A 19-year Air Force veteran who was relieved of his duties because he disagreed with his openly gay commander over gay marriage is now facing a formal investigation after he told me his story.
Senior Master Sgt. Phillip Monk found himself at odds with his Lackland Air Force Base commander after he objected to her plans to severely punish an instructor who had expressed religious objections to homosexuality. During the conversation, his commander ordered him to share his personal views on homosexuality.
"I was relieved of my position because I don't agree with my commander's position on gay marriage," he told me. "We've been told that if you publicly say that homosexuality is wrong, you are in violation of Air Force policy." more >>
Our allies among the Syrian rebels have issued a memorandum to the State Department on strategies for the day after Assad falls. David Ignatius reports in his column today that the Free Syrian Army (SFA) has outlined a "Damascus plan" for "handling the power vacuum in case of a sudden Assad collapse." This plan is grossly flawed.
Not the least problem, as Ignatius points out, is that the plan relies on the United States - presumably using American troops - to take out not just Assad's stockpiles of chemical weapons but also the command and control for them. President Obama and his chief congressional supporters have ruled out American boots on the ground in Syria. Right? (See Andrew McCarthy's important observation regarding this pledge.)
Another crucial point in the rebels' strategic memorandum involves revenge killings. This is a major concern, as the Syrian conflict is at its core a civil war within Islam. The regime identifies with the minority Alawite sect that is allied with Hezbollah militias supported by Shiite theocratic Iran, while the rebels, largely Sunnis, are bolstered by al-Qaeda terrorists and other Sunni jihadist fighters and supported by Saudi Arabia, Qatar, and other Sunni regimes. Christians, who account for 10 percent (or more, when Iraqi refugees are counted) of the population and who have not taken up arms in this conflict are viewed by the two sides as aligned with the regime. They are the most vulnerable, since they have no militias or army to protect them. more >>
A Wisconsin-based secular group has sent a letter of complaint to a Tenn. school district, arguing that a student led prayer before high school football games is unconstitutional.
Freedom From Religion Foundation sent the letter Wednesday to Marion County schools arguing that the "Meet Me at the 50" prayer event was unconstitutional.
While many considered the new prayer policy for the games to be a compromise, FFRF staff attorney Rebecca Markert argued that it was a "serious and flagrant violation of the First Amendment." more >>
It's a battle of Christians versus Christians in Brandon, Miss. where city officials oppose efforts by a prominent church to erect a giant cross because it violates a zoning ordinance. But the pastor of the church said elected officials are also afraid the cross might offend Muslims.
The First Baptist Church of Brandon petitioned the city to install a 110-foot tall cross on its property alongside Interstate 20. The project is sponsored by "Crosses Across America," a non-profit group that builds giant crosses along the nation's highways.
"They were led by the Holy Spirit to seek a location in Mississippi," Pastor Scott Thomas told Fox News. "92,000 cars a day travel along the Interstate 20 corridor. Those are people who need hope, who need inspiration." more >>
Speaking publicly for the first time since gay activists forced a shutdown of their bakery because they refused to bake a wedding cake for two lesbians, Christian couple Aaron and Melissa Klein said their business was killed with "mafia tactics."
"There's a lot of closed-minded people out there that would like to pretend to be very tolerant and just want equal rights," said Aaron Klein as he held hands with his wife, Melissa, in an interview with KATU from their home this week.
"But on the other hand, they've been very, very mean-spirited. They've been militant. The best way I can describe it is they've used mafia tactics against the business. Basically, if you do business with Sweet Cakes, we will shut you down," he said. more >>
Not only are the churches, monasteries, and institutions of Egypt's Christians under attack by the Muslim Brotherhood and its supporters-nearly 100 now have been torched, destroyed, ransacked, etc.-but Christians themselves are under attack all throughout Egypt, with practically zero coverage in Western media.
Days ago, for example, Copts held a funeral for Wahid Jacob, a young Christian deacon who used to serve in St. John the Baptist Church, part of the Qusiya diocese in Asyut, Egypt. He was kidnapped on August 21 by "unknown persons" who demanded an exorbitant ransom from his impoverished family-1,200,000 Egyptian pounds (equivalent to $171,000 USD). Because his family could not raise the sum, he was executed-his body dumped in a field where it was later found. The priest who conducted his funeral service said that the youth's body bore signs of severe torture.
In fact, kidnapping young Christians and holding them for ransom has become increasingly common in Egypt. Last April, 10-year-old Sameh George, another deacon, or altar boy, at St. Abdul Masih ("Servant of Christ") Church in Minya, Egypt, was also abducted by "unknown persons" while on his way to church to participate in Holy Pascha prayers leading up to Orthodox Easter. His parents said that it was his custom to go to church and worship in the evening, but when he failed to return, and they began to panic, they received an anonymous phone call from the kidnappers, informing them that they had the Christian child in their possession, and would execute him unless they received 250,000 Egyptian pounds in ransom money. more >>