Ever since Madalyn Murray O’Hair of the American Atheists sued NASA in 1969, the relationship between the space agency and all things religious has been interesting. Even forty years later, as noted here, American Atheists complained about NASA allowing Astronaut Patrick Forrester to carry a piece of Nate Saint’s airplane with him into space.
Still, NASA hasn’t shied away from all things religious. A previous article noted that God of Wonders has been one of the more popular “wake-up songs” broadcast to the shuttle crew in space. (Each crewman’s family can pick a song as the wake-up call for the start of each day.) The most recent trip (STS-129) just ended, with space shuttle Atlantis returning to Earth just after Thanksgiving. During the mission, the shuttle heard MercyMe’s I Can Only Imagine, the Newsboys’ In Wonder, and Bob Carlisle’s Butterfly Kisses, among several other songs for the crew. Read more
An Army Chaplain has made his mark by praying with soldiers before every convoy departs Al Asad, Iraq. Chaplain (Capt.) Michael Lanigan is the 41st Infantry Brigade Combat Team Chaplain.
“I come out here every night, this is exactly what I feel like God has designed me to do–to bring faith to the fight in a place where men and women just need encouragement.” Lanigan said that he does not inspire with just his words, but with God’s words, and that he believes that is a powerful thing.
The Chaplain also notes that faith, not his position as Chaplain, is what the Soldiers Read more
The White House blog details the Sikh celebration of the “540th anniversary of the birth of Guru Nanak Dev Ji” that took place on November 13th. President Obama did not attend (he was on the first leg of his Asia trip), and it does not appear he made a statement on the celebration.
The White House notes that this is the first Sikh celebration to occur in the White House. It is not, however, the first time this event has been recognized Read more
Despite the occasional accusation to the contrary, the US military is not a bastion of conspiratorial theocrats. As is routinely shown even on this site, the Chaplains of the US military go beyond the call in their efforts to support all military members, no matter what religion (if any), and often no matter what nationality.
At Keesler Air Force Base, Chaplain (Capt.) Charles Mallory recently had an opportunity to organize a new group to discuss issues of belief. The Chaplain was approached by an enlisted Airman about starting a discussion group that would ultimately be called “The Query of Orthodoxy,” designed to give Read more
Michael Weinstein and his Military Religious Freedom Foundation have been repeatedly called out over the past few weeks for displaying an odious double standard: Weinstein has demanded various military Christians be court-martialed, accusing them of using their positions of power to proselytize and coercing subordinates based on their religion. He has failed to make any similar call against accused Fort Hood gunman Maj. Nidal Malik Hasan, even though Hasan has been accused of doing exactly the same things.
However, Michael Weinstein has finally asked, “Should Hasan be court-martialed?” Oddly, he never answers his own question.
To his credit, Weinstein does make a (qualified) statement that Hasan should have been court-martialed. That would be the most serious, if parsed, statement Weinstein has made against a person not of the Christian faith in the military. However, Read more
A recent set of articles bemoaned the lack of a “separation of church and sports” in the United States, an idea espoused by those who are tired of players “mixing” their faith and their athletics (see Tim Tebow, Fisher Deberry, Tony Dungy, Chad Hennings, etc.)
Time magazine recently covered the subject from a different perspective. In “God and Football” they cover the various roles of Chaplains in the NFL. Some of the comments are oddly similar to those faced by Chaplains and religious adherents in the military. Read more
A recent Military Religion Question of the Day involved a sermon delivered in Afghanistan by Chaplain (LtCol) Gary Hensley. The question and subsequent answer have already been discussed. The discussion noted that groups used Hensley’s sermon as proof of religious impropriety in the military, though their accusations were demonstrably false.
The relationship of the Military Religious Freedom Foundation to this incident, however, requires further illumination. Read more
Last week, a question was posed about whether a Chaplain’s sermon in Afghanistan was a violation of military rules. The background, and links to the video, can be seen here.
So, did the Chaplain, as the accusers imply, violate military regulations due to the content of his sermon?
The shortest, most accurate answer: Read more