Tag Archives: Religion

Book Review: For God and Country

Cross Training Publishing, 2000.
Topic: Autobiography / Christian Living

Fisher DeBerry was the US Air Force Academy’s head football coach for 23 years.  He turned the USAFA football team into a national powerhouse, and he riled some people for his outspoken Christianity while working with young military cadets.

DeBerry’s book is part autobiography, part witness.  It describes his upbringing and career as head coach, and also his philosophy as a Christian in public life.  He describes his life as “the Three F’s: Faith, Family, and Football”–in that order.  He describes many of the conscious choices he made to encourage faith and family priorities in those he worked with and coached.  He speaks of the value of children, parenting, and the importance of school teachers–something few people may know DeBerry did before coaching college football.

His chapter on “Faith” is a wonderful read in which he says “we have our missions fields right here,” and encourages Christians to “spread the word daily by how we live and conduct ourselves:”

You don’t have to beat your chest and proclaim “I’m a Christian” to everyone you meet. But you have to walk the walk, not just talk the talk. Being a Christian has everything to do with how you approach life and the way you treat people.

Your Christianity isn’t just about what you say, it is shown by the consistency of how you live your life.

Unfortunately, the book isn’t produced with the highest quality editing, and those who have no interest in the US Air Force Academy or its football program may find some of the book uninteresting.

This book was written before the lawsuit and controversies over religion at the Air Force Academy, which cited and frequently criticized DeBerry’s outspoken Christianity as football coach.

Recommended.  It has wonderful pearls of wisdom and guidance, though some of its subjects are slightly niche.  It does have some Christian living advice that would be pertinent to the military Christian.  It’s a quick read and worth it, though those bored by football or USAFA may have to skim some parts.

This book is available from Amazon.

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Support for Military Marriages

A recent Armed Forces Press article notes the efforts by military leaders to stave off increases in military divorce rates.  According to the article, approximately 58% of military members are married, and there is an approximately 3.5% divorce rate.

While praising the benefits these programs offer families, officials said they recognize that strong marital and family relationships make better Soldiers.

It also has an important impact on a soldier’s decision to re-enlist…The Army recruits Soldiers, but it retains families.

There are a wide variety of programs, many of which are run by the Chaplaincy.  The article includes praise for the US Army’s “Strong Bonds.”  Strong Bonds is a Chaplain-run program that has come under fire Read more

Church Sponsors Prayer for Military Members

A Del Rio, TX, church has created an interesting concept in “Operation M’Brace,” in which people are encouraged to purchase a metal bracelet with the name of a US military member as a “daily reminder” to pray for them.  The bracelets appear to be fashioned in the same way as the POW/MIA bracelets worn by many as a a way to remember the POWs during the Vietnam War.

Del Rio is the home of Laughlin Air Force Base, one of the primary pilot training bases in the USAF.

As noted at OneNewsNow.

Baptism in Biblical Lands

An article by Spc Jodi Krause documents the baptism of several Army soldiers while deployed to Balad, Iraq.  The article includes photos of the baptisms, which occurred in the base pool.  Their Chaplain, Chaplain (Lt Col) Joel Severson said: 

As a pastor, [my] calling is to make believers and baptize them. In a sense, I am fulfilling my calling to the Lord to baptize them and continue to build them up in their faith.

Also noted at the AGreaterFreedom.com.

Marines Sued over Religious Bumper Sticker

A retired Marine working as a civilian at Camp Lejeune has sued the Marines for their demands that he remove bumper stickers from his vehicle in order to be allowed on base.  Jesse Nieto is represented by the Thomas More Law Center.

According to press reports, Nieto’s son died in the 2000 bombing of the USS Cole.  The bumper stickers were described as disparaging to the Islamic faith.

Military policies on bumper stickers are not entirely clear, though court rulings have upheld bans on those disparaging Read more

Military Jewish Lay Leader Derided

As previously noted, CAPT (USN) Neil Block is a Jewish lay leader who was personally involved in the investigation of alleged anti-Semitism in the Fort Benning community.

Now, Block himself is the target of the Military Religious Freedom Foundation.  In an article written by Jason Leopold, Michael Weinstein has called for his “immediate dismissal by Fort Benning” for his comments “trivializing” the incident, which Weinstein calls an “Army hate crime”:

Mr. Block displays a truly alarming and willful reckless disregard for the truth of this tragic Army hate crime and subsequent cover-up…Mr. Block is apparently the current reigning Poster Child for Army religious predator apologists.

[In the interest of full disclosure, it should be noted that Leopold is a frequent advocate for the MRFF, and has received an award from them.]

The vitriol directed toward CAPT Block inspired an open letter [updated link] at Jews in Green.

Also noted at the Religion Clause.

Jewish Trainee Case Concluded & Commented

According to the Associated Press, the Army has given non-judicial punishment to a soldier who assaulted a fellow trainee (previous discussions).  The assault has been widely reported in concert with the victim’s complaints of discrimination because of his Jewish faith; however, the Army indicates there was no evidence the incidents were related.  Michael Weinstein disagreed, saying

Michael Handman was turned into a punching bag for the Army because of his religious faith.

The incidents were also reported at the blog Jews in Green, where CAPT Neil Block, USN (Ret), has commented.  He was the retired Jewish officer and local leader brought in to provide an assessment of the situation, and his comments are enlightening.

Also noted at the Religion Clause.

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