Each year since 1993 the President has declared January 16th to be “Religious Freedom Day,” in order to remember the passage of Thomas Jefferson’s 1786 Virginia Statute for Religious Freedom. President Trump has not yet released his proclamation.
Jefferson’s statute continues to be a strong expression for the value of religious liberty even today. Though the statute has been discussed in many places and in great depth, there are two important points to take from the statute. First, Read more
The Walk of Heroes Veterans War Memorial in Rockdale County, Georgia, was vandalized in December. A plaque, two statues, and the globe they held, all made from bronze, were ripped from the site. Three people have been arrested.
At this point, there’s no immediate indication the vandalism was connected to the nationwide purge of “racially offensive” monuments. One source estimated the cost of repairs at more than $200,000.
Another question, however, is whether the monument, repaired or not, will survive the newfound fury of atheists.
Atheist Jason Torpy and others like him have been on a crusade Read more
Hemant Mehta, an atheist blogger at the pay-per-click Patheos, celebrated a “gotcha” against one-time Senatorial candidate Roy Moore when Mehta decided how to describe the faith of their lawyer.
The “issue” started when Kayla Moore, Roy Moore’s wife, reacted to claims they were anti-Semitic by noting “one of our attorneys is a Jew.”
Truth be told, the “I have friends who are…” defense is always awkward — but it is also common. (Even Michael “Mikey” Weinstein uses it in defending against claims he’s anti-Christian.) But not yet satisfied, critics began an in-depth investigation to figure out who this mystery Jew was — because, well, who knows?
Finally, Kayla Moore simply told them: Read more
A local story repeated at the Stars and Stripes covers Willard Keith Staneart, who served as an Army chaplain during Vietnam. Faced with the potential of an overwhelming attack by the Viet Cong, Staneart spoke with his battalion commander:
“He said, ‘Chaplain, every one of these young men are like my own sons. Their parents and their spouses are dependent on my getting them home safely,'” Staneart said. “He says, ‘I’ve failed. They’re all going to die tonight.'”
The commander asked Staneart to go around, pray with and counsel the men.
“I took a Bible, went Read more
Some astute writing from Stephanie Barclay of the Becket Fund, as published at The Witherspoon Institute [emphasis added]:
The Supreme Court has consistently held that a government’s desire to protect people from emotional harm…does not constitute a compelling government interest…The Court has protected speech deeply hurtful to the dignity of others, including protesters at the funeral of a Marine killed in action with signs that say things like “God Hates Fags”…
The Court has correctly explained that any other result would “effectively empower a majority to silence dissidents simply as a matter of personal predilections.”…
These are not simply hypothetical thought experiments. After Read more
The Satanic Temple built a counter-monument to place next to a war memorial in Belle Plaine, Minnesota. The problem, as the Satanists apparently saw it, was the silhouette of a soldier kneeling at a cross-shaped headstone elevated Christianity.
In response to protests, the town created a “free speech zone” — which only created further protests. Ultimately the town decided the warring religious monuments weren’t good for the town and cancelled the entire idea, including the original kneeling soldier.
Not only was the two-foot tall steel silhouette “banned,” but so was the one created by The Satanic Temple.
The silhouette runs less than $100.
The Satanic Temple forked out $35,000 for Read more
Petty Officer 3rd Class Eduardo Otero is a US Navy Sailor and an atheist, as he describes in a uniquely toned article entitled “Not Applicable: The Story of an Atheist, a Navy Chaplain and a Search for Hope.” Otero, a Navy “mass communication specialist” (essentially a public affairs officer), wrote the article in a staccato future perfect tense — making it seem at times like an odd trip down a future memory lane that is unsure of its own footing.
Ultimately, it boils down to PO3 Otero desiring counseling from a chaplain, and he met with a Catholic priest, Chaplain (LTjg) Jason Burchell.
And that’s really about it. The article eventually becomes a “chaplain 101” story in which Otero seems to have transitioned his counseling into interviews with his chaplain, both personally and professionally.
Some of what Otero cites might seem like fodder for Michael “Mikey” Weinstein’s crusade against Read more
Michael “Mikey” Weinstein’s MRFF recently had a case of the vapors when they read the Southern Baptist Convention’s chaplaincy website, which includes the 1941 quote from Alfred Carpenter that
Every chaplain is a missionary in uniform, and an evangelist at large…
Weinstein’s group let loose the vitriol:
MRFF’s Constitutional [sic] civil-rights [sic] battle for separation of church and state in the U.S [sic] military faces vicious opposition from fundamentalist evangelical Christian dominionists hell-bent on ensuring military chaplains function as “government paid missionaries”…
As previously discussed, every Christian Read more