Alliance Defending Freedom: It’s days away: The Supreme Court’s marriage decision is expected to come down on June 29.
The Hill: Sen. Lindsey Graham (R-S.C.) called on companies to issue hundreds of thousands of layoff notices to workers threatened by an impending $500 billion in automatic defense cuts to highlight the danger of sequestration.
AP: An Egyptian court suspended on Tuesday a government decision allowing military police and intelligence to arrest civilians, a setback for the country’s military rulers after the decree drew an outcry from opponents who accused them of trying to impose martial law.
Islamists vs the Generals: How the Muslim Brotherhood’s election victory will plunge Egypt into political strife
Daily Mail: Although optimists hope that Egypt will evolve along the lines of Turkey, which has a moderate Islamic government, the reality is that it is likely to see protracted strife between a still-powerful military – which has until now held all the power – and a strong Islamist movement that will make it more like strife-torn Pakistan.
Christian Post: A national chaplain alliance group “strongly condemns” the U.S. Department of Defense’s decision to celebrate Gay Pride Month and says it is concerned that the Pentagon’s next step will be to grant marriage benefits to same-sex couples within the military.
FRC Washington Update: To most people, the turning point came last year after a service-wide memo from Gen. Norman Schwartz. It was a stern warning that religious favoritism and proselytizing would not be tolerated in the Force. Instead, Gen. Schwartz urged “neutrality”–which has since turned to hostility–on faith.
Pat Buchanan at Townhall: n introducing his new book, “Leo Strauss and the Conservative Movement in America,” Paul Gottfried identifies a fundamental divide between neoconservatives and the traditional right. The divide is over the question: What is this nation, America?
LifeSiteNews: Adm. Mullen reportedly responded, “Chaplain, if you can’t get in line with this policy, resign your commission.” Admiral Mike Mullen, chairman, Joint Chiefs of Staff Another chaplain’s promotion was unexpectedly rescinded, said the colonel.
The Chaplain Alliance for Religious Liberty is commending the 66 members of Congress who signed a letter to Defense Secretary Leon Panetta outlining a pattern of attacks on faith by Air Force leadership.
One News Now: ol. Ron Crews (USA-Ret.) served as a chaplain for 28 years and now serves as a spokesman for the Chaplain Alliance for Religious Liberty. “It just seems that every time Mikey Weinstein sends an e-mail over to the Pentagon that they just cater to his every whim,” Crews says. “This one individual has that much influence in the Pentagon. They just cave in.”
Washington Times: The U.S. military is guilty of political correctness toward domestic Islamic terror, according to a congressional report made public Wednesday that concludes al Qaeda is using U.S.-based Muslim radicals to plan mass casualty attacks.
AP: Poor judgment and poor oversight led to the teaching of anti-Islamic material at a military school for officers, according to a Pentagon report Wednesday
Reuters: That drew a sharp rebuke from Washington, long the Egyptian military’s financial sponsor. The Pentagon said it was “deeply concerned” and urged the army to hand over “full power” to civilians – but it made no mention of U.S. action if it did not.
BBC: Thousands of people are gathering in Cairo’s Tahrir Square to protest against a decision by the ruling military council to assume new powers.
Washington Post: This summer, the Pentagon will salute them, marking June as gay pride month just as it has marked other celebrations honoring racial or ethnic groups . . . “Now that we’ve repealed ‘don’t ask, don’t tell,’ he feels it’s important to find a way this month to recognize the service and professionalism of gay and lesbian troops,” said Navy Capt. John Kirby, a spokesman.
AP: A look at some military rules following repeal of the “don’t ask, don’t tell policy,” which for 18 years meant troops could be kicked out if they revealed their homosexual orientation . . .
Washington Post: Egypt’s Islamist-dominated parliament is likely to be suspended after a high court ruling Thursday that one-third of its lawmakers were elected unconstitutionally, officials said.
Stephen Kilcullen at the Wall Street Journal: “Ninety-percent of our senior [infantry] officers are Ranger qualified,” Army Chief of Staff Gen. Ray Odierno recently said. “If we determine that we’re going to allow women to go into infantry and be successful, they’re probably at some time going to have to go to Ranger School.” But does changing the fabric of the military culture to improve the odds of individual achievement make sense for the military? Do individuals serve the military or does the military serve them? Remember, this is an all-volunteer force.
Colo. Springs Independent: An Air Force lawyer at the Pentagon has essentially cleared Brig. Gen. Dana Born, the Air Force Academy’s dean of faculty, of ordering a counterinsurgency against the Military Religious Freedom Foundation
The Chaplain Alliance for Religious Liberty expresses disappointment over a decision by Department of Defense officials to remove military edition Bibles from the shelves of military exchange stores. This is one more case of Department of Defense officials bowing to political pressure to create a “religion free” zone in the military.
ACLU Blog (includes ad video): This week we let you know about an exciting new ad campaign created by a coalition of retired military leaders and veterans – Stand With Servicewomen. The ads target the unfair ban on servicewomen using their insurance to pay for abortion services if they become pregnant as the result of rape. Today, the second ad, “Honor” featuring Lt. Gen. Robert Gard, a three-star general
Religion Clause Blog: McClatchy Newspapers reported Friday that at Texas’ Fort Hood, a military judge delayed the pre-trial hearing for accused mass killer Maj. Nidal Hasan because Hasan appeared in court with a full beard, grown for religious reasons.
Religion Clause Blog: In Spadone v. McHugh, (D DC, June 6, 2012), the U.S. District Court for the District of Columbia held that former West Point cadet Alan Spandone has standing to claim that the Establishment Clause was violated when, at a hearing on his alleged Honor Code violations, he was ordered by the Commandant of Cadets to stand with his body rigid in a military posture and to read aloud the “Cadet’s Prayer.”
Tom Strode at Baptist Press: “I can assure you that a tension exists in this area,” Carver told participants. “For example, the Department of Defense no longer considers homosexuality a moral issue. [To the department,] it is an amoral issue. To them, it’s a concern of human dignity, respect, discipline and professionalism. However, a number of our chaplains and troops believe that homosexuality is a moral issue.”
The Hill (includes video): Veterans and retired members of the military are calling on Congress to provide abortion funding for servicewomen in the case of rape or incest in a new ad campaign announced Thursday.
U-T San Diego: But in a heartless move, two hypersecularist groups – the Military Association of Atheists & Freethinkers, and the Military Religious Freedom Foundation – are now threatening to sue if the U.S. Marine Corps refuses to take down the crosses. They say the crosses establish a religion and they want to see the crosses put into “a private church.”
Same-sex ceremony in military chapel raises need for congressional action | Chaplain Alliance for Religious Liberty
The Chaplain Alliance for Religious Liberty is expressing concern over a recent “same-sex ceremony” conducted in a military chapel at Fort Polk, La. A chaplain conducted the ceremony for two female soldiers.
Congressman Todd Akin (R-MO), Chairman of the Seapower & Projection Forces Subcommittee, released the following statement today after reports that a same-sex ceremony was performed recently in a military chapel at Fort Polk, Louisiana.
The Hill: The Defense Department is looking for a little help from its friends overseas as the Pentagon and White House try to break Senate opposition to an international treaty on maritime law.
Paul.House.Gov: Of course, the idea that the administration should follow the Constitution and seek a Declaration of War from Congress is considered even more anachronistic now than under the previous administration.
FoxNews: Statistics from the Department of Defense report that since the start of operations in Afghanistan in 2001, the military divorce rate has continued to rise. Last year alone, the marriages of some 30,000 military personnel ended in divorce (USA Today, December 2011).
Phil Lawler at Catholic Culture: The US is committed to a foreign policy that defends human rights. Yet in the countries where our troops have been fighting during the past decade, one fundamental human right—the right to religious freedom—has been diminished rather than enhanced, particularly for Christians.
allAfrica.com: Egypt may be following one set of democratic procedures, but it is not, by any stretch of the imagination, a transition to democracy, irrespective of who becomes the next President. Elections are only one element of democracy, and to reduce democratic practice to what happens at the polling station is highly problematic. We need to ask ourselves what the conditions are that have influenced people’s choices?
Washington Times: Democrats have tried in the past to overturn the 16-year-old ban on military funding for abortion except when the mother’s life is at stake, but the latest attempt picked up some bipartisan traction last week in the Armed Services Committee, with GOP Sens. John McCain, Susan M. Collins and Scott P. Brown signing on.
Market Watch: It’s a war memorial that has commemorated the valor and sacrifice of the U.S. Army’s 10th Mountain Division for more than 50 years. And yesterday, one day after Americans solemnly observed Memorial Day, the Knights of Columbus — represented by the Becket Fund for Religious Liberty — asked to intervene in a pending lawsuit to defend the memorial’s right to exist on public land in Montana.
Lyle Denniston has this post at Constitution Daily (:Constitution Check: Do women have a constitutional right to serve in military combat?:): There are more recent precedents, but they seem to point in opposite directions. In 1981, in the case of Rostker v. Goldberg, the Court upheld the policy that limited the military draft to men . . . But in 1996, in the case of United States v. Virginia, the Court struck down a males-only admissions policy at Virginia Military Institute in Lexington, Va., partly because it shut women out of a channel leading toward potential careers in the military.
The HIll: Two female soldiers filed a federal lawsuit Wednesday to end the ban on women in combat. Command Sgt. Maj. Jane Baldwin and Col. Ellen Harding are suing to put an end to restrictions in combat positions “solely on the basis of sex.” Complaint: Baldwin v. Panetta, No. 1:12-cv-00832-RMC
Religion Clause Blog: The U.S House of Representatives last week passed, and sent to the Senate, HR 4310, the 2013 National Defense Authorization Act (full text.) The bill contains two provisions relating to same-sex unions and to broader issues of conscience rights in relation to gays and lesbians. Section 536 of the bill provides in part:
AP: Secretary of State Hillary Rodham Clinton and the nation’s top military leaders pleaded Wednesday for Senate approval of a long-spurned high seas treaty, arguing that the pact will boost U.S. national security and create much-needed American jobs.
Russell D. Moore at Christian Post: I’m a committed evangelical Christian, and also a chaplain with responsibility for people from all sorts of religious backgrounds. I am called on to pray at many functions, with mixed audiences. Some over me are pressuring me not to end my prayers “in Jesus’ name” but to instead pray more inclusively to God, generally. I can pray “in Your name” and that seems to solve the problem. I mean Jesus, of course, but it wouldn’t be as patently offensive and it would enable me to minister here longer and more effectively. Is that ethical?
Gary McCaleb at Townhall: When President Obama prepared to repeal the “don’t ask don’t tell” policy in July 2011, defenders of marriage and religious freedom warned that the repeal would open Pandora’s Box. Military chaplains even sought congressional action to protect their rights of conscience. The predominant concern was that the President’s actions would usher in attempts to redefine marriage on military installations, which would, in turn, force chaplains to perform the ceremonies for same-sex couples in uniform . . . in the months since the repeal, it turns out the concerns were well-founded.
CNSNews: The Obama administration “strongly objects” to provisions in a House defense authorization bill that would prohibit the use of military property for same-sex “marriage or marriage-like” ceremonies, and protect military chaplains from negative repercussions for refusing to act against their consciences, as, for example, in being ordered to perform a same-sex marriage ceremony.
ACLU Blog: And while it is widely acknowledged that women are already engaging in combat, American servicewomen continue to be officially excluded from being “assigned” to direct ground combat positions by the so-called combat exclusion rule. This rule prevents women’s service from being fully recognized and stifles their career advancement.
LA Times: House Republicans want to ban the use of military chapels for gay weddings, and tacked a prohibition onto must-pass defense legislation — turning a routine military bill into a venue for the same-sex marriage debate.
Human Events: After regaling a group of environmentalists last week on military initiatives to pursue biofuels and prepare for climate change, Defense Secretary Leon Panetta advanced another tenet of a far-left military agenda Wednesday when he appeared at a forum to push for ratification of the United Nations Law of the Sea Treaty. The treaty would create an international regime of law to dictate actions and activities on and in the oceans
The Hill: On the same day that President Obama threw the weight of the White House in support of gay marriage, defense lawmakers in the House banned the practice from taking place on U.S. military bases.
Congressman Todd Akin (R-MO), Chairman of the Seapower and Projection Forces Subcommittee, announced today that the House Armed Services Committee adopted his amendment to protect the religious liberty of all military servicemembers and military chaplains in particular.
Morning Meme: Amendment One Passes, You Can Win a Date With Parker Young, and Johnny Depp Names His Willy Wonka Inspiration | AfterElton
AfterElton: Meanwhile, in the House of Representatives, two anti-gay amendments for the National Defense Authorization Act have been prepared with a who’s-who of anti gay groups, including the Alliance Defense Fund, the National Organization for Marriage and the Family Research Council. One would give huge latitude to military chaplains to preach hate from the pulpit on government bases, and the other would assert DOMA more strongly as it relates to military affairs.
One News Now: The second attempt to prosecute the self-proclaimed mastermind of the Sept. 11 attacks and four men accused of helping orchestrate the plot got off to a rough start, with the defendants disrupting their arraignment and forcing the proceedings to drag on late into the night.
Human Events: In the era of Don’t Ask, Don’t Tell, a number of support groups advocated for gay service members who feared backlash for speaking freely. But the repeal of the ban in late 2011 has not ushered in a new era of free speech; rather, now it is chaplains who say they are being muzzled by the military and a group has formed to pass legislation seeking relief on their behalf.
Metro Weekly: The House Bipartisan Legal Advisory Group today sought to intervene, as expected, in the challenge to the Defense of Marriage Act and related laws brought by Servicemembers Legal Defense Network on behalf of LGB servicemembers and veterans and their spouses. The intervention in McLaughlin v. United States . . .
Boston Globe (AP): The Rhode Island attorney general said Wednesday that a war monument topped with a cross on city property in Woonsocket “transcends religion” and should not be removed because of a complaint from an atheist group.
WoonsocketCall.com: Buoyed by offers of free legal assistance and an outpouring of public support, the City Council will decide tonight whether to establish a defense fund to keep the monument at Place Jolicoeur, in the parking lot of Fire Station No. 2, with the Latin cross intact . . . The Liberty Counsel, the Alliance Defense Fund and the Becket Fund for Religious Liberty, which supported Cranston’s fight to save a prayer banner, are among the national organizations offering free legal help.
Ron Paul: The Costs of War: Military Mental Health staff increased to 20,590 amid rising suicide epidemic
Paul.House.Gov: This month Veterans Affairs Secretary Eric K. Shinseki announced the addition of some 1,900 mental health nurses, psychiatrists, psychologists, and social workers to its existing workforce of 20,590 mental health staff in attempt to get a handle on the epidemic of suicides among combat veterans.
Christian Telegraph: The Iranian Islamic regime is highly concerned about the growing tendency towards Christianity among Iranians which has now reached the authorities, officials and their family members whether inside or outside the country, reports Iranian Christian news agency, Mohabat News.
Liberty Counsel stands ready to defend Woonsocket, Rhode Island, against threats from the Freedom From Religion Foundation (FFRF), which takes issue with the 91-year-old war memorial located on Woonsocket Fire Department property, simply because it contains a cross.
Fox News: Council President John Ward told The Woonsocket Call this week that he agrees with those who say the cross is more of a historical symbol — like the grave markers at Normandy, France — but he said the financially struggling city can’t afford to get dragged into a legal battle.
Religion Clause Blog: A California federal district court judge on Monday issued an order (full text) approving a settlement agreement (full text) under which the parties agree to implement a land transfer authorized by Congress in 2004.
NY Times: The Marine Corps, the most male of the armed services, is taking its first steps toward integrating women into war-fighting units, starting with its infantry officer school at Quantico, Va., and ground combat battalions that had once been closed to women.
The Call: The thorny constitutional principle of separation of church and state is rearing its head over a 1921 World War I monument featuring a prominent Christian cross on city property.
Gary McCaleb at Townhall: For decades, atheist groups have strategically involved themselves in questions of religious freedom, and they have done so chiefly by fighting to have all Christian symbols and texts removed from public view. But in recent years, as this fight has continued, it’s become evident that it’s not just symbols and texts they want removed from public view, rather, it’s Christians themselves.
Joel Oster at Speak Up Movement Church Blog: Some people have no shame. The situation involving the demand to remove the crosses at Camp Pendleton is just such a situation. About nine years ago, seven Marines erected two crosses in a remote part of the camp, on a hill overlooking the Pacific Ocean.