Atheists demand Christian military chaplain be punished for mentioning God

From Breitbart:


A Christian chaplain in the military is being officially censored for engaging in free speech, and anti-Christian activists are demanding he be punished.
Lt. Col. Kenneth Reyes is a Christian chaplain currently serving in the U.S. Air Force. He is stationed at Joint Base Elmendorf-Richardson in Alaska. As an ordained clergyman whose duties are to provide religious instruction and spiritual counseling, he has a page on the base’s website called “Chaplain’s Corner.”
Reyes recently wrote an essay entitled, “No Atheists in Foxholes: Chaplains Gave All in World War II.” This common saying is attributed to a Catholic priest in World War II, made famous when 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 foxholes.
As reported by Fox News’s Todd Starnes, when Reyes referenced this famous line in his essay, the Military Religious Freedom Foundation (MRFF) contacted the base commander, Col. Brian Duffy, demanding he take action on Reyes’s “anti-secular diatribe.”
MRFF’s letter says that by Reyes’s “use of the bigoted, religious supremacist phrase, [?!?] ‘no atheists in foxholes,’ he defiles the dignity of service members.” They accuse him of violating military regulations.
My legal research on this issue uncovered no regulation prohibiting Reyes’ speech, which looks like expression protected by the free speech and religious freedom provisions of the First Amendment. Military leaders did not respond to Fox’s inquiries asking the Air Force to identify any such rules.
Nonetheless, only five hours after MRFF’s complaint, the essay was removed from the website. Duffy has profusely apologized to MRFF for not stopping this religious leader from sharing religious thoughts.
But this response—which again appears to be a violation of Reyes’s First Amendment rights—is insufficient for MRFF. They said, “Faith based hate, is hate all the same,” and, “Lt. Col. Reyes must be appropriately punished.” (Emphasis added).


Read the rest of the chilling story there.

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  1. Bob B. says:

    From Eisenhower’s 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 foxholes.”
    This not only from a President of the United States, but also a five-star general versus who whatshisname who is president today? As a Vietnam veteran, I can say Eisenhower was right.
    Isn’t it amazing that the atheists read the Chaplain’s Corner, they must have been forced to do it, right?
    As for COL Duffy, it’s plain to see that he is so politically correct and takes orders from a non-governmental organization that seeks to undermine the military and its once proud history. Under this administration, he might make general yet.
    As for LTC Reyes, I’d ask for a trial by court martial and let everyone see who actually runs things and why.

  2. What’s a chaplain? According to the dictionary definition:

    chap·lain /?CHaplin/ Noun
    A member of the clergy attached to a private chapel, institution, ship, branch of the armed forces, etc.

    Okay. So, what’s a “clergy”?

    cler·gy /?kl?rj?/ Noun
    The body of all people ordained for religious duties, esp. in the Christian Church.
    Synonyms: priesthood – ministry

    What did the military hire Lt. Col. Reyes to do?

    Perhaps the stormy petrils should demand a change in definitions, like their compadres—the pro “homosexual marriage” group—did and as Fr. Z noted.

  3. torch621 says:

    More evidence of the increasing religious intolerance of the secularists, and also, by the Colonel’s reaction, of the ongoing wussification of our armed forces.

  4. meippoliti says:

    You should see JBER’s official FB page with all the comments. It is a hot topic up here right now. However, I do not understand where appropriately punished came in?
    At the end of Col. Duffy’s statement, he makes clear that he will “not reprimand anyone on anything related to this matter”.

    Here is the official statement from Col. Brian Duffy, JBER and 673d Air Base Wing commander, regarding the Chaplain’s Corner commentary originally published on the JBER public Web site July 17 and removed July 23.

    “On July 23, in response to a concern raised by the Military Religious Freedom Foundation, I directed my staff to remove a commentary previously posted on the JBER Official Public Web site entitled, “Chaplain’s Corner: ‘No atheists in foxholes: Chaplains gave all in World War II.'” The article was removed out of concern for those who may have been offended.

    Our staff performed a thorough review of applicable guidance and carefully considered many related issues and opinions expressed to us. All information published on our JBER Official Web Site implies my approval and endorsement as the JBER and 673d Air Base Wing Commander. In that capacity, I am required to ensure information published is balanced; in this case between constitutional protections for free exercise of religion and the constitutional prohibition against governmental establishment of religion.

    Finally, with respect to assertions on disciplinary actions, I have not and will not reprimand anyone on anything related to this matter, concluding based on facts and circumstances such action is neither appropriate nor warranted.”

  5. meippoliti says:

    I am not saying that Col. Duffy is right in removing, but wanted to clear that no one is being punished.

  6. MrTipsNZ says:

    I think its time someone sued Michael Weinstein for his hate filled anti-religious anti-American flim flammery. $50,000,000 should do it and I would pay to help fund the case. He should be taken out and exposed for the shameless self promoter he is. Don King would blush at Weinstein’s slubberdegulleon ways,

  7. Stu says:

    He isn’t a “Colonel.” He is an “O-6.” Big Difference.

    Real “Colonels” and “Captains (Navy” are getting few and far. USMC is holding on a bit, but even they are slipping.

  8. ghp95134 says:

    @meippoliti: “…However, I do not understand where appropriately punished came in?…”

    That is the desire of the Military Religious Freedom Foundation; cf ultimate paragraph:

    “…But this response—which again appears to be a violation of Reyes’s First Amendment rights—is insufficient for MRFF. They said, “Faith based hate, is hate all the same,” and, “Lt. Col. Reyes must be appropriately punished.” (Emphasis added)….”

    Another article about it: [see link below]

    …Gen. Jerry Boykin (Ret.) told Fox News the action taken by the Air Force is “discrimination against Christians.”

    He said the “climate of intimidation within the Air Force has worsened to such an extend that even chaplains now fear carrying out the most basic duties of their job.”

    “In this case, a chaplain has been censored for expressing his beliefs about the role of faith in the lives of service members,” said Boykin, executive vice president of the Family Research Council. “There has to be a recognition that this is discrimination against Christians. Chaplains are placed there for a purpose. Why do we have chaplains if they aren’t allowed to fulfill that purpose? When anti-Christian activists like Mikey Weinstein are dictating the rules for what chaplains are allowed to do, then why we must ask the question why we have chaplains?”

    This link has Chaplain Reyes’ column at the bottom.


  9. moon1234 says:

    The removal of a commentary by a Christian pastor that is directly meant for CHRISTIANS is highly offensive to me. It shows that the commander surrenders to hatred of the Christian by outside forces and bias expressed by the base commander. He is not respecting and protecting the rights of the Christian soldiers on his base. If anyone is guilty here it is the base commander for not protecting the rights of those under his command.

  10. Ralph says:

    How long until each unit is assigned a “Political Officer” as was done in the USSR, Nazi Germany and (still) Red China?

    Patriotic, Christian Americans are going to be systematically driven out of the service. Scary.

  11. Moro says:

    I’m beginning to think that all believers, Catholic, Protestant, Jewish, etc. should file a conscientious objection and leave the US Military. I’d love to see the atheists try and fight a war all by themselves without recourse to any chaplain, believing military doctors, fellow theist soldiers, etc.

  12. Kathleen10 says:

    The public can always be helpful in these situation. All of us.
    You might:
    1. Send Chaplain Reyes an email of encouragement and any enlightening information you may have on such matters.
    2. Definitely contact the “powers that be” including Col. Brian Duffy and higher, to inform them of your definite displeasure at such actions as Chaplain Reyes’ comments being removed from a website, etc. If you know of the chain of command beyond these gentlemen, absolutely send them an email or call to let them know your opinion.
    Getting the contact information for just about anyone is possible now with the Internet. You can find most every public person mentioned somehow, usually very easily!
    On any cause, attention to it is the thing. One email can make an impression, ten, more so, and 100, will get noticed. If people really want something accomplished, they form in group and push relentlessly. That is how causes like gay rights have gone so far, they want it, they are vocal, even annoying, they don’t give up, they enlist others to help, they wear people down. It works exactly the same in the cause of GOOD, but the strategies must be utilized in that direction.
    So what any cause (Chaplain Reyes and his plight) needs is attention and response by men and women of goodwill. Send the message to the higher-ups that his plight is duly noticed, you don’t like it, and you expect our military to behave in such a manner as befits our Constitutional rights, and so on.
    The voices of the hateful and annoying (the poops of the MMRF or whatever) are not nearly as effective when they are drowned out by even a few (or one!) good persons who balance out the complaints with cheers of support! And when there is a clear expectation of “good” happening, “bad” has less leeway. What Chaplain Reyes needs is all this, and eyeballs on his situation with a clear expectation that good will triumph. Tell whoever you contact you expect a response from them, and a positive one for what you are asking. Let them know you are watching and talking to others, sharing the story, writing to so and so. That means they are ACCOUNTABLE. (shudder)
    That saying “pray as if it’s all up to God and act as if it’s all up to you” may not be biblical, but, it seems to be very appropriate in many circumstances, such as these.

  13. Panterina says:

    Reminds me of what happened with Pope Benedict XVI’s Regensburg address: The Pope quoted something that a Byzantine emperor had said, and the whole world went nutty over it.

    BTW, you don’t see Christians going around harassing atheists for their beliefs (or, should I say, unbelief), asking for punishments and threatening to sue them. The opposite-of-the-Golden-Rule has become a tenet of atheism: “Do to others as you would have them NOT do to you.”

  14. techno_aesthete says:

    Military Religious Freedom Foundation

    Oh, the irony! How could they file their complaint with a straight face? Shame on them.

  15. PostCatholic says:

    As an atheist who has been in dangerous active combat situations, I have to say the phrase chafes a bit. I didn’t abandon my reason in Kosovo, and truly, I had no time to think about God or anything else beyond the moment. It’s not, strictly speaking, a true statement that there are “no atheists in foxholes,” but it shouldn’t be taken in that way, either. I view the phrase as religious hyperbole (in the grammatical sense) and don’t find it so galling that I’d want someone “punished” for using it. It’s mildly offensive, not hateful. Save the histrionics for when they’re really deserved.

  16. Cincinnati Priest says:

    Even though Col. Duffy has stated that no one is being punished (for now), this is still highly disturbing.

    It is one very small step from oppressing the rights of chaplains to be Christian, by caving in to concerns about “offensiveness”, to punishing them.

    If religious liberty is not preserved, the one will inevitably lead to the other.

    The standard of “offensiveness” is deliberately vague, effectively chilling any expression of the Christian faith, with no (current) need for punishment.

  17. The Masked Chicken says:

    “Definitely contact the “powers that be” including Col. Brian Duffy and higher, to inform them of your definite displeasure at such actions as Chaplain Reyes’ comments being removed from a website, etc.”

    That won’t do any good. Threaten them with a religious discrimination lawsuit, just exactly as the MRFF has done. There are ample grounds. Force the matter out into the open and force a confrontation. Do it, now. Tomorrow will be too late. Once permission, then experience, then law.

    “In that capacity, I am required to ensure information published is balanced; in this case between constitutional protections for free exercise of religion and the constitutional prohibition against governmental establishment of religion.”

    I don’t think he understands what that means. It most certainly does NOT mean, a Constitutional prohibition against “government recognition of any religion.” It means, a Constitutional prohibition against the “establishment of a specific religion.” Unfortunately, the stupid Supreme Court has never defined exactly what a religion is in any way that is consistent with reason. It is clear from the writings of the Founding Fathers, however, what they meant – specifically, denominational Christian religion (Islam and Buddhism would not have been considered religions in the modern sense, at that time).

    Oh and Colonel, last I checked, Atheism was not a religion, but an anti-religion. There is no Constitutional prohibition against the denouncement of an anti-religion, so you are well permitted by the Constitution to tell the MRFF to kiss off (and why didn’t you??)

    Lt. Colonel Reyes, I have some suggestions for the title of your next Chaplain’s Corner:

    1. An Inconvenient God
    2. The God of Convenience
    3. Where were you (insert name) when I made the world?
    4. The Theology of True Obedience
    5. The Good Colonel’s Servant, but God’s, First
    6. I Swore an Oath to Protect My Country to Whom?
    7. Dignity, Honor, and Courage Come From God – so, if there Ain’t No God…
    8. The Uniform Coddling of Military Justice
    9. In Whose Image Were You Made, again?
    10. Dignity, What’s That?
    11. A Message From the Foxes to the Atheists
    12. …And, Now, a Word From Our Sponsor…
    13. Why Generals are not Gods

    The Chicken

  18. Priam1184 says:

    As I’ve stated before: this kind of thing will become widespread now that the active duty military has openly gay serving members. And as I’ve also stated before: the American military will not do well in the next (and there will be one) major war that it fights.

  19. Andrew says:

    Every atheist has to mention God just to identify himself as an “a – theist”.

  20. Giuseppe says:

    I suppose I could see how an atheist might interpret an article entitled “No Atheists in Foxholes: Chaplains Gave All in World War II” as saying that atheists are not welcome in foxholes. It’s a dumb interpretation, for sure. Of course atheists are welcome in the military to fight and die for our country. I am sure that some have.

    The column is a well-written, non-denominational musing about the role of faith in the life of members of the military. Indeed, its use of the word ‘faith’ at the end could easily encompass yoga, secular humanism, or any religion.

    Following is the column that the Air Force censored:

    “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?

    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?

  21. meippoliti says:

    @ Stu, in the USAF a 0-6 is a colonel.

  22. jhayes says:

    According to Wikipedia, the group that objected objects to the use of he phrase by anyone, not specfiically chaplains:

    “The group’s early efforts included letter writing campaigns reminding public figures such as Tom Brokaw not to use the phrase, “There are no atheists in foxholes.” One recipient of these letters, broadcaster Bob Schieffer, issued a public apology in response.”

    I guess I can see that an atheist might see it as derogatory of atheists in implying that he or she did not have enough courage fight on the front line of battle.

    We know it wasn’t intended in he same derogatory (and uncceptable) way as if someone had said “There are no Jews in foxholes” or “There are no black men in foxholes” but some people might take it that way.

  23. StJude says:

    An atheist activist organization wants a proposed Ohio statehouse Holocaust memorial to remove the Star of David symbol, which, the group claims, is an “exclusionary” religious symbol.

  24. Stu says:

    meippoliti says:
    26 July 2013 at 5:36 pm
    @ Stu, in the USAF a 0-6 is a colonel.
    On paper, indeed they are “equal.” But one is a rank and the other is pay grade. This man is an “O-6” and not a “Colonel.”

    In the Navy and Marine Corps, we refer to ourselves by our ranks, not our pay grades. Calling someone by their pay grade isn’t a compliment.

  25. Venerator Sti Lot says:

    I would not be surprised if, for example, many of the Russians who murdered the Polish military prisoners at Katyn were very self-cosnciously atheist and had on one or another occasion found themselves in a foxhole.

    I cannot see how anyone who read Lt. Col. Kenneth Reyes’s column could in simple honesty misunderstand how he was using the phrase (deliberately pretending to misunderstand it is obviously another matter, and something very like a form of lying).

  26. Johnno says:

    It is easy to believe that there are no ‘atheists’ in foxholes. Which is not to say they are Christians either, but when the bombs are falling around you and death is near it is natural to automatically reflect on the possibility of what happens after you die. So in that moment an atheist is at least an agnostic.

    Anyway, it’s always thoroughly amusing how atheists are always so scared, paranoid and reactive when it comes to things they don’t believe exist. They’re a very special bunch.

    But the end goal here is indeed to get rid of all and any religious people from the military and government by pressuring them to leave, to be silent and intimidate them never to sign up at all. That way these openings shall all be filled with like minded people who have no ideological restrictions to their passions or anger, now with power on their side to finally usher in the new Global Communist Fascist Era. Their violence and horrors will truly have no limitations just as past history proves.

  27. PostCatholic says:

    Ever been in a foxhole, Johnno? This atheist has. I had no time to think about the possibilities of what happens when I die, because I was very busy being scared and reactive.

  28. Johnno says:


    The phrase of there “being no atheists in foxholes” refers to reflection of individuals when faced with a life threathening scenario. It is not meant as a literal description of what is precisely occuring through ones mental processes when actively engaged in warfare which may or may not be in a foxhole, in which case the mind is chiefly occupied with survival. The phrase is intended to be poetic & thought-provoking.

  29. PostCatholic says:

    See my first comments above, in which case. It’s hyperbole, and also quite untrue.

Comments are closed.