Religious liberty in the military

 

U.S. Army Capt. John Barkemeyer, a chaplain, conducts mass for Soldiers on a remote contingency operating base in Ramadi, Iraq, Sept. 20, 2007. (U.S. Army photo by Spc. Kieran Cuddihy) (Released)The Lutheran Church Missouri Synod may yet again be headed to the Supreme Court, at least to the extent of having filed an amicus brief in the case of a female Marine corporal who was given a bad-conduct discharge for refusing to take down a Bible verse in her workplace.  (“No weapon that is formed against thee shall prosper.” [Isaiah 54:17])  It remains to be seen if the court will take her case.

But there are other religious liberty issues in the military.  Some relate to chaplains being ordered to compromise their faith.  Many relate to LBGT issues.

The Synod is weighing in on some of these issues in various channels.  The Lutheran Reporter has a story on the problem and the church’s efforts. [Read more…]

Evangelizing the condemned Nazis

Last year almost to the day we blogged about  Rev. Henry Gerecke, the LCMS military chaplain who was pressed into service as the Protestant chaplain at Nuremberg, charged with ministering to the Nazi war criminals who were on trial there, many of whom were executed.  There is now  book out about Chaplain Gerecke:  Mission at Nuremberg: An American Army Chaplain and the Trial of the Nazis by Tim Townsend.

It tells how he used both firmness and compassion, applying both the Law and the Gospel, in an effort to bring these moral monsters to repentance and to Christ.  Which he apparently did with at least 4 of the 11 who were hanged.  Then again, Hermann Goering repudiated Christianity just hours before he committed suicide by biting a  smuggled cyanide tablet, calling Jesus “just another smart Jew.”  After the jump, an excerpt from a review of the book.
[Read more…]

Military will allow evangelism but not proselytizing

Responding to the uproar about the prospect for court martials for evangelism that we blogged about, the military is clarifying that evangelism will, in fact, be allowed.  Just not proselytizing.

So what’s the difference?  The military’s definition is after the jump.  Is this a valid distinction?  What will determine one from the other?  How might this apply outside the military, to the ways Christians share their faith in the public square?  Is there some “witnessing” that should be out of bounds?  [Read more…]

Court martial for evangelism?

How persecution begins:

The Pentagon has released a statement confirming that soldiers could be prosecuted for promoting their faith: “Religious proselytization is not permitted within the Department of Defense…Court martials and non-judicial punishments are decided on a case-by-case basis…”. [Read more…]

Chaplain wins Medal of Honor

A Korean war chaplain who died in a POW camp will receive the  Medal of Honor later this week.  Read the exploits of Father Emil Kapaun after the jump. [Read more…]

The porta-Church

Church-in-a-box … A Russian military Orthodox chapel

[Read more…]