Weinstein uses Atheist Complaint as Proof of Equality
Update: Todd Starnes at FoxNews covers ‘the rest of the story‘ (via the PatriotPost) left unsaid — or unknown — by Mikey Weinstein. He notes, for example, both the staff tower announcement at Mitch’s and the wing-wide email, which the Academy defended — though it didn’t defend those same actions by Christians against Weinstein’s attacks in 2011. Also, [formatting original]
The Cadets who contacted me about the atheist event indicated that they were not objecting to the promotion of that event, but to the hypocrisy of that promotion, versus a fellow Cadet being asked to remove a Bible verse from his door. Obviously, only the Christian expression of faith is the target of AFA discrimination, and it is Johnson’s “religious impartiality” which should be in contention.
Jason Torpy and the MAAF — Weinstein’s erstwhile ally — took issue with his characterizations of their activities (though they supported removing the Bible verse).
Michael “Mikey” Weinstein’s MRFF has said he filed a “complaint” about atheists at the US Air Force Academy — and this is proof that he’s an equal opportunity critic:
Weinstein said an atheist cadet announced at the academy’s chow hall on Wednesday, while everyone was at attention, that Wednesday and Thursday would be “Ask an Atheist” days.” Weinstein said a group of the cadets set up a display on the third floor of Fairchild Hall, which includes classrooms, lab and research facilities and faculty offices.
“Replace ‘Ask an Atheist’ with ‘Ask a Christian,’ ‘Ask a Jew,” or “Ask a Muslim,'” said Weinstein, and the problem is obvious. “This is unlawful.”
The first question: Is Weinstein’s accusation accurate?
Simply, no. Weinstein appears to take issue with both the announcement and the actual “event.” The former is an announcement, nothing more. The US Air Force Academy is a campus of 4,000 cadets. When a group wants to get together and offer opportunities to others, they have to be able to communicate that somehow. USAFA currently allows such announcements in various forms. Whether the announcement is about the chess club, the atheist club, or the religious club, it should make no difference.
To the latter — the event itself — it is a non-issue. The academic buildings are routinely used for cadets to gather for a variety of reasons (some more nefarious than others). There is no law, regulation, or policy that restricts the use of the building specifically based on the content of the discussion the cadets are having.
Weinstein is flatly wrong. Cadets are free to share their ideologies with their fellow cadets as they wish, whether they are atheists, theists, or anything else. It is no more “unlawful” than having a Hispanic Heritage Month announcement and event in the same place.
While Weinstein appears to be consistent in his constitutional and legal ignorance, the second question remains: Is he being consistent in his treatment of ideology, as he claims?
Let’s compare this with his reaction to other cadets:
- At what point did Weinstein call for the atheist cadets to be punished (as he did Christians)?
- At what point did Weinstein threaten to sue USAFA if the atheist cadets went unpunished (as he did Christians)?
- At what point did Weinstein say the atheists’ conduct “poured gasoline on an already raging out-of-control conflagration of tyranny, exceptionalism and supremacy at USAFA” (as he did Christians)?
- At what point did Weinstein demand the officers in charge of the cadet be punished (as he did Christians)?
Read the story again. Weinstein didn’t do any of those things in the case of the atheist cadet, and those are just the obvious ones from a very recent story. Where’s Weinstein’s trademark vitriol? His alliteration? His over-ellipsized email? Where’s his threat to “tell it to the judge” (granted, an empty threat, but a threat all the same)?
When the case in question was that of a Christian, Weinstein threw a tantrum as if the world would end. For an atheist, it earned little more than a sideways glance.
Interestingly, there are actually more details to this story than Weinstein has revealed. He is either ignorant of the full story, or he’s intentionally leaving some details out. If the latter is true, he is again treating this incident differently than he has when Christian cadets did the same thing as these atheist cadets.
In short, Weinstein didn’t treat this the same as he has when he has attacked Christians. In fact, he clearly directed his sternly worded attack at USAFA — specifically avoiding denigrating or threatening the atheist cadets, a concession he very obviously didn’t grant the Christian cadets just last week.
Mikey Weinstein made an interesting attempt to rebut accusations he has been trying to use the military to further his personal vendetta against Christianity. The problem with his PR effort was he played his hand too strongly; people could tell he was grandstanding this time, and unsuccessfully so.
Years of attacks only on Christians are hardly undone by one throwaway phone call to local paper. If he really wants to demonstrate that he’s an equality opportunity critic, he shouldn’t find more people to attack — he needs to start defending Christians in the military he has either ignored or joined in attacking.
Let the atheists “freethink” if they want to. Let Christians, Muslims, Jews, and every other religious faith freely exercise. Where is the harm that causes Weinstein such offense?
Until then, Weinstein will be known by his actions.
Also at Military.com.