Got a question. [WITHHELD], has been tasks [sic] with cleaning/landscaping etc, a Catholic Church. This so far is not optional. You are more versed in the legality of church and state.
What I see is more of an issue of having a federal employee mandated to clean private property. It would be different if it were voluntary but it is not. The church portion is just a bonus. I am pretty sure that this is not legal. Got any references for me?
Without publicizing any other information, fellow military atheist Justin Griffith sprang into action, combined his American Atheists with the Freedom From Religion Foundation, and categorically declared the US Army at Fort Gordon was violating the Constitution of the United States. Naturally.
A week later, without any further public information, Griffith declared Read more…
Mike Farrell, better known as BJ Hunnicutt of M*A*S*H fame, apparently thinks his “service” with Father Mulcahy qualifies him to speak with authority on the US military chaplaincy. He authored a lengthy piece on the Huffington Post written in the style of Chris Rodda; that is, heavy on vague accusations and light on facts:
Today, a huge percentage of our military chaplains, according to thousands of aggrieved American servicemen and women, present themselves as fevered salesmen for a fundamentalist version of Christianity rather than as simple, caring souls with a willingness to listen and no attached quid pro quo. These religious hucksters see themselves as “government-paid missionaries” and the youth under their domain “as ripe as black bananas.”
Farrell fails to quantify or provide support for his ”huge percentage,” and provides no source other than the vague anecdotes of Michael Weinstein’s MRFF “clients.” (Farrell, conveniently enough, is a member of Weinstein’s advisory board.) Farrell is also apparently blind to his own prejudice, calling people who hold beliefs with which he disagrees “hucksters.”
Last year a Houston Veterans’ Cemetery director was accused of banning all religious references from funerals occurring at her facility (as well as using the chapel as a storage shed, among other things). A lawsuit was filed, and settled. The consent decree prohibited the cemetery, then run by Arleen Ocasio, and the VA from interfering with or prohibiting religious references in the ceremonies.
The decisions that have been made in reliance upon this policy go beyond what is required by the US Constitution. The First Amendment prohibits the establishment of religion; however, the mere discussion of religion or reference to God certainly does not rise to that level.
The Congressmen said the Air Force had “capitulated” to organizations Read more…
In 2010 West Point Cadet Alan Spadone was disenrolled for failing to participate in a remediation program after admitting to violating the Honor Code. He was directed to begin serving as an enlisted soldier, as he had already begun his third year at West Point when he committed his violation in the fall of 2009.
He filed civil complaints on multiple counts, including everything from the remediation program was unreasonable to the government was trying to “enrich itself” by making him serve as a soldier. Those claims were all dismissed in a recent ruling:
Spadone has not established that his suspension and disenrollment from West Point violated the APA or his right to due process, and Spadone failed to demonstrate a waiver of sovereign immunity for his claim of unjust enrichment.
Interestingly, however, Spadone is permitted to continue his claim that the Establishment Clause of the US Constitution was violated when Read more…
But what that led to is even more interesting, for Weinstein may have let slip (again) his real target in his “war” against religious freedom in the US military.
For its part, the military says the decision to withdraw permission for Holman to use the seals was administrative housekeeping. Weinstein’s research assistant Chris Rodda cried malarkey, saying the military never would have revisited the permission if not for the MRFF inquiries.
As it has in the past, the Chaplain Alliance for Religious Liberty, representing 2,000 military chaplains, is calling on Congress to investigate why the military is so keen on bowing to pressure from the MRFF.
Competing opinion pieces at the UT San Diego debate the appropriateness of the Camp Pendleton crosses, memorials that have stood on a remote hill on a US Marine base for years until an atheist found out they were there.
Ever-sensitive atheist Jason Torpy, the original complainant who found out about the crosses on the internet, reminds people the crosses “violate religious neutrality,” since the presence of religious symbols on government land is apparently totally forbidden:
Two 13-foot Christian crosses stand on restricted federal land as a result of unauthorized actions by private individuals…All of this speaks to a Marine-led Christianization of the military Read more…
The aptly named Freedom From Religion Foundation has demanded that the “Big Mountain Jesus” be torn down, because it resides on (leased) US government land. Interestingly, it has a military connection: It was raised by the local Knights of Columbus in honor of the 10th Mountain Division:
They call him Big Mountain Jesus: a six-foot statue of Christ, draped in a baby blue robe and gazing out over the majestic Flathead Valley from his perch along a ski run at the Whitefish Mountain Resort in Montana.
He has been there for more than 50 years, erected by the local Knights of Columbus chapter in honor of the soldiers from the 10th Mountain Division who told of seeing similar shrines in the mountains of Italy during World War II.
The Knights of Columbus have asked, naturally, to intervene in the case between the FFRF and the Forest Service. Even the local resort manager saw the historical value of the statue beyond religion: Read more…
Richard Land, president of the Southern Baptist Convention’s Ethics & Religious Liberty Commission, recently received a national religious liberty award at the annual Religious Liberty banquet. In his speech, he reminded listeners of something they should have learned in American government in high school:
“I’m always fond of pointing out to people that when you look at our First Amendment to the Constitution, which is in large part there because Baptists insisted that it be there in order for them to vote to ratify the Constitution, all of the restrictions are on the government, not Read more…
An interesting article by Erich Bridges at the Baptist Press describes the changing social worldview, or at least that espoused by secularists who want “religious people” to keep their faith at home:
“Keep your views about God and His commandments to yourself,” society increasingly tells believers — particularly conservative evangelicals, traditional Roman Catholics and Orthodox Jews. “Socially accepted truths and morals have progressed beyond your antiquated theologies. If you Read more…
The Peterson AFB chapel recently hosted its annual National Prayer Luncheon to “honor [the] freedom” of religion guaranteed by the US Constitution. Their guest speaker was Jerry Schemmel, a survivor of the crash of United Airlines Flight 232. UA 232 is famous for its crash landing in Sioux City, Iowa, after it lost all hydraulics and the pilots (including a non-crew member pilot from the passenger deck) managed to “land” the crippled aircraft using only differential thrust.
While 184 passengers and crew survived, 112 were killed. Schemmel was warned Read more…
It is easy to forget that Michael Weinstein was an Air Force JAG “for 10 years” (if you can figure out how that timeline works, you win the Christmas turkey). In a recent press release conducted through his trusted Colorado Springs Independent, Weinstein claimed USAFA was now obligated to cancel its National Prayer Breakfast observance (the same event over which he sued — and lost — last year). Referring to the Colorado Court of Appeals ruling that said Colorado National Day of Prayer proclamations were unconstitutional,
Mikey Weinstein, founder of the Military Religious Freedom Foundation, says the ruling means Read more…