MRFF Files New DoD Lawsuit

Michael Weinstein’s Military Religious Freedom Foundation has asked for two delays in the required timeline to file a response to the DoJ’s motion to dismiss the MRFF’s ongoing lawsuit.  Reasons for the requests included the “number of pages” of supporting material in the DoJ motion, and the requests have been unopposed by the DoJ.

It appears, though, that the law firm representing the MRFF actually had other work keeping them busy: they have now filed a second lawsuit (text).  Like the first, it takes a single “issue” (in this case, the requirement that soldiers attend events in which sectarian prayers are delivered) and lumps in every possible accusation against religion in the military.  Much of the lawsuit is verbatim from other filings.

For example, it once again includes unspecified accusations against Officers’ Christian Fellowship.  It also includes references to the Ft Wood “Free Day Away,” which, as noted, has already been investigated by the Inspector General and found to be in compliance with regulations.  It also still includes complaints about the 523rd Fighter Squadron, which no longer exists, and hasn’t for some time.

Unlike the first lawsuit, it does say that the primary plaintiff, Specialist Dustin Chalker, sought permission not to attend the events through “his chain of command and the equal opportunity process,” which did not yield “satisfactory results.”

It is unclear why Weinstein would file a lawsuit now with such similarities to the first, unless he doubts the success of his current litigation.  Indeed, if he thought he could win his current case, victory would make the second suit moot.  Instead, the primary response of the DoJ, that the first plaintiff did not use the in-place grievance systems, has been the weakest point of the suit — and appears to be specifically addressed in the new complaint.  History, and Weinstein’s decision to spend his time creating a new lawsuit rather than defending the current one, probably portend the dismissal of the first lawsuit. 

By filing a now third lawsuit with a new “primary” complaint but the same underlying text, Weinstein seems to demonstrate that his plaintiffs are mere vehicles for his agenda.  Perhaps more unfortunately, there is little more than notoriety in store for the young soldiers themselves.

Chalker has spent approximately six years in the military; the lawsuit contains only two complaints, one from late last year and one early this year.  As recently as October 2007, Chalker told the Huntsville Times 

Aside from an occasional rude comment, I haven’t had any problems from other soldiers due to my lack of religion…Most of the guys in my unit are pretty apathetic – we have more important things to worry about than invisible men.

Both plaintiffs know each other, and are actively proud of their atheism.  According to internet sources, this photo was taken after the start of Jeremy Hall’s lawsuit.  Hall is in the center, and Chalker is on the right:

Ironically, Weinstein has lambasted others who have posed with their military weapons and indications of their ideology.  Apparently, the outrage does not apply when two of the people in the picture are his personal clients.

Photo credit: Unknown, though it appears on a variety of atheist websites, one of which credits Hall’s inaccessible MySpace page.


  • There are those who see nothing wrog witrh overt and coercive Christian proselytizing in our armed forces and service academies. Among them are Evangelical Christian Chaplains, Evangelical organizations Such as Campus Crusade for Christ, Christian Officers Fellowship and others.

    Ignoring constitutional protections prohibiting government sponsorhip or advancement of religion, this coterie of extremists prey on our young men and women Soldiers, Airmen, Marines, Sailors, Coastguard National Guard and Reservists and use the specter of command influence to require them to participate in sectarian Christian prayer, ceremonies and services.

    This unAmerican activity is routineley undertaken by senior officers and NCO’s
    who have abrogated their oath to the Constitution by violating the First Amendment establishment clause.

    The Uniform Code of MIlitary Justice also prohibits involuntary participation in religious activities.

    From the Air Force Academy to West Ponit and Annapolis, to the battle zones of Iraq and Afghanistan and military bases throughout America and the world,
    our young men and women are subject to unmerciful pressures in the name of Dominion Christian doctrine.

    The lawsuits currently filed against the DOD and Secretary of Defense by individuals and the Military Religious Freedom Foundation are intended to bring this illegal activity to a halt.

    The militray’s initial reaction to the suits were that procedures for handling such complaints are already in place. This laughable defense belies the fact that if our military men and women are subject to such abuse by their senior officers and NCO’s what chance would a complaint have of making it through the very command structure which is performing the abuses?

    We shall she what, if anything, comes of this legal action. It is fair to note that this Dominion Christian infestation is deep and widespread havin g taken years, with the help of rich and well organized Evangelical organizations to effectively infiltrate the armed forces from the Pentagon down.

  • Hi there. I am keeping track of where my name is mentioned so I can do what I can to stop misconceptions like these from spreading.

    Concerning my quote to the Huntsville Times, I was responding to the reporter’s question about how my fellow soldiers treated me. The quote about “other soldiers” refers to my peers of approximately equal rank. Most soldiers I know support me and my efforts, to include my Christian friends. The problems I’ve experienced come from much higher on the totem pole.

    As for the photo, the law against appearing in uniform in support of political and religious causes applies in garrison, where soldiers should wear civilian clothes for those activities. In theater, everyone must wear the uniform and so these restrictions do not apply. FYI, the photo is a response to the offensive and outlandish statement that there are “no atheists in foxholes”. I believe we have effectively dispelled this myth, no?

    Finally, you noted that the lawsuit only contains my complaints from December 2007 (since I returned from Iraq). I have been forcibly exposed to Christian religious rituals many more times than this, but I did not begin documenting them until I found a way to do something about it. Since I don’t have dates, I won’t be citing any other examples.

  • …the law against appearing in uniform in support of political and religious causes …In theater, everyone must wear the uniform and so these restrictions do not apply.

    You are mistaken in your understanding of the regulations. That said, your actions weren’t in question — it was Weinstein’s failure to criticize them. He has demonstrated selective outrage against Christians who have posed with their weapons and in uniform for photographs, while he has said nothing about atheists or those of other faiths who have done the same–even under the same circumstances.

  • JD,
    Were do you get your information concerning the regulations from? What would your response have been if the sign they were holding said ” Christian Officers Fellowship “? What Mr. Chalker and many other “athiest in the foxholes” want is to not have someone push their religious beliefs onto someone who simply does not want to hear them or believe them. How difficult is that???

  • @randall

    Were do you get your information concerning the regulations from?

    The regulations.

    With regard to the sign, you appear to be seeing judgment where none exists. The article points out the hypocrisy of Michael Weinstein; it makes no statement on the photo itself. This is repeated twice above.