ACLJ Defends General Olson, Criticizes Mikey Weinstein

Skip Ash of the American Center for Law and Justice (ACLJ) penned an article last week taking Michael “Mikey” Weinstein to task for Weinstein’s demand that the Air Force court-martial Major General Craig Olson. In the piece entitled “The Radical Assault on Faith in the Military Must be Stopped,” Ash called Weinstein’s allegations “outlandishly wrong” and “hogwash!”  (This comes after Weinstein’s friend, Chaplain Ron Crews of the Chaplain Alliance for Religious Liberty, described (PDF) Weinstein’s attack as “hysterics” from an “activist[] with an axe to grind against religion.”)

The ACLJ also revealed that they wrote their own letter (PDF) to Air Force Chief of Staff General Mark Welsh with a remarkably clear and simple explanation of the error of Weinstein’s ways (Crews wrote a similar one (PDF)). Referring to Weinstein’s imploring of General Welsh to “take a good, hard look” at the video of General Olson’s speech, the ACLJ said [italics original, emphasis added]: 

[General Welsh] We hope that you did, indeed, watch that youtube video. If you did, we think that you would agree with us that General Olson gave a measured address consistent with his Christian faith without any language denigrating anyone else’s beliefs or trying to convert others to his (proselytizing). General Olson’s remarks spoke of his respect and need for prayer during his career and in raising his family.

That Mr. Weinstein finds such remarks offensive is his privilege, but it appears to us that Mr. Weinstein and many of those he purports to represent are hypersensitive, if not downright hostile, to all things religious and that their goal is the removal in toto of all religious discourse from the military, something that the Constitution does not require — and would not tolerate. Despite Mr. Weinstein’s bombast, there is no Constitutional violation in what General Olson did.

As is now known, the Air Force ultimately sided with the logic of the ACLJ and other religious liberty advocates against the demands of Weinstein. Whether the ACLJ had a direct influence or not is unclear, though their public support remains important.

For several years, Mikey Weinstein was the only voice, and his constant harangue against Christians in the military — likely aided by military officers who supported his vendetta — hampered military religious freedom. Now defenders of military religious freedom are speaking up loudly, lending a voice to the troops Weinstein attacks. With true watchdogs for religious liberty now fighting back against his vitriol, the tide has turned and — in this case — military religious freedom has prevailed.

Repeated at the Moral Liberal.