Michael “Mikey” Weinstein, outspoken critic of Christians in the US military, once bragged he’d called the Pentagon and had a poster pulled off the wall of an Air Force base chow hall in less than an hour. Last week, he tried again, and he did it in 68 minutes.
Pam Zubeck, a “journalist” with the Colorado Springs Independent – local to the US Air Force Academy — has long been an ally of Weinstein in his crusade against the Academy. Last week, she helped his cause when USAFA sent the CSIndy some photos of the USAFA Prep School, one of which was a photo of a poster hanging on a wall. The picture of the F-100F on static display in front of the Prep School contained the following quote [emphasis added]:
We will not lie, steal [or cheat,]* nor tolerate among us anyone who does. Furthermore, I resolve to do my duty and to live honorably, so help me God.
LtGen Michelle Johnson, USAFA Class of 1981, recently took over as the Superintendent of the US Air Force Academy, replacing outgoing LtGen Mike Gould.
Many references to her new command have noted she is the first female to be Superintendent. (A few quick-to-report articles said she was the first woman to lead a ‘major’ or ‘DoD’ service academy. The qualifier is necessary since RADM Sandra Stosz has led the Coast Guard Academy since 2011, and the CG Academy is not part of the DoD and is sometimes considered ‘minor.’) The official Continue reading →
Cadet 4th Class Wasim Soomro [from a Muslim family] captured the attention of the attendees with a recollection of his experiences.
Soomro didn’t have to put his faith aside for BCT. The military guidance officer for Soomro’s unit, Cadet Squadron 39, visited him on his second night of basic cadet training. The officer knew from Soomro’s biography that he was Muslim and wanted to know how to meet his religious needs.
“He asked me what times of day I was supposed to pray,” Soomro said. “I told him the morning was huge, and then the midday…” Continue reading →
In December of last year a group called on Congress to investigate the relationship of the US Air Force with Michael Weinstein, the President of his self-founded Military Religious Freedom Foundation. Weinstein has shown an ability to access private military records, apparently through his “high ranking” contacts, and his public statements seemed to indicate he was given unusually unfettered access to senior leadership.
A portion of Weinstein’s relationship with the USAF was revealed as recently as the blurb on Weinstein’s newest book, when the newly retired Air Force Judge Advocate General, three-star LtGen Jack Rives, “came out” as a strong cheerleader for Weinstein’s cause. Gen Rives had been charged with advising the Air Force in its dealings with Weinstein’s continuous complaints — while he simultaneously supported Weinstein’s “tireless civil rights fight against fundamentalist religious predators in our nation’s armed forces.”
The Colorado Springs Independent‘s Pam Zubeck — a veritable PR arm of Michael Weinstein’s MRFF — has a post stating a US Air Force Academy fourth class cadet (freshman) sent an inappropriate religious email to his classmates. She said the cadet
has been “counseled” for sending an e-mail to the entire freshman class urging them to pray and citing specific Scriptures. [formatting original]
She then includes the content of the 500-word email, which had been sent only two days prior. The email does, shockingly, “urge people to pray” and does, indeed, cite “specific Scriptures.” What Zubeck fails to mention is the email is a forward of a daily devotional by Gloria Copeland, distributed on the same day the cadet forwarded it: Continue reading →
As noted three weeks ago, the USAF Rapid Capabilities Office responded to “needling” from former Army Captain Jason Torpy, an atheist, and changed its motto from “Doing God’s work with other people’s money” to “Doing miracles with other people’s money.”
The letter, addressed to Secretary of the Air Force Michael Donley and Air Force Chief of Staff General Norton Schwartz, says:
It has come to our attention that the US Air Force Rapid Capabilities Office (RCO) has modified the logo on its official patch to remove its reference to “God,” following a complaint from Continue reading →
As predictable as the sun rising in the East, the US Air Force Academy sent out an announcement that had a topic related to religion, and Michael Weinstein complained.
In fact, he’s “livid.”
The situation: Apparently, Air Force Academy Chaplain (Col) Robert Bruno distributed a mass email about an upcoming ‘marriage and family seminar.’ The email was approved by the Vice Superintendent, and represented the “regularly” advertised chaplaincy programs occurring daily at USAFA. Michael Weinstein said:
It could not possibly be clearer that the academy deserves its terrible reputation for fundamentalist Christian bias.
To be clear, even the publicized article notes the USAFA email explicitly followed (and even referenced) the Air Force Chief of Staff’s Continue reading →
The Commandant of Cadets at the US Air Force Academy, BrigGen Richard Clark, reportedly distributed a memorandum to all USAFA cadets on Wednesday. He included the memorandum from the Air Force Chief of Staff, General Norton Schwartz, as an attachment.
Though it seems they’re most often the object of Michael Weinstein’s criticism, cadets who organize into faith groups recently made the news for the positive event of coming together to support a local food bank.
Council members and chaplains spent two hours at Care and Share Food Bank of Southern Colorado packing and palletizing boxes for distribution to families in need of assistance.
Religious freedom is uniquely valued and protected by the US military. The US Air Force Academy has done a generally admirable, if sometimes imperfect, job of defending religious freedom from those who would demand the government restrict it, like perennial USAFA critic Michael Weinstein. Though there’s been a quiet interlude with regard to Weinstein and the Academy for a little while, Weinstein has indicated he isn’t done with USAFA yet.
But it looks like USAFA is done with him.
Michael Weinstein apparently filed a Freedom of Information Act request with the US Air Force Academy in November of last year, which was finally completed in July of this year. He then provided the information to his apparent ally-reporter at the Colorado Springs Independent, Pam Zubeck, who started her article in the CSIndythis way:
Leaders at the Air Force Academy seem to think that dealing with some complaints about religious bias isn’t worth their time.
That’s the most obvious takeaway from several of the 2,516 pages of documents, mostly e-mails, the academy recently turned over to the Military Religious Freedom Foundation…
The first sentence out of the chute is a mischaracterization of USAFA’s Continue reading →
Hennings, a former A-10 pilot and member of the SuperBowl winning Dallas Cowboys, was a member of the Sports Panel:
Filled with all the excitement of an NFL championship game, three-time Super Bowl champion Hennings combines hard-hitting sports action with moral truths to convey powerful, behind-the-scenes insights on what it takes to become a winner.
[Gazette Editor Wayne] Laugesen’s editorial scolded Weinstein for attempting to infringe on free-speech rights, and said Weinstein opposed McClary’s appearance “because he is Christian.”
“That is false, and I have no doubt Mr. Laugesen and the Gazette know it full well,” Dallas attorney Randal Mathis writes…, adding that “publishing the statement is obviously calculated to offend, scare, and potentially mislead to the point of inciting unstable people.” Mathis makes Continue reading →
Ralph Palmer, USAFA Class of 1967, has been campaigning for a few years to get the US Constitution put back into the pocket-sized cadet “Contrails,” which the Colorado Springs Gazette says is “better known as the ‘Cadet Bible.’” The small tome is a collection of history, facts, and miscellaneous details that fourthclass (first year) cadets are often required to memorize.
It is not unusual to see pictures of cadets braced at attention with the small book gripped firmly a few inches in front of their face. They’re supposed to be reading it and learning.
Apparently, the US Constitution — which had been routinely included in Contrails for decades — was removed, though supposedly it wasn’t done for malicious reasons:
“Sometimes it has to do with space, flat out,” said Air Force Academy spokesman Master Sgt. Chris Dewitt. “Everyone has things they want in ‘Contrails’ and it has the potential to grow to the size of ‘War and Peace’.”
Like the other USAFA grad often in the news, Palmer is a former lawyer, but Continue reading →
[Gould] took on what he called “the big elephant” surrounding the Air Force Academy in the media in recent weeks: the National Prayer Luncheon, scheduled to be held at the Falcon Club Feb. 10. The event will feature retired Marine Lt. Clebe McClary as keynote speaker in addition to readings from followers of Buddhist, Jewish, Protestant, Catholic and Islamic faiths.