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View Diary: Air Force Academy Leadership Digs a Deeper Hole (242 comments)

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  •  I worked for the Air Force as a civilian chaplain (28+ / 0-)

    in the 1970's, in Alaska. It was made clear to me, at the time, that my job was to serve the spiritual needs of all the personnel on base, be they Christian or not. I held services for all Christians and counseled non-Christians, and didn't even think of proseltyzing, because I knew it would inhibit my ability to serve everyone.

    Of course, it was not the academy, and it was a fairly isolated base.

    Things have changed, it seems, and not for the better.

    •  What if somebody had no spiritual needs? (1+ / 0-)
      Recommended by:
      radmul

      And yet you were still ordered to serve the perceived needs of that individual.

      Sounds rather invasive - an egregious violation of personal rights, in fact.   But I guess the counterargument is that you sign away all such rights when you join the armed forces.

      •  There's a gas station that serves all the fueling (3+ / 0-)
        Recommended by:
        angelajean, eataTREE, Matt Z

        needs of my community.  I hate how they keep trying to force gasoline into my bicycle.

        •  But you can opt to simply not go there, right? (4+ / 0-)
          Recommended by:
          radmul, Bluefin, drawingporno, neroden

          Unlike the situation in the armed forces - especially the AFA - where the religiosity is pervasive and there is no practical way to avoid.

          That's a key difference between the two situations, IMHO (I assume you were being facetious, if not, just take an appropriate container along with you on your next bike ride, collect the gasoline that is forced on you, and sell it to a SUV owner for profit . . . ).

          •  No, you don't have to go their either. (7+ / 0-)

            Each squadron does have a chaplain assigned but the chaplains are so overworked that they don't have time to see everyone even if they wanted to. No one is forced to see the chaplain except maybe during the group deployment briefing, usually just to confirm their religion on their dog tags and to make sure we have contact info for the next of kin, or the occasional squadron event where the chaplain might give a non-denominational prayer. All group events. No one on one is mandatory.

            •  OK, thanks for clarifying (1+ / 0-)
              Recommended by:
              neroden

              so the other poster who was ordered to administer to the spriritual needs of all enlistees was just kidding, it would seem . . .

              •  Not quite (4+ / 0-)
                Recommended by:
                angelajean, Onomastic, grover, neroden

                they're supposed to administer to the spiritual needs of all WHO ASK.

                If you don't ask, they're not supposed to force anything on anybody.

                •  In theory, that sounds good (4+ / 0-)

                  but if religion pervades the entire military culture, that could be difficult to "opt out" of.

                  Just like I'm told, if I don't like religion, just opt out and ignore it - no one is forcing you to partake.

                  But when I try to go to pick up a newspaper on Sunday morning and get caught up in a huge traffic jam because of the MegaChurch they built less than 1.6 miles from my house, how do I opt out of that?

                  And if that sounds petty, just consider if they had instead built a McDonalds, a slaughterhouse, or even had provided space for purveyors of pornography - in all those cases, they'd be paying taxes into my local government which would be reflected in lower property tax for me.  Instead I'm subsidizing the freakin' Mega Church who pays no property taxes for some reason.  How fucked up is that?  And more importantly, how do I opt out?  Not send the county a proportion of the taxes they claim I owe?   Yeah, I'll see how that works out . . .

            •  Not always, Angela (10+ / 0-)

              My spouse was ordered to see a Chaplain because they didn't have enough real therapists.

              So she was force fed Evangelical 'if you just get saved your problems will be solved' BS instead of getting help. For 2 months, every week.

              This was in the critical period when the PTSD was first manifesting.

              If she didn't show, it was an Art. 15. After all, all ministers are counselors, right?

              "Them as can do has to do for them as can't. And someone has to speak up for them as has no voices." — Terry Pratchett

              by LoreleiHI on Thu Jun 02, 2011 at 11:59:12 AM PDT

              [ Parent ]

        •  Drivers insisting you get in their car or off road (11+ / 0-)

          Would fit better.  Back in the 60's, the Navy chaplains (or Rabbi Kaplan, my friend's father) were not the problem.  

          It was my father's commanding officer, the Officers' Wives Club ladies hassling my mother, and the kids persecuting me and my sister.  98% was Christianist triumphalism, but 2% was probably that our non-faith was the same as that of the peoples we were at war with or occupying and thus were compelled to regard as lesser beings.  The only part of Buddhism I ever budged on was the pacifism:  one day I had enough and clocked a kid in my class who was hitting my younger sister.  

          My grandmother once told me that since I wasn't baptized, I wasn't living in the sight of god.  I replied, "Then I'm under the radar and it doesn't matter what I do!"  She was completely horrified, and complained to my father that it was a shame that his kids didn't know about god.    My father had become an atheist of his own accord as a teenager, but somehow my grandmother always blamed my mother.   My mother bought me a Bible and a set of world mythology, and took us to attend one each of various brands of faith.  My sister and I were unimpressed by any of them (with the possible exception of the Cebuano sorcerers with their "cursing stew") and used our Scriptural knowledge to argue with the fundie kids, since they wouldn't let us eat lunch in peace.  

          "A city for sale and doomed to speedy destruction if it finds a purchaser!" -King Jugurtha of Numidia

          by LucyandByron on Thu Jun 02, 2011 at 01:21:58 PM PDT

          [ Parent ]

          •  I love this post because it reminds me so (4+ / 0-)
            Recommended by:
            4Freedom, LucyandByron, Matt Z, DvCM

            much of us... the bible and the mythology.

            We actually thought that my youngest son would become a priest one day. We lived in Europe when he was younger and he was mesmerized by Christian symbols, especially Christ on the Cross. He asked for a Christian Bible when he was about 9. He declared himself an atheist at about 10. He's never looked back since.

            Would you be willing to write up your experience in a diary? I would love to see you publish it with the Military Community Members of DailyKos.

            •  Sure, someday (3+ / 0-)
              Recommended by:
              angelajean, Matt Z, DvCM

              I should ask my mother for some of her tales of the O-Wives and the "Moses Molded" jello.  

              My father's commander was a notorious adulterer; his wife would hire no maids under the age of fifty.  My father disapproved strongly, and took a dark pleasure in preaching to him about it.  

              "A city for sale and doomed to speedy destruction if it finds a purchaser!" -King Jugurtha of Numidia

              by LucyandByron on Thu Jun 02, 2011 at 03:59:59 PM PDT

              [ Parent ]

              •  I would love to hear your mother's tales! (1+ / 0-)
                Recommended by:
                DvCM

                I'll never forget the first commander's wife who made a real impression on me. She told a group of us about when her husband first joined up - it was white gloves and dresses and she showed up without gloves and in pants. The horror!

                I can only imagine. Some things change and some things stay the same. I love to hear about other experiences, even from years ago, because it helps us figure out what the military experience is all about.

    •  I don't think things have changed. (9+ / 0-)

      You are the kind of chaplain I have met many times, again and again, during our 20 years with the Air Force.

      It's hard to call attention to problems like this at the Academy because we can quickly make it seem like the entire system needs to be overhauled instead of getting rid of the bad apples that are setting the system up for failure.

      My biggest problem with the Air Force Academy isn't that the problem exists... it's that the Senior Leadership is willing to white wash it rather than tackle the problem head on.

      •  Whitewash it? (5+ / 0-)
        Recommended by:
        Bluefin, Onomastic, esquimaux, DvCM, Shockwave

        More like actively enable and perpetuate it.  

        The Democrats set the Rules of the Senate. Don't like the President's nominee's being filibustered? Don't forget who could have kept it from happening. The Democrats. Why didn't they? They didn't want to.

        by Rick Aucoin on Thu Jun 02, 2011 at 01:16:16 PM PDT

        [ Parent ]

      •  It's not just "the bad apples". (7+ / 0-)

        The problem isn't individuals breaking the rules--it's the systemic infiltration of our military by dominionists. It began in earnest with the change under Reagan allowing small, mainly extreme evangelical groups, to join together to form their own sponsoring bodies. Next came the shift from the traditional emphasis on the mainline Protestant demoninations to the more hardcore evangelicals among the Protestant allocation of chaplains.

        The Religious Industrial/Indoctrination Complex is funding and organizing this effort and has done so for years. Just like the MIC, they reward officers who carry water for them with jobs and speaking engagements after they retire.

        (That sound you are hearing is a paradigm being shifted at Warp Factor Infinity using no clutch.)

        by homogenius on Thu Jun 02, 2011 at 04:18:55 PM PDT

        [ Parent ]

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