” were arrested for “praying in Jesus’ name” or “disrupting” the Senate proceedings.
The three people openly said they were Christians, and they knew they could be arrested for what they were going to do. They also said they were “not heckling,” but hoping their prayer would be a “shield” from God’s wrath over the Hindu “idolatry” in the nation’s Capitol. James Klingenschmitt, the former Navy Chaplain, was in the Senate chamber and noted the irony of a government that would apparently suppress Christian prayer but allow that of a Hindu.
When the Hindu invitation was announced, Americans United for the Separation of Church and State (AU)–which ordinarily vociferously opposes government-endorsed chaplains–welcomed the incident as a step toward “diversity,” not because they agreed with the concept of government-backed prayer, but because it would make “the Religious Right…go insane.” Read more