The Air Force recently announced the commissioning of Saleha Jabeen as a chaplain candidate — which will make her the first female Muslim Chaplain when she completes her program. Jabeen was formerly an enlisted health care specialist in the US Army. Interestingly, Jabeen’s academic credentials come from North Park University (a private Christian school in Chicago), the Catholic Theological Union and Trinity Christian College. Air Force Chief of Chaplains Steven Schaick, who commissioned her in Chicago at the Catholic Theological Union, said
“Any time we advance religious freedoms, it’s a win for all persons of faith. The fact is America is a place where the Constitution guarantees your freedom to embrace or abstain from religious ideals, and the Chaplain Corps, which Jabeen just entered, exists to ensure every Airman has a religious freedom advocate. This is a big day not just for Muslims, but for persons of all faiths. I could not be more proud of our Air Force for being willing to commission and embrace the first female Imam in the Department of Defense.”
It’s an interesting thought. First, biased critics of the military chaplaincy are quick to Read more
Yesterday, Vice President Mike Pence swore in Gen John “Jay” Raymond as the first Chief of Staff of the Space Force. As covered at SpaceNews, the event was notable because the United States has never had a Space Force before; in fact, the US hasn’t had a major Service added to the force since the Air Force became an independent Service in 1947. It was a historic event.
NPR, though, noted the other highlight of the event in a parenthetical aside [emphasis added]:
With one hand placed on a Bible whose “official” blessing on Sunday sparked sharp criticism, Raymond was sworn in by Vice President Pence at the vice president’s ceremonial office.
Clearly, the government was moved by Michael “Mikey” Weinstein’s complaint about the Bible yesterday — probably because it was “full-throated” — and completely ignored him.
Contrary to Weinstein’s all-caps claim that military officers are “NOT ever ‘sworn-in’ to their positions”, the narrator of the ceremony noted the oath was required under Article VI of the Constitution (as an “executive officer” of the United States) and is prescribed in Title V of the US Code: Read more
The National Cathedral published a photograph of the “blessing of a Bible” to be used for swearing-in within the new Space Force. The ceremony was featured in the Washington Post. Pictured were Rev. Randolph Hollerith, the dean of the Washington National Cathedral, the Rev. Carl Wright of the Episcopal Church, and US Air Force Chief of Chaplains Chaplain (MajGen) Steven Schaick:
The gift they gave Chaplain Schaick was a King James Bible donated by The Museum of the Bible, which is in Washington, D.C., a few miles from the National Cathedral.
“Accept this Bible which we dedicate here today for the United States Space Force,” intones the Rev. Randolph Hollerith, dean of the National Cathedral, “that all may so diligently search your holy word and find in it the wisdom that leads to peace and salvation, through Jesus Christ our Lord, amen.”
This was all too much for Michael “Mikey” Weinstein, who issued a “full-throated” response: Read more
Howard Friedman’s Religion Clause reported on the summary judgment granted in In re Navy Chaplaincy, a very long-running lawsuit alleging the US Navy chaplaincy was essentially rigged for liturgical/Catholic chaplains. The DC federal district court ruled against the chaplains.
However, given how many years the lawsuit has been running its course, it is worth noting who is leading the US Navy chaplaincy now:
In fact, the rest of the US military chaplaincy leadership reads much the same. With one possible exception, the list reads like a who’s who of conservative and Read more
Former Air Force Captain Michael “Mikey” Weinstein and retired Chaplain (Col) Ron Crews are friends, sort of. They’ve spoken in the past about having dinner together at Weinstein’s house. This is despite the fact Weinstein’s MRFF is (almost) universally ideologically opposed to Crews’ CALL. Weinstein attacks religious liberty in the US military, and Crews defends against him.
Chaplain Crews recently honored outgoing Congressman Randy Forbes as the recipient of their annual Torchbearer Award. The ceremony at which the award was presented was well attended by several members of Congress — as well as uniformed Air Force and Army chaplains.
The event has Weinstein seething and demanding the chaplains be court-martialed. It remains to be seen if the personal relationship between Crews and Weinstein can withstand Weinstein’s bigoted diatribe in the MRFF “demand” letter addressed to the Department of Defense Inspector General: Read more