While much discussion has occurred over the Department of Defense’s report on DADT, many seem to have missed the completely separate (and substantial) report written on how to implement repeal within the military.
Much of the “Support Plan for Implementation” (PDF, 1.9MB) is at least alluded to in the original report, and much is administrative (like suggesting the use of “gay and lesbian,” as opposed to “homosexual”). Still, there are some interesting specifics. For example, while the plan reiterates that average servicemembers will not be allowed to separate for moral reasons, it gives a “suggestion” to Chaplains on how they can get out of the military if they so choose: Read more
Marine Corps Base Quantico recently announced it will be lighting the base “holiday tree” next week.
No word yet on whether they will also have a “holiday candelabrum.”
As previously noted, there is no military policy on public holiday celebrations on military facilities, though they are fairly common. While some have generic “holiday” events, other bases have not obscured the celebratory purposes, including Scott AFB, Illinois, Peterson AFB, CO, and Nellis AFB in Nevada:
The traditional Nellis AFB Christmas Tree and Menorah Lighting ceremony will be Dec. 3, 5:30 p.m., at the Chapel.
It appears the Capitol Christmas tree also remains traditionally named.
For the record, the Menorah lighting will actually be late. While many people think Hanukkah and Christmas coincide, the Jewish celebration actually started on December 1st this year.
A British news report tells the story of a British military Imam who led a 600+ member congregation — including locals, American servicemembers, and others — in the celebration of Eid ul Adha while in Afghanistan.
This service provided an opportunity for ISAF to demonstrate respect for the Muslim faith by providing a service for all Muslims on the base. One young American pilot told me of the Read more
Alliance Defense Fund fellow Garrett Gibson poses an interesting question on the American paradigm of defending freedom:
There is an oft-repeated American cliche that freedom is not free. Below the surface of this cliche lies three implications: first, that we value freedom; second, that we are willing to pay the price demanded for the protection of freedom; and third, and most pertinent to this discussion, that we protect, with the force of law, the things we value.
Gibson notes the potential cultural implications of society’s move away from recognizing, and valuing, the virtues of religion: Read more
Officers’ Christian Fellowship has an article entitled “A Christian Officer’s Toolbox,” which presents a variety of practical ways in which Christian military officers can integrate their faith and their profession.
The list of suggested tools, written by US Navy LtCmdr Brian Haggerty, includes Read more
A recent article on the US Air Force Academy Cadet Interfaith Council made a passing reference to an upcoming USAFA “religious respect conference” in November. The purpose of the conference is reportedly to work on the cadet “religious respect” training program. It seems this is the “next step,” following the respect training given to all basic trainees this past summer that was designed and developed by the Jewish Anti-Defamation League.
Jason Torpy, a former Army Captain and current president of the Military Association of Atheists and Freethinkers, recently announced on his website that he had been invited to the religious respect conference.
Broadly speaking, it is not at all unreasonable that an atheist would be invited to such a conference, as the military environment is one that favors no particular faith, or lack thereof.
Jason Torpy is an abysmal choice, however, and the Academy should rescind his invitation.
Torpy has actively worked against religious freedom in the military; he has Read more
The inappropriate invitation of MAAF president Jason Torpy to a USAFA “religious respect” conference was the topic of a separate article. One indicator (among others) of the improper invite was Torpy’s comments on one of the proposed training scenarios. Torpy, a West Point graduate and former Army Captain, presents himself as an expert in matters of military regulations and religion…and, yet, he entirely missed the point.
To recap, the scenario was as follows:
Lisa wears a cross under her uniform. On the obstacle course one day the cross slips outside her uniform and a commander (or teacher) says, “What’s that? That’s not regulation.” Lisa apologizes and says she’ll tuck it back into her shirt. The commander (or teacher) says, “No, you need to take it off; you can’t wear it.”
Torpy’s discombobulated critique: Read more
One of the results of the religious “scandals” that have plagued the US Air Force Academy over the past few years was the creation of the Cadet Interfaith Council. The CIC was the subject of the latest USAFA news article on religious expression and diversity at the Academy.
The 20-member cadet group serves as a focal point for religious issues in the cadet wing. Current president Cadet 2nd Class Philicia Fahrenbruch notes the Council helped ‘protect’ the time set aside for SPIRE on Monday evenings last year, and has helped deal with other issues since then.
Some of the topics noted in the article highlight the continued sensitivity of religion at the Air Force Academy: Read more