Tag Archives: religious freedom

Navy Taken to Task over Feminist Poster

The US Navy got a lot of grief for posting a list of “Sexual Assault Prevention Tips” on its Facebook page that was derided at different times as uncouth, offensive, and “dumb.”

Navy spokesman Lt. Alana Garas told Fox News that the Navy post should have included more context from the start.
 
“The intention of posting this poster was to encourage discussion on a serious issue,” Garas said. “It is a crime that will not be tolerated … and the Navy will continue to explore ways to reach our sailors on this serious issue.”

Eventually people realized the “poster” wasn’t the work of the Navy, but of a feminist blog (which actually only created the poster, not the text, which was the source of another feminist blog…).  FoxNews noticed the blog the Navy credited went out of its way to deride Christianity:

Christianity is inherently and undeniably Read more

Astronaut: There Are No Atheists in Rockets, and Prayer in Space

Putting a new twist on an old cliché, NASA astronaut Michael Good (Col, USAF, Ret) recently spoke on the awe-inspiring experience of space flight:

“They say there’s no atheists in foxholes, but there’s probably no atheists in rockets,” said Catholic astronaut Col. Mike Good, who believes his faith in God was solidified by the awe-inspiring views he saw from space.

The article notes the infusion of faith in the local community and NASA:

NASA employees fill pews in churches surrounding Johnson Space Center, including Webster Presbyterian Church, called the “church of the astronauts” when John Glenn, Buzz Aldrin, Jerry Carr, Charlie Bassett and Roger Chaffee were active members of the congregation. Later this month, the church will honor the anniversary of Aldrin’s Holy Communion on the moon, the first meal ever eaten on its surface.

Nearby, the Catholic Church St. Paul the Apostle in Nassau Bay depicts Hubble images in its stained glass windows, a design collaboration with space-loving parishioners.

Two years ago Col Good hoped to bring “glory to the Lord of all creation” on a mission to work on the Hubble.

Some atheists apparently took umbrage at Good’s use Read more

US Military Chapels Protect Weapons Systems

Articles from Iraq and Afghanistan highlight the importance of the military Chaplaincy and Chapels for US servicemembers deployed to war.

First, an Air Force article from Joint Base Balad, Iraq, notes the goals military members set in the deployed environment:

Many people on a deployment create goals such as getting in better physical shape or taking educational classes, but there is another area that is sometimes forgotten…spiritual fitness.

and the military’s remedy to the comprehensive fitness servicemembers need:

The mission of the…Wing Chapel is to ensure the free exercise of religion and promote spiritual fitness for the human weapon systems.

Chaplain (Col) George Meister explained the importance of the Chapel’s contribution to the getting the mission done:  Read more

JFW: The Religious Rights of Those in Uniform

The Journal of Faith and War has published a lengthy set of articles on “The Religious Rights of those in Uniform.”  The series was written by Jay Sekulow and Robert Ash.  Dr. Sekulow is chief counsel of the American Center for Law and Justice (and debated Michael Weinstein at the US Air Force Academy in 2007).  Robert Ash (USA, Retired) is a West Point graduate, served 22 years in the Army, and teaches law at Regent University.

The articles originally appeared as “Religious Rights and Military Service” in Attitudes Aren’t Free: Thinking Deeply about Attitudes in the US Armed Forces, which contained the infamous article by Chris Rodda denigrating the celebration of Easter by Christians in the military.

The publication is a refreshingly positive perspective on what men and women of faith can do while serving in the US military.  So often critics have emphasized (or created an environment focused on) impermissible conduct; as a result, some military members (or religious persons considering military service) may assume their religious exercise is restricted.

That is not the case, as the JFW articles show.

The first article covers the “General Legal Principles” Read more

Chaplains Create Portable “Sacred Shelter”

An Army article notes an innovative attempt at supporting the religious free exercise of US servicemembers in the field:

The easily deployable tent structure, also known as a “sacred shelter” by developers at the U.S. Army Natick Soldier Systems Center, provides units with a small worship facility that can be set up rapidly in the field.
 
“This provides a facility for spiritual fitness, whether or not a chaplain is available, in an austere environment,” said Chaplain (Capt.) Andrew Shriver, 421st Multifunctional Medical Battalion chaplain.

The “portable chapels” were based on Chaplain Shriver’s own design from 2007 in Afghanistan for Soldiers who were constructing new FOBs.  They are designed to be cheap, easy to assemble, and even have partitions so separate faiths can be exercised simultaneously.

Interestingly, when the unit at Wiesbaden, Germany, tested out the prototype, the tent had a demo set up.  While a “stereotypical” religious demo might have included something like a cross, Chaplain Shriver showed a setup for an Islamic prayer room:  Read more

USAFA Atheists Need Freedom to “Denigrate?”

Jason Torpy of the Military Association of Atheists and Freethinkers recently wrote an article with mixed praise and criticism for the US Air Force Academy’s religious climate.  Notably, he claimed the USAFA “freethinker” group had

been operating outside the Academy’s chaplain office due to misunderstandings of policy and intellectual freedom.

Apparently one of the problems was an explicit USAFA policy against “denigrating” other religions.  The issue?

The term “denigrating” seemed to prevent discussion of nearly anything related to atheism.

According to Torpy, Read more

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