Monday, September 6, 2010

Speaking of "Sunday Mornings"

Just read this in the Army Times. Seems some commanders just can't help but impose their "Sunday Morning" religious fervor on their troops. If what Pvt Hall relates is true, this is, IMHO, absolutely intolerable.

First, the company commander who had his troops marched to the religious concert site in a unit formation before allowing them to choose to attend or not, then marched those who declined back to a barracks lockdown needs to be sent packing. Let him open a church in some small town. Second, the First Sergeant who obeyed such an order needs to be disposed of as well.

But, most outrageous of all is the commanding general who titled these concerts the "Commanding General’s Spiritual Fitness Concert Series". Chambers, a professed "born again christian" and his successor have no business sponsoring "spiritual fitness" of any sort. That is a soldier's private business. Making spiritual resources and chaplain services available for voluntary use by the troops is one thing, but "endorsing", or actually claiming "ownership" of a $125,000 concert series of clearly evangelical christian flavor is another.

I have intentionally not capitalized MG Chamber's professed denomination. I find nothing Christian in him or his fellow travelers. My Army is being hijacked by these religious zealots, even though there are Constitutional, legal and regulatory prohibitions against it.


  1. Al,

    Your concern is very well warranted, however, from my perspective, this is a very isolated and rare occurrence. In fact, since I was commissioned 12 years ago, I've noticed these type of things are even more rare than they were a decade ago. Just the fact that this made news should tell you something about how rare it is.

    When I was commissioned, I remember hearing a lot of Officers talk about the Christian Officer Fellowship, or whatever it was. I haven't heard of a single command sponsored or otherwise Christian group outside of weekly services since then.

    I don't have any stats for you, but from my viewpoint, it seems like religious events or groups of any time, have greatly diminished since 2001.

  2. bg-

    I truly hope you are spot on, as I find the issue repulsive. That these "concerts" went on for a couple of years before anyone raised the issue is sickening.

  3. Any recent news about whether the Air Force cleaned up their own messy foray into religious indoctrination in Boulder?


  4. This post and the article made me remember Navy boot camp. Back then, on Sundays recruits were allowed to attend whatever religious service they cared to. Those who chose not to attend got floor-buffing duty. Unsurprisingly, by the second week there were a lot more people interested in Church.

    I pretty much agree with BG. Every now and then I do come across an overzealous evangelical (and it always seems to be the evangelicals), but overall they seem pretty rare.


    I think that was Colorado Springs, actually, and as to the answer, I honestly don't know.

  5. My experience was similar to Andy's, and the extra time spent in Mass in BCT didn't make me a better Catholic.

    In fact, my observation of the Army Chaplain Corps was that there were two kinds of military chaplains; priests, and worthless.

    Military friars were, in my experience, topnotch. They were often Jesuits (i.e. thinking-man's Catholics) and tended to, as Catholics are espoused to, find holiness in the works of the hands rather than in sermonizing. They called the Red Cross for you, helped get your allotment straightened out, talked to you when your girl dumped you in the second week of an eight-week REFORGER.

    I never saw a rabbi or an imam, and the rest of the crew were Prods of the worst, most ignorant, fundamentalist sort. The typical Protestant chaplain I encountered was some hick from Buttbuzzard, Arkansas who barely knew his Scripture, let alone anything else. He couldn't help you with anything much, but bugged you about losing some valuable rack time to come to church Sunday (the padre would remind you that Friday Mass was right after close-of-business and perfect for a little pre-poon-prospecting confessions and absolution so you could go out with a spotless soul in search of True Love or at least fifteen minutes of it...) and then jacked you up for a couple of bucks in the collection plate.

    Most of the GIs I knew had little more than contempt for these jokers, and used them for whatever they could get out of them without any sort of real affection either for them or their proselytizing.

    I suspect that the GIs marched to this goofy Jesus concert felt very similar; I'll bet it had the opposite effect that the CO intended.

  6. FDChief-

    My experience was that the "quality" of the chaplain was based on what he saw as his role in the military. "Good" chaplains were there to provide emotional/"spiritual" support to the troops in a manner consistent with each troopie's needs. As far as evangelizing, the "good" ones were passive, responding only to inquiries from the troops, but never "advertizing".

    I think chaplains from the "catholic" faiths have an accidental advantage over their evangelical brethren. They are required to provide generic spiritual succor to other groups, as well as the specific sacraments and services of their faith, to those who are members of their faith. Thus, a Roman Catholic, Episcopal or Orthodox chaplain may conduct a general Christian service, but only those chaplains can conduct a Catholic, Episcopal or Orthodox Mass, and only within the canons of their faith. And those canons, in many ways, preclude "imposed" services upon a general population and are not conducive to the current "entertainment" based forms of expression.

    But, there is another factor. Non-denominational christian practice does not preclude a commander from seeing himself as the spiritual leader (or "chief priest") of his troops, and it is, IMHO, this factor that results in abuses. In short, a Roman Catholic commander cannot stage religious events to promote his sectarian views, as "entertainment worship" is not an RC practice, and only ordained RC priests can conduct most RC worship. Thus, religious expression/worship cannot be as easily co-opted by RC (Episcopal, Orthodox, Jewish) commanders, nor can RC, Epsicopal, Orthodox or Jewish chaplains be readily co-opted by fundoid commanders.

    For example, back in 1985 or so, an Episcopal Chaplain friend checked in as a brigade chaplain at Ft Hood. The Bde Cdr welcomed him, told him that he, the Bde Cdr, was the senior "christian" in the Bde, but that the chaplain was fully free to assist the Bde Cdr in his "christian mission", as well as do whatever his "faith group" required, as long as it did not conflict with the Bdr Cdr's programs. The Episcopal chaplain was welcome to attend the Bde Cdr's regularly scheduled prayer breakfasts, but simply as a member of the Cdr's "flock". It became clear, and immediately, that prayer breakfast attendance was reflected in OER quality. Fortunately, the Bde Cdr was due to relinquish command in a couple of months, so the good Padre simply went along with the gag without compromising his own religious values, or that of his denomination.

    In short, denominational outrages are quite difficult without command support.

  7. Al,
    I hope i'm not ot , but i just read that DOD is requiring mil pers to register their legal off post guns with dod .
    This is a civil rights violation , and imho invalidates the concept that the troops are fighting for our rights and freedoms.

  8. jim-

    Yes, you are off topic. That said, where did you read it?

    Since the Second Amendment specifically states the right to bear arms is in the interest of a "Well regulated militia", then perhaps the DOD is regulating the militia.

    Not gonna get a lot of sympathy from this soldier.

  9. "but i just read that DOD is requiring mil pers to register their legal off post guns with dod"

    That falls in the category of "Knee jerk reaction" or more likely "Let's see someone enforce this rule". Kind of like putting a lock on something, it keeps honest people honest. Those who have nafarias intent with a POW (privately owned weapon) won't report the weapon. And even if they did, so what? What will anyone do? Does that add to someone's "risk factors" of going postal? Sounds pretty silly.

    With all that said, I haven't heard of any such rule. I wonder if the rule is post specific, the brain child of some garrison commander who needed a bullet (no pun intended).

  10. I actually enjoyed church in Marine boot camp, the only female besides the Marine Major, was a cute little number from the Navy corpsman...I guess she doubled as stage hand.
    Anyway, after a few weeks of "oh god, you again?" it was kind of nice...but I suspect that my motivations different at that time.
    Ah youth.

  11. Sheerah, did you convert her to your cause? ;)

    Personal news, I'm teaching again, part-time, with an online school.


    PS: Round all them heretics up, pile 'em onto that Pastor Moustache in Florida, douse well with fuel oil, and burn 'em. X-)

  12. The gun registration issue apparently came out of a company level action at Ft. Campbell about 18 months ago, it was not DOD. And it was quickly rescinded.


    Walter Olin

  13. Walter Olin,
    Thanks for the correction.
    I should have researched this better.
    I THINK that i read this in a gun magazine.

    Now to be OT. Sorry for the digression.
    Do the service academies favor admission of practising christians in their selection criteria?
    If applicants get favorable treatment b/c they participate in christian clubs etc.. then this should be examined.
    I figure that you should have a handle on this.
    The next time i see my local WP Society group, i'll ask about this.