Tag Archives: religious freedom

The Courage of US Military Chaplains

The National Catholic Register ran a piece on military chaplains entitled “Profiles in Courage: Military Chaplains,” documenting the roles and experiences of Catholic chaplains in the US military.  While it noted the typical shortage, it also highlighted a surge of new volunteers:

The Archdiocese for the Military Services, USA reported a sharp jump this year in the number of seminarians interested in serving as military chaplains. As the 2011-2012 academic year begins, there are 31 military-affiliated seminarians nationwide, up from three just three years ago.

The article also profiled four military chaplains Read more

Weinstein Predicts Holocaust, Goes After Presidential Candidates

Michael Weinstein recently highlighted an article by ally Bruce Wilson entitled “Rick Perry Event Pastor Predicts Coming “Prison Camps” For Jews.”  Weinstein prefaced it with (emphasis original)

This is the level of religious fundamentalism that threatens our country’s future, and I will NEVER stop fighting it!

The tone was somewhat unusual, given the topic had nothing to do with the military, which is Weinstein’s self-proclaimed forte.  In fact, there’s no public connection to the MRFF at all, save the personal association between the author and Weinstein’s group.  Weinstein’s critical sensationalism on the topic was a display of rank hypocrisy as well, for Weinstein has similarly predicted a dire future for Jews at the hands of American Christians:

In Plan A, evangelical Christians with a smile on their face will ask you to please, please, please accept their biblical worldview of Jesus. The problem with that is, inevitably, Plan A morphs into Plan B. They stop asking so nicely, and then you have the Holocaust, the pogroms, the Inquisition…  Read more

USAFA Follows Rules. Michael Weinstein Complains. News at 11.

As predictable as the sun rising in the East, the US Air Force Academy sent out an announcement that had a topic related to religion, and Michael Weinstein complained.

In fact, he’s “livid.”

The situation:  Apparently, Air Force Academy Chaplain (Col) Robert Bruno distributed a mass email about an upcoming ‘marriage and family seminar.’  The email was approved by the Vice Superintendent, and represented the “regularly” advertised chaplaincy programs occurring daily at USAFA.  Michael Weinstein said:

It could not possibly be clearer that the academy deserves its terrible reputation for fundamentalist Christian bias.

To be clear, even the publicized article notes the USAFA email explicitly followed (and even referenced) the Air Force Chief of Staff’s Read more

CAIR Accuses Army JROTC of Discrimination

The Council of American-Islamic Relations (CAIR) has said US Army JROTC uniform policies are discriminatory after Demin Zawity, a freshman at Ravenwood High School in Brentwood, TN, was told she could not wear her Islamic headscarf while in the Army uniform.

There’s no reason for them to have a policy that excludes people such as Zawity, said Gadeir Abbas, a CAIR staff attorney. It paves the way to encourage all faiths to participate, he added.

While noble-sounding, Abbas’ statement was ignorant.  JROTC programs are designed to be nearly identical to their ROTC and operational military equivalents — including following generally the same uniform rules.  In this case, the JROTC rule accurately reflects US military policy (to which there have been some notable exceptions).

Abbas also made a misleading and potentially incendiary statement:  Read more

Update: Atheist Soldier Refuses to Bow Head at Graduation

The CNN.com blog that covered the atheist Soldier refusing to lower his head during a training graduation prayer updated their post with input from Fort Jackson:

Fort Jackson officials said Friday that an atheist soldier was asked to lower their head during a prayer portion of a graduation ceremony rehearsal, but then decided it was ok for the soldier to stand at Attention. [sic]

As originally thought, the desire for a Read more

Consent Decree Issued in Case of VA Prayer Censorship

In a little-reported conclusion to the lawsuit accusing a Texas Veterans’ Affairs cemetery of censoring religious content, Federal District Judge Lynn Hughes signed a consent decree largely acknowledging the validity of the accusations.

The consent decree contained 50 individual points, though it applied only to the Houston National Cemetery, and the VA reiterated it felt some of the decrees were already VA policy.

Notably:

  • The Cemetery is prohibited from interfering with prayers or Read more

Atheist Soldier Refuses to Bow Head at Graduation

According to a CNN blog, an atheist US Army Private First Class graduating from Advanced Individual Training at Fort Jackson, SC, was expected to “bow his head and clasp his hands” during the prayer portion of his unit’s graduation. 

After almost being pulled from a graduation ceremony for refusal to lower the head during a benediction, a soldier is now allowed to attend but must instead stand at attention.

The rehearsal occurred yesterday, the graduation itself is today.  Notably, the CNN article was written only on the basis of information from the Soldier and Michael Weinstein; Read more

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