Showing posts with label Military Religious Freedom Foundation. Show all posts
Showing posts with label Military Religious Freedom Foundation. Show all posts

Sunday, July 10, 2022

"This ain’t the America I signed up for."

Wounded Times
Kathie Costos
July 10, 2022

It is no secret that there are good Chaplains in the military and some terrible Chaplains too. We've all heard stories of service members in spiritual turmoil seeing a Chaplain and then being told they were going to hell because they did not belong to the same faith as the Chaplain.
The question is, who are these Chaplains serving? Are they serving the men and women fighting for and defending our freedom around the world, from many different faiths, including no faith at all, or are they serving the churches they received endorsements from?

Spiritual help is vital to helping them heal from what is asked of them, plus they also have personal problems going on back home while they can be thousands of miles away. If they choose to seek a Chaplain's help, they have to settle on whatever Chaplain is with them. If the Chaplain is a good one, then they are helped and do not turn away from the faith they already had. If the Chaplain is putting their own personal choice of faith ahead of those who turn to them for help, it causes a lot more harm than not having one at all.

While I have some problems with Military Religious Freedom Foundation, there are times when I agree with what they do.

It is a wonder what they'll be hearing now that Roe v Wade has been overturned if they do not want to continue the pregnancy. They are already fighting back and looking for help.
Active Duty U.S. Naval Fighter pilot asks what will happen to women like her stationed in states where abortion is illegal: “MRFF Help for military abortion?” 

"This ain’t the America I signed up for. Military women have civil rights too. We just lost one this morning."

This came out in June about Independence Day as a "Christian Nation"
Encouraged by Wednesday’s major MRFF victory in getting the 246th Army Band of the South Carolina National Guard canceled from performing at a South Carolina Baptist church Christian nationalistic “Annual Carolina Celebration of Liberty,” members of a second military band came to MRFF for help in getting their upcoming scheduled performance at a large evangelical church’s Fourth of July event, which band members described as “some sort of ‘Celebration of the Founding of America as a Christian Nation’ which is just unacceptable to most of us in the Band,” canceled as well.

How can we expect men and women to put their lives on the line, go through endless hardships over and over again, and then discover this country they are willing to die for, won't even allow them to worship as they choose, or not worship at all? 

Not allow them to make their own choices over their own bodies? You know, the same bodies they place in danger all the time because they made the choice to do it! They all enlisted, willingly, by choice! What's next? 

Monday, February 29, 2016

Christian Chaplain Dared to Talk about Jesus?

Watchdog Group Wants Air Force to Pull 'Jesus' Video
by Bryant Jordan
Feb 27, 2016
Other videos on the recruiting site highlight chaplains of various faiths talking about their work as well, including Greek Orthodox, Catholic, Jewish and Muslim. But none of these discuss witnessing their faith to service members or converting anyone to the religion.
(US Air Force photo/Deana Heitzman)
The head of a watchdog group says the major general who heads up the Air Force Recruiting Service has reneged on a promise to quickly remove a video in which a Protestant chaplain touts his role as a minister who brought someone to Christ during a deployment to Iraq.

In the 2-1/2 minute video, Chaplain and Air Force Capt. Christian Williams talks about the chaplaincy being "one of the most rewarding ministries in the world," serving a pluralistic environment of airmen, soldiers, sailors and Marines of different backgrounds and cultures.

Mikey Weinstein of the Military Religious Freedom Foundation said the video is perfectly fine until it hits the two-minute mark, when Williams departs from talking about serving and counseling troops to celebrating successfully bringing a female airman to Jesus.

"Before I left Iraq," Williams says in the video, "she told me that 'as a result of the example I saw you set ... I have accepted Christ as my personal lord and savior.' You can't put a price tag on that."
read more here

My head just exploded!

Well then, I guess Chaplains need to stop being Chaplains! Seriously? I am a Chaplain but not a military one even though I work with veterans and am certified, plus serve with Point Man International Ministries, but I am also someone who experienced a hell of a lot of life threatening events. I can testify what my faith has brought me through and how what I gained is shared with others so they can find their way out of darkness too.

I call it "Air Support" and it works but my "job" is to get them to start healing and that is the priority. If the veteran is a Christian already, great, then I can address him/her as a Christian would.

Now when we use the word "Christian" we need to face one simple fact, there are many different types of "Christians" with their own rules and beliefs. The basic "title" does not hold the same meaning.

I happen to be Greek Orthodox. Not an easy thing to be especially since I am female and they do not allow females to practice sacraments. The other day I had to turn down a police officer after he asked me to bless his Saint Michael medal. I told him I could pray for him but that was just about it. (Role of Women) My "job" is not to get them to join the Greek Orthodox Church or any other church, but it is to help them heal.

I work with veterans and families from all different faiths letting them know I am speaking as a Christian but I do not get into preaching at them as much as I do getting what God put into them all connected back again so they can use what they were given to heal. Believe me, it makes sense with a lot more time to explain it.

The thing is, as you read in the article there are many different types of Chaplains from different faiths. Just because this Chaplain is talking about Jesus doesn't not mean he was trying to get the Airman to join his church, so in my opinion, there should be no problem with this at all.

Thursday, December 10, 2015

Air Force Football Home Games Force Prayer?

Naturally I'd have something to say about this. I find it offensive, but not for the reasons an ex-Chaplain complained about. It is more an issue over trivializing faith down to wining a game than anything else to me.

No one can force anyone to pray at all. Who knows if they are humming a commercial jingle in their heads or not as someone else says a prayer? Plus, if God is mentioned during a prayer, no one explains which one. Is the God referred to Jewish, Christian or Muslim (same God different beliefs) or is it the God worshiped by other faiths around the world? If God is the Christian God then which denomination? Each one has their own beliefs and doctrine. So far I haven't run across any mention of God being interested in the outcome of a football game.

Ex-Chaplain Criticizes 'Tebow' Prayer at Air Force Football Home Games
Bryant Jordan
December 10, 2015
Members of the Air Force Academy's football team pray together before a game; their public religious displays are now being investigated by the academy. (DoD photo)
A former Air Force Academy chaplain calls the end zone praying by members of the school's football team "another 'territorial conquest' of the Christian right."

"This stands in a long line of conservative Christian usurpation of government space via supposed voluntary demonstrations of Christian piety," MeLinda Morton, a former captain, said in an email.

Morton, who said she never saw the Falcons offer public prayers when she served at the academy 10 years ago, said the fact that home games are essentially mandatory formations for cadets should bar any public display of faith.

"I've not been to the academy in a decade. I didn't see it when I was there," she told on Wednesday.

Morton was fired from her position at the academy in 2005 after she backed up reports that Christian officials were improperly attempting to proselytize cadets. She then resigned her commission after 13 years in the service and now serves on the advisory board of the Military Religious Freedom Foundation, a watchdog group that promotes the separation of church and state.

The academy is investigating the public prayer ritual, in which team members take to one knee after the fashion of NFL free-agent quarterback Tim Tebow. Some of the Falcons take part only to avoid conflict with teammates or out of fear of retribution, according to Mikey Weinstein, president and founder of foundation.
read more here

Saturday, October 24, 2015

Dover Air Force Base Squadron Command Denies Connection to Email

Dover Command Disavows Endorsement of Christian Charity Email
Bryant Jordan
October 20, 2015
The charity group's email was forwarded to everyone in the squadron on Oct. 14 by Tasker's secretary, Valencia Branch. The email sought volunteers to help pack more than 5,000 gift boxes that would be sent to "children in desperate situations [to show] that God loves and values them."
The commander of a support squadron at Dover Air Force Base, Delaware, told the unit's airmen and civilian employs Tuesday that an evangelical group's email soliciting them to help with a Christmas charity was "not sent at my direction and is not endorsed in any way by me or any level of command."

Lt. Col. Donald Tasker, commander of the 436th Force Support Squadron, issued his statement in a squadron-wide email following a review of the charity group's solicitation for volunteers by the 436th Airlift Wing Commander Col. Michael W. Grismer Jr. was provided a copy of the squadron leader's email by the Military Religious Freedom Foundation, which threatened court action against the Air Force unless the command disavowed endorsement of the event.
read more here

Saturday, October 3, 2015

Religious Freedom Fight On Marine Base

'God Bless The Military' Sign Sparks Religious Freedom Fight On Marine Base
If the sign isn't removed, a group demands more signs, including one saying, "There is no god...We have each other."
HuffPost Hawaii
Chris D'Angelo
Associate Editor
October 1, 2015

A large sign was erected on a Hawaii military base in the wake of the Sept. 11 terrorist attacks with the message, "God bless the military, their families and the civilians who work with them."

Now, 14 years later, a nonprofit religious rights group is demanding it be removed, claiming it violates the Constitution.
"For now, at least, the sign is still there. The Military Religious Freedom Foundation followed up its initial demand with a second on Wednesday -- saying that if the sign is not removed, six more signs should be erected to satisfy Jewish, Muslim, Norse Religious Faith, atheist, agnostic, humanist, secularist, Hindu and Wiccan U.S. Marine clients.

The additional signs, as depicted in the photo illustration below, would contain the same message, but start with "Yehweh bless," "Allah bless," "Odin bless," "Vishnu bless" and "Goddess bless." Another would begin, "There is no god to bless" and end with "We have each other."

The Marine complainants, according to the Marine Corps Times, include at least 21 Protestants, while it was "not immediately clear how many of them are Vikings."
read more here

Wednesday, June 10, 2015

Army Drops July 4th Tradition

Army refuses to provide Honor Guard for church's July 4th celebration
By Todd Starnes
Published June 09, 2015

For nearly two decades, the U.S. Army has provided an honor guard for an Independence Day celebration at a Baptist church that predates the founding of the nation. But this year – that tradition has come to an end.

Officials at Fort Gordon say they will not be able to send an honor guard to a July 5th service at Abilene Baptist Church because it violates a military policy banning any involvement in a religious service.

“While there are conditions under which the Army can participate in events conducted at a house of worship, we cannot participate in the context of a religious service,” Public Affairs Officer J.C. Mathews told me.

He said officials at Fort Gordon as well as the Office of the Staff Judge Advocate reviewed the church’s request and determined they were in fact holding a “religious service.”

So it’s OK to invite the troops so long as you don’t pray, talk about Jesus or read the Bible?
read more here
Fort Fumble does it again!

Monday, May 18, 2015

Religious Freedom Group Doesn't Want Everyone to Use Freedom?

Group wants two-star court-martialed for speech
Air Force Times
By Jeff Schogol, Staff writer
May 15, 2015

An Air Force two-star general is being blasted by a civil liberties group for speaking in uniform about how God has guided his career.

Video posted on YouTube shows Maj. Gen. Craig Olson speaking at a National Day of Prayer Task Force event May 7. In the speech, Olson refers to himself as a "redeemed believer in Christ," who credits God for his accomplishments in the Air Force.

The Military Religious Freedom Foundation has called for Olson to be "aggressively and very visibly brought to justice for his unforgivable crimes and transgressions" by a court-martial, adding that any other service members who helped him should be investigated and punished "to the full extent of military law."

Olson is program executive officer for C3I and Networks at Hanscom Air Force Base, Massachusetts.

During his 23-minute address, Olsen spoke of "flying complex aircraft; doing complex nuclear missions — I have no ability to do that. God enabled me to do that."

"He put me in charge of failing programs worth billions of dollars. I have no ability to do that, no training to do that. God did that. He sent me to Iraq to negotiate foreign military sales deals through an Arabic interpreter. I have no ability to do that. I was not trained to do that. God did all of that."

At the end of his speech, Olson asks the audience to pray for Defense Department leaders, who "need to humbly depend on Christ." He also asks them to pray for troops preparing to deploy again so they can "bear through that by depending on Christ."
read more here

I just listened to the speech and very happy to say that this is not a place where free speech is not protected as much as it is practiced. Free, honest speech is a thing of beauty and that is the point that needs to be raised right now.

This was a group of like minded members of faith listening to a speaker talking about his faith. No one was forced to go to the conference or listen to the speeches. There is not a single place in this speech where Olson ever spoke out against the code of the military nor did he condemn anyone.

I come from Massachusetts and went to Hanscom every weekend and maybe since the freedoms we have were worth fighting for by the Patriots, we can acknowledge the right of everyone to seek their own faith or not, to practice their own faith or not as long as they do not try to take that right away from anyone else. There is a lot of that going on in this country and none of us should stand for it.

None of us should stand for a place where they were holding a prayer session silencing someone from participating willingly. None of us should stand for a group of folks claiming to be about religious freedom trying to take away everyone else's right to use that freedom to choose.

There have been times when Military Religious Freedom Foundation were standing up against forcing anyone in the military to participate in a religious service. No one was claiming they were forced to go or to listen to the speech. In this case, they are clearly wrong in my opinion but then again, I am free to still state what I believe because military folks stepped up to make sure that right was protected for me and everyone else!

Published on May 17, 2015
Air Force Major General Craig Olson speaking in uniform at Shirley Dobson's May 7, 2015 National Day of Prayer Task Force event on Capitol Hill, in violation of a slew of military regulations.

Members of the military are strictly prohibited from endorsing any "non-federal entity," religious or non-religious, by doing things like speaking in uniform at their events.

So this isn't just about the obvious issue of Olson violating the regulations regarding participation in religious events and the promotion of his personal religious beliefs; he's blatantly disregarding a whole bunch of regulations.

But the biggest danger of his very public Jesus speech is that it was streamed around the world by GOD TV, handing our enemies like ISIS some great material for recruiting propaganda on a silver platter.

Wednesday, December 10, 2014

"Holy Crap" Christian Chaplain Told He Can't Share Faith?

In 2012, The Chicago Tribune did a study on "non-believers" in the military.
Christianity also dominates the religious makeup of the military. Only about 8,000 out of 1.4 million active duty members in the Army, Navy, Marine Corps and Air Force identify themselves as atheists, and another 1,800 say they are agnostic, according to the Defense Department.

The article focused on a concert "Rock Beyond Belief" at Fort Bragg for non-believers.
Fort Bragg's garrison commander said allowing the atheist event to be held on base was just the latest manifestation of the Army's efforts to make sure nonbelievers in its ranks were treated like everyone else.

"We don't treat soldiers who are atheists as atheists," said Col. Stephen Sicinski. "We treat them as soldiers."

After rain gave way to sunshine on Saturday, a smaller-than-expected crowd streamed onto the same large field where Christians gathered in 2010. There was again face painting and jumping inflatables for children, but a performer on stage rapped that "creationism is dead wrong" and a T-shirt for sale featured a Bible along with the slogan "Holy Crap."

Over at Fort Benning a Chaplain dared to share his story of struggles and his faith. Chaplain Lawhorn wanted to talk about what he did to help with his depression.
FORT BENNING, Ga., Dec. 9, 2014 /PRNewswire-USNewswire/ -- Today, Liberty Institute, on behalf of U.S. Army Chaplain (Captain) Joe Lawhorn, responded to the Army's punishment against him on December 8, 2014.

On November 20, 2014, Chaplain Lawhorn conducted suicide prevention training as required by Army regulations. During the training, he discussed his own personal struggles and how he used the Bible to successfully combat his depression. One of the soldiers in attendance complained to an atheist group about Chaplain Lawhorn's presentation. In response, Army Airborne and Ranger Training Brigade Commander, Colonel David G. Fivecoat, issued Chaplain Lawhorn a Letter of Concern alleging that Chaplain Lawhorn "advocated for . . . Christianity and used Christian scripture and solutions" and therefore violated Army regulations.
One soldier complained.

I don't have access to read all the words he used. I didn't have a front row seat to see the soldier getting upset having to listen to someone share his heartbreak as well as what helped him. I don't need to. What I do have is a loss of hope that the best way to help soldiers heal PTSD has to address the spiritual aspect as well as their body and the rest of their mind.

On Mother Jones there is still an article up from 2011 about atheist chaplains. Jason Torpy, an Iraq vet and president of the Military Association of Atheists and Freethinkers, participated in an interview.
"We've got a considered opinion that chaplains are appropriate, given the modern chaplaincy. The military has heaped upon the chaplains responsibilities for ethical advisement, for well-rounding the person, to provide support to a military that is less than 70 percent Christian and less than 50 percent Protestant, to provide support to a unit and still be relevant. Chaplains are given responsibility for deployment counseling, for family counseling, financial counseling, and now this new resiliency training."

What exactly is free thinking when it seems as if a Chaplain isn't free to share his thoughts? If atheists are so convinced people of faith are so full of nonsense, then what are they afraid of? After all, I am a Christian and a Chaplain, albeit not a member of the military, but my faith is so strong that I don't have to get the approval of atheists. Why do they want the approval of people they disregard as being so stupid they believe in something there is no proof of?

I get the fact they don't seem to be able to grasp the concept of belief not requiring proof above and beyond what it took to get them to decided to believe as much as what it lacked for atheists to choose not to. What I don't get is, how does all of this work in their own minds?

Again, why are they free to think and believe what they want yet others are not? Why do they think they are entitled to shut up a Chaplain, a Christian Chaplain from sharing his faith with those willing to listen?

It is a Chaplains job to share his/her faith and that is why they are in the positions they are in. So what are atheists afraid of? That it will rub off on them? Give me a break! I am not afraid an atheist will take away my belief but I talk to them. I'll listen to what they are going through and talk to them like a person. Whenever I do need to share what I believe in, I tell them that they can think of it the same way they always do. That when I mention God or Christ, it is just a nice story. Sooner or later they get the point that we're not all trying to get them to convert half as much as we're trying to help them with their spiritual warfare.

Atheists struggle with good and evil just as much as anyone else but they are harder to reach when they don't really believe they have a soul but have some type of disconnected emotional part of their brain searching for reason. They can still feel better when they walk away once they are able to at least think of things differently.

I had an argument a long time ago with a veteran hell bent on pointing out how evil I was to support God. He kept telling me that it was impossible to believe in God because of all that is wrong with the world and the hell of suffering going on. This lasted quite a while until I asked him where he thought good came from.

He didn't understand at first. So I asked him if he ever saw anything good in Vietnam. Once he got over being angry, he paused for a bit, then said he never saw anything good. I could tell there was something he was hiding. I asked him what made him cry there. He told me about a young child. Then went off on a rant about kids suffering all over the world.

I asked him, "Where do you think the good inside of you came from that lasted all these years?"

He walked away. I wasn't about to argue with him considering he had a lot to drink. Later at the event he kept looking at me and the expression on his face softened. I talked to more people and kept catching him looking over at me. As I was leaving, he came over, gave me a hug and walked away. I guess I struck a nerve and got him to remember that things are not as bad as we think they are most of the time, because most of the time, we don't notice what is good.

I have no problem with atheists having their own groups but I do have a problem with them wanting to stop believers having the same rights they want for themselves. I have no problem with them not wanting to go to Christian events but I do have a problem with them wanting to take away the rights of others do go to them.

I also have a huge problem with them being so bent out of shape over a symbol of a cross they don't believe in. If they don't believe in it then how can it be so offensive to them they can't stand the thought of it giving comfort to someone else?

There are limits to everything and they shouldn't have to put up with being forced to do anything regarding faith or the lack of it so they should be able to have their own groups but they can't get what they want by taking away the same ability from others.

Atheists believe in nothing but on this point, what they seem to believe in is non-sense. Telling a Chaplain he can't share what he believes in defeats the reason he is there in the first place.

Wednesday, November 19, 2014

Religious liberty advocates painted widely divergent pictures

13 minutes ago
Advocates paint differing pictures of the state of religion in the military
Stars and Stripes
By Chris Carroll
Published: November 19, 2014

WASHINGTON — Religious liberty advocates painted widely divergent pictures of the state of faith in the U.S. military for House legislators Wednesday, with some claiming rampant proselytization and others complaining that believers are punished for expressing their faith.

The purpose of the hearing by the House Armed Services personnel subcommittee was to examine the effects of recent changes to federal law and Defense Department policies governing religious expression in the military.

The 2013 National Defense Authorization Act directed the Department of Defense to accommodate religious expression as much as possible without damaging the military, and exempted chaplains from performing religious duties they believe violate their faith. DOD followed up in January with a policy that critics and supporters alike say loosens the reins on religious expression.

Among other affects, policy change eases the way for members of religious minorities who believe their faiths require beards, turbans other types of traditional grooming or dress to receive official accommodation for not meeting uniform regulations.

But retired Navy chaplain Rabbi Bruce Kahn told legislators that the new policy may also open a door for those inclined to relentlessly try to bring others to their faiths.

“Where you have individuals who believe they’re on a mission to bring others to their point of view … then you have cracks in unit cohesion and you have real problems with maintaining readiness and being prepared to go to war,” Kahn said.
read more here

Friday, September 5, 2014

Air Force Answers "So Help Me" Question with God

Air Force Restores 'God' to Enlistment Oath
by Bryant Jordan
Sep 04, 2014

An airman's career will be coming to an end unless he recognizes "God" in his oath of reenlistment.

Months after the Air Force last year said "So help me God" was an optional line when taking the oath of enlistment or reenlistment, it reversed itself. The decision will require atheists to infer a belief in a supreme being if they want to remain in the military.

At Creech Air Force Base in Nevada, the airman was told on Aug. 25 that he would not be allowed to continue unless he recited the oath that references God, said Monica Miller, an attorney for Appignani Humanist Legal Center in Washington.

"The government cannot compel a nonbeliever to take an oath that affirms the existence of a supreme being," she said. "Numerous cases affirm that atheists have the right to omit theistic language from enlistment or reenlistment contracts."

Not anymore, according to a spokeswoman for the Air Force.

"Reciting 'So help me God' in the reenlistment and commissioning oaths is a statutory requirement under Title 10 U.S.C. §502," Rose Richeson told on Thursday. Air Force Instruction on the oath is consistent with the language mandated in the law, she said.

"Airmen are no longer authorized to omit the words 'So help me God'," Richeson said.
read more here

Friday, August 15, 2014

Gideons Bibles are going back into Navy lodges

I do not approve of any member of the military feeling forced to do anything against their will when it comes to the personal choice of matters of faith or the lack of it. That said, I approve of this move because some choose to believe and Bibles have a long history in the military.
Navy Tells Lodges to Put Bibles Back in Rooms
Stars and Stripes
by Travis J. Tritten
Aug 15, 2014

WASHINGTON -- Gideons Bibles are going back into Navy lodges.

The Navy on Thursday ordered the Bibles returned to rooms and said it is reviewing a decision by the Navy Exchange to remove them from its worldwide network of military hotels.

Atheists had cheered a victory after a complaint prompted the exchange to begin moving the Bibles to its lost-and-found bins this summer, but the Navy said the decision was made without consulting senior leadership.

"That decision and our religious accommodation policies with regard to the placement of religious materials are under review," Navy spokesman Cmdr. Ryan Perry wrote in an email to Stars and Stripes.

"While that review is under way, religious materials removed from Navy Lodge rooms will be returned." Bibles donated by Gideons International are a common sight in Navy lodges and at hotels around the world.
"This will allow the commanding officer to determine ... whether the materials will be accepted and how they will be handled and distributed," Mayhue wrote.

The memo was prompted by a complaint in March by the Freedom from Religion Foundation, a Wisconsin atheist group that claims 21,000 members including hundreds of active-duty troops and veterans.
read more here

Thursday, March 20, 2014

Religious Debate Intensifies on Academy Whiteboard

Religious Debate Intensifies on Academy Whiteboard
by Bryant Jordan
Mar 19, 2014

An Air Force Academy cadet claims she was verbally and physically accosted by senior cadets for writing "there is no evidence that God ever existed" on her dorm whiteboard in response to a fellow cadet posting a Bible verse.

Mikey Weinstein, founder of the Military Religious Freedom Foundation, said the cadet wrote the statement to point out that posting personal beliefs in a hallway of a squadron area is wrong.

But, according to the cadet's parents who wrote Weinstein a letter, almost immediately upon writing the statement she was "shouted down" by two male cadets who were senior to her in rank. They called her "anti-faith" and said she was insulting "all people of faith."

When she tried to stop them from wiping off the whiteboard they pushed her and forcibly held her back, the letter states. Weinstein would not name the cadet and, as the MRFF keeps its clients' identifies confidential.

The parents of the cadet told Weinstein that the family is Christian, and she was only trying to make a point. In the original incident, a cadet penned a Bible verse that read, in part, "I have been crucified with Christ and I no longer live, but Christ lives in me."

In their letter, they said the senior male cadets defended the original whiteboard inscription that spurred their daughter to act. After a cadet complained about the public posting, academy officials got involved, talked to both cadets and the quotation was erased.

"What happened here sparked a debate between competing beliefs," Academy Superintendent Lt. Gen. Michelle Johnson said in a statement afterwards. "One side's perspective of this decision is that [it] elevated one religious faith over all others, and that posting scriptures from any religion on cadets' whiteboards creates a hostile environment."
read more here

Friday, October 25, 2013

'So Help Me God' Optional In Air Force Academy Honor Oath

'So Help Me God' Optional In Air Force Academy Honor Oath
Associated Press
October 25, 2013

AIR FORCE ACADEMY, Colo. -- AIR FORCE ACADEMY, Colo. (AP) — Air Force Academy cadets are no longer required to say "so help me God" at the end of the Honor Oath.

School officials said Friday the words were made optional after a complaint from the Military Religious Freedom Foundation, an advocacy group.

Academy Superintendent Lt. Gen. Michelle Johnson says the change was made to respect cadets' freedom of religion.
read more here

Saturday, February 16, 2013

West Point Cadet may have to pay back Army

If you are a Christian, don't pass this off as a slam against Christians. Had our rights to decide what faith, denomination and doctrine we wanted to follow not been protected we'd all be forced to worship as someone else saw fit. We have to protect the rights of all people to decide how they want to worship or not at all. Forcing anyone or trying to get them to covert by force is wrong.

Blake Page, Cadet Who Quit West Point Over Religious Objections, May Have To Pay Back Army
Huffington Post
Chelsea Kiene
Posted: 02/15/2013

WASHINGTON -- A former West Point cadet who resigned from the military academy in November over what he says was unconstitutional Christian proselytizing may now owe the institution hundreds of thousands of dollars in a turn of events that have left the 24-year-old “shocked.”

Blake Page, who served in the Army prior to attending West Point, submitted an official letter of resignation from the academy on Nov. 6. In an op-ed in The Huffington Post, Page explained that he no longer desired to be part of a group of “silent bystanders” witnessing what he called “egregious violations” of the Constitution.

“The tipping point of my decision to resign was the realization that countless officers here and throughout the military are guilty of blatantly violating the oaths they swore to defend the Constitution,” Page wrote. “These men and women are criminals, complicit in light of day defiance of the Uniform Code of Military Justice through unconstitutional proselytism, discrimination against the non-religious and establishing formal policies to reward, encourage and even at times require sectarian religious participation.”
read more here

Sunday, October 7, 2012

Senators Bill proves they don't know what religious freedom is

If you just read what these Senators had to say, you'd think that religion is under attack, but you'd have to have lived under a rock to believe that. Every time they come out with something like this it is one more reminder of the basis of this nation. If we do not defend everyone's right to make their own choices, decide what/who they want to believe, feel as free as anyone else to do so, then we all lose.

Lifting Obama’s gag order on military chaplains
Military Religious Freedom Act defends conscience

By Sen. Jim Inhofe and Sen. Roger Wicker

Friday, October 5, 2012

Our Founding Fathers spoke much about the importance of “freedom of conscience” and its underpinning of all other freedoms. In 1803, Thomas Jefferson said, “We are bound, you, I, and every one to make common cause even with error itself, to maintain the common right of freedom of conscience.”

Recent decisions by the Obama administration and Pentagon leaders threaten this common right, and their assault on freedom of conscience raises new and serious concerns — especially for our servicemen and women. Our armed services were created with an apolitical framework, and this unique platform has helped maintain Americans’ trust and respect for the military. Since repeal of the “Don’t Ask, Don’t Tell” policy, however, the administration has looked to the military as a way to advocate a liberal social agenda and challenge Americans’ freedom of conscience.

Last year, the Department of Defense (DOD) said state laws would be acknowledged and upheld when it came to marriage and civil unions. Now, in a heated presidential election season, DOD and the Obama administration are pushing the limits on their promise and the rule of law for the sake of politics. A prime example of this occurred in May, when the first homosexual marriage-like ceremony took place in a chapel on Fort Polk in Louisiana.
read more here

This will give you an idea of Christians usually mentioned when a politician talks about "freedom of religion" but all too often fail to mention how many believe differently. So which faith is under attack? What about Jews, Muslims, Hindu, Buddhists or any of the other faiths or branches of these faiths? That's the point. We are all supposed to be able to decide on our own, not be forced to acknowledge any other faith but to be tolerant of all of them equally including the citizens of this nation when they chose to not believe at all.

I've heard soldiers say that they went to see a military Chaplain for spiritual issues and ended up being told they were going to hell because they were not a member of the Chaplain's faith. Is that right? Is that what these Senators want to defend?

I've read complaints about how Atheist soldiers, willing to die for believers, being forced to attend religious events and forced to hear someone pray. Is that what these Senators consider religious freedom?

Gay rights are not about religion. No one is forcing any religious body to acknowledge these rights under the law. They are not forced to welcome gay married couples under the law. They are not forced to break their own rules. Is that what these Senators think is going on?

Do they even know what a Chapel is? There are denominations of Christians where gay members are equal in their eyes. This is not something that elected officials should be trying to get involved with unless they really want to begin a nation where no one is free to make their own choices. These men are Senators, elected to serve the citizens of their states and that means all of them.

Let's take a look at what they have not gotten done for the sake of the people of this nation that would have mattered to everyone and compare that to the rights they want taken away from others.

Jobs? No they didn't have time for that issue. They want to end the Affordable Care Act, but came up with no plan of their own to take care of the people in this nation unable to afford to pay for health insurance. There is no issue these folks were capable of taking on when it mattered to everyone in this nation but they spent more time complaining about what has not been done by them. Nice work and they get a pay check to do it on top of everything else.

Wednesday, August 22, 2012

Indiana Guard chief promoted religion. So What?

Indiana Guard chief promoted religion. So What?
by Chaplain Kathie
Wounded Times Blog
August 22, 2012

Indiana Guard chief promoted religion? Well that is what the title said anyway. This is a lot more complicated than this simple title suggested. While Mikey Weinstein has been doing a lot of good when it comes to everyone in the military being able to decide their own faith and has been against forcing anyone, he has been wrong on several issues that do not cross the line. He was against The Cross at Camp Pendleton saying that atheists were harmed by it. If they don't believe in anything then how does this actually harm them? It isn't as if they were forced to go and kneel in front of it. Weinstein has never really explained that one. He was right when it came to soldiers being forced to go to a religious concert at Fort Eustis.

I doubt he can explain how Indiana Guard Major General Umbarger's support of a religious group especially when evidence supports the power of spiritual healing when soldiers have PTSD and military suicides have gone up. Umbarger was talking about a group trying to help.

Centurion’s Watch Founder, Doug Hedrick, Speaks Directly to You
Major Doug Hedrick, Founder of Centurion’s Watch, and the Board of Directors of Centruion’s Watch, are passionate and dedicated to strengthening military marriages across America, including yours! Doug would like to personally invite you and your spouse to attend an upcoming “Fortified” Military Marriage Conference, and to ask you to consider partnering with us, your local church, and local businesses to bring a conference to an area near you. We want your marriage to be healthy and strong, and we need your help to reach other military couples who need to discover the principles, tools, support, and encouragement they need to enjoy the marriage relationship that they desire and God intended.

As Florida State Coordinator of Point Man International Ministries we help veterans and their families from all walks and all faiths. I am a Christian but fully acknowledge that all Christian denominations do not agree on doctrine. All of the people I help are helped the same way. With the love and compassion of Christ no matter what they claim their own faith is. I do not hit them over the head with the Bible any more than I try to covert them to my own faith. I am Greek Orthodox for Heaven's sake. Do you really think I could covert anyone? We come from all branches of faith and we like it that way. We aim to heal the soul of veterans and their families, not get butts in the pews.

There are times when I have to worry about crossing the line even when I am talking Christians because their faith preaches something I don't agree with. It isn't up to me to tell them they are wrong in what they believe. It us up to me to use what they believe to help them to heal.

It is the same when I talk to a person with no faith at all. I talk to them as a person spiritually since that part of the of the whole veteran is at the core of PTSD. It is a spiritual wound and requires treatment of the mind, body and spirit.

If no one was forced to support Centurion's Watch, or listen to Umbarger's speech, then there should be no problem with this.

Group: Indiana Guard chief promoted religion
By Chris Sikich and Michael Boren
Indianapolis Star
Posted : Tuesday Aug 21, 2012

The head of the Indiana National Guard says he made a video promoting an evangelical Christian group because it helps soldiers who struggle with their marriages after coming home from war.

But a military watchdog group says Maj. Gen. R. Martin Umbarger, the Guard’s adjutant general, violated military rules and the First Amendment by promoting a religious group in the 33-second video while in uniform.

The Military Religious Freedom Foundation, based in Albuquerque, N.M., sent a letter to the National Guard Bureau on Thursday asking that Umbarger be investigated and punished. Former Air Force attorney Mikey Weinstein founded the group, which seeks to guarantee religious freedom in the military.

The issue, Weinstein said, is that Umbarger’s message promotes one religious group over others. In the military, Weinstein says, such a show of support from a two-star general is intimidating.

“He should be removed immediately,” Weinstein told The Indianapolis Star on Monday, “and, from our perspective, court-martialed.”

Umbarger made the video in September 2011 on behalf of Centurion’s Watch, a Christian group based in Indianapolis that offers marriage counseling to military families. It was posted on the nonprofit’s website.
read more here
Yep, that's all he did. No one was forced to do anything.

Saturday, January 8, 2011

Religious test to curb suicides or get converts?

For my Christian friends out there with the idea this is a good thing, you really need to begin to understand exactly what is going on here. This is not about sending them to any Christian Church but telling them if they are not part of the Fundamentalist Christianity faith, they are basically not good enough. In other words, if they are Catholic, they're going to hell. If they have no faith at all or happen to be Muslim or Hebrew, they need to convert and accept their version of what is right.

Over 60% of the Chaplains in the military have no problem with proselytizing by military chaplains
NPR reported that the Academy would be hosting mandatory religious tolerance seminars for cadets. The Department of Defense has also proactively built worship facilities for those of minority faiths and improved pluralist training for chaplains. Still, of the 2,900 active chaplains with the military, two-thirds are evangelical -- and that number continues to rise.
So yes, even you should fight against forcing faith on the troops since this is not about faith is a good thing but more about one certain branch of one certain faith is all that matters.

Other chaplains have a huge problem with this for a reason. They are there to help soldiers with their spiritual needs and not there to convert them. Many conversations I've had with others ministering to veterans feel the same way. Faith does help them heal and on this we agree that it is vital in the healing process but this does more harm than good when it is coerced. Plus there is a fear they don't know how to do it in the first place even if they begin to discuss the emotional healing that is possible.

Let's say a soldier goes to a chaplain and tells them that he thinks he's evil because he killed someone in Afghanistan. Now let's say he happens to be a member of the Catholic faith. The Fundamentalist Chaplain will tell him that basically he is evil because he does not know Christ the way he should and must convert to be born again. This even though the Catholic faith was one of the first to follow Christ and is right up with there with Orthodox Christians particularly the Greeks, who helped Paul spread Christianity throughout the world. But these two branches of the faith are just not good enough for certain Fundamentalists telling even them they are not right with God.

Now take a soldier with no set of beliefs or one with their own ideas about God and then have them come up against a Fundamentalist supposedly there to take care of the emotional crisis the soldier is going through. Instead of talking to them the way any therapist would, they rebuke them. This is an assault on their beliefs and their right to worship as they see fit to do. It does not gently guide them in the process of building any kind of faith but instead pushes them away.

Each person has the freewill to follow their own path and they decide to go to church or not, which church or group they feel connected to and to believe according to their own understanding and growth. None of this can be forced. If you have teenagers, you know this is true. How many of us have taken our kids to church all their lives only to have them walk away from it for a time? They are lead, then they return of their own freewill or not. It is up to them. Some switch to another church finding they fit in better with another group. This is not only the right of an American to worship as they see fit or not at all, but the basic desire of God for each person to worship of their own freewill.

If a Chaplain fails to take care of the people placed into their lives, they have failed God but if it is a military Chaplain, they have not only failed God, they have failed the country formed for the free practice of religious matters. This has also been complicated since military Chaplains are used in place of mental health workers. If they are not taking care of the soldier in crisis situations because they are too busy trying to convert them this leaves the soldier with nowhere to turn. They end up abandoned.

Every member of the clergy, every Chaplain and every service organization needs to take a stand and stop this now before more suffer under this abuse. Sixty percent of the military Chaplains may have no problem with this, but forty percent are still trying to do what they took an oath to the constitution to do. This article talks about atheists having a problem with Fundamentalists but it isn't just them. It is anyone who is not one of them.

OLBERMANN: The Military Is Trying To Curb Suicide Rates By Sending Soldiers To Church
Steven Loeb
Jan. 7, 2011, 10:59 AM

Boy, atheists are getting a lot of attention on the cablesphere these days.
Just when we thought that discrimination had finally been eradicated from the military, now Keith Olbermann is reporting on a new lawsuit from The Military Association of Atheists and Free Thinkers. The military has been giving tests to curb suicide rates and post traumatic stress disorder, but part of the test asks about the soldier's spirituality. And if they fail that portion of the test? The recommendation is that they go to church or pray.

Read more: The Military Is Trying To Curb Suicide

Monday, November 3, 2008

Benning soldier discharged in trainee beating

Benning soldier discharged in trainee beating

By Russ Bynum - The Associated Press
Posted : Monday Nov 3, 2008 14:54:46 EST

SAVANNAH, Ga. — Fort Benning officials say a soldier who assaulted a Jewish trainee in September has been kicked out of the Army.

Fort Benning spokesman Bob Purtiman said Monday the accused soldier received an administrative discharge in the beating of Pvt. Michael Handman.

Handman was assaulted in September days after he complained of religious harassment in his basic training unit.
go here for more

Wednesday, October 1, 2008

Military accused of pushing Christian faith again

I have two videos that talk about God. One is I Grieve and the other is PTSD Not God's Judgment. I did not talk about being a Christian in any of the videos I've done. In PTSD Not God's Judgment, I did include a picture of Christ because He addressed that there is no great love than being willing to lay down your life for your friends. Other than that, I try very hard to keep my branch of Christianity, as well as Christianity itself out of the videos I do. While I am a Christian, a Greek Orthodox Christian, I fully understand that there are many branches of Christianity itself along with other faiths. While they Bible is used by the major religions of the world, each group has their own ideas of what to believe.

For those who still find no problem with what the military is doing pushing one particular branch of Christianity, you need to be wondering what happens to your own views and your own choices? There are Christian sects who do not believe in the Holy Trinity or the Divinity of Christ. Some do not believe in the Saints. What do you think happens if a commander is allowed to enforce his theology upon his command? Still find this kind of pushing faith harmless? What is you have a commander who believes that you have to speak in tongues to be true but no one under his command can even pretend to? What if the commander does not believe in any of this but his men do? Do you see how damaging this all can be?

While the Purpose Driven Life is a good book for those who are exploring their faith, I cannot recommend it for people who are dealing with PTSD because it is not helpful for that. I've read it but you also have to consider that I've been reading religious based books all my life and was the head of Christian Education for a church. There are many books I've read that would be more appropriate in helping Christian soldiers and veterans heal but I would not recommend any of them be suggested by the military and certainly not enforced reading.

If I can draw the line when I am invested in the spiritual health of people as a Chaplain, why can't the military do the same?
Soldier alleges religious bias at Lakenheath

By Sam LaGrone - Staff writer
Posted : Wednesday Oct 1, 2008 13:08:22 EDT

An atheist serviceman has filed a federal lawsuit accusing the Defense Department of several counts of religious discrimination, including at least one instance on an Air Force base.

Army Spc. Dustin Chalker and the Military Religious Freedom Foundation are accusing DoD of a laundry list of violations of separation of church and state.

Chalker and the MRFF cite more than a dozen violations, from military installations around the world, that promote the “practice of constitutionally impermissible promotions of religious beliefs within the Department of Defense and the United States Army,” according to the suit.

Among the violations, the suit complains about a mandatory suicide-prevention briefing from an Air Force chaplain that borrowed heavily from a wildly popular Christian self-help book.

Chalker alleges that at a commander’s call at RAF Lakenheath, England, last March, an Air Force chaplain gave a talk on suicide prevention that heavily referenced concepts from “The Purpose-Driven Life,” a self-help book based on evangelical Christian theology.
go here for more

Thursday, August 14, 2008

Group disputes military in religion case

Folks, time to open your eyes. This is not just about people pushing Christianity over other faiths. It isn't just about trying to convert an atheist. This is about one branch of Christianity trying to take it all over. It's as simple as that. There are so many divisions among Christians as it is that this should not be tolerated by any of us.

Do you believe in the Holy Trinity? Some Christians don't.
Do you believe in the divinity of Christ? Some don't.
Do you believe that God wants you to be rich financially? Some, most Christians don't.
Do you believe that we are all Saints or that we were already chosen? Some Christians believe that we are only redeemed by Christ and by choosing Him. That He was against setting our minds on financial gains instead of taking care of the poor.

When it comes to faith, it should be up to the individual to decide and not be forced on any of us. Letting this happen to one, will allow it to happen to all. I don't know about you, but I want to be a member of the branch I was born into. I'm Greek Orthodox. I could convert to another form of the Christian faith but this is what I believe in. So please when you read this, stop thinking there is no harm in trying to force an atheist to convert. Even Christ didn't do that. When the Roman Centurion, a pagan, went to Christ asking for his beloved servant to be healed, Christ didn't tell him to convert first. So who is it in the military deciding to do this to any of their men and women? What right do they have to decide the faith of someone else? What would stop them from doing this to anyone else? Do you really want to have to defend your faith in court or lack of it? This is the kind of thing the founding fathers were talking about. We should all stand up and say stop it.

Group disputes military in religion case

By John Hanna - The Associated Press
Posted : Thursday Aug 14, 2008 16:50:20 EDT

TOPEKA, Kan. — A Fort Riley soldier suing the military was rebuffed recently when he took complaints about violations of his religious freedoms to the post’s inspector general, an advocacy group involved in his lawsuit said Wednesday.

The Military Religious Freedom Foundation, based in Albuquerque, N.M., contends Army Spc. Jeremy Hall’s experiences undermine arguments made by the Justice Department in seeking to get the lawsuit dismissed.

Hall, who is an atheist, and the foundation allege the military permits religious discrimination by fundamentalist Christians who try to force their views on others, especially subordinates.

Their lawsuit, filed in March in federal court in Kansas City, Kan., names the Defense Department and Secretary Robert Gates among the defendants.
go here for more