Gazette Slams Weinstein’s USAFA Lawsuit

The editorial page of the Colorado Springs Gazette, local to the US Air Force Academy, came down with both feet on Michael Weinstein’s MRFF, clearly saying Weinstein’s group “opposes the free exercise of religion in government.”  The article, entitled “Anti-religion suit is based on a myth,” was written by editor Wayne Laugesen in response to Weinstein’s lawsuit precipitated by the invitation USMC Lt (Ret) Clebe McClary to the Academy National Prayer Luncheon.  Laugesen said

The Military Religious Freedom Foundation, a group that opposes the free exercise of religion in government, is suing U.S. Air Force Academy Superintendent Lt. Gen. Michael Gould in an effort to forcefully censor an evangelical Christian from speaking at the National Prayer Luncheon — a private event scheduled for Feb. 10 at the academy. (emphasis added)

The paper also jabbed at Weinstein’s lawyer and Weinstein’s own demonstrated record in the American judicial system: 

David Lane, the go-to Colorado lawyer for trying a case in the media…

and explains its own view of the case:

The Air Force Academy has a legal obligation to protect the free exercise of religion for students, faculty, employees and other Americans. It cannot do that while forbidding the free exercise of religion. It cannot, by law, rescind a speaking invitation for the purpose of silencing a man with a religious message some consider grotesque.

Inviting a controversial religious man to speak is a far cry from passing a law, and those who conflate ideas with laws are either confused or dishonest. Asking the courts to censor a speech makes mockery of the First Amendment, which protects free speech and the free exercise of religion.

The editorial contains a long discussion on the ‘separation of church and state,’ one that will surely bring Chris Rodda out of the woodwork.  MRFF researcher Rodda has written long articles on the history of the relationship between religion and the US government.

(As an aside, Rodda may have a harder time explaining the lawsuit’s description of her own organization.  The legal document says “The [MRFF]…is a Washington D.C.-based 501(c)3 corporation.”  However, publicly available documents, including his own website, seem to indicate Weinstein’s MRFF is actually based in New Mexico.  Maybe “Washington DC” adds gravitas that “Albuquerque” can’t match.)

Arguing the details of Laugesen’s historical account might achieve the effect of distracting from the main point: Weinstein and his MRFF are demanding the Air Force Academy act in conflict with the US Constitution, not in support of it.  While this has always been their cry, it is now becoming clear even to the general public.


  • [], if you did the research, you would see that MRFF is incorporated in Washington D.C., not New Mexico.

    And, I’ve already written a rebuttal of all the historical inaccuracies in Laugesen’s editorial, which I’m sure you’ll see as you spend so much time on your obsession of watching every single thing that anybody at MRFF, or in any way related to MRFF, writes.
    Edited by Admin

  • …MRFF is incorporated in Washington D.C. …

    Interesting, but not relevant; the lawsuit describes where you’re based.

    You may want to read your own MRFF press release announcing this lawsuit. Guess what the first line is (emphasis added):

    Albuquerque-based Military Religious Freedom Foundation (MRFF) has just filed…

    Saying “Washington DC-based” in the lawsuit does sound a bit more legitimizing, one supposes, though some from New Mexico might take offense at the implication.

  • Chris Rodda :[], if you did the research, you would see that MRFF is incorporated in Washington D.C., not New Mexico.
    And, I’ve already written a rebuttal of all the historical inaccuracies in Laugesen’s editorial, which I’m sure you’ll see as you spend so much time on your obsession of watching every single thing that anybody at MRFF, or in any way related to MRFF, writes.Edited by Admin

    And you don’t have an obsession? ROFL

    Someone has to respond to MRFF’s bias.

  • @Lt Frank
    It’s not an “obsession” when it’s your job. I work for MRFF and my job includes responding to things written about MRFF. JD, on the other hand, spends endless hours studying every move that MRFF or anyone involved with MRFF makes, hunting for everything that anyone writes about MRFF, and writing what by now probably amount to hundreds of posts either about MRFF directly or in some way about MRFF. When someone spends that much time on something that’s not their job, as JD does, it’s an “obsession.”

  • You think too highly of yourself (the MRFF). This site, as noted in many places, speaks often on religious freedom in the military. Weinstein is one of the most vitriolic and prolific attackers of the religious freedoms of US troops; but this site speaks far more often about the military’s positive efforts to defend religious freedom than it does about the MRFF or other likeminded organizations.

    There is a level of interest in Weinstein and his conspiracy theories, but you’re not nearly as important as you think you are.

  • @Chris…I see your point, however I don’t see anything wrong with what JD is saying or how much time he spends on MRFF issues. That’s his choice, just as it’s your choice to take the time to post here.

    You fight for what you believe in and so does JD. It just so happens that it isn’t a job for JD, and just because it isn’t a job, doesn’t make it an obsession.

  • You know, JD, I’ve been thinking that since you spend so many hours writing about MRFF, I should return the favor. I think a lot more people should know out about your “ministry.” As soon as this Prayer Luncheon matter is done with, I think I’m going to go back through all your posts, the way you go back years to find little tidbits about MRFF, its staff, and its clients, and write an in depth article about you and your blog. There are a number of myths and untruths that you’ve posted about MRFF, and I think it’s about time for me to write about them so people can see just what a fine Christian officer you are, and how you treat others, especially those NCOs who can’t defend themselves against you […]

    Your real name and all other information I have about you will, of course, be used in my article. Unlike this blog, you will not be able to edit your real name out of what I write, as you have now started doing in my comments here.
    Edited by Admin

  • @ Chris…I think the “Prayer Luncheon matter” is done with…you might as well start writing now.

    Don’t you find writing about a blogger takes you off your important message of “religious freedom” though?

  • It might be very instructive to read what the MRFF rep. in Colorado Springs actually says about the Prayer Luncheon:


    3:32 PM on February 2, 2011

    MRFF succeeded in getting the Rev. Franklin Grahame canceled at the National Day of Prayer ceremony at the Pentagon. Once Grahame’s radical Dominionist Christian views were made known to the Military staff and his all-Christian presentation turning the non-sectarian national day of prayer into the national day of Christian proselytizing, the Joint Chiefs booted him. I am hoping the same thing happens with McClary’s attempt at converting staff and cadets to his Dominionist brand of Christianity. The non-sectarian AFA prayer luncheon has been tuned into a Christian revival.

    Read more:

    And here’s his personal attack on the Gazette’s editorial writer:


    4:47 PM on February 2, 2011


    You have only to Google “Supreme Court decisions on the separation of church and state” to get volumes of rulings that affect religious practice and the separation of church and state. .

    One would have thought you would research this before writing what can only be described as an uneducated and defensive religious screed. To bring the Gazette to her knees with this crass attempt at establishing religion is beneath you.

    How frightened and misinformed you are. How desperate to validate your beliefs and how wrong you are in shaming your employers and your workmates with this ill-conceived and written homage to ignorance.

    Have you no shame?

    Read more:

    REAL civil there…….

  • OH, and, by the way, here’s what that same representative of the MRFF says about what he wants to do with Christians. VERY instructive.

    12:45 PM on January 31, 2011


Luckily for you there are no more concentration camps. But if there were and if I could I would throw child molesters in them. And you along with them because you and your ilk have allowed child molestation to take place without seeking redress for the poor kids. You let tthose kids suffer the indignity, mental and physical damage of being ravaged by Christians in a position of trust and not come to their defense. And you continue to force them back into the hands of known abusers in the church in the name of your sick faith. Christians have abandoned their children to the evil deeds of church employed perverts.

    Read more:

  • You’ve made your point. Feel free to participate in the conversation, but further copy/pastes from the Gazette are unnecessary.

  • Even an atheist should be able to see this was a frivolous attempt to end free speech at a military Chapel function. MRFF continues to foment an atmosphere of paranoia in its attempts to persecute anyone in uniform who professes genuine faith in Jesus Christ.

  • As a “non-believer” in deities, I did not see any reasonable justification for this lawsuit; however, this is by no means a frivolous matter. If USMC Lt (Ret) Clebe McClary truly believes the USMC stands for “US Marines for Christ” I think that is a very serious matter and something we should be very cautious of with our up and coming Officers/NCOs & Airmen. I will certainly give our younger generation (and the voluntary attendees) the benefit of the doubt that they can form their own opinions about this gentleman.

    Leadership MUST ensure our troops get the best education and information possible so they will become better soldiers, sailor, Airmen and Marines; to deal with the world as we know it. There are bad things and there are good things, but we should not prevent someone from sharing their stories just because they are Christain or any other religion/faith.

  • watchtower,

    good points, but as a lawsuit, I think it is frivolous. Culturally, you’re right: it is a big deal. I have my own views of Lt McClary, but mainly revolve around (and I’m paraphrasing someone) the idea that competition of ideas leads to the truth, not the suppression of them.