ACLU Defends American Troops Attacked by Mikey Weinstein

In an interesting twist, the ACLU recently praised a decision by the US Army that “protect[ed] First Amendment rights” of Soldiers — but it was precisely the opposite position of Michael “Mikey” Weinstein, who claims his MRFF is the “sole group” providing soldiers that very protection. The ACLU said [emphasis added]:

[There have been] reports that Army diversity trainings have labeled various religious and socially conservative organizations as “extremist” or “hate groups.”

In response to some of that criticism, Army Secretary John McHugh recently suspended these trainings. The ACLU commended that move in a letter to the Army last week that dispels the perception left by some that the trainings were uniquely anti-Christian. The ACLU also urged the Army to better protect the First Amendment rights of military personnel going forward and offered suggestions on how to do so.

The Restore Military Religious Freedom coalition similarly applauded the decision by the Army to end and standardize those briefings.  (To be fully accurate, the ACLU also objects to the government classifying certain groups as “hate, etc” at all.)

This is precisely the opposite position taken by Weinstein, who had applauded the “correct” characterizations of the Southern Poverty Law Center quoted by Army briefers. Weinstein also called criticisms of the Army’s conduct apparently providing those briefings “disingenuous.”  Of the news that LtCol Jack Rich of Fort Campbell had forwarded the SPLC accusations as implied official policy, Weinstein said

We should as a nation effusively applaud Lt. Col. Rich for his absolutely correct characterization of anti-gay religious extremist organizations as “hate groups” with no place in today’s U.S. military. But we are compelled to venture even further.

We MUST vigorously support the continuing efforts to expose pathologically anti-gay, Islamophobic, and rabidly intolerant agitators for what they are: die-hard enemies of the United States Constitution. Monsters, one and all.

Contrary to the anti-constitutional views of Weinstein, the ACLU took the dramatic step of defending the Christians that Weinstein attacks [emphasis added]:

[The ACLU] stressed the importance of the military including specific mention of the First Amendment rights of soldiers in any Equal Opportunity training. Soldiers have the First Amendment right to associate freely with any lawful organization, including those that espouse views many consider objectionable

The suppression of supposed controversial views in the military has also impacted many other service members, including, for instance, soldiers who believe that commanders should not advance or promote religious beliefs. Soldiers engaged in actual wrongdoing should certainly face discipline, but they should never fear punishment solely for their thoughts or beliefs, no matter how “extreme.”…

From the ACLU letter:

No soldier should be punished for mere thought, no matter how deplorable, or membership in a lawful group, no matter how controversial.

The ACLU is defending US troops from attacks by the likes of Weinstein.  It would seem Weinstein isn’t the only group defending religious liberty in the US military; the ACLU is defending religious liberty in the US military from attacks by him.