MRFF, Atheists, Commissary Manager Grumble over Bibles

Jason Torpy, a former Army Captain and current atheist, previously claimed to have influenced the Air Force to remove Gideon Bibles from hotel room checklists for Air Force lodging facilities.

Critics had claimed this would end the presence of the Bibles altogether; the Air Force disagreed, but Torpy agreed — and that is what he wanted, as he called the Bibles Christian “privilege.”

It seems the original complaint came not from a member of the military but from civilian Daniel Smith, the Store Director for the Navy Commissary in Yokosuka, Japan.  He recently complained — again — because there were shockingly still Bibles available to Air Force lodging patrons:

The Air Force never publicly said it would remove Bibles from Air Force lodging; in fact, they said the opposite.  Smith eventually explained how he instigated the original complaint:

At any rate, Smith seems to have woefully misunderstood “the rules.”  Rather than correct him, however, Torpy, who has a long reputation for misrepresenting facts, furthers his confusion:

Torpy calls the presence of the Bibles “selective noncompliance” and says they shouldn’t be there, which is not what the Air Force said — even if what’s Torpy and Smith wanted.  Torpy goes on to imply the Air Force Inns need further intimidation to force them to finally remove the Bibles — which he is likely to provide.  Given that this incident hasn’t risen to the public yet, the Air Force Inns probably won’t see anyone rise to defend them.

That’s essentially how Torpy “won” the first time.  The change he demanded to the hotel checklist wasn’t made public until it was done; at that point, religious liberty defenders criticized the move, but Air Force Inns essentially shrugged them off, as it was done.  (Therein lies Torpy’s main difference with Michael Weinstein.  Weinstein’s uses publicity as a weapon to advance his cause, while Torpy avoids it to advance his.)

In the end, it is both amusing and disheartening to see the commissary manager say it is “clearly a violation of the Constitution” to have a Bible in the drawer of a military hotel room.  If he can be that wrong about a hotel room, though, it kind of makes you wonder how he correctly handles religious liberty issues for his commissary employees.

Don’t hold your breath wondering if Michael Weinstein will come to the defense of religious liberty here.

It would seem this is one commissary a certain Chief won’t have to threaten to have Christian music removed from the intercom.

You can read the full conversation here.