Friday, July 26, 2013

Military Attacks Another Christian Chaplain

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President Dwight D. Eisenhower said during a 1954 speech, "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 fox holes."

The "no atheists in the foxholes" statement is said to have been made first by Catholic priest Father William Cummings. It is said Eisenhower was quoting him.

There may not be any atheists in foxholes, but there are some here at home and they are relentlessly working to remove any vestige of God from our military and our culture.

President Eisenhower would be shocked. So should we. We should also be informed.

Our Military leaders continue to act on command to the atheist's orders.

This time it is toward a Christian chaplain who quoted Father William Cummings, who was quoted by President Eisenhower.

Lt. Col. Reyes, a Christian chaplain stationed at Joint Base Elmendorf-Richardson in Alaska, is an ordained minister whose duties are to provide religious instruction and spiritual counseling.

He has a page on the base's website called "Chaplain's Corner."

Recently he posted an essay titled, "No Atheists In Foxholes: Chaplins Gave All In World War II." It is a touching and meaningful column.

The essay has been abruptly removed from the base website..

Col. Brian Duffy, the base commander, told Fox News it was removed "out of respect for those who considered its title offensive."

He said, "The 673'd Air Base Wing does not advocate any particular religion or belief set over another and upon learning of the complaints from some readers, the article was promptly removed."

But atheism is a "set of beliefs." It's even a religion of sorts. By removing a Christian message, they are advocating a particular set of beliefs over another.

Removing the Christian message is advocating atheism in this case.

So who complained?

The Military Religious Freedom Foundation (MRFF), an atheist group sent a letter to the Air Force claiming 42 people complained, therefore demanding the essay be taken down immediately.

And Col. Duffy's comment that he "promptly removed it" is an understatement.

Within 5 hours of the Air Force receiving the complaint letter, they took down the essay.

This is, however, 4 hours longer than it took the commander at the Mountain Home air base in Idaho to remove a picture from the dining hall that included a Scripture reference.

Chaplin Reyes did not in any way attack or insult anyone with his comments.

This is his essay that was "promptly removed":

“Chaplain’s Corner: No Atheists in Foxholes: Chaplains Gave All in World War II”
By Lt. Col. Kenneth Reyes

Many have heard the familiar phrase, “There is no such thing as an atheist in a fox hole.”

Where did this come from?

Research I verified in an interview with former World War II prisoner of war Roy Bodine (my friend) indicates the phrase has been credited to Father William Cummings.

As the story goes, Father Cummings was a civilian missionary Catholic priest in the Philippines.

The phrase was coined during the Japanese attack at Corregidor.

During the siege, Cummings had noticed non-Catholics were attending his services.

Some he knew were not Catholic, some were not religious and some were even known atheists.

Life-and-death experiences prompt a reality check.

Even the strongest of beliefs can change, and, I may add, can go both ways – people can be drawn to or away from “faith.”

With the pending surrender of allied forces to the Japanese, Cummings uttered the famous phrase “There is no such thing as an atheist in a fox hole.”

In one of my many discussions with Roy, he distinctly remembered a period on the “Hell Ships” – these were ships the Japanese used to bring POWs from the Philippines back to Japan.

They were unmarked and thus ‘fair game’ for attacks from the allies from the air and sea.

Of the 3,000-plus POWs listed on the ships, only 180 survived the journey.

“When our own planes were attacking us,” Roy said, “I remember Father Cummings calming us down by reciting the Lord’s Prayer and offering up prayers on our behalf.

For a brief moment I did not hear the yells and screams of dying men as our boat was attacked by our own men.”

He went on to say, “There was a peaceful quiet during the attack that I cannot explain nor have experienced since.”

Later on during the trip to Japan, Cummings, after giving his food to others who needed it more, succumbed to his own need and died of starvation.

Everyone expresses some form of faith every day, whether it is religious or secular.

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.

The real question is, “Is it important to have faith in ‘faith’ itself or is it more important to ask, ‘What is the object of my faith?’”

Roy never affirmed or expressed whether his faith was rooted in religion or not, but for a moment in time on the “Hell Ships,” he believed in Cummings’ faith.

What is the root or object of your faith?

Is it something you can count on in times of plenty or loss; peace or chaos; joy or sorrow; success or failure?

What is ‘faith’ to you?

The MRFF has accused Chaplain Reyes of going on an "anti-secular diatribe" and publicly denigrating "those without religion."

The base not only removed his comments, but offered an apology to the atheists saying, "We will work to avoid recurrence."

Does that mean they will never allow a Christian chaplain to speak publicly of his Christian faith?

Not surprisingly, that is still not enough for the atheist group.

Blake Page with the MRFF says, "Faith based hate is hate all the same." And is demanding that "Lt. Col. Reyes must be appropriately reprimanded."

Mikey Weinstein, president of MRFF, has called Christians "fundamentalist monsters" seeking to impose a theocratic "reign of terror."

He has described sharing the gospel or ones personal testimony in the military as an act of "spiritual rape" that makes believers "enemies of the Constitution" who are committing an act of "sedition and treason" against this nation.

Yet when he calls, the US military stands at attention and salutes.

I understand the military is not the church, but is this a prelude of what is to come if biblical teaching is spoken outside the four walls of the church?

Be vigilant.

Paul had a bad day when he wrote 2 Corinthians 7:4,5,6. His experience may reflect some of our own in these troubled times.

"I am exceedingly joyful in all our tribulation. For indeed when we came to Macedonia, our bodies had no rest, but we were troubled on every side. Out side were conflicts, inside were fears. Nevertheless God, who comforts the downcast, comforted us..."

May the peace of Christ be with you. And may you be comforted by the grace and goodness of God.

Be Informed. Be Vigilant. Be Discerning. be Prayerful. Be Active. Be Blessed.