Government Moves to Dismiss MRFF Lawsuit

In a fairly well written argument, the government has filed a motion to dismiss the ongoing lawsuit against the Defense Department brought by Army Specialist Jeremy Hall and the Military Religious Freedom Foundation.  (The response was due, and filed, on the 8th.)  Salient points are below (emphasis added), though many were previously already talked about here.

The short version: he failed to use the systems in place to seek redress; the solutions he requests are already in place; and he does not allege harm by any “institutional bias” for which the only support is a list of vague references.

On the request that Secretary of Defense Gates be required to prevent Constitutional violations by his military subordinates:

Secretary Gates already exercises his authority to prevent constitutional violations through the Army’s existing Equal Opportunity Program — which Specialist Hall failed to invoke…

Read more

CNN “Bumps” Military Atheist Story

It is a fairly common (though sometimes socially unacceptable) practice for internet users who post on forums to add to their own post in order to make its posting date more recent.  This has the effect of “bumping” it to the forefront, where people actually see it, even though there is nothing new to the topic.

CNN has apparently taken on the practice, as they have chosen to headline an essential repeat of their April 28th story on Jeremy Hall’s MRFF lawsuit.

One possible reason for the repeat may be in the source.  Read more

Former Chaplain Defends Naval Academy

As noted earlier, the ACLU has complained again about the Naval Academy noon meal process that “[offers] Midshipmen an opportunity for prayer or devotional thought.”  Former Navy Chaplain Klingenschmitt, of court martial fame, addresses the issue by asking

…does the First Amendment protect the freedom of religious expression…or does it protect the easily offended ears of the bystander…?

Coming Soon:

Some who have visited have made accusations of exclusivism, favoritism, and even violation of the Constitution for mixing “church and state.”  At the extreme, conspiracy theorists have accused of being bent on world domination.  After all, only Christians would have the gall to so publicly mix their military service and religious faith, right? 

Actually, Christians aren’t the only ones integrating their faith and their service, and others, too, have “exclusive” websites featuring their faiths. Read more

Report: Anti-Christian Discrimination in VA

Over the past couple of years, there have been a few complaints that the military, government, and the VA have been evangelizing their members.  These complaints have occasionally led to controversial responses, but the reaction rarely generates the headlines of the first complaint.  In a fairly unusual turn of events, a former Chaplain for the Veterans’ Administration is claiming that those actions, far from encouraging “religious freedom,” are in fact discriminating against Christians.

Last year, the Fayetteville VA hospital “neutralized” its chapel by removing Christian symbols, which included covering the stained glass windows with blinds and sawing the crosses off the back of the chairs.  The VA Chaplain, Archie Barringer, was asked to retire after he protested the actions.  He now has the attention of his congressman, and the Rutherford Institute is investigating the possibility of suing the VA in response.

Complaints Over Military Interviews in Religious Video

The Kansas City Star, which has increasingly become an outlet for press releases from the Military Religious Freedom Foundation, noted that Weinstein’s MRFF has complained of a broadcast by the Trinity Broadcasting Network that contains military content.  The 2-hour video, the “Red, White and Blue Spectacular” hosted by Christian music singer Carman, was filmed in 2003 and rebroadcast in 2005 as a military-focused independence celebration.  The video is scheduled to be rebroadcast this year.

The primary complaint was an interview with then-Major General Van Antwerp, who was also then-President of the Officers’ Christian Fellowship.  Carman was also given a tour of an Aegis cruiser and an interview with the uniformed Pentagon Chaplain.

Weinstein, who calls this a “repeat” of the “putrescent disgrace” of the Christian Embassy filming Read more

ACLU Challenges Naval Academy, Again

As noted at the Religion Clause, the Baltimore Sun carries an article on the ACLU’s most recent threat of “legal action” against the US Naval Academy for holding “mealtime prayers.”  The Academy said it

does not intend to change its practice of offering Midshipmen an opportunity for prayer or devotional thought during noon meal announcements.

Such challenges have been going on for years, and were discussed here more than 2 years ago. The Alliance Defense Fund has volunteered to help defend the Navy against the ACLU.

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