Chuck Norris, Religious Liberty, and Michael Weinstein

Chuck Norris recently cited “36 examples of religious liberty assault” (in Part 1 and Part 2) to defend an assertion that religious liberty is under attack in America.  About a third of his examples involved the US military, all of which have been discussed here before (amplifying remarks follow):

  • Culture and courts are also trumping citizens’ First Amendment rights who are refusing on religious grounds not to support or participate with groups and events that run contrary to their faith and practice. As a result, wedding cake bakers, T-shirt makers, bed and breakfast owners, pastry shops, high-school teachers, military chaplains, restaurant owners, photographers, parents, churches and others have been harassed, bullied, suspended, fired and sued for merely exercising their Christian beliefs. [As described by CARL.]
  • A three-judge panel of the U.S. Court of Appeals for the Ninth Circuit ruled that a cross displayed as part of the Mt. Soledad Veterans Memorial in San Diego, Calif., was unconstitutional. [Upheld by the Supreme Court, sort of.]
  • Walter Reed National Military Medical Center drafted policy that prohibited individuals from using or distributing religious items during visits to the hospital. [They issued a statement saying their policy was incorrect.]
  • Three-star Army general and Delta Force war hero, Lt. Gen. William G. (“Jerry”) Boykin, couldn’t speak at West Point because of his Christian faith. [Generally true.]
  • The Air Force Academy apologized for merely announcing Operation Christmas Child – a Christian-based charity and relief program designed to send Christmas gifts to impoverished children around the world. [Not exactly an apology, but an understandable characterization.]
  • The Marine Corps considered tearing down a Camp Pendleton cross meant to honor fallen heroes. [This isn’t exactly a fair accusation, as the Marine Corps is still “considering” it and hasn’t done anything in more than a year.  Still, they also haven’t come out in support of the memorial, either.]
  • The Navy relocated a live nativity at a base in Bahrain to the chapel area. [True, all because someone might be offended.]
  • Air Force officials stripped religious curriculum from a 20-year-old course on “just war theory.” [Even members of Congress were befuddled by this one.]
  • Yet, as reported in the Los Angeles Times, as of November 2011, the Air Force is building an $80,000 Stonehenge-like worship site for “earth based” religions, including “pagans, Wiccans, druids, witches and followers of Native American faiths.” [Built, and not really an assault on religious liberty, though probably mentioned for the contrast with the relatively “negative” treatment of Christian-related subjects.]
  • The Department of Veterans Affairs censored references to God and Jesus during prayers at Houston National Cemetery. [True, but they lost the ensuing lawsuit, and Congress tried to roll in to provide protection.]
  • The Pentagon released new regulations forcing chaplains to perform same-sex weddings, despite their religious objections. However, members of the Congressional Prayer Caucus worked tirelessly to ensure that the final version of the FY 2013 National Defense Authorization Act, signed into law in January (2013), included key religious freedom protections for service members generally and chaplains specifically (Section 533). [Not explicitly true, as no regulation specifically says a chaplain has to perform homosexual weddings.  However, it is the contention of some that non-discrimination policies, etc, will combine to have that effect, even if reflected indirectly in performance evaluations, etc.]
  • The Pentagon revoked approval to use the logo of each service branch on the covers of Bibles sold in military exchange stores. [True.  It was the “easy” road.]

Norris summed it up:

What is going on in the U.S. military? Apparently the military’s urge for neutrality is officially and fundamentally transforming into hostility on faith…

Long gone are the days when, before the start of World War II, the commander in chief, President Franklin Roosevelt, actually wrote the prologue to the Gideon Bibles given to the Armed Forces, encouraging them to find strength and courage from its contents…

Roosevelt’s prologue was noted here last year.  Chris Rodda didn’t appreciate it…

Notably, many of the incidents Norris mentions involve Michael Weinstein — someone who has been irked by Chuck Norris in the past.

Weinstein has threatened violence on his critics in several cases, yet he didn’t threaten Chuck Norris.  Wonder why that is…?

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