Blog: Our New Military
Not even taking into account the 2010 lame duck session repeal of the misnamed law “Don’t Ask Don’t Tell” (This was actually the name of a policy signed by President Bill Clinton. The actual law was a ban on homosexuals in the military — period.), the current administration has negatively impacted our military.
Here are a few examples:
Two years ago the U.S. Military revoked its approval of a series of military-themed Bibles, reportedly over trademark issues.
The military series of Bibles were published by B&H Publishing, a division of LifeWay Christian Resources of the Southern Baptist Convention, the nation’s largest Protestant denomination. They published four versions of the Holman Christian Standard Bible – representing the Army, Navy, Air Force and Marine Corps.
The Bibles are tailored to each specific military branch. For example, the cover of the Marine version says “The Marines’ Bible” – along with the USMC emblem. The Bibles contain special prayers and devotional material for military personnel. LifeWay Christian Resources had received permission to use the official seals of military branches on the Bibles in 2003.
Mikey Weinstein and the Military Religious Freedom Foundation complained that the Bibles were an official endorsement of religion and a “threat to national security.”
Missing Man Table
Missing Man Tables — fully set tables left vacant for military members who didn’t return from combat — are commonplace at military and veterans organizations.The POW/MIA Missing Man Table at the Riverside Dining Facility at Patrick Air Force Base was removed over a dispute about whether to include a Bible in the display.
Camp Pendleton Cross
Planted atop a remote hill in the middle of California’s Camp Pendleton Marine Corps Base rests two 13-foot crosses.
Erected back in 2003 by seven Marines grieving over lives lost in the war on terror, this site originally established for reflection has now become grounds for controversy.
Three of the seven Marines who carried the crosses 3,000 feet to the top of the remote Mount Horno have been killed in action. One of their widows said, “It’s a symbol of sacrifice regardless of what you think, pray, like or don’t like. ”
Several groups filed complaints with Marines arguing the site violated the Constitutional mandate of separation of church and state, including the Military Association of Atheists and Freethinkers or MAAF. They want the crosses moved to a church on private land and flags or some other symbol used instead to mark the site.
Follow the “Keep Camp Pendleton Cross” Facebook page.
Lt. Col. Kenneth Reyes is a Christian chaplain currently serving in the U.S. Air Force. He is stationed at Joint Base Elmendorf-Richardson in Alaska. As an ordained clergyman whose duties are to provide religious instruction and spiritual counseling, he has a page on the base’s website called “Chaplain’s Corner.”
One year ago Reyes wrote an essay entitled, “No Atheists in Foxholes: Chaplains Gave All in World War II.” This common saying is attributed to a Catholic priest in World War II, made famous when President Dwight D. Eisenhower said during a 1954 speech: “I am delighted that our veterans are sponsoring a movement to increase our awareness of God in our daily lives. In battle, they learned a great truth that there are no atheists in the foxholes.”
The Military Religious Freedom Foundation (MRFF) contacted the base commander, Col. Brian Duffy, demanding he take action on Reyes’s “anti-secular diatribe.”
MRFF’s letter says that by Reyes’s “use of the bigoted, religious supremacist phrase, ‘no atheists in foxholes,’ he defiles the dignity of service members.” They accuse him of violating military regulations.
Even though no regulations had been violated, within five hours the essay had been taken down with Colonel Duffy apologizing profusely.
West Point Invocations
In January 2013 Americans United for Separation of Church and State claimed invocations at West Point events are unconstitutional and coerce cadets to participate in and endorse religion. That anti-Christian organization has threatened to sue the Academy if it does not stop the invocations.
Bibles on Desks
In 2012 an Air Force officer was told he could no longer keep a Bible on his desk because it “may” appear that he was condoning a particular religion
Community Involvement with Church Forbidden
Bible Baptist Church in Carthage, Missouri is a small country church bursting with American pride and they wanted to honor local “rescue squads” throughout the week this year to go along with their theme “God’s Rescue Squad.”
The paramedics, fire department and sheriff’s department showed up on their assigned days, but the local National Guard did not.
“We were told it was against military policy for National Guard troops to participate in Vacation Bible School,” Pastor Hogan said. “They said if the National Guard had assets on church property it would look like the National Guard is sponsoring the Baptist religion.”
The pastor contacted their State Representative, who contacted the National Guard. He said, “They told me that federal policy prohibits them from doing anything with any specific church..” He also obtained a copy of the policy, which states, “Army participation must not selectively benefit (or appear to benefit) any person, group, or corporation (whether profit or nonprofit); religion, sect, religious or sectarian group, or quasi-religious or ideological movement.”
The policy also states that troops are to avoid any activities that might involve or appear to involve the promotion, endorsement, or sponsorship of any religious or sectarian movement.
However, in June, the Department of Defense gave permission for a military color guard to march in Washington, D.C.’s gay pride parade. It marked the first time in history the U.S. Army Military District of Washington participated in the parade.