On July 23rd, Michael “Mikey” Weinstein’s MRFF published a blog claiming Cannon Air Force Base was “hammer[ing] helpless subordinates” with the Christian Gospel. At issue was a chapel-sponsored concert/event called the “Gospel Explosion” with Wess Morgan. Weinstein specifically named two SNCOs in his vituperative attack, saying [Weinstein emphasis original]
USAF Master Sergeant Keith L. Lucas e-mailed a flyer to his subordinates promoting an on-base, sectarian religious proselytizing event called “Gospel Explosion” and explicitly “requested” (in other words, ORDERED in military chain-of command parlance) that they “please post everywhere and spread the word…thanks!!”
Master Sergeant Marvin Jimerson Jr. even instruct[ed] all 27th SOW First Sergeants on base to “Please disseminate within your units.”
This “scandal” is notable for a few reasons.
First, Weinstein includes a paranthetical ‘shout out’ to the wing commander, named as Col Benjamin Maitre (and to whom former Captain Weinstein refers as “sport”). This likely means Read more
Update: The Arizona Daily Independent published a letter from retired Command Chief Master Sergeant Chuck Wooten, in which he rebuts Weinstein, saying
To boil this entire issue down to its lowest form, [Wilkerson] and the MRFF are nothing more than predictable liberals. They make a living by fabricating controversy where none exists (think Al Sharpton). They hide behind massively loquacious pieces of hate-filled diatribe which ultimately means nothing. A by-product of their incessant squawking is a colossal waste of tax dollars when a branch of the military or court has to divert attention from its mission to swat these gnats aside.
It must be exhausting for [Wilkerson] and the MRFF to fight a fictitious foe only to have their butt handed to them in defeat.
Retired US Army Colonel Lawrence Wilkerson is most famous for having been the Chief of Staff to retired General Colin Powell when he was Secretary of State from 2002 to 2005. Wilkerson’s most recent role has been as voice for Michael “Mikey” Weinstein’s Military Religious Freedom Foundation, which has a long history of calling for restrictions on Christians in the US military.
After the recent hullabaloo over Mikey Weinstein’s demand for Major General Craig Olson’s court-martial, Wilkerson wrote a piece at the Huffington Post which was entitled “The ‘Taliban’ in Our Midst.”
The article began with a wide-ranging indictment of religion in the military:
Military officers who wear their religion on their sleeve are a danger to our country at any time, but especially after the terrorists attacks of September 11, 2001.
Wilkerson probably doesn’t realize he just called every US military chaplain, many US military Jews, and even the rare US military Sikh a “danger” to the United States of America. The rest of his article focuses solely on Christians: Read more
Just a few hours after a Security Forces squadron commander banned his troops from saying “Have a blessed day” in an attempt to appease Michael “Mikey” Weinstein, the Air Force issued a formal reversal, saying there’s nothing wrong with the phrase:
“We are a professional organization defended by a professional force. Our defenders portray a professional image that represents a base all of Middle Georgia can be proud of. Defenders have been asked to use the standard phrase “Welcome to Team Robins” in their greeting and can add various follow-on greetings as long as they remain courteous and professional.
The Air Force takes any expressed concern over religious freedom very seriously. Upon further review and consultation, the Air Force determined use of the phrase “have a blessed day” as a greeting is consistent with Air Force standards and is not in violation of Air Force Instructions.”
Robins Air Force Base should get credit for the most affirmative statement ever in a Weinstein-reversal, in which they not only undid the ban but also firmly supported the statement in question.
The Robins statement generated nearly Read more
When the Family Research Council published its “Clear and Present Danger” (PDF) report on the state of religious freedom in the US military, there was caterwauling from secularists and critics of religious freedom that the report was full of lies and fabrications. In the intervening months, however, no one actually sat down and rebutted the claims.
Granted, with 61 events contributing to what the authors call a “picture of the threat to religious liberty” in the US military, the breadth of the situation made it a daunting task to counter.
It’s also hard to refute because its true.
Chris Rodda, of Michael “Mikey” Weinstein’s Military Religious Freedom Foundation, gave a half-hearted attempt last June, discussing Read more
For the first time in several years, Congress passed and the President signed a National Defense Authorization Act with no sections directing the US military on issues of religious liberty. Over the prior few years, Congress has inserted legislation requiring protection of religious expression within the military, for example, which resulted in changes to DoDI 1300.17 and Air Force Instruction 1-1.
One thing the NDAA does include, however, is authorization to transfer the Mount Soledad Memorial Cross to a private organization: Read more
The Air Force announced it has updated AFI 1-1 — because of issues regarding religious liberty [emphasis added]:
Air Force officials approved Air Force Instruction 1-1, Air Force Standards, Nov. 7, to clarify guidance on Airmen’s religious rights and commanders’ authority and responsibility to protect those rights.
The announcement contained a summary of the changes. The changes [emphasis added]
clarify guidance for how commanders should handle religious accommodation requests or when Airmen’s rights to free exercise are questioned. Chaplain corps officials also clarified policy language to assist commanders in balancing the constitutional protections for their own free exercise of religion or other personal beliefs with the constitutional prohibition against governmental establishment of religion.
Importantly, General Welsh is quoted as specifically Read more
The Public Affairs officer at the Ohio National Guard’s 180th Fighter Wing had a tough job — explaining the reasoning behind Col Craig “Bluto” Baker’s decision to censor an article by his medical group commander, Col Florencio Marquinez, because Michael “Mikey” Weinstein found it “odious.” Spokesman James Sims told FoxNews’ Todd Starnes this:
It’s very clear what you can and cannot say in an Air Force publication. Once it was brought to our attention and we compared it with the regulation, we found it was in violation of the regulation.
The article violated AFI 1-1, Sections 2.11 and 2.12.1, and the Revised Interim Guidelines Concerning Free Exercise of Religion in the Air Force guidance, and finally, ‘The Air Force Military Commander and the Law’ book.
That’s a fascinating — and error-filled — statement by the public affairs officer.
To the easy parts first:
First, the “Revised Interim Guidelines Concerning Free Exercise of Religion in the Air Force” do not exist. They were rescinded years ago and Read more
A civilian Air Force employee at Kirtland AFB sent out a request for response to a small business contract opportunity — and raised the ire of Michael “Mikey” Weinstein when she did so. The closing of her email said this, as redacted and publicized by Weinstein:
(Name of USAF AFMC AFRL/RD employee withheld)
Small Business Specialist
3550 Aberdeen Ave SE
Kirtland AFB, NM 87117
Commercial: (505) XXX-XXXX Read more