MRFF: “Listening to Mikey Weinstein Violates the Constitution.”
Last Friday the MRFF made a rather shocking accusation, accusing a Navy installation of violating the US Constitution — for doing exactly what its founder, Michael “Mikey” Weinstein, said they should do.
According to the press release picked up by the AP, US Navy Chaplain (Cmdr) Richard Clay Smothers sent an email out Naval Station Newport advertising an upcoming leadership series entitled “Lead Like Jesus.”
Marty France — a retired USAF BG who joined the MRFF board — decried the “violations” to
the base commander, [US Navy] Capt. Ian L. Johnson, urging him to “move quickly on this blatant violation of the Constitution (that we both swore to uphold) as well as DoD regulations.”
Remember, the email came from the chaplains, not any commander. Here’s the kicker: This is the quote from Mikey Weinstein just a couple of years ago:
“There’s no problem with this [religious campaign] if it’s done through the chaplain’s office,” Weinstein said.
That was a reference to Operation Christmas Child, but it was based on an even earlier incident. In 2011, Weinstein sued the US Air Force Academy to get them to disinvite Lt Clebe McClary. His suit was tossed out (he’s lost all his religious freedom lawsuits), but within the conversation USAFA made a point of saying the prayer luncheon was sponsored by the chaplains. According to one of Weinstein’s lawyers, having the chaplains — not the commander — sponsor the event was “the goal” of the MRFF lawsuit.
To summarize, then: Weinstein sued to make sure chaplains, not commanders, were organizing religious events. He threatened another suit to make sure only chaplains, not commanders, were announcing events over organizational emails.
Now, Weinstein’s own group says doing exactly what he filed a lawsuit over — having a chaplain announce an event — is a “blatant violation of the Constitution.”
To be fair, this isn’t the first time Weinstein himself has made this self-contradicting assertion. In fact, a prior attack was very similar to this one, when a chaplain sent out an email with a schedule of Holy Week religious services. As noted then, Weinstein’s campaign reveals he’s taking an incremental approach to restricting religious liberty in the US military, after a few full-throated attacks against religious chapel services fell flat.
We all known the reason Mikey Weinstein — and his lackey, former USAFA Permanent Professor Marty France — are complaining about this series. It’s because it says “Jesus” on it.
And that hurts their feelings.
France also made the ridiculous assertion that other religions could not have such lectures, prima facie:
Martin France…said in an email to Johnson that discussions titled “Lead like Mohammed” or “Atheist Leadership” would not be tolerated.
Do you know what would happen if a Muslim chaplain sent out an email about a lecture series on Leadership Lessons from Mohammed? A full 98.5% of the recipients would hit delete and move on with their day, just like they do for the other 317 emails they get. (A few of those would probably note they weren’t allowed to say anything ill of Mohammed’s leadership for fear of offending someone.) The remainder would mark the date and go if they had the time.
But for those with wilting flower constitutions, who lack the intestinal fortitude to see the word “Jesus” used in a reverent way in an email, it was apparently too much.
The fact that Marty France, BG, USAF (retired), is close-minded and intolerant of religions he doesn’t like means nothing to the US military, which has a stated desire and obligation to permit its troops to practice their faith. In fact, the Air Force, from which BG France hails, has regulations that explicitly encourage Airmen to
confidently practice your own beliefs while respecting others whose viewpoints differ from your own.
The only way to do so “confidently,” of course, is to have similar confidence the military won’t crucify you on a whim because Mikey Weinstein sent an email.
Mikey Weinstein’s call to punish those responsible for doing their jobs — that is, US military chaplains supporting the free exercise of their troops — is little more than a hate-laced and bigoted attack on military religious freedom on the whole. As previously noted, Weinstein has never complained when non-Christian events were similarly announced. His group reserves its vitriol only for the Christian faith.
When a chaplain sends an email about an event it neither picks Weinstein’s pocket nor breaks his leg, yet it seems Weinstein and his ilk are triggered when Christian chaplains hit “send”.
It’s clear the MRFF and its sycophants won’t be satisfied until they’ve picked someone else’s pocket, or perhaps broken someone else’s leg.
They certainly seem intent on trying.
Also at the Stars and Stripes.