28 May 2009

gridlore: Doug looking off camera with a grin (Death)
Whatever yuck I picked up is tenacious. I was up until about 0100 last night with various forms of distress, and woke up to call in and spend some more quality time in the Reading Room.

As a side note; I understand that my not coming in causes a problem. I'm honestly sorry that I simply cannot drive today, but I have to wonder why my boss mentioned that Juan was also not coming in. Does he think that I'll magically turn off a malfunctioning waste system and get rid of a stomach ache I've had for over 48 hours? Am I going to guide 7+tons of truck on less than three hours sleep when I normally get about nine? No. Again, sorry that you're down two drivers. But I'm so sick I sent Kirsten out yesterday to put gas in my truck because I didn't trust my body on the five minute drive to the gas station!

In happier news, I've had time to read, and have finished Eisenhorn. Damn, but that was a good book. Series of books, actually. The edition I have is three complete novels with two linking stories. We follow the career of Inquisitor Gregor Eisenhorn over a period of about 300 years as he fights to protect mankind from the triple dangers of the alien, the mutant, and the heretic. Two things really stood out for me beyond the well-crafted plots and characters; Dan Abnett manages to remind us that even in the GrimDark future, most people live fairly normal lives with normal joys and burdens. For the vast majority of humanity, things like the Inquisition and heresy are items in the news, nothing more. Abnett doesn't slap our faces with this, but weaves into a story told from the point of view of someone who does dwell in the darkness. Very interesting dance, and he does it well. The other thing that stood out is he allowed his characters to grow. These books cover centuries, and the development of all the characters over that time is natural and well-handled. The ending of the book literally took my breath away. I had to force myself to slow down and not race ahead to see how it all wraps up. Extremely well done, and I'd recommend it to anyone who likes Space Opera. Five penguins.

Best line: "If we're fleeing for our lives, I figure we should at least flee in style."
gridlore: Doug looking off camera with a grin (Army - Infantry)
Conspiracy Theorist Military Chaplains Promote Anti-American Militia Activity

Every once in a while, the Military Religious Freedom Foundation (MRFF) stumbles into a story that's so crazy that even we have a hard time believing it's true, and, it just happened again. But, before getting into this story, I would be remiss in not extending, on behalf of MRFF, a sincere thank you to former Navy chaplain Gordon Klingenschmitt, without whose recent actions we never would have paid attention to an organization whose members include some of the most bizarre and dangerous chaplains we have ever come across in the U.S. military.

For those who don't remember the story of Gordon Klingenschmitt, he's the ex-chaplain who made headlines a few years ago for his publicity stunts for Jesus, such as holding a hunger strike over military chaplains being able to pray in Jesus' name. Klingenschmitt claimed, and continues to claim, that he was booted out of the Navy because of the form of his prayers, when, in reality, he deliberately got himself court-martialed by disobeying a direct order not to appear in uniform at a political rally, an activity that is strictly prohibited by military regulations. But, Klingenschmitt needed to get himself court-martialed in order to embark on his new career as a martyr, and seizing the opportunity to disobey this direct order would do the trick, so he did it.

So, here's how Gordon Klingenschmitt led MRFF into the astonishing story that follows. About a month ago, both MRFF and Americans United for Separation of Church and State (AU) began receiving a lot of emails about Klingenscmitt using a photo of himself in his Navy uniform and identifying himself as "Chaplain" in order to promote political causes and solicit money, a perceivable violation of Title 18 of the U.S. Code, so MRFF and AU decided to issue a joint letter to the Chief of Naval Operations requesting an investigation into Klingenschmitt's current activities. This letter led Klingenschmitt to do two things. One was to issue an imprecatory prayer calling on his followers to essentially pray for the deaths of Au's Barry Lynn and MRFF's Mikey Weinstein and their families. The other was to post a very strange disclaimer on his website, in which he called Lynn and Weinstein "bone-heads," and defended his right to call himself "Chaplain," stating that he has a current endorsement as a "Chaplain and Evangelist to America" from the Chaplaincy of Full Gospel Churches (CFGC). It was this statement that led MRFF to take a closer look at the CFGC, a chaplain endorsing agency headed by retired Army colonel and chaplain Jim Ammerman, and authorized by the Department of Defense to provide the ecclesiastical endorsement required by the military for all military chaplains, with several hundred of its chaplains currently serving in all branches of the military.

Right off the bat, MRFF found the expected stuff -- which alone provides ample reason to demand that the DoD to revoke the chaplain endorsing authority of Jim Ammerman and the CFGC. CFGC should be disqualified as an endorsing agency because of its repeated denigration of all other religions and Christian denominations that aren't Charismatic or Pentecostal, which is completely contrary to Department of Defense Instruction Number 1304.28. They go after Muslims, Wiccans, and other minority religions, of course.


Read the whole thing, and remember we are discussing serving members of the Armed Forces.

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