Tag Archives: Public Expression

US Air Force Supports Super Bowl XLIV

As the excitement builds in the minutes before the Super Bowl kickoff, four Air National Guard F-15 Eagle fighter jets will scream over Miami’s Sun Life Stadium in a dramatic show of military support for the big game.

The US Air Force supported Super Bowl XLIV in several ways:  Not only the flyby by ANG F-15s as the National Anthem completed, but also airborne fighters in protective patrols in the skies overhead.  Other military support included the Armed Forces Color Guard that presented the Colors prior to the game.

Besides the obvious need for security, the military support–particularly the flyby–is both an inspirational patriotic event and a recruiting tool.  The military participation certainly isn’t an endorsement of either the Super Bowl, its sponsors, or either Read more

US Marines Bring Memorial Cross Home

As US forces continue to draw down their equipment and leave Iraq, there are some unique items that troops are having to deal with.

As bases were built and initial combat conducted, a variety of memorials began to surface as units looked for ways to remember the fallen.  Some bases have T-barriers painted with murals, and others have entire walls covered with the names of those who paid the ultimate price at their nation’s call.

PFC Oscar Martinez is one such Marine.  He was killed in a rocket attack on Camp Al Taqaddum in Iraq in 2004.  His unit made a 3 foot tall aluminum cross and placed it on the base in his memory–nearly six years ago.

USMC Photo (Cpl Bobbie Curtis)

USMC Photo (Cpl Bobbie Curtis)

Now that bases are closing and being turned over to the Iraqis, Read more

US Air Force Academy Adds Pagan Chapel

The US Air Force Academy cadet chapel is expanding to the outdoors.  Along with its Christian, Jewish, Islamic, and Buddhist chapel areas, the cadet chapel will now officially include a “pagan circle” located on a hill just above the chapel grounds.

The Academy pagan group is led by USAF TSgt Brandon Longcrier, an NCO who works in the astronautics lab within the academic faculty.  Longcrier was effusive in his praise of the Academy and the Chaplains in their support for his efforts, which included pagan rituals for Basic Cadet trainees over the summer.

“There really haven’t been any obstacles for the new circle,” he said. “The chaplain’s office has been 100-percent supportive.”

According to Longcrier, the pagans meet during each Monday night (chapel-sponsored SPIRE meets that night).

It would appear that those who claim the US military is officially “Christian” are losing any vestiges of evidence to support their claim.

Chaplains Praise Support: Torahs for Our Troops

The Jewish Welfare Board’s Jewish Chaplains Council has organized an effort called “Torahs for Our Troops,” with the intent of providing Jewish servicemembers with the religious materials they require for their spiritual needs:

[Jewish] chaplains have asked [the] JWB Jewish Chaplains Council to provide them with small, lightweight but fully kosher Torah scrolls to accompany them from site to site, as they move around ships and the combat theater…For Jews, writing or helping to write a Torah is an important mitzvah. JWB is giving people the opportunity to fulfill this religious obligation by contributing toward the completion of these new Torahs, as well as a way to thank those men and women who serve in the armed forces…

As noted many times on this site, obtaining spiritual resources for servicemembers in theatre and around the world can be challenging, despite the seemingly constant call and supply of ‘care packages.’  The JWB/JCC move is an admirable effort to help military Chaplains provide for the needs of their troops.  This not only provides moral support for our troops as they are deployed in defense of our country; it also ensures US soldiers’ rights to religious free exercise regardless of their location.

Despite the positive attempts by the JWB and Jewish Chaplains to support Jewish members of the US military, their efforts are not without potential controversy Read more

Campus Crusade Helps Soldiers and their Families

Campus Crusade for Christ (see links) recently hosted a large-scale event near Fort Campbell (which straddles the state line between Kentucky and Tennessee) to provide resources to help Soldiers and the local community come to grips with the realities and challenges of post-traumatic stress disorder (PTSD).

The seminar was led by Maj Gen (Ret) Bob Dees, who the article notes is the former commander of the 3rd BCT and the current executive director of CCC.

One person who presented his story of PTSD described the ability of the church to support Soldiers and their families:

“Church can provide compassion, comfort and understanding,” said Stephen Dorner, who along with his wife Karen was one of three couples who provided first-hand tales of fighting through combat trauma and post-traumatic stress disorder.

CCC has been unfairly criticized, going back before 2007, for its work Read more

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

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