Weinstein Attacks Allen Willoughby, Promotes Courage for Christ

The Associated Press picked up on Michael “Mikey” Weinstein’s complaint about Allen Willoughby, an athletic trainer at the US Air Force Academy Prep School who sent Weinstein an email after Weinstein’s complaint about “So Help Me God.”  As published by Weinstein’s ally Pam Zubeck at the Colorado Springs Independent, the email said:

…God will always be a part of the US Military even when you are gone to meet him face to face. You know you can do a lot for the homeless veterans out here but you could care less about them but when it comes to Christians you are willing to fight against us, well you will never win and so you know the war has already been won. I am on staff at USAFA and will talk about Jesus Christ my Lord and savior to everyone that I work with. Do something productive with your life and Stop harassing the fine people at USAFA. I really pray for your soul.

Zubeck provocatively titled her blog

Academy athletic trainer vows to proselytize on campus

Presumably, Zubeck is at least trying to appear to be a journalist, albeit one who apparently does not deign to use a dictionary.  As is evident to the rest of the world, the Prep School trainer did not “vow[] to proselytize.”

For his part, Weinstein almost had an aneurysm [emphasis added]:

This is the best example of how wretched the climate is there, the brazen boldness of Christian supremacy. It’s an absolute disgrace. We want an apology to me, my family and the foundation, and we want him disciplined.

Assuming the entire email was published, for what does Willoughby owe an apology?  What does Weinstein’s family have to do with this at all?  For what offense should Willoughby be “disciplined?”

Weinstein doesn’t say.  What he saw instead was a staff member unafraid of Weinstein’s threats — and that he could not stand.  So Weinstein reportedly went direct to LtGen Michelle Johnson.  Because, you know, he can do that [emphasis added]:

[Weinstein] fired off an e-mail message to Superintendent Lt. Gen. Michelle Johnson, saying, “he feels absolutely NO worries or even the slightest nuances of concern about making such heinous, astonishingly bigoted statements of fundamentalist Christian supremacy … at USAFA so very publicly??”

In case anyone missed it, Weinstein — a “religious freedom” advocate — thinks the phrase “Jesus Christ my Lord and Savior” is “astonishingly bigoted” and deserves punishment.  That makes perfect sense — if your actual purpose is the fulfillment of a personal vendetta against Christians.

Weinstein isn’t ignorant; he’s trying to shape the narrative to paint Willoughby as evil, and he’s apparently willing to abandon the truth to do so:

Weinstein said the email violates an Air Force regulation that says leaders may not use their position to promote their personal religious beliefs to subordinates.

When did Willoughby say he was going to use his position to promote his religion to his subordinates?

Bingo.  He didn’t.  Weinstein isn’t telling the truth.

In fact, Willoughby appears to be a civilian athletic trainer, which would likely mean those he “works with” are nothing more than his peers.

Rather than discipline, it seems Allen Willoughby deserves praise.  Despite Weinstein’s attempts to make public Christianity toxic in the military, Willoughby would not self-censor.  Instead, Willoughby recognized that USAFA has fought off Weinstein and continues, for the most part, to defend religious liberty. In fact, in May the Pentagon explicitly said

In general, service members may share their faith with other service members, but may not forcibly attempt to convert others…to their own beliefs.

Thus, Willoughby’s statement that he will “talk about Jesus Christ my Lord and savior to everyone that I work with” is completely consistent with the Pentagon’s guidance (for service members).  It is not punishable, despite Weinstein’s tantrums.

The Air Force Academy found no fault in Willoughby’s statement:

Regarding the e-mail sent by Mr. Allen Willoughby to the MRFF, we can confirm that Mr. Willoughby is a trainer at the Air Force Academy Preparatory School, and yes, he did send an e-mail to the MRFF in his personal capacity and not as a representative of the Air Force’s Academy or the Prep School.

As quoted by the CSIndy

The academy issued a statement and later said, “No action is being taken against the individual.”

Weinstein’s blood pressure likely soared again at USAFA’s statement Willoughby was acting in his personal capacity:

“When you work in the U.S. military, there is no 9 to 5 job. He said, ‘I am on staff and I will talk about Jesus Christ.’ ” This is a direct violation of Air Force policy on religious neutrality, Weinstein said.

In other words, this “religious freedom advocate” claims there is no time that someone connected to the US military can publicly express a tenet of their faith without violating regulations (he apparently wants military officers banned from church services altogether).  It would seem Weinstein wants to silence Christians not only in the military, but in society in general. He is free to think that, of course, while the Air Force — which wrote the rules he’s citing — is free to enforce them the way they want to.  (Why would Weinstein feel so compelled to explain the Air Force rules to the Air Force?  It’s almost as if he thinks he has special insight into why AFI 1-1 was written…)

The fact USAFA did not immediately apologize to Weinstein (or even respond at all, it seems) is significant.  He appears to have lost the special access he regained for just a short time.

Willoughby stood up to Weinstein — and he won.  Weinstein is understandably seething, but there’s little more he can do other than stamp his feet.  By publicizing the message, Weinstein let Willoughby become an example to Christians throughout the military that they can be Christians and “confidently practice [their] own beliefs” even while in the military — and he showed the Academy has regained its prior posture and will not be swayed by idle threats.

Willoughby stood for his faith, his profession, and the Constitution.

What have you done today?

The Associated Press version of this story was repeated at a variety of news locations.