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.