The Jewish Daily Forward notes that Mr. Michael Weinstein is taking issue with a JROTC text which “questions the validity” of the current popular interpretation of the phrase “separation of church and state.” Though religion is nowhere mentioned, he views this as an example of “evangelical Christianity’s creeping encroachment.” As is typical for a Weinstein article, it includes his latest tally of reported death threats. More interesting is Weinstein’s announcement that he is about to embark on a new “far-reaching litigation strategy.” He also has a new book in the works titled “Taking God to Court.”
As published in the Washington Post (and repeated on the AU website), the Air Force clarified its position on the Task Force Patriot event at Stone Mountain. The Military Religious Freedom Foundation has threatened to sue, again, over this “unparalleled rape of the US Constitution.”
A Memorial Day tribute to veterans is under fire from the Americans United for the Separation of Church and State because one of its sponsors is a religiously oriented organization. In their article, the AU says the “U.S. military participation in a three-day evangelical Christian gathering in Georgia violates the U.S. Constitution.” The Air Force also officially made an announcement (which, notably, makes no reference to religion) of the event. The Stone Mountain announcement also mentions religious organizations only as sponsors of the event along with a local TV station, General Motors, and an auto parts store. The Task Force Patriot site, which is the organizer of the event, goes out of its way to say that:
Task Force Patriot does not attempt to draw members from their present church or fellowship. Task Force Patriot is not a political advocacy group, or combat club. All military veterans, who served this country in a time of peace or conflict, are welcome.
Several fighter pilots-to-be have asked what a “typical day” is like for a fighter pilot. Like many professions, coming up with a “standard” day is difficult. Every squadron on every base in every command is slightly different. Each has its own nuances, and all of them cannot possibly be included here. What follows is a generalized “day in the life of a fighter pilot.” Read more
Mr. Michael Weinstein delivers his standard lines in a recent interview with the LoneStar Iconoclast. (Article contains vulgar language.) Interestingly, he asks the question:
…when Jerry Faldwell [sic] or Pat Robertson come out with eight million bumper stickers saying, “Vote Christian,” you tell me how that isn’t insubordination, sedition, or treason?
Several months ago, Mr. Michael Weinstein made some boisterous but virtually ignored comments about the reasons for his conflict with the Air Force. During an interview with the Jewish News of Greater Phoenix Online (and repeated in his April 25th debate at the Air Force Academy), Weinstein said
I am not at war with Christianity or with evangelical Christians, but with a subset: postmillennial, reconstructionist, dominionist, evangelical Christianity.
(During the Academy debate, Weinstein said “pre-millennial,” rather than post, and added “dispensational” and “fundamentalist.” In an email reply to a request for clarification, Mr. Weinstein indicated that pre-millennial was a “correction” to his previous descriptors.) While dramatic, there have been few public responses. Weinstein apparently enjoys a status as one of the few “religious” Americans who can call for the “defeat” of another religious sect and not be roundly criticized by the press and the public. More recently, Weinstein made similar assertions when he said
We have a Christian Taliban within our US military, the Pentagon has become the penacostalgon and this administration has turned the Department of Defense into a faith based initiative…Dominionist Christians [are] praying and preying on non-Evangelical Christians.
Though his original lawsuit against the Air Force Academy was dismissed, Weinstein’s crusade continues. He has already announced his intentions to file a new federal lawsuit to overcome the “technicality” that scuttled the first. To understand why Weinstein acts as he does, it is interesting to analyze who he says he is “at war” with. Read more
An interesting, if not always positive, set of Newsweek articles chronicles “God and War:”
According to local news reports, the debate between Weinstein and Sekulow at the Air Force Academy was “cordial.” Presumably, both sides are working on their after-action reports, as none have yet been published. According to the Fox report, Weinstein had demanded to speak at the Academy and the debate was the format the Academy agreed upon. The only content yet known about the debate includes Weinstein’s assertion that Jewish servicemen not be allowed to wear a yarmulke, while Sekulow maintained they should.* Weinstein also made known his intentions to file another lawsuit against the Air Force, this one including plaintiffs that have standing. The debate can be heard here.
*Neither Weinstein nor Sekulow were entirely correct about the yarmulke. While Rabbi Goldman did lose his lawsuit in 1986 in which he sued to wear the yarmulke, the 1988 (updated in 2003) version of Department of Defense Instruction 1300.17 specifically allows the wearing of a yarmulke. There are still “exceptions,” but the Jewish headgear is the only religious apparel specifically mentioned.