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Friday, 17 August 2012

Chaplains Gone Wild

The last two days has seen a couple of interesting emails arrive in my email account for this blog. They concern a couple of military chaplains who have completely sold out to either rampant commercialism or a possible attempt to run for office. One of these chaplains, however has had problems with this for a long time. The other has succumbed to greed. I will cover the greedy chaplain now. The other chaplain will be in a separate post.

According to Justin Griffith at Rock Beyond Belief, Chaplain MAJ Doug Hedrick runs an organisation called Centurion's Watch. This organisation runs some sort of Christian marriage seminars for the military. He of course charges for this. Here is an excerpt from the linked support page (quite a bit pushy with the requests for donations), while it lasts:
Please Help By Giving What You Can We are asking you to please sponsor or help sponsor one or more couples by making a tax deductible donation. The cost is $200 per couple and includes room, meals, materials for the seminar and breakout sessions, and entertainment such as ballroom dancing. Many couples cannot afford the full rate, but have expressed that they are able to pay $59-$69. We would love to have you become a monthly partner. There are several monthly support levels to choose from:
  • $16.36 (Founders Club- sponsors 1 couple per year)
  • $50 (Regiment Club- sponsors 3 couples per year)
  • $100 (Century Club- sponsors 6 couples per year)
  • $200 (Legion Club- sponsors 12 couples per year)
Or, please select one of our three other monthly levels ($300, $400, or $500 to allow military couples the opportunity to attend this life changing seminar, and also help Centurion’s Watch grow and offer more services to military couples and families.
What make this into a serious affair rather than a small case of probable conflict of interest for Chaplain Hedrick, is the involvement of Maj. Gen. Umbarger. Maj Gen Umbarger pushes Centurion's Watch while in uniform. Dustin's post lists all of the DoD regulations he is violating by doing this.
Maj. Gen. Umbarger is the Adjutant General of Indiana. He leads all of the state’s Army and Air National Guard and Guard Reserve units. Commanders have to be careful not to give the appearance of selective treatment. I’m surprised that this wasn’t vetted and then squashed.
With all of the pressure to participate in Centurion's Watch seminars being pushed by Maj. Gen. Umbarger, what are lower ranking officers and enlisted members of the Guard supposed to do? This sure gives the impression that promotions are being tied to participation. What of the money that Chaplain Maj. Hedrick is making on these seminars? Is the general getting a cut as well?

Here is the promotional video Maj Gen Umbarger makes for Centurion's Watch.



Why is pressuring your subordinates with buying Tupperware and other products not allowed, but pressuring them to buy Christian marriage seminars is? Sure the web page says that this is a "donation", but who really believes that?

My next story has evolved over the past year. It involves an Army chaplain who was "retired" a couple of years ago. He has been involved in anti-Semitism, white supremacy, Christian supremacy, conspiracy theories, being removed from the chaplain endorsing agency he co-founded, getting involved with politics, and dragging his family's personal problems through an email list. Quite a busy life since he was officially "retired" from active duty. Stay tuned.

Wednesday, 27 June 2012

Hey, It's Great to be Back

I haven't posted anything here in over 6 months due to a series of family events (the death of a close family member) and a hectic work schedule. Though I haven't posted much, I've been reading a lot of great blogs lately. I'm also taking a graduate level math class which has taken even more of my time. But I have several interesting stories that I will be posting soon.