An Air Force Chaplain in Iraq has drawn the attention of his fellow servicemembers for his willingness to struggle, strain, and sweat right alongside them.
In the Air Force news release (“Chaplain Veers From Straight, Narrow Care”), Chaplain (Capt.) Chad Montgomery has worked under Humvees, helped mix cement with civil engineers, and has even been the “criminal” attack dummy for military working dogs.
He notes that some people (both in and out of the military) may have the wrong perception about what a Chaplain does:
“I don’t think people realize or know what your job is unless they do it,” the chaplain said. “I think people just think chaplains play with flannel graphs or something, just tell Sunday school stories. Read more
In early September, the Associated Press made waves when it decided to publish a photograph of a mortally wounded Marine against the wishes of the Marine’s family. Regrettably, lost in the controversy was the story of the Marine himself. He was a young Christian man who gave up his life in the way he lived it: in the service of others.
Lance Corporal Joshua M. “Bernie” Bernard Read more
According to a court filing, Michael Weinstein, president of the Military Religious Freedom Foundation, and his wife Bonnie are suing Jim Ammerman and Gordon James Klingenschmitt. Ammerman is the head of the Chaplaincy of Full Gospel Churches, which is also named in the suit. The CFGC was one of Klingenschmitt’s endorsing agencies. Klingenschmitt is a former US Navy Chaplain who was court-martialed and discharged after he disobeyed orders not to appear in uniform at a protest event.
Weinstein filed the suit due to the allegedly threatening remarks from the defendants. The accusations against Ammerman in the lawsuit are somewhat vague:
[Ammerman] made speeches and statements attacking Mikey and his family and containing virulent anti-Semitic comments. He described Mikey as a madman…and said other hurtful and despicable things.
Weinstein seems to say that Ammerman’s comments were offensive, but does not say that they were threatening. In response to Ammerman’s speeches, Weinstein said he was “undeterred.” His main concern was that Klingenschmitt was “Ammerman’s…henchman.”
Klingenschmitt publicized an “imprecatory prayer” quoting the Psalms asking God to, among other things, make Weinstein’s “days be few:” Read more
In an apparent reversal of popular stereotype, the Air Force Times analysis of Air Force marriage statistics claims that fighter pilots actually have a divorce rate lower than the rest of the force:
Airmen in career fields with the highest deployment tempos don’t get divorced more than those who spend most of their time at home station. Fighter jocks, supposed playboys, actually get divorced less than the force as a whole.
The blog of Operation Reveille, which says it is “Helping Service Personnel with Cross-Cultural Ministry,” has some interesting advice regarding how to handle potentially controversial situations in the current combat theatre.
For example: Can I give a Bible when asked? Read more
The integration of Chaplains in US military operations is so seamless that it is actually difficult to read a story about ongoing combat operations without hearing about the role of the military’s spiritual advisors. In a recent piece at the LA Times about the commander’s changing tactics in Afghanistan, the reporter happens to describe a Chaplain riding in an MRAP with soldiers: Read more
The US military has been accused of allowing its members to illegally use its official government email system to distribute messages with religious content (see background here). These actions have been called “unConstitutional” and “a violation of military regulations.”
This e-mail distribution has violated the separation of church and state [and] violates well established [military regulations].
In one specific incident, a base Chaplain asked the staff to forward a Bible study announcement. Did that message violate regulations, or any other policy or standard?
The shortest, most accurate answer: Read more
As noted previously, a letter to the editor of the Stars and Stripes touched a nerve, with another contributor scolding a Chaplain about relying on the Bible.
The publication sparked a surprisingly blunt tit-for-tat, demonstrating that feelings about culture and religion present in American society are, indeed, also prevalent in the military.
A Captain stationed in Iraq decried the letter writer’s suggestion that modern Americans should rely on the Bible and its “Bronze Age morality.” Another Read more