In the news: Christianizers in the military
Anti-semitic attack on Air Force Academy graduate
by JewsOnFirst.org, May 11, 2006
May has brought forth new reports about Christianizers in the U.S. military. Most significantly, an Air Force general used his military email account to send 200 of his Air Force Academy classmates a pitch for a Republican congressional candidate that focused on the man's Christian credentials. The Jewish academy graduate who shared his copy of the email with reporters was attacked by an old-style anti-Semite and the candidate.
Meanwhile, Congressional Republicans rebuffed an effort to call for sensitivity in the Air Force's policy for chaplains. Issued in February, that policy delighted Christocrat because it allows chaplains to offer sectarian prayers at official occasions. Lastly, a zealot Navy chaplain, Lt. Gordon Klingenschmitt, got his fight for sectarian prayers back into the news.
The emailed campaign pitch came from Maj. General Jack J. Catton Jr., who is based at Langley Air Force Base in Virginia, where he orders major weapons systems. Catton urged his 1976 Air Force Academy classmates to support retired Air Force General Bentley Rayburn, a Republican candidate for Congress in Colorado.
"In need of Christian men"
Mikey Weinstein, an Air Force Academy graduate who is suing the Air Force to stop religious coercion by conservative Christian evangelicals (click here for more), showed reporters the email. To date, Weinstein's exposure of Catton's message has garnered more reaction than Catton's disregard of church-state separation (especially important for a high-ranking military officer)and both men's blatant promotion of sectarian Christianity. Rayburn felt free to tell the Denver Post: Weinstein "will be happy when you erase any notion of religion from the public square. I think he's a pretty lone voice out there, because I think that's not the proper interpretation of the Constitution. … Obviously, he's on a crusade."
From: Al Parker
Weinstein, who recently established the Military Religious Freedom Foundation (www.militaryreligiousfreedom.org), commented that he receives more supportive communications than attacks. The Washington Post quoted him saying that Catton's email was "evidence of a continuing attack on separation of church and state by evangelicals in the military."
The Air Force said it was investigating Catton's email.
Republicans won't tolerate tolerance
The Navy may have finally moved to discipline Chaplain Lt. Gordon Klingenschmitt. Last year he went on a hunger strike over purported discipline that the Navy denied applying. Klingenschmitt said he was in trouble because he insisted on praying to Jesus in nonsectarian settings.
This time there is only Klingenschmitt's claim -- in a lightly circulated AP story (see below), that discipline is forthcoming. He says the Navy will punish him for his March appearance in front of the White House with deposed Alabama Supreme Court Justice Roy Moore to protest restrictions on sectarian prayer. Klingenschmitt wore his uniform on that occasion.
Air Force to Examine Fundraising E-Mail Sent by a General
Message Praised Candidate's Christianity
By Alan Cooperman, The Washington Post, May 6, 2006
The Air Force is investigating whether a two-star general violated military regulations by urging fellow Air Force Academy graduates to make campaign contributions to a Republican candidate for Congress in Colorado, Pentagon officials said yesterday.
Maj. Gen. Jack J. Catton Jr., who is on active duty at Langley Air Force Base, sent the fundraising appeal on Thursday from his official e-mail account to more than 200 fellow members of the academy's class of 1976, many of whom are also on active duty. Continue
E-mail ran afoul of rules, not religion
By Jim Spencer, The Denver Post, May 10, 2006
"I'm quite sure," said retired Air Force Gen. Bentley Rayburn, "that absent one word, no one would ever know anything about this."
The word is "Christian."
Rayburn was talking about a political endorsement sent last week via military e-mail to hundreds of recipients around the country. The e-mail's author was Maj. Gen. Jack Catton of the Air Force's Air Combat Command in Virginia. He asked recipients to support Rayburn to replace retiring U.S. Rep. Joel Hefley in Colorado's 5th Congressional District. Continue
Langley general's e-mail probed
Jack J. Catton Jr. used his military e-mail account to solicit support for a candidate.
By Stephanie Heinatz, The Daily Press (Hampton Roads, Virginia), May 11, 2006
LANGLEY AIR FORCE BASE -- A Langley Air Force Base general is under investigation for using his military e-mail account to solicit support for a congressional candidate.
Maj. Gen. Jack J. Catton Jr. sent the request May 4 to more than 200 fellow Air Force Academy graduates, including people now assigned to Central Command, the Office of the Secretary of Defense and Joint Forces Command.
He also sent the e-mail to addresses at Boeing, a military contractor. Catton is in charge of acquiring weapon systems for Air Combat Command. Continue
Amendment mandating chaplains’ sensitivity fails
By Bryant Jordan, Air Force Times, May 5, 2006
A New York congressman’s push to require that military chaplains exhibit greater sensitivity toward various faiths was defeated Thursday.
Republican members of the House Armed Services Committee — with the exception of Rep. Candice Miller of Michigan — voted against the amendment, offered by Rep. Steve Israel, D-N.Y., to language inserted into the National Defense Authorization Act for fiscal 2007.
The original language, added to the ’07 Defense Authorization Act by Rep. Todd Akin, R-Mo., provides that "each chaplain shall have the prerogative to pray according to the dictates of the chaplain’s own conscience, except as must be limited by military necessity, with any such limitation being imposed in the least restrictive manner feasible."
But Israel asked lawmakers to amend the language, adding "that chaplains shall demonstrate sensitivity, respect and tolerance for all faiths present on each occasion at which prayers are offered." Click here for the report
House OKs military prayers in Jesus’ name
Baptist Press, May 12, 2006
WASHINGTON (BP)--The United States House of Representatives has approved a measure that would permit military chaplains to pray in Jesus’ name at public events. Click here for the article
Clergyman Prayed In Uniform Outside White House
Navy Chaplain May Face Court-Martial For Praying
Associated Press, May 4, 2006
NORFOLK, Va. -- A chaplain stationed at Naval Station Norfolk said he could face court-martial for praying in uniform outside the White House.
Lt. Gordon Klingenschmitt said he prayed at a March 30 protest opposing Department of Defense rules forbidding military chaplains from invoking the name of Jesus Christ. He's accused of violating an order not to appear in uniform at news conferences in support of personal or religious issues.
The issue seems to hinge on whether his praying at the event was permissible participation at a bona fide religious service. Klingenschmitt is rejecting non-judicial punishment in favor of trial by court-martial.
In addition, he's filing a complaint against the Navy claiming the threat of punishment against him amounts to religious harassment and he's appealing to the White House to end what he claims are the military's attempts to take reprisals against a whistle-blower.
Chaplains disagree over new religious speech regulations
By Leo Shane III, Stars and Stripes, March 31, 2006
This report on a March 30th news conference by deposed Alabama Chief Justice Roy Moore and religious right chaplains wanting an executive order allowing them to pray to Jesus on all occasions, also has statements from chaplains in the National Conference on Ministry to the Armed Forces, who oppose the order. Click here