Religious freedom in the armed forces — something the US military takes very seriously — sometimes goes beyond the servicemembers that most are apt to think of. In the case of Fort Hood, Texas, it also applied to the children. As noted by the Army news release:
Students and staff from Fort Hood’s Smith Middle School took part…in an event known as “See You at the Pole” Sept. 22.
SYATP is an annual, student-led global day event that draws students from across the world to their school’s flagpoles to pray for their nation, schools, students and teachers, according to the website.
More than 20 students and faculty members took part bringing their own prayers and a group prayer. Read more
After the recent ADF publication of a letter from 66 former military Chaplains opposing the repeal of DADT on religous freedom grounds, Christianity Today printed a similarly themed article from civilian Chaplains and endorsing agencies.
The Southern Baptist Convention, which has the most chaplains of any denomination at nearly 450, passed a resolution in June against the repeal of DADT, claiming that a large percentage of currently serving military personnel said they would not reenlist or would end their careers early should the policy be repealed. Read more
Michael Weinstein’s Military Religious Freedom Foundation publicly prides itself on its self-proclaimed “defense of the Constitution,” but its recent response to a critic defies its own description.
A detractor emailed the MRFF defending the “christian concert coming to FT Bragg [sic],” previously discussed here. The MRFF published the message, as it frequently does, and its response was telling.
Rick Baker, an MRFF “regional coordinator,” said Read more
According to various reports, Fort Bragg plans to continue with its Rock the Fort event despite complaints the participation of US military personnel constitutes a violation of the Constitution.
In a letter this week responding to concerns expressed by the Freedom From Religion Foundation, Lt. Gen. Frank Helmick wrote that he’s confident the planned “Rock the Post” event doesn’t infringe on anyone’s freedoms. Read more
Americans United for the Separation of Church and State has called for the US Army to cancel a Chaplaincy event at Fort Bragg, NC. The event is Rock the Fort, which is associated with Billy Graham’s Evangelistic Association. According to the BGEA website:
When evangelist Josh Holland gets up to speak at Fort Bragg in Fayetteville, N.C., this Saturday, he plans to honor the soldiers who are present, thanking them for their sacrifice and what they do to ensure our nation’s freedom.
“I also want to talk about the truest kind of freedom, which is found in a relationship with Christ and in freedom from sin,” Holland said during a phone interview this week.
The AU takes issue: Read more
An Air Force Academy press release notes the service of Chaplain (Capt) Zebulon Beck, one of only nine active duty Air Force Mormon Chaplains, who will minister to “more than 100 Mormon cadets.”
An interesting part of the article is the reference to the “mandatory two-year mission” of Mormons:
As is the case with other Mormons of similar age, many cadets interrupt their studies for the mandatory two-year mission. Those who do so often come back changed people. Read more
The Alliance Defense Fund previously wrote a letter to President Obama in which 41 retired Chaplains, speaking freely since they are outside military service, opposed the repeal of the policy known as “Don’t ask, don’t tell” on religious freedom grounds.
Last Friday they added to that number, with 25 new signatories. As noted at the ADF,
The letter states, “By raising homosexual behavior to the same protected class as innate, innocuous characteristics like race and gender, the armed forces will cast the sincerely held religious beliefs of many chaplains and Service members as rank bigotry comparable to racism.”
The release of the letter nearly coincided with Read more
A firestorm erupted in the media last week when LtGen Thomas Bostick, a member of the “working group” on “Don’t ask, don’t tell” repeal, was quoted in the Washington Times apparently equating religious opposition to homosexuality with bigotry and racism. From the Washington Times editorial “A New Gay Army:”
Lt. Gen. Thomas P. Bostick, the Army’s deputy chief of staff in charge of personnel matters who spoke about “Don’t Ask, Don’t Tell” before several hundred troops at the European Command headquarters in Stuttgart, Germany. “Unfortunately, we have a minority of service members who are still racists and bigoted and you will never be able to get rid of all of them,” Lt. Gen. Bostick said. “But these people opposing this new policy will need to get with the program, and if they can’t, they need to get out. No matter how much training and education of those in opposition, you’re always going to have those that oppose this on moral and religious grounds just like you still have racists today.”
The Times provided no source for their information. The US military subsequently released a statement in which Bostick denied making the quotes: Read more