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Sunday, 28 June 2009

Fault Lines - Religion in the Military

Part 1



Part 2



The Army company staff meeting was really creepy. When I was in the Air Force in the 1980s and 1990s nothing like this would happen at a squadron meeting. This looks like a church revival service. The chaplain probably only gave people permission to leave because the camera crew were there. She only gave permission to leave after the incredibly creepy prayer service. Why couldn't the prayer service be optional and before or after the staff meeting?

When I attended squadron staff meetings, there was only very rarely any kind of prayer. The few times I encountered some sort of prayer, it was very short and only acknowledged some sort of vague deity. I would use the time look around to see who else was a godless heathen like myself. We would exchange knowing smirks. It was always the same people. HehHehHeh.

Look closely at the crowd in the video. Very few (brave people there) took up her offer to leave. But look closely at the crowd. Even though there are quite a few people praying, waving their arms around, it is not a majority by any means. Also there are quite a few soldiers looking not too happy about being a captive audience for this chaplain.

Wednesday, 24 June 2009

The Chaplains of Hate



The Chaplaincy of Full Gospel Churches (CFGC) has been in the news lately, and not in a good way. They endorse approximately 270 chaplains in the United States military. Jim Ammerman runs the CFGC out of an office in his house. They seem to exist only to endorse chaplains, they do not serve any specific religious sect or congregation. This violates several of the rules regarding chaplain endorsing agencies. Talk2Action author, Chris Rodda, and MRFF have been investigating this story for the past month. The story finally bubbled up to Newsweek. MRFF weekly briefs also cover some of the articles. The MRFF also has sent a letter with 55 pages of supporting evidence to Secretary Gates and others.

From MRFF's letter:

1. The Chaplaincy of Full Gospel Churches (CFGC), headed by retired Army Col. E.H. Jim Ammerman, which, according to its website, currently has over 270 chaplains and chaplain candidates in all branches of the military, habitually denigrates all religions and religious denominations except Charismatic and Pentecostal Christianity. This denigration, which includes virulently anti-semitic and Islamophobic statements, as well as the deprecation of Catholicism and mainstream Protestantism, occurs in the CFGC's chaplain newsletters, as well as in the speeches, media appearances, and videos of both Mr. Ammerman and a currently serving CFGC chaplain, Army Maj. James F. Linzey.

2. Both Mr. Ammerman and Maj. Linzey have made numerous statements against the government of the United States and certain government officials and departments, promoted civilian militia movements, and disseminated many conspiracy theories in an attempt to foment disloyalty to the government of the the United States among both civilians and military personnel. This type of activity has previously led to an investigation of Ammerman and CFGC, called for by Air Force Lt. Gen. Normand Lezy in 1997.

DoD Directive Number 1325.6, "Guidelines for Handling Dissident and Protest Activities Among Members of the Armed Forces," cited in Lt. Gen. Lezy's 1997 memorandum, states that "Military personnel must reject participation in organizations that espouse supremacist causes." The Prophecy Club, an organization for which both Mr. Ammerman and Maj. Linzey have made videos, unquestionably espouses a supremacist cause. In addition, various statements made by both Mr. Ammerman and Maj. Linzey in their Prophecy Club videos, as well as in other forums, such as radio appearances and speeches, incontrovertibly violate one or more of the following statutory provisions found in Enclosure E1.2 of DoD Directive Number 1325.6.

3. According to the definition of a "Religious Organization" found in DoD Directive Number 1304.19, "Guidance for the Appointment of Chaplains for the Military Departments," CFGC is not eligible to be authorized as an ecclesiastical endorser. CFGC is not an "entity that is organized and functions primarily to perform religious ministries to a non-military lay constituency." CFGC, which is operated out of a house located in a residential neighborhood of Dallas, Texas zoned for single family homes, did not have a "non-military lay constituency" at the time of its founding, but was founded for the sole purpose of endorsing chaplains, and this continues to be its primary purpose to this day.

4. In a clear and blatant violation of CENTCOM's General Order 1-A, which absolutely prohibits the proselytizing of any religion, faith or practice in Iraq and/or Afghanistan, a network of forty CFGC chaplains has engaged in the organized distribution in Iraq of Arabic language Bibles and other Arabic language fundamentalist Christian evangelizing materials to the Iraqi people. The violation of this explicitly prohibited activity by these forty CFGC chaplains was initiated, encouraged, and aided by Mr. Ammerman.

According to US Army Regulation 165-1 :
4–3. Professional status of chaplains
a. Army chaplains have a dual role as religious leaders and staff officers. Their duties are prescribed by law, DOD policy, Army regulations, religious requirements, and Army mission. In performing their duties, chaplains do not exercise command, but exercise staff supervision and functional direction of religious support personnel and activities (title 10, United States Code, section 3581).
b. The chaplain is a qualified and endorsed clergy person of a DOD recognized religious denomination or faith group.
c. Chaplains are noncombatants and will not bear arms.
d. The proper title for a chaplain is “chaplain” regardless of military rank or professional title. When addressed in writing, the chaplains rank will be indicated in parentheses (see AR 25–50 and AR 600–20).
e. Commanders will detail or assign chaplains only to duties related to their profession. Chaplains may perform unrelated duties in a temporary military emergency. Chaplains may volunteer to participate or cooperate in nonreligious
functions that contribute to the welfare of the command. Commanders will not—
(1) Detail a chaplain as an exchange, athletic, recreation, drug or alcohol, graves registration, welfare, morale, dining
facility, personal affairs, information, education, human relations, equal opportunity, next-of-kin notification, suicide prevention, or survivor assistance officer. However, in the event of the death of a chaplain, chaplain(s) will be appointed to assist Summary Court Officers in review of confidential records and personal effects when next-of-kin is present.
(2) Assign a chaplain as military judge, trial counsel, defense counsel, investigating officer, member of a courtmartial, or member or adviser to investigative boards of officers. Chaplains may be required, however, to conduct inquires into chaplain-related activities or incidents.
(3) Require a chaplain to serve in a capacity in which he or she may later be called upon to reveal privileged or sensitive information incident to such service.
Section 4b states that Army chaplains must come from a DoD recognized faith group. If the Wiccans can't have an official chaplain in the Army, then some group operating from a guy's home office shouldn't be able to endorse chaplains either.

It starting to look like some of the worst offending chaplains have been endorsed by the CFGC. Our old friend Gordon Klingenschmidtt is still endorsed by this agency despite having been drummed out of the Navy with a courts-martial. Since 1993, this agency's chaplains have participated in the following:
  1. Violated numerous service members' constitutional rights.
  2. Made up conspiracy theories.
  3. Called for the violent overthrow of the United States government.
  4. Pushed white supremacy.
  5. Advocated for military members to ignore military rules.
  6. Denigrated other religions and those who are non-religious.
  7. Called for the execution of those they disagree with politically.
These chaplains have a virtual cornucopia of skills. [A virtual cornucopia of skills - Inside joke warning. Yes, I've actually used this phrase as a joke when writing officer ratings back when I was in the Air Force. We would try to see if we could get this phrase in an OER without anyone noticing. HehHehHeh]. CFCG chaplains have violated numerous service members constitutional rights regarding religious freedom. The CFGC seems only to exist as a chaplain endorsing agency according to the MRFF. What religious group to they represent? They seem to advocate a Christian Identity Militia type of religion, where white Christians are the "real Chosen people".

Of course not all of the offending chaplains have come from the CFGC. Capt. Robert Nay was accused of making anti-Semitic remarks against Jewish chaplains in 2001. He was also accused of hanging up Nazi uniforms at a prayer breakfast where chaplain attendance was mandatory. The Army investigated and found Rabbi Goldman's complaints were valid. I did a Google search on Chaplain Nay and found he is a member of the Carlisle Reformed Presbyterian Church. It can also be seen that instead of being courts-martialed, this man was promoted. This is not surprising since the chaplain leadership is almost exclusively extreme right-wing evangelists.

Here is a very long and detailed reading list for this story. These stories have to be read to be believed. The CFCG advocates the same type of conspiracy theories espoused by an insane co-worker I worked with during the mid 1990's.
The chaplains of hate indeed.

Friday, 12 June 2009

Why is This Man Still a Chaplain?

This article by Bruce Wilson has me speechless. It looks like Chaplain Linzey has been a busy boy over the last few years with some very bizarre radio and video interviews. Here are a few excerpts from an interview on April 10, 2005.
22:00
Linzey : I want Americans, I want everybody listening, to go out and buy 5 weapons and 5,000 bullets - for your own protection, for self defense. Because I believe that foreign soldiers will come to our houses, to rape our wives and teenage daughters and kill the men right in front of them - and then the women will bear children of an ethnic stock different from what they are, and that's how you alter the course of any society; you change the ethnic stock. Egypt today is not the same ethnic stock it was during the Moses days."

...

34:50
host : "There's a article here, it says Arizona National Guard... plans more aggressive border action... down here at the end [of the article] he says `when the Minuteman thing is over, if it doesn't work, we're going to come out here and close down the border with machine guns.' Now, that's not the right attitude, is it ?

Linzey : I believe it is. This is a matter of national security, because if we don't, what `s the outcome ? - Our wives and teenage daughters are going to be raped, our men will be shot in their homes by these aliens who are put up by the Chinese soldiers who do this. There are 5-10 thousand Chinese soldiers in Mexico right now, training Mexicans to do this very thing.

36:30 : "I've heard of a plot by communists to get 5 million aliens coming up from Mexico, not that they're all Mexicans, to invade America and to each kill 5 Americans - then you have an instant Holocaust."

Wow. How can anyone believe this shit? Obviously there's no critical thinking going on here. How the hell can 5-10,000 Chinese soldiers be in Mexico without anyone noticing? Training people to rape? WTF? Rape classes for millions of Mexican men? And no one has noticed?

US military forces number about 2 million. It takes trillions of dollars and large facilities to support this number of people. And these people think that Mexico is training 5 million of their male citizens to come over here and rape people. What are these nutcases smoking? Also notice the inherent racism in Maj. Linzey's statements. What is his fascination with foreign men raping female citizens? Why would that destroy the United States? Of course he is implying the rape of white women by dark skinned invaders.

And here is an excerpt from March 12, 2005.
Linzey: I was the command chaplain for the largest mobilization mission in the Continental United States for Operation Iraqi Freedom, the number one chaplain and what we did, you know, maybe some people don't understand our roles as chaplains, but we are missionaries to the military. And I served as an advisor to commanding generals on spiritual and personal needs of soldiers, marines, airman and sailors and advisor on ethics, religion, and morals. I personally shook hands for thousands of soldiers boarding the planes to go over and coming back, and prayed over their units and spoke to them while they were in their formations, spoke to their relatives in the assembly area at Fort Bliss, where Jessica lynch came back and the news media covered her at the same facility where we were.
Read the highlighted part again. Maj. Linzey states "but we are missionaries to the military." He is absolutely wrong. A military chaplain is not a missionary to the military. Military personnel are not his personal mission field. He cannot try to convert military members as a chaplain. His job is to support military people in the beliefs they hold. And what exactly is he trying to convert military members to? Christian Identity? Christian Patriot movement?

I have one question left "Why is this man still a chaplain in the US Army?"

Tuesday, 9 June 2009

Interesting Paint Job on a Local Police Car



I was going through some old email and came across this photo. Apparently, a couple of years ago
the local Kern County Sheriff's department received this car from the paint shop. According to the story, the car was driven for a week before the officer noticed the paint job on the side. The painter was retiring and he painted the car on his last day at work. I don't know if this is true or not but the picture is funny.

Update:

According to Cat in the comments, the photo is correct, except for the donuts sticker. A Snopes article has the Kern County Sheriff making a comment about creating gag stickers for the cars. It looks like his people took the idea a little too far.

Sunday, 7 June 2009

Militants



Courtesy of Atheist Cartoons. In the third panel, they need to add a bus with an atheist ad on the side driving by. HehHehHeh.