Tag Archives: Public Expression

Soldiers Ask For, Receive Prayer and Protection

A local church has a unique ministry for the soldiers departing for war from Fort Hood:

All soldiers deployed from Fort Hood are asked before heading overseas whether they would like someone to pray for them, through arrangements Pray FAST (“Pray For A Soldier Team”) coordinator Cecil Wolfe made through proper channels with the support of the chaplains. Those who request prayer fill out cards with their personal information and prayer requests, and the information is forwarded to [Skyline Baptist Church] prayer warriors.

Cecil Wolfe retired from a 30-year career in the Army. 

Apparently, Skyline’s ministry has resonated:

[The] desire for prayer has spread, with as many as 85 percent of all soldiers deployed from Fort Hood now requesting a prayer partner.

As reported here last year, a church in Del Rio, Texas, has a similar objective.  Operation M’Brace provides metal bracelets with the names of military members, which are worn as a reminder to those who pray for them.

Air Force Times: Prayer Should be Private

The Air Force Times has editorialized that

Before the Air Force can move past its reputation for religious intolerance, it must do one more thing: Eliminate prayers from official events.

Beginning an editorial with such a statement certainly reveals the tone.  After all, while the Air Force has been accused of intolerance by vocal critics, no institutional intolerance has ever been substantiated, and there is no public indication that intolerance is a valid “reputation” of the Air Force.

The editorial also treats a fairly complex issue rather whimsically.  The simple and unexplained demand that the Air Force “eliminate prayers from official events,” after all, would have prevented a Chaplain from praying at the nationally-televised memorial service at Fort Hood attended by the President.  Read more

Respect Healthy for Different Faiths, but Still Criticized

A few weeks ago, the Air Force Times solicited comments from its readers after noting the “improved religious climate” at the US Air Force Academy.  They asked:

What do you think?  Have you found the service and its members to be tolerant of Muslims, Jews, Hindus, Wiccans and others who are not Christians?

It would appear, based on the most recent Air Force Times article, that the responses were largely positive.  The article is entitled “Respect healthy for different faiths,” which seems to indicate a positive environment for “different faiths” within the Air Force.

Within the article, however, the author focuses on those who take issue with Christianity in the military, rather than the ‘healthy respect’ that is apparently evident.  The article begins with the presumption of truth in claims that the culture of the Air Force causes an ‘assumption’ of Christianity:

A predominance of Christians in the Air Force creates an atmosphere that assumes all airmen are Christians, allowing prayers and other religious displays at everything from football games and holiday parties to commander’s calls and change-of-command ceremonies, according to non-Christian airmen interviewed by Air Force Times.

While there is a “predominance of Christians” in the United States and in its military, the presence of prayer is not inherently a Christian endeavor, and Read more

Fort Hood Report Addresses Chaplains, Religious Accommodation

The Fort Hood report (pdf), authored at the request of Secretary of Defense Robert Gates, is being widely circulated and read by a variety of pundits.  As previously noted, many have already taken note that it calls for action against the officers who appear to have not followed standards when Hasan’s evaluations did not match his reported performance.  Two other findings are also important to the relationship between religion and the military: a review of the policy on Chaplain endorsers, and a recommendation that the military define a “baseline” for religious conduct.

First, with regard to the officers who supervised US Army Maj HasanRead more

NATO Denies Desecrating Koran…Again

A protest in the Helmand Province of Afghanistan was inspired by a claim that international troops “destroyed copies of the Koran.”  NATO said one person was killed–a sniper targeted by coalition forces–while Afghan officials reported six deaths.

As reported on al Jazeera,

Residents in Garmsir district of Helmand province on Tuesday said that Nato-led forces raided a house in the area on Sunday and destroyed copies of the holy book in a local mosque…  Read more

Jewish Chaplain Candidate Awaits Waiver for Beard

Rabbi Menachem Stern answered a 2008 ad for military chaplains, “went through all the hoops,” and in July 2009 was told

that the Accession Board had approved him, and at one point “I actually got orders to appear. I received a letter saying that if I agreed to a commission, I should report for swearing-in.”

Subsequently, that invitation was revoked because Stern, who represents an Orthodox sect of Judaism, wears a beard.

“For me, my beard is part of my religious garb,” he explained. “…By not trimming my beard, I show that I represent the unadulterated view of the holy Torah. While there would be ways around it, and many of these ways are kosher, keeping to the original version of the Torah is the only way we as members of the Chabad Lubavitch community believe a person should live.”

According to the Aleph Institute, the Army Chaplaincy isn’t opposed Read more

Navy Midshipman Stands Out for Christ

This site has previously documented the public faith of Tim Tebow, the unquestionably talented Florida quarterback who led his team to championships and wore his faith on his life, as well as his eye blacks.  He has been lauded for publicly living out his faith in his “profession.”

The Baptist Press documents another “stand-out linebacker” who “serves Christ,” this time as a military Midshipman at the US Naval Academy at Annapolis. 

Ross Pospisil is the Navy football defensive team captain, helping lead a team Read more

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