Army Faces Backlash for Scheduling ‘Day of Fast’ On First Night of Pesach


us-armyThe U.S. Army’s Chief of Chaplains has been harshly criticized for being insensitive to other faiths by issuing a proclamation that calls on Army personnel and their families to participate in a “Day of Prayer and Fasting” on Wednesday, Erev Pesach, which would lead into Wednesday night, the first seder night.

Maj. Gen. Douglas L. Carver, the Army’s Chief of Chaplains, indicated that he did not consult a calendar before deciding to schedule April 8 as the “Day of Prayer and Fasting.” He did say, however, that the date is linked to his Southern Baptist roots, even though his proclamation purports to be representative of all faiths.

In a March 31 interview with Baptist Press, Carver said, “April 8 is a Wednesday and prayer meeting night for Southern Baptists, so we really encourage not only Baptists but all local churches to pray for the military.”

“One of the greatest things Southern Baptists can do is pray for our soldiers and their families,” Carver said. “We’ve asked our soldiers, sailors, airmen, Marines and Coast Guardsmen to protect and defend our great land. They’re encouraged when they know our local churches are praying for them.”

Carver’s proclamation has already angered dozens of Jewish members of the Army who have lodged complaints with the Military Religious Freedom Foundation (MRFF), a watchdog group that seeks to force the military to adhere to religious neutrality guidelines.

One Jewish member of the Army who received Carver’s proclamation said it is “an insult to all Jews.”

“Asking Jewish members of the armed forces to fast on that day displays unconscionable arrogance by the Army Chief of Chaplains,” said this person, who requested anonymity for fear of retribution.

Neither Carver nor a Pentagon spokesman returned calls for comment.

The proclamation is just the latest example of the “pernicious and pervasive pattern and practice of constitutionally impermissible promotions of religion by the military,” said MRFF founder and president, Mikey Weinstein.

Weinstein, the author of the book, With God On Our Side: One Man’s War Against an Evangelical Coup in America’s Military, fired off an e-mail March 31 to Army Secretary Pete Geren and Army Chief of Staff Gen. George Casey.

“Sir, would you please expeditiously address the following very serious matter of pervasive, unconstitutional activity by a senior member of your staff? The Military Religious Freedom Foundation has received numerous complaints from active duty Army personnel from many diverse religious faiths, including those members who self identify as Christians (both Protestant and Catholic) as well as those who profess no particular faith at all, regarding the direct and indirect assault on their constitutionally protected civil rights by this … “Proclamation” from Chaplain (Major General) Carver; Army Chief of Chaplains,” Weinstein wrote.

Geren, a former special assistant to then Defense Secretary Donald Rumsfeld, was acting Secretary of the Air Force. He was appointed to that position in July 2005, a month after a report was issued by the service that concluded some cadets felt “a perception of religious intolerance” existed at the academy.

{Jason Leopold-The Intelligence Daily/ Newscenter}


  1. Excuse me, Mr. Carver, but you cannot tell anyone to “fast and pray”. Separation of church and state, remember?

  2. Chaplain Carver is an Ohayv Yisrael and one of the best friends we’ve ever had in the Army Chief of Chaplains Office. He, or someone on his staff made a mistake.

    Weinstein has painted a bulls eye on the back of every single Evangelical Christian without any regard to the consequences of his bigoted actions. He is more interested in self-promotion and self aggrandizement that actually helping anyone. Similarly, he doesn’t care who he hurts as long as he makes a few bucks and grabs a few headlines in his quest to save the military from G-d!

    BTW, Weinstein is intermarried.