Tuesday, November 13, 2018

(Evangelical-Biased Publication)

Four-Star General: Military More
Cautious About Faith
Interviewer: Jim Willis

Friday, November 9, 2018

The issue of religious tolerance has created challenging times for the United States military. All the service branches are trying to protect the rights of both those with religious beliefs and those with none. The choices made by military leaders exist in a pressure-packed environment framed by their oath of service , the Constitution, military guidelines, public opinion, and their own personal beliefs.

Recently, Brig. Gen. E. John Teichert, commander of Edwards Air Force Base in Southern California, became the focus of a Military Religious Freedom Foundation (MRFF) d emand for an official investigation into his conduct, specifically a  personal website  that calls the nation to pray for itself and its future. The MRFF , led by former Air Force captain and activist attorney Michael L. (Mikey) Weinstein alleges  that Teichert is violating the Defense Department policy concerning religious proselytizing.

Retired Four-Star Gen. Roger A. Brady has had discussions with Weinstein regarding these kinds of religious issues and pressures. He was once the personnel director for all Air Force personnel, and he finished his 41 years of duty in 2011 as 33rd commander of all US Air Forces in Europe and led the joint NATO Allied Command from Ramstein, Germany. General Brady is a longtime Christian who now sits on the board of trustees for Mid-Atlantic Christian University and serves as the deacon over adult education at his local congregation of the Church of Christ . [...]

Those opposing views have surfaced in the rhetoric and actions of Mikey Weinstein , whom you have had discussions with, and Air Force Reserve Chaplain Capt. Sonny Hernandez. Weinstein   argues against  most forms of religious expression in the military, while the  Air Force Times  has noted that Hernandez has  posted a blog saying Christian service members who support religious liberty serve the Constitution “and not Christ.” What are your thoughts on these views? [...]
Fails to Remove Bible & Cover Cross
at Mandatory "All Call"

"Lt. Gen. Roger Brady, Deputy Chief of Staff for Manpower and Personnel, addressed the Airmen of the 455th Air Expeditionary Wing at an all call in the Enduring Faith Chapel, Bagram Airfield, Afghanistan June 15. The general addressed topics from Air Force Smart Operations 21, Reduction in Force, uniform issues and updates, then took several questions from the Airmen in attendance."

Apparently, it didn't occur to Gen. Brady, the evangelical Christian who, for some inexplicable reason, was chosen by the Air Force as the appropriate person to oversee the writing of new guidelines for religion at the Air Force Academy back in 2005, to remove the Bible and cover up the cross when using the chapel at Bagram for a mandatory "all call." Brady was recently promoted to 4-star general.

MRFF has uncovered a fairly widespread problem with the chapels at our military bases in Iraq and Afghanistan. In a clear violation of military regulations for chapels, many of these buildings have crosses and other specifically Christian symbols affixed to both their interiors and exteriors that are not -- or cannot be -- removed when these buildings are used for purposes other than Christian religious services. In addition to these Christian symbols being present during services for other faiths, service members attending the non-religious, mandatory military events that are often held in these same buildings, such as Gen. Brady's "all call," are confronted by crosses on the doors, walls, and even in large stained glass windows, which, of course, are visible from both inside and outside the chapels. 

Today in America a pancake house is
more accepting than the U.S. Military
by leaving The Bible OFF POW/MIA tables.
(Photo Credit: Military Religious Freedom Foundation)
MRFF Ally, a Retired Lt. Col., Shares Photo from IHOP of POW/MIA Table WITHOUT The Bible
From: Retired USAF Lt. Col.’s Name Withheld
Subject: IHOP Missing Man table
Date:  November 12, 2018 at 6:47:16 PM MST
To:   mikey@militaryreligiousfreedom.org

At IHOP they understand the Missing Man table represents all men, of different – or no – faith, that served our country. . 
On this Veterans Day I stopped by my local IHOP with other Veterans taking advantage of the Red, White & Blue pancake breakfast. Prominently displayed at the entrance was this Missing Man table. In the heart of the “Bible Belt” this restaurant seems to understand that while the Christian faith is the predominant faith of our missing comrades – the men and woman who serve are from all (or no) religions. We need to Never Forget those who remain unaccounted for.  And you don’t need a Bible to do that. Our Constitution, that we support and defend, is crystal clear - we have no state sponsored religion. Keep fighting that good fight, MRFF.
Lt Col (name withheld), USAF (Ret) 
Fayetteville, GA 
Bibles don't belong on POW remembrance tables

Published: Monday, April 23, 2018
A surefire way to stir up outrage is to claim that something is a long-standing tradition and then say that this cherished tradition is being stolen away. And this is exactly what Hiram Sasser and Mike Berry of First Liberty Institute did in their April 17 op-ed titled, “ Leave POW remembrance tables alone.”

Regarding the “tradition” of a Bible being included among the items on prisoner-of-war and missing-in-action tables, they wrote: 

Since the Vietnam War, the military has maintained the sacred tradition of setting a separate table in its dining facilities to honor POW/MIAs. The table is decorated with several items, each carrying symbolic meaning used to help remember those who were captured or declared missing. Traditionally, as a common symbol of faith, one of those items is a Bible.

Now, that would make you think that a Bible has always been included on POW/MIA tables, going all the way back to the Vietnam War era when the tradition of setting these tables first began, right? Wrong.

The original POW/MIA table items did not include a Bible. And neither does the American Legion’s version. The American Legion, which adopted a resolution in 1985 calling for a POW/MIA table at all of its official meetings, includes in its official Chaplain’s Manual a list of the items to be included on the table and a script explaining the meaning of each item. The Bible is not included among the items.

Does this make the American Legion an anti-religious organization? Of course not. The American Legion is a very religious organization. It just didn’t add a Bible to something that a Bible was never a part of.

But, in their op-ed, Sasser and Berry didn’t mention the American Legion. They cited another organization as their sole authority, writing: 

According to the National League of POW/MIA Families this symbol of all faiths is meant to represent "the strength gained through faith to sustain those lost from our country, founded as one nation under God."

But this so-called “tradition” of including a Bible didn’t emerge until three decades after the original tradition of the POW/MIA table was begun.

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