In the latest bid to bring closure to the 17-year old suit demanding the removal of the Mount Soledad Cross, the US Court of Appeals has declared the suit moot.
The Navy Times reports that a judge has refused to prevent the Navy from discharging Chaplain (Lt) Klingenschmitt at the end of January. The Chaplain’s suit against the Navy is still outstanding.
The ACLJ has updated their call for petition signatures (see 01/05 post below) here, framing themselves as the legal opposition to the Americans United for the Separation of Church and State.
The Colorado Springs Gazette has reported [link broken] that cadets feel the Academy is ‘more tolerant.’ According to the Academy surveys, 95% of Christians and 85% of non-Christians said the Academy supports religious freedom.
The ACLJ, the Christian counter to the ACLU, is “gearing up to assist in [the] battle…[over] free speech rights of military chaplains,” which it expects will get renewed interest from the newly elected Democratic congressional leadership. The ACLJ’s current emphasis is on a petition drive to obtain a Presidential Executive Order explicitly directing the military to allow its chaplains to pray in accordance with the dictates of their faith.
Mr. Michael Weinstein has said his “fight is far from over” in his self-described war against evangelical Christianity in the military, despite the recent dismissal of his lawsuit against the Air Force Academy. According to his blog, Weinstein believes that the suit was dismissed on a “technicality;” once that technicality is overcome, the suit will be renewed. Judge James Parker dismissed the suit because it contained only “vague allegations” and no evidence of harm from people who lacked standing—because they weren’t cadets. Weinstein was unfazed and said:
“Religious bias and the outrageous violations of the separation of church and state continue to spread rampantly throughout our military” and that the “military is full of evangelizing fundamentalists.”
As ChristianFighterPilot.com has noted before, the fight for Christian religious freedom will sometimes have consequences that not all Christians have fully considered. In the previous article on Wiccans, we noted that if Christians (and Buddhists, and Eckankarians, and others) can have symbols on their VA-funded plaques, then Wiccans probably should, too. This may create an uncomfortable position for some Christians, particularly those who sincerely believe that the US should ultimately be a Christian nation. Feelings notwithstanding, when Constitutional protections are won for a Christian, they are also won for those with whom Christians may disagree.
Congress has passed the 2007 Defense Authorization Act and forwarded it to the President, who signed it on 17 October 2006. Generally only controversial as the battleground for district military pet-projects, the 2007 Act has become the unlikely forum for the continuation of the debate of religion in the military. In response to the recent changes in military policy regarding religion, the Republican-controlled House Armed Services Committee included language in the bill specific to the prayers of chaplains. From H.R. 1522 section 590, Read more