I am pleased to announce that the Military Religious Freedom Foundation fully endorses the United States Senate’s confirmation of the President’s nomination of Lt. General Robert Caslen to the position of Superintendent of the United States Military Academy at West Point.
If only it were that simple. The “endorsement” (cross-posted) is a veritable portrait in self-contradiction and capriciousness. Weinstein says he is “pleased,” but later says he has “non-trivial trepidation” — yet also “wishes him well.” Demonstrating both his repetitive redundancy and intellectual inconsistency, Weinstein says he has no idea what Caslen will “actually do,” but “he incontrovertibly deserves and merits [sic] the chance to do it.”
The Department of Defense recently announced that President Obama has nominated a new Superintendent for the US Military Academy at West Point:
Secretary of Defense Leon E. Panetta announced today that the President has made the following nominations:
Army Lt. Gen. Robert L. Caslen Jr., for reappointment to the rank of lieutenant general and for assignment as superintendent, U.S. Military Academy, West Point, N.Y. Caslen is currently serving as chief, Office of Security Cooperation-Iraq, Iraq.
Since former cadet (and current MRFF “client”) Blake Page made his awkward public departure from West Point over “criminal” Christianity, there has been a simmering of the issue of prayer at the US Military Academy. For the most part, the only loud voices were critics who want to see West Point end public prayers.
The Alliance Defending Freedom just recently weighed in, encouraging West Point to stand firm in the face of criticism and honor both its legacy and religious freedom. The ADF’s David Hacker said
“The First Amendment allows public officials to acknowledge our nation’s religious heritage,” he notes. “Anti-religious groups with misguided ideas about the First Amendment should not be allowed to destroy a time-honored, perfectly constitutional American custom.”
It’s the time of year for lists and summaries, and various sites and groups are compiling their “best of” and “mostest” lists for 2012. Consistent with last year’s apparent trend, issues of religion and the military seem to have largely fallen from the visibility they once had. For example, BJC online lists their “Top Religious Stories of 2012” — not one of which references the military. Likewise the Christian Post. The Religion Clause and the Stars and Stripes lists both made only one relevant reference, to the much delayed Fort Hood massacre trial.
Curious as to what others were reading here this year? The Top 10 most-read stories on ChristianFighterPilot.com for 2012 are Continue reading →
In a letter to Academy Superintendent Lt. Gen. David H. Huntoon and other officials, Americans United asserted that the academy’s prayer policy runs afoul of the Constitution and violates the rights of cadets.
West Point responded simply by saying there are no mandatory prayers at the Academy. Americans United seems to believe the First Amendment was written to protect offended ears, not speech. Their letter supports — unwittingly or not – the stereotype that merely being exposed to a ‘religious act’ is offensive and therefore illegal [emphasis added]: Continue reading →
US Army Chaplain (LtCol) Larry Bazer, Joint Forces Chaplain for the Massachusetts National Guard, was on hand December 13th at the White House to light a 90-year-old menorah. (It turns out he was invited to do so last year, but was unavoidably detained: He was deployed to Afghanistan.) President Obama gave a history of Hanukkah and explained the application of its values to all.
Update: A local news report seems to verify conclusions former Cadet Page was coached by Michael Weinstein on how to leave West Point with a splash.
Update: World notes “other issues” influenced Cadet Blake Page’s decision, which “may have had little to do with the academy’s religious climate.” The faculty advisor for Page’s group is cited as saying ‘he doesn’t believe systematic discrimination against nonreligious cadets exists.’
The FRC notes Page’s clinical diagnosis requires “help,” not being used for “publicity and exploitation” by “professional anti-religionist” Michael Weinstein.
According to an update at NBC, Senior West Point Cadet Blake Page — who publicly resigned while accusing US Military Academy officers of being “criminals” — will be discharged without having to serve as a Soldier or reimburse the government for his education.
Page’s decision to resign and — presumably — decline to be an Army officer has been almost universally panned in the comments on the media articles on his resignation, even from those claiming to be fellow atheists and cadets. Some have said he should have stayed and “changed the Army from within;” others, that his charges did not seem to be supported or supportable. Insinuations have been made that he may have been struggling to graduate anyway, and that his announcement (as well as his announced book plans) were little more than a publicity stunt to take advantage of an inevitable outcome.
“Countless officers here and throughout the military are guilty of blatantly violating the oaths they swore to defend the Constitution,” wrote Page…”These men and women are criminals, Continue reading →
Jews in Green recently announced LtGen Howard Bromberg, US Army Deputy Chief of Staff for Personnel, and Col Glenn Goldman, Director of Military Instruction at West Point, will be speaking to the Aleph Institute’s 2013 ”Military Training Course” in January. (Gen Bromberg has spoken there before, and prior speakers have included Speaker of the House John Boehner.)
The annual conference is intended for Jewish members of the military who Continue reading →
It seems fair to say that the Chief of Staff of the US Air Force does not trust some of his Commanders to correctly fulfill their responsibilities to “support individual Airman’s needs and provide opportunities for the free exercise of religion.” So, he has withdrawn autonomy from all of his Commanders to do so, turning it over to their Chaplains.
Snider accurately notes that this singles out issues of religion for separation from command guidance: Continue reading →
Michael Weinstein, of his self-founded Military Religious Freedom Foundation, has threatened to “file a federal lawsuit” if the US Military Academy at West Point doesn’t stop using a survey that “violates…constitutional protections.”
West Point is currently in direct violation of Clause 3, Article 6 of the United States Constitution’s absolute prohibition against the utilization of any “religious test”…
West Point has grievously transgressed against and is in clear violation of the Constitution of the United States of America, period.
You know its serious when he spells out “period.” Further, Weinstein asserted that his “clients” were anonymous because they “gravely” feared reprisal:
Our 42 MRFF clients at West Point gravely fear the distinct possibility that they could be the target of nontrivial direct or indirect reprisals and/or retribution if they were to voice their concerns and demands to their superiors at the Academy…
Weinstein’s main points — West Point violated the Constitution and its cadets and faculty are cowering in fear — are fairly easy to debunk:
“West Point Violated the Constitution”
Most honest Constitutional historians would likely admit Weinstein is misusing the “no religious test” clause. (Even Weinstein’s own research assistant, Chris Rodda, Continue reading →
[Marilyn] Monroe was famous for her quips and sexual innuendos. When asked what three men she’d like to be trapped on a deserted island with, she responded Joe DiMaggio, Albert Einstein and Hoyt Vandenberg – her husband, the scientist and the Air Force general respectively.
Now that’s not something you hear everyday, and from an article written by a wing commander, no less. General Vandenberg was a US Military Academy graduate and the second Chief of Staff of the Air Force. Vandenberg Hall (or “Vandy”), one of the residence halls/dormitories at the US Air Force Academy, is named after him, as is Vandenberg AFB in California. It seems Marilyn Monroe had a thing for him.
In a letter to Panetta, Sen. Jim Inhofe of Oklahoma said department rules bar service members from participating in political activities while in uniform and pressed Panetta on why a waiver was granted, who requested it and why it was considered over others.
The Congressmen also noted that other military members have been punished for doing what the DoD authorized in this instance: Continue reading →
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 Continue reading →