Chaplain (LtCmdr) Fred Holcombe Jr is one of four Chaplains aboard the USS Enterprise, the US Navy’s oldest and most storied nuclear aircraft carrier. An article at the Baptist Press notes the unique nature of ministry at sea:
“The old saying on a ship is that every day is Monday except Sunday,” Holcombe said. “On Sundays, we obviously have church. In fact, we have many, many different services go on each Sunday.”
The majority of Holcombe’s time is spent in his primary ministry — Read more
Texas Senator Kay Bailey Hutchison has asked the Department of Veterans Affairs to investigate allegations that a VA cemetery in Texas has been censoring “God” and “Jesus” from ceremonies. From the Senator’s letter to VA Secretary Erik Shineski:
I am…greatly concerned by the complaints my office has received from veterans and their families that the Houston National Cemetery Director has forbidden the name of God or Jesus to be used during funeral services at the cemetery, even if the family wishes to do so. Our veterans swore to uphold the Constitution with their lives, and they and their families’ religious freedom should be honored, not prohibited. [emphasis added]
I am requesting that you look into this situation to determine if there are indeed any religious prohibitions or restrictions on speech or religious expression at the Houston National Cemetery. I would also ask that you determine if this situation is unique to the Houston Cemetery or if there are policies in place that might lead to religious prohibitions or restricted speech at other veteran cemeteries.
The controversy started around Memorial Day, when it took a court injunction to allow a local preacher to say “Jesus” when he prayed. Now the complaint has Read more
The US House of Representatives passed the 2012 Defense Appropriations bill last week. (The previously-passed Defense Authorization Act ‘authorizes’ the military, while the Appropriations Act funds it.) It included an amendment affecting funding for Chaplain training, intended to prohibit them from performing ‘homosexual marriage’ ceremonies in military chapels, regardless of state law. It was intended to ensure military policy remained Read more
The head of the armed forces is embroiled in a controversy over the proper place of “God” in military funeral rites — but its likely not the problem you think.
The Israeli military is embroiled in a public battle over whether God ought to be mentioned at memorial rites for fallen soldiers…
The controversy is over whether Yizkor, the Hebrew prayer of remembrance, should begin at military ceremonies with the words “May God remember” or “May the people of Israel remember.”
Military policy calls for the version mentioning God to be used, but enforcement has been patchy in an apparent nod to the sentiments of the Jewish state’s secular majority.
It is a seemingly odd controversy for a nation that is often assumed to be religious in some form.
Back home in the US, the Department of Veterans’ Affairs in Texas is Read more
This site previously noted the lack of original thought on the part of some activist atheists.
Now, in response to Easter, they want, well, an atheist counter-celebration of Christ’s resurrection, apparently.
Last year this site noted that Michael Weinstein’s research assistant Chris Rodda held up for derision the military Christian celebrations of Easter in the combat theatre. Despite the criticism by Rodda and Weinstein’s organization, which oddly includes “military religious freedom” in its name, the celebration of religious holy days in the combat area is perhaps one of the most explicit examples of religious freedom in the US military.
This year, the MRFF continued its attacks Read more
The Southern Baptist Convention has sponsored what is probably the perfect VBS theme for Air Force Chapels:
The “Amazing Wonders Aviation: Encountering God’s Awesome Power” is the theme for 2012, though, so you may have a year to wait.
This year, military congregations around the world continue to host Vacation Bible School to minister to children both in and out of the Read more
A US Army article again highlights SPC Simranpreet Singh Lamba, the sole non-medical Sikh Soldier granted a waiver of uniform standards so he may adhere to his religious dress requirements.
The article again documents the difficulty Lamba had in having his enlistment accepted. It also repeats the prior news that Lamba has had no significant issues either with the institutional Army or with individual Soldiers, despite his (significantly) minority faith: Read more
Want to know what Michael Weinstein and his self-founded Military Religious Freedom Foundation stand for? Ask his staff and supporters.
GodDiscussion.com, which has a close relationship with Leah Burton — one of two members of Michael Weinstein’s MRFF board — recently hosted a fundraiser for the MRFF in coordination with the Fort Bragg “Rock Beyond Belief.” They were bringing in money for three reasons, in their own words:
(1) the soliders [sic] at Ft. Bragg who face potential legal challenges in having their Rock Beyond Belief secular alternative to Frankin Graham’s Rock the Fort proselytizing concert
(2) legal representation of service members nationwide who face discriminatory “Spiritual Fitness Tests” and
(3) the general fight against Christian extremism within the Armed Forces.
It’s interesting they’d raise funds for Read more