Update: A letter to the editor of the Stars and Stripes calls this a “bad decision,” saying other officers will have to “pick up the slack” when the Sikh soldier cannot be deployed due to his religious gear being incompatible with the chemical defense ensemble.
Earlier this year two Sikh medical students who had joined the US Army appealed the Army regulation that prevents them from wearing their articles of faith, including their beard, turban, and kirpan. As discussed previously, a US appeals court had upheld the Army regulation.
The Sikh Coalition now reports that one of the physicians has been granted an exception to the uniform policy. Notably, this is not the change in policy Read more
Understandably, it is sometimes difficult to accurately convey the complicated relationships that military members have with the government and religion. Sometimes, people with the best intentions misstate the proper role of military members; sometimes, people do so authoritatively–and ignorantly.
Recently, a well-publicized civilian author said this:
When a uniformed officer of the US military makes derogatory remarks about Islam, he’s violating [his] oath and expressing contempt of the First Amendment.
(For context, the “uniformed officer” (who wasn’t actually in uniform at the time) was a Chaplain.)
Do you agree?
More to follow.
Update: See the discussion on this question here.
The sensitivities of religion, military uniforms, and weapons have frequently made for controversial accusations. A few months ago, al Jazeera used creative cuts in a video of a Chaplain to imply that he was wearing a sidearm. (Though he wasn’t, others in the congregation may very well have been.) When Christian basic trainees were photographed with their weapons during religious services, they were decried as morally equivalent to Islamic suicide bombers.
The apparent accusation is that American servicemembers should not be permitted to intermingle their uniforms, weapons, and religion. Notably, that accusation has been applied only to Christians. Other ideological adherents have been photographed in uniform with their weapons without complaint.
The military requirements, however, Read more
Tim Tebow has been a frequent subject of this site. He is an outspoken Christian in a public position who has utilized his platform to further the cause of Christ.
He has been used as an example for those who feel they need to get out of the military and become preachers or missionaries in order to serve Christ. Tebow, like R.G. LeTourneau, accurately points out that men and women should serve God where He has placed them, and they should use the talents that He has given them.
His life ministry–that is, his conscious desire to be known as someone who is genuine and cares–has been used as an example of the power of living evangelism, or Truth with Feet.
Now, Albert Mohler, president of the Southern Baptist Theological Seminary, highlights a “new agenda” Read more
As frequently noted, US military Chaplains serve as far more than mere spiritual advisors. They are counselors, marriage consultants, morale officers, and representatives to their command on issues of culture and religion that affect the mission. They’re also sometimes just a voice of reassurance.
A Chaplain currently stationed in Iraq recounts a story of how his faith helped a soldier at Fort Benning, where paratroopers at the Airborne School learn to jump out of airplanes: Read more
In a speech to a crowd of 9,000 at a Phil Waldrep ministry event, former President George W. Bush said that he missed being the Commander-in-Chief most of all:
I miss being commander and chief of our military the most. You know you live in an amazing country when we have servicemen that continually volunteer to serve their country in the face of danger. I believe we have an obligation to give our troops all the support they need to accomplish their missions.
He spoke for an hour on faith, patriotism, and his time in office. In giving his reasons for choosing a portrait of Abraham Lincoln for the Oval Office, Bush said Read more
Along with Gordon Klingenschmitt, Jim Ammerman and the Chaplaincy of Full Gospel Churches are being sued by Michael and Bonnie Weinstein for “imprecatory prayers.” A recent news release indicates that Ammerman and the CFGC will be represented by the Rutherford Institute.
The Rutherford Institute describes itself as an organization that is “dedicated to the defense of civil liberties and human rights,” including “the defense of religious…liberties.” Ironically, Weinstein and his organization, the Military Religious Freedom Foundation, are Read more
The White House announced that President Obama observed the
auspicious holiday of Diwali, or festival of lights, in the East Room of the White House.
making him the first US President to do so. Diwali is reportedly
a major pan-Indian festival celebrated around the day of the new moon in October-November.
Obama lit and bowed to a ceremonial Diwali lamp.