Tag Archives: Congress

US Air Force Revises Religious Guidelines

As previously noted, the Air Force has published a revision to its AFI 1-1, “Air Force Standards,” which alters the wording and tone on how the service views religious liberty and expression.  The new AFI can be found here (PDF).

The greatest sources of consternation were paragraphs 2.11 and 2.12, and that’s where the Air Force made its revisions. In one notable change, the topics of 2.11 and 2.12 have been reversed: The Air Force now talks about religious freedom and expression before it talks about restrictions and the Establishment clause. While that may seem insignificant to some, it is noteworthy for the tone of the regulation.

The most significant change to the AFI – in direct response to laws passed by Congress – also marks its most dramatic explicit statement. The new regulation now says [emphasis added]:

Every Airman also has the right to individual expressions of sincerely held beliefs, to include conscience, moral principles or religious beliefs, unless those expressions would have an adverse impact on military readiness, unit cohesion, good order, discipline, health and safety, or mission accomplishment.

Every Airman has the right to express their religious beliefs.  Further, Continue reading

Congressional Hearing on Military Religious Freedom, Hostility

As previously noted, the House Armed Services subcommittee on personnel invited five civilian witnesses to provide testimony on the state of religious freedom in the US military last Wednesday.

Attending were:

  • Michael Berry, Liberty Institute attorney who acted on behalf of cadets at the US Air Force Academy this year
  • Retired Chaplain (Col) Ron Crews, an outspoken advocate for military religious freedom
  • Travis Weber, Director of the Family Research Council’s Center for Religious Liberty, US Naval Academy graduate and former Naval aviator.
  • Rabbi Bruce Kahn, a retired Navy Captain and Chaplain, a founding member of the Equal Rights Center, and an advocate for homosexual “rights.”
  • Michael “Mikey” Weinstein, founder and sole employee of his Military Religious Freedom Foundation, engaged in a self-described “war” against Christians in the US military.

Contrary to some predictions, it wasn’t really a contentious meeting. What the hearing did reveal was the committee members were Continue reading

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.

Group Objects After Air Force Pulls Commander’s Article on Faith

The 180th Fighter Wing Commander has reportedly censored an article written by his Medical Group Commander, Col Florencio Marquinez, because of a complaint by Michael “Mikey” Weinstein.  (The article can be read here.)

According to the Christian legal organization Alliance Defending Freedom (ADF), [a civilian] complained about Marquinez’ article, claiming that it was “odious” and “offending.” In response to the complaint, Commander Col. Craig R. Baker ordered the newsletter to be republished without Marquinez’ piece.

Weinstein claimed full credit, praising the commander.  The “odious” and “offending” words were his [emphasis added]:  Continue reading

Congress to Hear Testimony on Military Religious Freedom

A group of military religious freedom supporters — and at least one critic — will appear before the House Armed Services Personnel Subcommittee this week to testify on the state of religious liberty in the US military.

Advocates for military religious freedom invited to the hearing include

  • Michael Berry, Liberty Institute attorney who acted on behalf of cadets at the US Air Force Academy this year
  • Retired Chaplain (Col) Ron Crews, an outspoken advocate for military religious freedom
  • Travis Weber, Director of the Family Research Council’s Center for Religious Liberty, US Naval Academy graduate and former Naval aviator.

Their organizations are also part of the Restore Military Religious Freedom coalition.

On the critics side, Michael “Mikey” Weinstein Continue reading

Air Force Oath: Atheists Protest Right Thing the Wrong Way

The American Humanist Association — the same group vying for an atheist chaplain — has threatened to sue the Air Force because the military enlistment oath ends in “So help me God,” and an Airman at Creech AFB lined out part of the oath on his enlistment form:

According to the AHA, the unnamed airman was told Aug. 25 that the Air Force would not accept his contract because he had crossed out the phrase “so help me God.”…

That is unconstitutional and unacceptable, the AHA said.

“The government cannot compel a nonbeliever to take an oath that affirms the existence of a supreme being,” Miller said. “Numerous cases affirm that atheists have the right to omit theistic language from enlistment or reenlistment contracts.”

They’re correct. The problem with the AHA’s position is they demonstrated an amazing lack of comprehension of the law — and basic public relations skills.

After three pages of pontificating in their demand letter, the AHA Continue reading

Military Christians Targeted in Face of Islamic Extremism

Recent news reports indicate two US citizens were recently killed while fighting on the side of the terror group known as ISIS, which has declared an “Islamic state” in northern Iraq and eastern Syria.  (Reports indicate that makes at least three Americans killed fighting on the side of the Islamic extremists so far, and others want to.)

A second American citizen who died fighting for terror group ISIS in Syria has been identified as Abdirahmaan Muhumed of Minneapolis, reports have said.

Fox News reported that the 29-year-old Somali-American died in the same battle as Douglas McArthur McCain, the first American to be identified as having died on the Islamic militant side.

It turns out former US Army Major Nidal Malik Hasan, the man sentenced to death for killing more than a dozen of his fellow soldiers in the 2009 massacre, wants to become a citizen of this new Islamic state (more proof, some say, the attack was an act of terrorism, not “workplace violence“).

In an interesting bit of timing, Army Sgt Hasan Akbar — sentenced Continue reading

US Soldier Forced Out over Religion, Sues US Army

US Army Master Sergeant Nathan Sommers made waves last year when he said he faced retribution from the Army for political bumper stickers, reading conservative political books, and serving Chick-fil-A sandwiches at his promotion party after the repeal of Don’t Ask, Don’t Tell.

Those controversies apparently boiled over into what the Army called a substandard performance evaluation (which MSgt Sommers contested). The poor evaluation triggered a review of his continued enlistment, and he was recommended for discharge — even as his other appeals were still being processed. Since he was eligible to retire, he was essentially forced to do so.

The day after he retired, he filed a lawsuit claiming he was forced out of the military due to his religious beliefs.

Master Sergeant Nathan Sommers, a 25-year veteran of the military and a decorated soloist in the U.S. Army Band Chorus, claims he was forcibly retired from the Army due to his religious and conservative political beliefs.

MSgt Sommers may have one of the stronger cases Continue reading

Military Prohibits Recognition at Vacation Bible School

Update: Tony Perkins addresses the issue at One News Now. Also at the Christian Post.


Todd Starnes at FoxNews reports on the decision by a local National Guard armory not to be recognized at a local Vacation Bible School — because, they said, it would violate the military policies on religion.  (The Washington Times and others subsequently picked up the story.)

Bible Baptist Church in Carthage…decided to honor the military during their annual Vacation Bible School. The theme was “God’s Rescue Squad.” And each day of the week, the church invited local “rescue squads” to visit with the boys and girls.

The paramedics came on Monday and on Continue reading

Atheists Cite False Data in Military Chaplain Bid. Again.

Update:  The Air Force Times repeated the atheist claim that “one in five” troops need “clergy who don’t believe in a god.”  Also at the Stars and Stripes and Washington Times.


In what has become a recurring theme, atheists lobbying for a spot in the military chaplaincy misrepresented demographic data to support their cause.  Again.  The American Humanist Association — which is attempting to endorse the first atheist chaplain — equates the military category of “no religious preference” with “a secular values system.”

“23% of US military soldiers claim “no religious preference” thus indicating a secular values system”

Jason Torpy, who has positions at both the Continue reading

US House Again Adopts Bill to Ban Atheist Chaplains

Update: Jason Torpy, UCC endorser Stephen Boyd, and US Army Major Ryan Jean have announced their intentions to provide a briefing to Congress on the need for a humanist/atheist chaplain.  Their announcement repeats the misleading fact that many in the military declare “no religious preference.”


US Rep John Fleming (R-La) again added an amendment to the annual Defense Appropriations bill that would prevent chaplains from being commissioned in the US military if they don’t have a proper endorsing agency. Because non-theists don’t have a religious endorsing agency required by military regulations, his bill has the effect of preventing atheists or humanists from becoming chaplains;  Continue reading

Klingenschmitt Wins Colorado GOP Primary

Gordon Klingenschmitt, the former Navy chaplain discharged over a controversy about “praying in Jesus’ Name,” has won the GOP primary for the US House of Representatives for the 15th District in Colorado.

Klingenschmitt expressed confidence in a November victory, as the district is heavily Republican — and also boasts a significant military population.

Klingenschmitt was also sued, unsuccessfully, by Michael “Mikey” Weinstein and his wife, Bonnie, over “imprecatory prayers.” Klingenschmitt sued the Weinsteins in return, claiming abuse of process and defamation. His suit survived dismissal last January, with the defamation claim being allowed to proceed.

First Black, Female, 2-Star General on Diversity

US Army Maj. Gen. Marcia Anderson was recently profiled (at The Root, a website for “African-American influencers”) as an example of diversity in the US military, given her position as the “most senior-ranking black woman” in the military made her an indicator of the “color of change.”

While there are often many criticisms regarding the practice of highlighting “differences” in a world that is supposedly blind to such differences, Gen Anderson did make one comment that is valuable in discussions about being an example to others [emphasis added]:  Continue reading

Air Force Drafts Instruction to Strengthen Religious Liberty

In an interesting comparison on perspective, the Washington Times noted near the end of May that some were making an effort to “push [the] military for more religious liberty,” including members of Congress:

Rep. John Fleming, Louisiana Republican, criticized the military for appearing “zealous to shut down expressions of faith.”

“This is our military telling service members to raise their hands and ask permission before they dare to utter an expression of faith,” Mr. Fleming said during a speech at the Family Research Council.

Daniel Blomberg of the Becket Fund noted that Congress had twice passed laws requiring the US military to “be more accommodating to religious beliefs and practices,” laws Continue reading

Air Force May Change Religious Freedom Policy

Mikey Weinstein’s confused take on the Air Force’s policy:  It’s like an umbrella in a tsunami…

McClatchy asked the question no other media outlet has in the past few weeks: What ever became of the “offsite” Secretary of the Air Force Deborah Lee James said she was convening?

Late last month, James and Welsh convened a “Religious Freedom Focus Day” conference of senior chaplains and legal and manpower officials to discuss the policy. An Air Force spokeswoman, Rose Richeson, declined to make the results of the April 28 meeting public, saying it would be “too premature to provide an interview.”

It would seem, though, someone may have heard what occurred:

Tony Perkins, the president of the Family Research Council…said that based on what he’d heard from people at the meeting he expected the Air Force to “make a policy change shortly.”

The article says Perkins’ statement “alarms supporters of the policy,” and cites exactly one person: Michael “Mikey” Weinstein.  The policy Continue reading