Opinion

Military site removes ‘Chaplain’s Corner’ column over atheists’ complaints

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A chaplain was ordered to remove an essay he’s written for his “Chaplain’s Corner” column at an Alaskan military base’s website because it offended atheists.

Lt. Col. Kenneth Reyes, who serves at Joint Base Elmendorf-Richardson, wrote an essay called, “No Atheists in Foxholes: Chaplains Gave all in World War II,” which apparently ruffled a few feathers.

Father William Cummings has been quoted as saying during World War II, “There is no such thing as an atheist in a foxhole,” which Reyes used as the basis for his essay.

According to Fox News:

President Eisenhower referenced the phrase during a speech to the American Legion in 1954, noting “I am delighted that our veterans are sponsoring a movement to increase our awareness of God in our daily lives. In battle, they learned a great truth that there are no atheists in the foxholes.”

Reyes ended his essay with a reflection on faith.

“Everyone expresses some form of faith every day, whether it is religious or secular,” Reyes wrote. “Some express faith by believing when they get up in the morning they will arrive at work in one piece, thankful they have been given another opportunity to enjoy the majesty of the day, or express relief the doctor’s results were negative.”

Although Reyes didn’t insult atheists in the column, the Military Religious Freedom Foundation alleged Reyes engaged in an “anti-secular diatribe” and publicly denigrating “those without religion.”

It wasn’t long before the base commander received a complaint from the Military Religious Freedom Foundation — an obvious oxymoron, right up there with “jumbo shrimp,” “freezer burn” and “genuine imitation leather.” Five hours later, Reyes’ essay was removed from the Alaska military website.

But the Military Religious Freedom Foundation want’s to take it further and make an example out of the chaplain.

“Faith based hate, is hate all the same,” MRFF’s Blake Page wrote. “Lt. Col. Reyes must be appropriately reprimanded.” And so the desires of a few dictated what an entire military community may or may not read.

This is sad. if you don’t like Animal Planet, change the channel, dummy — don’t demand that Animal Planet be taken off the air. Some of us, including me, may like it.

No one forces anyone to read “Chaplain’s Corner.” From its name, it’s a pretty safe bet that the column won’t be the go-to source for tips on cleaning your M-4 rifle or picking up girls in Anchorage. It may not be everyone’s cup of tea, but it’s going to be someone’s.

Gen. Jerry Boykin (Ret.), executive vice president of the Family Research Council. told Fox News that the Air Force’s action amounted to “discrimination against Christians” and that the “climate of intimidation within the Air Force has worsened to such an extend that even chaplains now fear carrying out the most basic duties of their job.”

In this case, a chaplain has been censored for expressing his beliefs about the role of faith in the lives of service members. There has to be a recognition that this is discrimination against Christians.  Chaplains are placed there for a purpose.  Why do we have chaplains if they aren’t allowed to fulfill that purpose?  When anti-Christian activists like Mikey Weinstein are dictating the rules for what chaplains are allowed to do, then why we must ask the question why we have chaplains?

Weinstein is an attorney, former Air Force officer as well as the founder and president of the Military Religious Freedom Foundation.

In case you’re wondering what the hoopla is all about, Fox News included the chaplain’s complete essay. As for myself, I still don’t understand what the fuss was all about.

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