A Woman's Perspective On The Times We Live In


November 12, 2012

Warriors and Witchcraft

     Yesterday was a day our nation honored its Veterans.  It's a time to contemplate what our soldiers and military have contributed to this country since its inception.  It's a time to recognize their sacrifice, on our behalf, for the freedoms that still remain.  We offer our prayers of thanksgiving and praise, and ask for their protection and continued strength of character.  All this is well-deserved and more necessary than you realize.
     You may recall that during my visit to Fort Sam Houston last spring, I told you that the Army Chaplains were becoming increasingly distressed at the compromises they were being asked to tolerate. Christian crosses were being removed from religious services; they are no longer allowed to counsel against homosexual relationships, and the Koran is gaining equal status with the Bible --- all regulations that are in disagreement with their Christian faith.  Many are contemplating leaving the Military.
     Then, just seven short months later, I returned to Fort Sam, and felt such a despondency among our soldiers, and a significant lack of faith in God.  It was apparent to me that we have a growing problem among our armed forces.  So imagine my shock when I saw this local headline:  Lackland Air Force Base Hosts the Largest Weekly Wiccan Service in the World.  
     You read that correctly!  Right here, in the State of Texas, Lackland Air Force Base in San Antonio boasts of the growing participation among military personnel in Wiccan services.  In case you didn't know, Wicca is a modern pagan religion that draws upon a diverse set of ancient pagan religious motifs for its theological structure and ritual practice.  According to its official Wikipedia definition, the religion usually incorporates the practice of witchcraft.  Each week, a volunteer lay leader conducts religious education and services for two to four hundred Air Force basic trainees.  And now we are supposed to applaud the fact that "Nowhere else in the world are as many as 400 people sitting down to see a regularly-scheduled weekly Wiccan service performed?"
     As stated in the article, the Air Force has adopted a unique chapel program for their Basic Military Trainees.  A small number of Air Force chaplains, primarily Protestant, with one or two Catholic chaplains and a Muslim chaplain, conduct services within their own faith groups and provide oversight for the rest of the chapel program.  The rest of the program is supported by volunteers, and a Religious Resources Board supposedly monitors this diverse religious education and service program.  So might I respectfully ask ...... What in the *#@! are you doing???
     What was even more disturbing to me was the author of this article.  The credit line reads as follows:   Rev. Tony Gatlin is a Wiccan High Priest.  He currently serves as the Distinctive Faith Group Leader for the Wicca Faith Group at the U.S. Air Force’s Basic Military Training program at Joint Base San Antonio-Lackland Air Force Base, Texas.  He is a retired military veteran of 25 years, having served both as an enlisted Marine and Air Force officer.  Rev. Gatlin holds three Masters Degrees and lectures internationally on the history of Wicca and the U.S. military.
     Is this the influence that is now beginning to permeate our military?  In a 2011 LA Times article, it was reported that the Air Force Academy, in Colorado Springs, dedicated an $80,000 outdoor worship center — a small Stonehenge-like circle of boulders with propane fire pit — high on a hill for the handful of current or future cadets whose religions fall under the broad category of "Earth-based." Those include pagans, Wiccans, druids, witches and followers of Native American faiths.
     And before I start receiving emails that I am over-reaching or exaggerating this situation, let me quote a young Airmen from Lackland Air Force Base:  "There's nothing wrong with Wicca".  The 19-year-old became a witch five years ago after being a religious wanderer. He said fantasy books and the Harry Potter phenomenon fueled his interest in the Wiccan faith.  He said he found a faith fulfilling to him, and is among the hundreds of basic military trainees who have chosen to study witchcraft at the base.
     So will there one day be Wiccan chaplains in the military? Not unless a specific “religious organization” applies for recognition, according to Air Force Col. Richard K. Hum, executive director of the Armed Forces Chaplains Board.  But according to Department of Defense Directives (1304.19, for instance), when a qualified Religious Organization (RO) presents a candidate for the chaplaincy, the individual military service evaluates the candidate according to service need and the candidate's qualifications.  If it is determined that there is a need and the candidate meets the qualifications, then said candidate may be offered a commission.
     Is there any doubt in our current climate of tolerance that this is an inevitability?  I must confess that I feel we are entering a very dark period in our nation's history (and the world's).  My father, who was a World War II veteran, would not recognize today's military.  And is it any wonder that Christian chaplains are questioning whether they can continue to turn the other cheek when our faith is being ridiculed and oppressed?  While prayer is obviously needed in this situation, I'm not too sure the die has not already been cast.
     In the coming days I will be expressing a new direction in my posts; an opinion I can no longer avoid or ignore.  It is still about hope and promise, but in the light of such stories as today's post, my message must be bolder and more determined.  We must know who we are and be prepared to reach out to others in this time of deep trouble.  Lift your eyes heavenward and stay focused!

Deuteronomy 18:10     "Let no one be found among you who sacrifices their son or daughter in the fire, who practices divination or sorcery, interprets omens, engages in witchcraft..."


   

12 comments:

  1. I just learned yesterday that my son, who is in the Navy, is getting out when his last tour is over. He is so unhappy and disappointed with the Navy he felt it was in his best interest to leave. He had 4 more years to retirement but he feels so depressed all the time it's not worth it. About the only thing he will say is it's no longer the Navy he signed up for.
    While financially it may be a hardship for him and his family I know God will show him the way.
    They are moving to Texas, they have friends in San Antonio that they can stay with while he looks for a job. This is our second child that is moving to Texas, I'm wondering if God is trying to tell me something.

    JM

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    1. Wow, I couldn't disagree more. 4 years from retirement?!?!? He is foolishly throwing away a safety net for himself and his family they would otherwise have for the rest of his life.
      All for what? Personal disappointment? I used to have sailors tell me the same thing and I directly suggest that there are crappy jobs, jerk bosses and suddenly changing career prospects in ANY line of work. I have personally run into 2 former sailors working in their civilian lives who told me their decision to leave the service was the dumbest of their lives.
      If he's missing faith communities in the Navy, he's not looking hard enough. There are many. If he's not happy with a follow-on duty station, then I respectfully remind him that at least he's not on his FIFTH tour to the Middle East desert like several of my Army and Marine friends. And if his career path isn't going where he wants, then I suggest he look at military-sponsored education programs and get busy. There are dozens of ways to re-invent yourself in the Navy.
      When I first joined, I had a 5-year obligation. I thought it was forever. Suddenly, I had to decide to stay in or get out because 5 years had gone by in a flash -- and working for some truly jerk bosses during most of it.
      I recommned serious reconsideration instead of throwing in the towel because he is annoyed by a few same-sex couples on the ship/duty station. And if he thinks Navy diversity "training" is silly, he's crazy to think it's better in civilian world.
      The US Military is the closest thing to a true meritocracy we have in our country. The demands are high. The expectations are significant. And the rewards are commensurate. Throwing away an Honorable Retirement with only 4 years to go is a sad waste of opportunity and poor long-term decision.
      PS and if he's set on leaving Active Duty, at LEAST shift over to the Reserves! It'll take a little longer to achieve full retirement status, but at least he'll be covered and his family able to go for scholarships, training, medical care, etc., etc. Going Reserves will guarantee getting a different unit, different CO, and different pace of work while still being home in Texas.

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    2. I totally understand your passion and loyalty to the military, and I commend your service and agree with much of what you say. But I have a feeling there is more to this young man's disillusionment than the monetary and social benefits the military offers. If he is a Christian, then he has to make a choice.... do you tolerate what God finds abominable just to get a good retirement? As Christians, we can no longer "go along to get along". And I have to say, that with the whole Petraeus scandal ... something stinks .... and whether it has unfairly tainted the military or not, everyone has to make their own decision. Faithful Christians do that by a different measure ... and that is sometimes hard for others to understand. We must listen to each other and honor decisions made in faith.

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    3. I agree something stinks: GEN Petraeus' and GEN Allen's personal judgment with respect to their marriage vows.
      A lot more will come out from Benghazi, but all the evidence I see says that within the CIA, their operational response followed procedures. Somebody ELSE in the military Chain of Command denied cross-border authority (CBA) for reaction forces to enter Libya. Petraeus and Allen weren't in that chain.
      I've seen many prominent leaders bring their own downfall as their belts unbuckle and their pants hit the floor. I have heard the howl of primal anguish as I held a friend who found out her (now ex-) husband was sleeping with a "family friend." It sucks. But it happens. Obama didn't send the emails from either Petraeus' or Allen's email accounts. Some men are pigs. Some women are home-wreckers. And some of them betray their country through the same actions.
      And I really don't think the news would NOT have changed the election results. If anything, the post-election timing now gives both generals the opportunity to resign quietly (not that I think they should be given the opportunity, but I've seen how these things play out too often) instead of giving the President the chance to look decisive by firing them.
      --changing tack back to the Navy son--
      If he truly must follow his faith, I wish him well. I will not agree with the decision in any other terms. Perhaps he should consider the parable of Abraham? Abraham was ready to sacrifice his son, but he LOOKED around and found the Lord provided an alternative. Don't needlessly sacrifice the well-being of the family without truly looking around.
      In my view of military and religious history, there is only one guaranteed thing for martyrs: death. Anything else remembered in their act is ascribed by others and only in the long view of whether it was truly worth it. Live to fight another day unless there is NO other choice. Metaphorically, this is the same thing. And I really have a problem with a decision to take others into career-choice meltdown unless they're all agreed -- and there is NO WAY those kids can know what they'll be losing. How many people could he positively influence by living a godly life among comrades? Think of it as being a missionary among the heathens. This is not a threat to his immortal soul, but is a risk to their long-term well-being and futures to influence others for good.

      I think we'll respectfully have to agree to disagree on this one.

      Cheers - GEJ

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    4. PS And he needs to GO TALK TO HIS CHAPLAIN!! Or any other Chaplain or pastor/minister/priest that he can access ASAP.

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    5. You're right .... we will have to agree to disagree. First, without knowing the full extent of his experiences in the Navy or what guidance he has sought from the Lord, we have no way of knowing what the turning point was for him. I can only view his decision from a faith standpoint. Over 17 years ago, PLW and I walked away from what others viewed as successful careers and a secure future, because we were being called to a different lifestyle. It has meant we have endured quite a few lean years, and while gaining a pretty good level of success according to the world's standards, we wanted more than a good retirement, big house, and money in the bank. The choice we made has brought us into a closer relationship with God and the rewards are much greater than any monetary or material wealth we might have gained. You see, our security doesn't come from those things. This life and those things are temporary.
      I understand the angle you are coming from, and I'm not sure our two viewpoints can coincide. But I always love hearing your opinion and really enjoy the verbal judo.

      P.S. As for Abraham, he didn't stop and look around for another solution. He was fully ready to slay his son. Read Genesis 22:9-11. When God saw his faith, he called out to Abraham to stop him. It was Abraham's faith that saved Isaac.

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  2. I believe that God is directing His people to do His work, not the work of the world. I applaud your son for listening to the Spirit and I know that he and his family will be blessed for following the path God is leading them on. Tell him, "Welcome to Texas" and I will pray for him.

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  3. I'm not sure why you feel the need to hold back in your posts. This is your blog, and you write anonymously. Maybe it feels as if no one would understand you, but once we start talking about what is really important to us, we find many others have the same thoughts, fears, beliefs that we have. We must be willing to risk telling the truth as we understand it. I'd much rather be wrong than silent.

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  4. I guess I feel I someone with an opposing view will "hear" me if I don't hit them over the head with my philosophy. I would rather have a respectful discussion than some of the ugly battles I see on other sites. But don't worry, I don't have a problem voicing my opinion, as you will find out in tomorrow's post. Thanks for commenting!

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  5. Belle - I agree that the whole Wicca thing is dumber than a soup sandwich. And it's a fad that will pass.
    But I say that if we truly respect Freedom of Religion, then we need to put up with the stuff we don't agree with as much as what we do agree with.
    The military doesn't just allow any old religion to pop up and reserve space to worship. But if there are enough people who choose to, and they observe the protocols, then let them.
    This is not a question of moral relativism. It is a question of Constitutional consistency.

    And they will pass. Our Constitution will remain.

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  6. Jehovah, God Almighty, says over and over in the Bible .... "You shall have no other gods before me." Notice that it is a little "g". When we start giving credence to other idols, icons or deities IN PLACE of God, then we are dishonoring Him. Yes, the Constitution guarantees our freedom to worship anything or anyone we wish, including witches. That is the beauty of the freedoms that God instilled in this land .... we have a choice. But when you read the entire Bible, you see great evidence of what happens to peoples and nations who stray from worshipping the one true God. And when you read the last book of the Bible (which many churches totally ignore) you find out what happens to mankind when the freedom they are given leads them down a path to destruction. The military doesn't allow just any old religion? I maintain that according to God's mandate, Wicca more than qualifies. For me, God's laws are superior to man's and there is no room for compromise. We've had enough of that!

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  7. Belle,

    I'd like to make a reply to all of the above posts. Yes, I too believe there is more to the story of this young man wanting to leave. I feel it's personal and if he's moved to do so, then so be it. I wish and pray for him and his family that they find success and I believe they will. I can tell you this, being in the military doesn't guarantee ANYTHING just like the rest of us who live a civilian lifestyle. I know it, because I was married to an officer for years and in the end, it ended in divorce and a lot of unhappiness. If this young man feels like he is being led to leave, I say go. Having a retirement in the end is not even guaranteed if the truth be known. Lets say the government shuts down. Where are those paychecks going to come from, huh? There are many benefits as GreenEyedJinn said, but for each person they have to weigh that out for themselves what is most important to them. The government that we possess here in this country today can change just about anything it seems these days to suit themselves and the military is certainly not excluded. They do it in many other aspects of our lives, slow and steady, they get their way because we've allowed it and closed our eyes to it. Just remember this, all the compromises, small or big that we've made here and there all along the way, look where the heck has it gotten us. Take a good look around. How can a people continue on that kind of path and not see some devastating effects! I'm amazed that God puts up with us and our selfish ways as long as He has, honestly. I'm not just talking about the USA, it's everywhere. He's warned us. I say stand your ground and follow your God in all things. In the end that is all that will count anyway. I will end with this comment....Many heartfelt thanks to all those who serve our country and have served in the past and the future to come. I do appreciate all they and their families give to us and pray that they will remember who should be their real "Leader and Guide" and my hope and prayer for this young man is that all will end well for him and his family. I have great faith that it will! I still feel that I live in the best country even though it's rapidly going south. Best Wishes to all.....

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