According to AF.mil, military Chaplains and Chaplain Assistants have been deployed in support of the populations affected by Hurricane Ike. From the press release:
Religious support teams provide spiritual support, death notification, moral support and critical incident stress management, among other services.
A hurricane reminds us what is really important–our faith, family, community and country–[and] puts everything into perspective…
Regent University and Officers’ Christian Fellowship are hosting a one day forum on military Christian leadership called Strength in Faith. The form will occur in October and will include speakers from OCF as well as Regent, including a former Chief of Naval Operations (Navy Chief of Staff) and a former Commander of AF Special Operations Command.
Chaplain Bill McCoy, author of Under Orders, now finds himself backtracking from the publication of an endorsement by General Petraeus on the cover of his book. According to various press reports, he now says the endorsement, as well as that of another General,
were intended for me personally rather than for the general public
Under Orders was reviewed here six months ago, and the Chaplain even responded to defend his book at the time.
In typical fashion, Michael Weinstein has said Read more
A local Philadelphia newspaper covers the story of Rabbi Jon Cutler, a Jewish Navy Reserve Chaplain serving a 13-month tour in Iraq. Cutler is the head Chaplain for 23 others.
Like many Chaplains, Cutler has the benefit of civilian religious counterparts to help fulfill troops’ spiritual needs:
When Cutler came to Iraq this winter, [he] set about creating a synagogue in the base’s chapel complex. Today, that synagogue — supplied with a Torah scroll brought over from the U.S. and the ark that holds it constructed by civilian contractors — has between 10 and 15 military personnel attending Friday night services. There is a steady crowd at Saturday Torah studies and weekly Jewish movie nights. Read more
According to a Kansas paper, Army Specialist Jeremy Hall (who is currently suing the Defense Department for “religious proselytizing”), was rebuffed in a visit to the IG to complain about “violations of his religious freedoms.” Weinstein said this “undermines” the DoJ’s move to dismiss, which cited Hall’s failure to use the in-place grievance systems.
According to the article, the visit occurred “earlier this month.” That would make it appear to be a response to the DoJ motion, which was filed last month, and possibly an attempt to generate content for Hall’s response to the motion, which is due next month. In addition, Weinstein (a former JAG) appears not to see a conflict of interest with the Army conducting an internal investigation about charges which are currently involved in, or related to, an ongoing federal lawsuit in which it is essentially a defendant.
According to the article, Weinstein also plans to bring up the fact that someone posted a mock Soldier’s creed (that ridiculed soldiers with medical duty waivers) in Hall’s platoon area. The article lists a previously unknown medical restriction for Hall. How Weinstein plans to integrate the faux creed about physical fitness into a lawsuit about religion is unclear. The sarcastic modification of military mantras is a fairly common brand of critical cynicism in the military, and is limited neither to the Army’s creed nor physical conditions.
General Schwartz took over as the new Air Force Chief of Staff today. His assumption of command received far less fuss than did the news of his original nomination.
In a ruling that could also impact religious activities in the military, the 4th Circuit has ruled that the government can control the content of prayers offered during its legislative sessions. Former Supreme Court Justice Sandra Day O’Connor sat on the panel as a visiting judge and contributed to the ruling.
Justice O’Connor said that the prayer was “government speech,” not individual speech. Reverend Hashmel Turner, also a local councilman, had sued when he was prevented from offering a sectarian prayer that would include the name of Jesus Christ. The Reverend had been represented by the Rutherford Institute, which plans to appeal to the Supreme Court.
As noted at the Religion Clause, Americans United for the Separation of Church and State has asked the Inspector General (an increasingly popular office, these days) to investigate
…an Army base’s practice of coercing soldiers to attend church services…
Tabernacle Baptist Church’s “Free Day Away” allows trainees from nearby Fort Leonard Wood to get a break from the base as well as attend an evangelical church service.
Quoted in a local paper, the base emphasized that Read more