Sikh Denied ROTC Files Lawsuit

The ACLU has filed a lawsuit against the US Army on behalf of Sikh Hofstra University student Iknoor Singh, who was denied entry into ROTC because he would not comply with Army grooming standards that conflict with his religious beliefs.

From the filing (PDF):

When Mr. Singh asked for a religious exemption from these rules…, Defendants denied his request, despite approving similar religious and medical accommodations for other uniformed Army personnel in recent years.

Mr. Singh is now left with an untenable choice: Enlist as an ROTC Cadet and abandon the sacred religious practices that he has followed his entire life, or forfeit his dreams of joining ROTC–along with Continue reading

World Magazine Posts Mikey Weinstein Interview

WORLD Magazine has posted excerpts from the Marvin Olasky interview of Michael “Mikey” Weinstein conducted in late September.

Olasky’s summary was tellingly entitled “Michael L. Weinstein: Fighting Christian influence,” and he introduced the excerpts by noting

[The MRFF is] media-savvy group that fights what it says is religious intimidation by evangelicals in the U.S. military. I disagree with Weinstein and probed his biases before an audience of Patrick Henry College students…

Read the full article here, or watch the original interview.

Military Religious Freedom goes to Congress

The congressional hearing postponed in late September, in which a House Armed Services subcommittee was to hear testimony on military religious freedom, has been rescheduled for tomorrow, 19 November, at 1400 Eastern.  The hearing is scheduled to be broadcast online.

The original invitees included retired Chaplain (COL) Ron Crews, Liberty Institute attorney Michael Berry, Travis Weber of the Family Research Council, retired Navy Chaplain (CAPT) Bruce Kahn, and former Air Force Captain Michael “Mikey” Weinstein.

Chaplain Crews recently made a point of saying he intended to speak about the “duplicity” of the US Air Force, which published an atheist’s commentary but censored a Christian’s.

US Navy Surveys LGB Sailors to Assess Post-DADT Readiness

The Naval Center for Combat and Operational Stress Control has teamed with Palo Alto University in California to survey homosexual Sailors to determine their psychological and emotional health.

“The repeal of this policy really implemented a culture change for the U.S. military and it’s incredibly important to comprehend how this shift is not just impacting our people, but also affecting readiness,” said Capt. Scott Johnson, NCCOSC director and a Navy medicine psychology expert, in a statement Wednesday.

Navy Capt. Scott Johnson appears to be the first US official to openly admit the repeal of DADT “really implemented a culture change,” while most others have publicly said it was a “non-event.”

The implication that there has been an impact on readiness is interesting, given that even supporters of repeal (and the DoD itself) have claimed Continue reading

Chaplain Klingenschmitt Gets Elected

With 70% of the vote, former US Navy Chaplain Gordon Klingenschmitt was elected as a Republican to the Colorado state legislature from a district encompassing the major military bases in Colorado Springs — including the US Air Force Academy, his alma mater.

Gordon “Dr. Chaps” Klingenschmitt beat out his Democrat challenger Tuesday with a landslide 70 percent of the vote in the state’s District 15, according to results published by the secretary of state.

District 15 encompasses Peterson Air Force Base, and is near Colorado Springs, Fort Carson and the U.S. Air Force Academy.

While Klingenschmitt’s positions may have been considered “far right,” his opponent’s were apparently as equally “far left.” In an election that saw Colorado’s legislature and governorship go to Republicans, it seems the “right” won out.

Klingenschmitt is famous for being discharged from the Navy over the “pray in Jesus’ name” controversy. He was also unsuccessfully sued by Michael “Mikey” Weinstein and his wife Bonnie — whom he subsequently sued.

Also via Klingenschmitt’s press release.

Atheist Chaplain Applicant Sues US Navy over Rejection

Jason Heap, a humanist who applied to become a US Navy Chaplain, has filed a lawsuit claiming discrimination over his rejection:

Religion scholar and former youth minister Jason Heap filed suit Wednesday along with the organization backing him, the Humanist Society, alleging that the military unfairly passed him over earlier this year not because he lacked qualifications, but because he doesn’t believe in a traditional religion.

There are a few high hurdles Heap has to overcome. First, he has to prove the Navy “passed him over…because he doesn’t believe…” Remember, the Navy previously said less than 50% of the Chaplain applicants were approved. Heap has to prove that he was rejected because of his non-theistic beliefs, and not for any reason similar to Continue reading

Air Force Updates Religious Guidance after Outcry

The Air Force announced it has updated AFI 1-1 — because of issues regarding religious liberty [emphasis added]:

Air Force officials approved Air Force Instruction 1-1, Air Force Standards, Nov. 7, to clarify guidance on Airmen’s religious rights and commanders’ authority and responsibility to protect those rights.

The announcement contained a summary of the changes. The changes [emphasis added]

clarify guidance for how commanders should handle religious accommodation requests or when Airmen’s rights to free exercise are questioned. Chaplain corps officials also clarified policy language to assist commanders in balancing the constitutional protections for their own free exercise of religion or other personal beliefs with the constitutional prohibition against governmental establishment of religion.

Importantly, General Welsh is quoted as specifically Continue reading

F-16 Crashes in Gulf, Pilot Killed

An F-16 pilot from Tyndall AFB was killed last Thursday morning when his jet crashed into the Gulf of Mexico.

The pilot was civilian Matthew LaCourse, a retired USAF Lieutenant Colonel and 1978 US Air Force Academy graduate. LaCourse was a part of the 82nd Aerial Targets Squadron, which is the unit fielding the pilotless QF-16s as full-scale drones.  He had previously topped 2,000 hours in the F-4/QF-4, which preceded the QF-16.

As with all mishaps, the Air Force will investigate and report on the incident.

LaCourse’s death serves as a regrettable reminder of the danger of the pilot profession.

Also at the Stars and Stripes (and previous reports), FoxNews (previous), and the Air Force Times.

Cam Ranh Bay: What the Captain Means

The following video captures the audio of a (genuine) 1966 spoof public affairs interview, in which a fighter pilot gives “real” answers to a reporter’s questions, and a Public Affairs officer then “translates,” with the repetitive lead-in, “what the Captain means…”

Some might say the “filter” from front line reality to the media portrayed in the piece is as true today as it was then.

Warning: The audio contains multiple profanities — in answer to every single question.

The video was reportedly created by two US Air Force PA officers.

Navy Chaplain Advances Pentagon’s Relationship with Faithful

Is it the role of a US military chaplain to advance the US military’s relationship with Christians around the world?

An article at the Quantico Sentry (and repeated at a US military site) highlights US Navy Chaplain (Cmdr) Abuhena Saifulislam, one of the more prominent faces of Islam in the US military over the past few years. The article notes

He’s served as the public face of an all-inclusive U.S. military and as a living example that the U.S. armed forces and Islam were not inherently incompatible.

About Islamic extremists, Chaplain Saifulislam said  Continue reading

Mikey Weinstein Threatens to Sue UNG

After previously belittling and then speaking at the University of North Georgia, multiple headlines now claim Michael “Mikey” Weinstein is going to file a lawsuit:

The University of North Georgia has come under fire in the ongoing war on Christianity.

The Military Religious Freedom Foundation is suing the school, accusing it of holding a 9/11 memorial service that invoked the “Christian God…”

The media articles (including one from the student paper) fail to note that Weinstein has threatened to sue many people for many reasons over the years — including even this website — and has almost never followed through. (The few he did file were quickly dismissed.)  Weinstein’s threats are empty, if they’re even threats at all. In this case, it wasn’t even Weinstein who made the threat: West Point dropout Blake Page Continue reading

Federal Court: Humanism is a Religion

In an ongoing lawsuit involving a self-described humanist inmate in Oregon, a Federal district court held that “Humanism is a religion for Establishment Clause purposes.”

Interesting to see how this will be received on both sides — particularly since being lumped with religion might bring “baggage” as well as benefits.

Via the Religion Clause.

US Military Censors Jesus, Applauds Achmed the Dead Terrorist

180th Fighter Wing Commander Col Craig Bluto Baker declared that an Air Force officer was prohibited from explaining the impact of Jesus Christ on his life, while a Navy Commander in San Diego lauded the performance of comedian Jeff Dunham, who voices, among others, Achmed the Dead Terrorist. From a prior performance:

Achmed the Dead Terrorist is a bundle of bones and bulging eyes and bushy eyebrows who delights with the crowd-pleasing line “I’ll keel you!”

“I’m a terrible father,” he said. “I took my son to take your kid to work day. Now he’s there, over there and over there. [Bomb noises] It’s not funny, kids blow up so fast.”

Achmed went on a rant about loving Ellen DeGeneres Continue reading

Air Force Responds to Outcry over Censored Commander’s Article

The Public Affairs officer at the Ohio National Guard’s 180th Fighter Wing had a tough job — explaining the reasoning behind Col Craig “Bluto” Baker’s decision to censor an article by his medical group commander, Col Florencio Marquinez, because Michael “Mikey” Weinstein found it “odious.” Spokesman James Sims told FoxNews’ Todd Starnes this:

It’s very clear what you can and cannot say in an Air Force publication. Once it was brought to our attention and we compared it with the regulation, we found it was in violation of the regulation.

The article violated AFI 1-1, Sections 2.11 and 2.12.1, and the Revised Interim Guidelines Concerning Free Exercise of Religion in the Air Force guidance, and finally, ‘The Air Force Military Commander and the Law’ book.

That’s a fascinating — and error-filled — statement by the public affairs officer.

To the easy parts first:

First, the “Revised Interim Guidelines Concerning Free Exercise of Religion in the Air Force” do not exist. They were rescinded years ago and Continue reading

Airman Sings “God Bless America” during World Series

Airman First Class Michelle Doolittle sang “God Bless America” during the 7th Inning Stretch at Game 5 of the World Series:

Better not let Michael “Mikey” Weinstein know about it. He seems to think Airmen calling on God is a bad thing (and he had a conniption over last year’s Christmas song…).

Via the Military Times.