DoD

May 9, 2013

DOD counters Internet posts on religion issue

Jim Garamone
American Forces Press Service

WASHINGTON (AFNS) — Internet posts making the rounds claiming that the Defense Department will court-martial service members who espouse Christianity are not true, a Pentagon spokesman said today.

“The Department of Defense places a high value on the rights of members of the military services to observe the tenets of their respective religions and respects, (and supports by its policy) the rights of others to their own religious beliefs, including the right to hold no beliefs,” Navy Lt. Cmdr. Nate Christensen said in a written statement on the issue.

“The department does not endorse any one religion or religious organization, and provides free access of religion for all members of the military services,” he added.

Internet posts are attributing a statement that superior officers who try to convert those under their command should face court-martial to Mikey Weinstein, president of the Albuquerque, N.M.-based Military Religious Freedom Foundation, and are identifying him as a Pentagon advisor, Christensen noted.

“Mr. Weinstein is not part of any DOD advisory group or committee, nor is he a consultant to the Defense Department regarding religious matters,” Christensen said. “Mr. Weinstein requested, and was granted, a meeting at the Pentagon April 23, with the Air Force judge advocate general and others, to include the deputy chief of chaplains, to express his concerns of religious issues in the military.”

Some bloggers have taken sections of Air Force Instruction 1-1 “Air Force Standards” — specifically, the section titled “Government Neutrality Regarding Religion” — out of context in supporting their take, Christensen said.

“Leaders at all levels must balance constitutional protections for an individual’s free exercise of religion or other personal beliefs and the constitutional prohibition against governmental establishment of religion,” the instruction states.

Air Force leaders at all levels “must avoid the actual or apparent use of their position to promote their personal religious beliefs to their subordinates or to extend preferential treatment for any religion. Commanders or supervisors who engage in such behavior may cause members to doubt their impartiality and objectivity. The potential result is a degradation of the unit’s morale, good order, and discipline,” the instruction goes on to say.

The instruction further says all Airmen “are able to choose to practice their particular religion, or subscribe to no religious belief at all.” It tells Airmen to practice their own beliefs while respecting differing viewpoints.

The right to practice religious beliefs does not excuse Airmen from complying with directives, instructions and lawful orders, the instruction says.

It adds that Airmen “must ensure that in exercising their right of religious free expression, they do not degrade morale, good order, and discipline in the Air Force or degrade the trust and confidence that the public has in the United States Air Force.”




All of this week's top headlines to your email every Friday.


 
 

 
(U.S. Air Force photo by Staff Sgt. Ciara Gosier)

Historic fighter squadron celebrates 98th birthday

(U.S. Air Force photo by Staff Sgt. Ciara Gosier) Historic_Pict2 Caption: U.S. Air Force Airmen from the 94th Fighter Squadron and Aircraft Maintenance Unit pose for a photo at Langley Air Force Base, Va., Aug. 21, 2015. The ph...
 
 
WEBKeySpouse_pict

Key Spouse Program: Supporting the families and Airmen of 12th Air Force (Air Forces Southern)

Photo: KeySpouse_pict DAVIS-MONTHAN AFB, Ariz. — It is in the nature of military service that at some point you will be separated from the ones who love you. Often times a permanent change of station forces spouses and si...
 
 
(Courtesy photo)

SecAF, CSAF, CMSAF present new “little blue book”

(Courtesy photo) Caption: Chief Master Sgt. of the Air Force James A. Cody congratulates an Airman attending Airmen’s Week Aug. 27, at Joint Base San Antonio-Lackland, Texas. The Airmen received a copy of “America’...
 

 
af-uav4

Arming the RPAs

Air Force photograph by TSgt. Joseph Swafford A1C Matthew Lopez (center), 62nd Expeditionary Reconnaissance Squadron munitions systems technician, builds a GPS-guided GBU-49 bomb at Kandahar Airfield, Afghanistan, Aug. 15, 2015...
 
 
Photo: WoW_pict

Warfighter of the Week: Staff Sgt. Brad Johannes

Photo: WoW_pict Col. Robert Stonemark, 12th Air Force (Air Forces Southern) chief of staff, presents Staff Sgt. Brad Johannes, 12th AF (AFSOUTH) manager of engineering operations, with the Warfighter of the Week certificate dur...
 
 

Special tactics Airmen killed in hostile incident

Two special tactics airmen, who were deployed in support of Operation Freedom’s Sentinel, were killed near Camp Antonik, Afghanistan, Aug. 26. Capt. Matthew D. Roland, 27, and SSgt. Forrest B. Sibley, 31, were at a vehicle checkpoint when two individuals wearing Afghan National Defense and Security Forces uniforms opened fire on them. NATO service members...
 




0 Comments


Be the first to comment!


Leave a Reply

Your email address will not be published. Required fields are marked *

You may use these HTML tags and attributes: <a href="" title=""> <abbr title=""> <acronym title=""> <b> <blockquote cite=""> <cite> <code> <del datetime=""> <em> <i> <q cite=""> <s> <strike> <strong>