Michael “Mikey” Weinstein, self-described defender of religious freedom in the US military, returned to rare form yesterday and excoriated the US military because it published a story about a US Soldier — and she’s a Christian.
In what is likely an intentional Public Affairs and recruiting effort, the military has long had a practice of publishing personal interest stories on its troops. While there are many “average Americans” profiled, there are also many stories about US troops with relatively unique and significant experiences. There are many stories about growing up in impoverished or oppressive countries, living in fear or struggle before coming to America, and wanting to “give back” to the country they feel has given them so much.
About a week ago, the US Army published such a story about US Army SPC Zahraa ‘Katya’ Frelund, who, as an Iraqi teenager in 2009, ran away from what she knew and into the arms of US troops on a US Army base in Baghdad. The Army Captain she met there told her Read more
The US military continues to struggle with the changing social mores and perceptions on gender – so much so that it frequently contradicts its own message.
That struggle hasn’t been helped by President Biden’s Executive Order that reversed the Executive Order by President Trump banning people who identified as transgender from serving in the military. While the decision has now been made, how to actually make that happen remains up in the air. The military already has a problem trying to say both genders are equal yet not; adding a third gender option only adds fuel to the seeming dumpster fire that passes as attempted policymaking.
Some recent points of interest: Read more
The US Senate confirmed Biden appointee — and former Obama Chief of Staff — Denis McDonough as the Secretary of Veterans Affairs on Monday.
A relatively unnoticed office for most of the US public, the VA Secretary has, like so many positions, become increasingly political and controversial. Robert Wilkie, the previous VA Secretary under President Trump, made waves when the VA decided to put the VA motto on plaques at 142 VA cemeteries last summer. This wouldn’t seem like a big deal, except the VA motto is a quote from a speech made by President Abraham Lincoln: Read more
President Joe Biden’s reversal of the military ban on transgenders hadn’t even been announced for minutes before it claimed its first controversy.
US Army Chaplain (MAJ) Andrew Calvert posted a comment on the Army Times Facebook page discussing Secretary of Defense Lloyd Austin’s support for repeal. As quoted by the Army Times in a follow-up story, Chaplain Calvert said
“How is rejecting reality (biology) not evidence that a person is mentally unfit (ill), and thus making that person unqualified to serve,” Andrew Calvert posted on the Army Times Facebook page Monday. “There is little difference in this than over those who believe and argue for a ‘flat earth,’ despite the overwhelming evidence to the contrary…
“The motivation is different,” Calvert continued, “but the argument is the same. This person is a MedBoard for Mental Wellness waiting to happen. What a waste of military resources and funding!”
First of all, it used to be a standard talking point in training Read more
With the airwaves and mainstream media clogged with politics and other drama, issues of religious freedom in the US military largely fell to the wayside these past few months. The reason is that most (not all, but certainly most) military religious freedom issues begin as attacks from outside the military. With an inattentive public, those who would attack the religious liberty of US troops for their personal benefit haven’t been able to gain public traction – or have simply chosen not to, given the low monetary return they would see for their efforts.
Thus, organizations like Americans United for the Separation of Church and State, the Freedom From Religion Foundation, and the Military Religious Freedom Foundation have been either silent or largely ignored these past few months. (Mikey Weinstein’s Facebook page has been entertaining, as he’s been paying to promote otherwise ignored posts only to have the comments filled with “Who is this guy?” and “Why is this #$%$ on my feed!?!”)
With a new administration, there will certainly be changes that Read more
Last month, despite the lack of any pronouncement from their Commander-in-Chief, a few US military facilities continued the Obama-era tradition of celebrating the sexual behaviors of a few of their service members.
At Yokosuka, the US Navy held a socially-distanced Pride cake cutting, attended by about 10 people, including the facility’s commander, Navy Capt Rich Garrett.
Naval Warfare Center Dahlgren celebrated Yeoman 2nd Class Joshua Kelley in an in-depth personal profile, noting he
volunteers…in the Hampton Roads LGBTQ+ community by performing as the drag queen, Harpy Daniels.
March Air Reserve Base noted the “evangelistic” message of Marvin Tucker, who Read more
President Obama’s Secretary of Defense Ash Carter has been doing interviews to hawk his book, Inside the Five-Sided Box: Lessons from a Lifetime of Leadership in the Pentagon, and spoke with the Military Times in September. In the interview he explained away the complexities, morality, and responsibility of some of the key DoD decisions with the simple “we had no choice.”
On the continuing presence of US troops in Afghanistan [emphasis added]:
I really do believe we’ve been on the best course, and the only course available to us.
On integrating women in combat arms within the US military [emphasis added]: Read more
Peter Vlaming, a Virginia school teacher fired for using female pronouns for a female student who wanted to be male, has sued over his improper termination:
Vlaming’s termination in December as a French teacher at West Point (Virginia) High School came after he agreed to call a transgender ninth-grader by a new male name but declined to use male pronouns to reference the student, according to the lawsuit filed September 30 in Virginia state court. Instead, he never used pronouns in the student’s presence—except for one accidental slip-up.
Worse, of course, is the fact it appears to not be in dispute that Vlaming treated all of his students with respect.
Yet, that is not enough. It cannot Read more