Michael “Mikey” Weinstein used to say he would give his last drop of blood — and encourage his kids to give their last drop of blood — to defend the right of people to have their religious beliefs, even if he disagreed with them. While most of Weinstein’s talking points haven’t changed over the past ten years, this one has: He dropped this oft-repeated phrase long ago — likely because he knows it isn’t true.
Still, he leaned in that principled direction recently when on a “religious liberty panel” — a panel with such “diverse” religious liberty experts as the ACLU, AU, and Pedro Irgonegaray, one of Weinstein’s MRFF “voices.” In that panel, Weinstein said:
I don’t care what their [religious] views are. What I care (about) is when they try to use the power of the U.S. military to propagate it.
That’s a demonstrably false statement. Just take one quick example: When Read more
When the Ten Commandments monument was removed from the Oklahoma State Capitol a few weeks ago, Franklin Graham lamented the attacks on any public reference to God or Jesus Christ:
We have been appalled at news reports of ISIS and the Islamic State tearing down all symbols of Christianity in the Middle East; but think about it–we’re doing it to ourselves here in the U.S. Atheists, activists, and anti-God groups like the ACLU, the Freedom From Religion Foundation, and the Military Freedom of Religion Foundation are on a quest to erase or tear down anything associated with the Name of Jesus Christ.
Graham was referring to Michael “Mikey” Weinstein’s awkwardly-named Military Religious Freedom Foundation, which was in the news recently demanding Read more
Update: The creator of the monument explained the reason for his design here:
Al Larsen intended the small Latin cross in each silhouette to mark a grave — like the rows of white crosses at the Normandy American Cemetery in France, where more than 9,000 American World War II troops are buried.
“This is what it means to me,” Larsen said in an interview Wednesday. “It don’t mean no church thing.”
Americans United for the Separation of Church and State claims otherwise.
Todd Starnes at FoxNews highlights an effort by the Americans United for the Separation of Church and State to have a war memorial removed from a park in Knoxville, Iowa:
“It was clear to us it was a memorial to fallen veterans,” Mayor Brian Hatch told me. But it wasn’t clear to everyone.
About a month ago a citizen filed an anonymous complaint — arguing that the memorial was promoting Christianity and therefore violated the Establishment Clause of the U.S. Constitution.
Mayor Hatch told me the city council ignored the complaint.
“We didn’t take any action because it (the memorial) did not have any religious ties to us at all,” he said. “I only see it as a memorial to the veterans and it shocked me that someone could see it otherwise.”
The offended party apparently called the AU, and the fight was on.
Americans United has since published a snarky reply, noting Read more
As part of the 2014 National Defense Authorization Act (NDAA), Congress required the DoD Inspector General to report to Congress on the US military’s promulgation of religious liberty protections. This was presumably due to perceptions the military was being unresponsive to the wording in laws passed by Congress.
As a result of that requirement, the DoD IG released an initial report (3MB PDF) last week more notable for what it did not say than what it did. Despite specific congressional attention on “individual expressions of belief,” the IG report almost completely ignored that topic — though it admitted why [emphasis added]:
Virtually all…events in a service member’s career involve subjective, discretionary decisionmaking on the part of leaders and commanders. Identifying examples of discrimination based on conscience, moral principles, or religious beliefs was unrealistic because those reasons would almost never be cited as the basis for the decision…Further, denials of promotion, schooling, training, and assignment are a subset of adverse personnel actions.
To summarize: Read more
Michael “Mikey” Weinstein — who claims to represent more than 13% of all Muslims in the US military — has effectively called for the military to kick out all Muslim chaplains:
Please listen up; nobody is trying to interfere with the Constitutional rights of military chaplains to hold PERSONAL views that are racist, sexist, and homophobic, etc. Chaplains preach their views according to their denominational endorsing agencies dictates and precepts, that much is understood. However, if chaplains believe that they MUST publicly and visibly preach to their troops a message that their Christian comrades are misled “infidels” because of their “choice” to follow Jesus, then these views are fatally noxious and totally destructive to unit cohesion, good order, morale, and discipline in the armed forces.
Actually, to be accurate, Weinstein didn’t use those exact words. This portion of his actual 1,500-word diatribe was tweaked very slightly, as highlighted, to Read more
A US Naval Academy midshipman (cadet) recently took to the internet to complain about Annapolis’ tradition of noon mealtime prayers. (This daily tradition has been under routine attack almost annually, often from the ACLU.) With emphasis added:
Every day the entire brigade of midshipmen congregates in our massive dining hall for lunch, and every day one of the chaplains gets up in front of everyone and says a prayer before the meal. Most of the time it’s a Christian chaplain from some denomination or another, but usually once a week there’s a Jewish chaplain.
I guess there’s really nothing wrong with it, since I don’t have to pray if I don’t want to, but it is incredibly annoying when you just want to eat your lunch and get on with the day. It doesn’t help that some of the chaplains (especially the Jewish ones, for whatever reason) are incredibly long-winded.
Something occurred to me the other day during prayer. As usual, I wasn’t bowing my head, but was instead looking around at the rest of the midshipmen, the majority of whom are religious. It occurred to me that there’s just something incredibly servile about seeing 4000-odd otherwise intelligent people all bowing their heads in unison. To me, the act of bowing your head is saying in body language that you’re not good enough on your own and you can’t do anything without the help of whatever higher power you happen to believe in. I’m generally not an angry atheist; I like to live and let live, but every time I see that, I become an incredibly angry atheist for a brief moment.
Every cadet is allowed to grouse, of course. It’s practically required to survive four years at any of the US military’s service academies.
The disturbing thing Read more
The ACLU has filed a lawsuit against the US Army on behalf of Sikh Hofstra University student Iknoor Singh, who was denied entry into ROTC because he would not comply with Army grooming standards that conflict with his religious beliefs.
From the filing (PDF):
When Mr. Singh asked for a religious exemption from these rules…, Defendants denied his request, despite approving similar religious and medical accommodations for other uniformed Army personnel in recent years.
Mr. Singh is now left with an untenable choice: Enlist as an ROTC Cadet and abandon the sacred religious practices that he has followed his entire life, or forfeit his dreams of joining ROTC–along with Read more
The American Humanist Association claims it wants to support religious freedom when it demands an atheist chaplain. Simultaneously, it is threatening “legal action” because camouflage Bibles are available at a military inprocessing station for the Missouri National Guard.
The…recruitment center for the National Guard as well as other military offices…exhibited and offered camouflage-covered Bibles free of charge to recruits enlisting in the National Guard…The letter was sent on behalf of an anonymous recruit who felt that the government was impermissibly endorsing the Bibles and coercing recruits to take them…
The letter demands that the government immediately cease its practice of offering Bibles to National Guard recruits and remove any biblical literature from its possession.
The person who complained was a member of Read more