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View Diary: From homeschooled fundie to free-thinker (123 comments)

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  •  Policy may have changed (5+ / 0-)

    But when I was in, a "Distinctive Faith leader" was somebody approved of by a legitimate and DoD-approved ordaining body to represent that religion. Which, as you can imagine, is an even harder standard for pagans to meet. The alternative was to see if you could get sponsored by another religion, typically the Unitarians were a big help with that.

    But really, while it's nice of the UUs to facilitate our DFLs, it still feels like "separate but equal" on the part of the DoD policy.

    •  here they may be thinking of divinity school or... (1+ / 0-)
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      samddobermann

      .... similar graduate or professional educational background that DFLs may have as a qualification.  As far as I know there isn't anything like that for Wicca or other forms of Paganism.  

      But I wonder about this: what mechanism of recognition applies to the Native American Church and other First Nations religious organizations, and to Buddhist organizations?  Perhaps there's a model to look at there.  

      Or they could be thinking in hierarchies since the military is a huge functional hierarchy where every role is clearly defined, and it may be that they can't haven't fully adjusted to the idea that certain religions don't work like that.

      If the preceding paragraph is true, this is on its way to changing.  You've probably heard of John Robb.  USAF Intel (Ret.), and a highly respected military theorist whose ideas are now pervasively present throughout DoD doctrine.  I know the guy, he's ferociously brilliant and also very progressive though he wouldn't use that word.  

      Some of his key memes are "global guerrillas" and "leaderless resistance" and so on: for years he has been promoting the idea that US defense doctrine needs to deal with the realities of subnational groups using these modes of organizing.  At some point during the Iraq conflict and the evolutionary arms race between IEDs & countermeasures (I actually worked on that informally before it became "news"), the message got through to the Pentagon that organizationally "flat" insurgencies are a real factor to reckon with in conflicts, and Robb's ideas were catapulted into prominence.  

      The point here is, DoD is starting to adjust to a worldview in which things are quite a bit more messy & ad-hoc than the world of nation-states with clearly defined chains of command and orders of battle.  There were a lot of mid-grade officers during the Iraq war who were very much engaged with these ideas (though many of them left during that time).  So I think that as DoD thinking about the nature of conflicts and adversaries changes, the thinking about organizational structures in general will change.  And from there, the idea will spread to encompass certain aspects of American military culture, including the reliance on clearly-defined hierarchies in all situations.  That may lead to a more liberal environment for minority religions with flat organizational structures.

      Where things go from here depends in large measure on who is CinC for the next four years.  With Obama we will see continued progress.  With Mitt, stagnation.  With Santorum, the religious right will get full license to infiltrate & recruit, and we will have a (much more) serious crisis on our hands in terms of religious right penetration of the armed forces.  

      "Minus two votes for the Democrat" equals "plus one vote for the Republican." Arithmetic doesn't care about your feelings.

      by G2geek on Fri Mar 16, 2012 at 12:18:09 AM PDT

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