Chaplain (Maj.) Bradley West, a US Army Chaplain, was presented with the Gen. Methodej Kuban Medal by Chaplain Mirek Jordanek, Chaplain for the Czech unit stationed at Forward Operating Base Shank in Afghanistan.
The award was named for a Czechoslovakian Catholic chaplain killed in Auschwitz in World War II, who encouraged believers of all denominations to worship together.
As has been noted many times before, there is a shortage of Catholic Chaplains in the Armed Forces. Chaplain West, a Protestant, was fulfilling his duties to see to the spiritual needs of all of his troops when he Read more
Nearly 100 American Muslim soldiers gathered at Fort Jackson to pray as a group to mark Eid al Fitr, celebrating the end of Ramadan. The call to prayer was led by Chaplain (Lt Col) Abdul-Rasheed Muhammad of the US Army Chaplain Center and School. The Chaplain lauded the soldiers’ participation, saying
We want (the Soldiers) to be empowered through the spiritual foundation that Islam provides.
When members of the military fail in their respect and protection of religious liberty, Read more
In early September, the Associated Press made waves when it decided to publish a photograph of a mortally wounded Marine against the wishes of the Marine’s family. Regrettably, lost in the controversy was the story of the Marine himself. He was a young Christian man who gave up his life in the way he lived it: in the service of others.
Lance Corporal Joshua M. “Bernie” Bernard Read more
According to a court filing, Michael Weinstein, president of the Military Religious Freedom Foundation, and his wife Bonnie are suing Jim Ammerman and Gordon James Klingenschmitt. Ammerman is the head of the Chaplaincy of Full Gospel Churches, which is also named in the suit. The CFGC was one of Klingenschmitt’s endorsing agencies. Klingenschmitt is a former US Navy Chaplain who was court-martialed and discharged after he disobeyed orders not to appear in uniform at a protest event.
Weinstein filed the suit due to the allegedly threatening remarks from the defendants. The accusations against Ammerman in the lawsuit are somewhat vague:
[Ammerman] made speeches and statements attacking Mikey and his family and containing virulent anti-Semitic comments. He described Mikey as a madman…and said other hurtful and despicable things.
Weinstein seems to say that Ammerman’s comments were offensive, but does not say that they were threatening. In response to Ammerman’s speeches, Weinstein said he was “undeterred.” His main concern was that Klingenschmitt was “Ammerman’s…henchman.”
Klingenschmitt publicized an “imprecatory prayer” quoting the Psalms asking God to, among other things, make Weinstein’s “days be few:” Read more
The integration of Chaplains in US military operations is so seamless that it is actually difficult to read a story about ongoing combat operations without hearing about the role of the military’s spiritual advisors. In a recent piece at the LA Times about the commander’s changing tactics in Afghanistan, the reporter happens to describe a Chaplain riding in an MRAP with soldiers: Read more
As noted previously, a letter to the editor of the Stars and Stripes touched a nerve, with another contributor scolding a Chaplain about relying on the Bible.
The publication sparked a surprisingly blunt tit-for-tat, demonstrating that feelings about culture and religion present in American society are, indeed, also prevalent in the military.
A Captain stationed in Iraq decried the letter writer’s suggestion that modern Americans should rely on the Bible and its “Bronze Age morality.” Another Read more
While those who encourage the “mixing” of faith and the military profession are sometimes criticized, it appears there are specific efforts to promote the “mixing” of non-faith and the military. In an interesting twist on encouraging leadership development, the Military Association of Atheists and Freethinkers is offering a $500 “educational grant for military and nontheist leadership and activism.” The award is “particularly” aimed at military cadets. Read more
This week’s question is a summary of a frequent critique that takes many forms. In varying degrees, the US military has been accused of illegal activity for allowing personnel to use their official government email system for the distribution of email with religious content.
To narrow the controversy, one specific example occurred at Creech Air Force Base, as noted by Jason Leopold, a journalist with a colored history who often advocates for the Military Religious Freedom Foundation. In the incident, Read more