Mikey Weinstein Claims Credit for Banning Jesus Candy
The Army & Air Force Exchange Service (AAFES), which runs the retail store base exchanges on Army posts and Air Force bases, responded to Michael “Mikey” Weinstein’s complaint about the religious-themed Christmas candy he’d found in the Colorado Springs area Peterson AFB.
Earlier this month, Weinstein’s lawyer Donald Rehkopf had asserted that selling the candy was “illegal” and violated the US Constitution.
As quoted by the MRFF’s Chris Rodda, AAFES said they would not re-stock the candy after their “very small quantity” was exhausted due to “limited historical demand.” (One of the pictures provided by the MRFF even had the red clearance mark-down sticker on it already.)
Upon exhaustion of the very small quantity of inventory we have remaining in stock, AAFES will discontinue the stocking and sale of the products from this vendor due to limited historical demand.
In response, Weinstein played both sides of the field: He claimed “victory” for his religious complaint being successful at getting the candy removed, while he also mocked the candy for being so unpopular it didn’t sell. Notably, however, Weinstein did not release a copy of the AAFES letter as he normally does, likely indicating it was not as supportive to his cause as he would like us to believe.
In the end, AAFES is a retail store and regularly adds or drops products based on demand. There is nothing wrong with carrying candy with a religious theme, and AAFES gave no indication it conceded to Weinstein’s demands. To suggest otherwise belies the fact AAFES carries a great deal of religiously-themed products, not just holiday candy. While Weinstein complained about the “proselytizing” sweets — as if that’s even possible — he failed to note they were only a few feet from the AAFES stock of Bibles, some of which are explicitly military-themed. Mikey Weinstein may not like it, but US troops can still come to know Jesus by patronizing their local BX/PX, if they so choose — just as they always could.
In a final twist, the MRFF unsuccessfully attempted to redact Rehkopf’s name when they published his letter to AAFES. It’s unclear why; Rehkopf has done their bidding before — unless Rehkopf was concerned about being connected to a ridiculous complaint and farcical legal argument. The weakness of Rehkopf’s position was thoroughly explained in a rebuttal letter to AAFES from the ACLJ, signed by Jay Sekulow and Skip Ash.
The MRFF letter claimed serious violations where none exists. Accordingly, AAFES should reject Mr. Rehkopf’s demand to remove the candy from AAFES facilities.
Contrary to Weinstein’s portrayal, they seem to have done that very thing.
More interesting, though, is Rehkopf’s own ironic — or cognitively dissonant — history. He supports the MRFF’s attacks on public displays of religiosity, which are based on the offense of thin-skinned “clients” — while simultaneously hanging a quote in his office mocking those who would restrict liberty because of how they feel:
They that can give up essential liberty to obtain a little temporary safety deserve neither liberty nor safety.
Further, while he’s happy to attack the public exercise of the Christian faith, Rehkopf also likes to quote Martin Niemöller — “First they came for…” He’s apparently blind to the irony.
As usual, Mikey Weinstein is all smoke, no fire, and military religious freedom marches on.