Yesterday, Vice President Mike Pence swore in Gen John “Jay” Raymond as the first Chief of Staff of the Space Force. As covered at SpaceNews, the event was notable because the United States has never had a Space Force before; in fact, the US hasn’t had a major Service added to the force since the Air Force became an independent Service in 1947. It was a historic event.
NPR, though, noted the other highlight of the event in a parenthetical aside [emphasis added]:
With one hand placed on a Bible whose “official” blessing on Sunday sparked sharp criticism, Raymond was sworn in by Vice President Pence at the vice president’s ceremonial office.
Clearly, the government was moved by Michael “Mikey” Weinstein’s complaint about the Bible yesterday — probably because it was “full-throated” — and completely ignored him.
Contrary to Weinstein’s all-caps claim that military officers are “NOT ever ‘sworn-in’ to their positions”, the narrator of the ceremony noted the oath was required under Article VI of the Constitution (as an “executive officer” of the United States) and is prescribed in Title V of the US Code: Read more
The Army & Air Force Exchange Service (AAFES), which runs the retail store base exchanges on Army posts and Air Force bases, responded to Michael “Mikey” Weinstein’s complaint about the religious-themed Christmas candy he’d found in the Colorado Springs area Peterson AFB.
Earlier this month, Weinstein’s lawyer Donald Rehkopf had asserted that selling the candy was “illegal” and violated the US Constitution.
As quoted by the MRFF’s Chris Rodda, AAFES said they would not re-stock the candy after their “very small quantity” was exhausted due to “limited historical demand.” (One of the pictures provided by the MRFF even had the red clearance mark-down sticker on Read more
In June, A1C Sunjit Rathour became the first Sikh to graduate US Air Force basic training at Lackland AFB while wearing his turban and beard. In September he was the first to graduate from the Security Forces course.
Similarly, Gurchetan Singh will soon go to basic training before he joins the 194th Air National Guard wing as a Sikh wearing the articles of his faith.
While the ability to exercise one’s faith is important to one’s own religious practice, A1C Rathour also explained why it can be important for others: Read more
Yesterday, the Federal District Court in New Hampshire allowed the lawsuit against the VA Medical Center POW/MIA display to proceed, and it also permitted the Northwest POW/MIA Network, which erected the display, to intervene. (The POW/MIA Network is represented by First Liberty.) In one of the more interesting arguments, the presiding judge questioned whether the plaintiff had standing because he’s a Christian. Judge Paul Barbadoro [emphasis added]
acknowledged no shortage of case law and legal precedent regarding religious symbols on public property…
But Barrington resident James Chamberlain, the plaintiff in the challenge, is a Christian who attends a Congregational church, and therein lies the rub, according to the judge.
Barbadoro said he knows of no prior case stemming from a Christian challenging a symbol of Christianity.
“If he were an atheist, he would have standing and that would be clear,” the judge said.
There are certainly legal reasons to require “standing” in a judicial proceeding — but Read more
Christine “Chris” Rodda is Michael “Mikey” Weinstein’s research assistant for his “charity,” the Military Religious Freedom Foundation. She wrote a blog late last Friday and posted it on Daily Kos and Medium, attacking ChristianFighterPilot.com by claiming retired Air Force Captain Cole “Twitch” Holloway was “maligned” in an article posted here on Thursday.
It’s odd that Weinstein and Rodda chose to go after that article. It’s a short piece, and its tone is benign. There are many more articles here of more direct impact to the MRFF — say, those noting Weinstein is a charity millionaire or that Rodda’s outrage is quite selective — yet they chose to go after one that didn’t even mention them. Presumably, Rodda thought they could get emotional value out of the topic — so long as people didn’t bother to read the original article, and instead only saw her “interpretation” of it.
(Why not engage over an article that actually discusses the MRFF and religious freedom? For all his bluster and bloviating, Mikey Weinstein is scared. But that’s a topic for another time.)
As is typical, Rodda struggled with the truth. She titled her blog “The “Christian Fighter Pilot” Sinks to New Low — Maligns Pilot with ALS for Not Being Christian”. Despite the fact she intentionally didn’t link to the article, many are aware of it, and even some of Rodda’s own readers were unable to find where anyone had been “maligned” within it. In her defense, Rodda did Read more
Vice President of the United States Mike Pence spoke at the American Legion National Convention in Indianapolis yesterday, and he had a message about a lawsuit against the Manchester VA for its display of a Bible on a POW/MIA table (previously discussed here):
You might’ve heard even today that there’s a lawsuit to remove a Bible that was carried in World War II from a Missing Man Table at a VA hospital in New Hampshire. There’s a lawsuit underway. It’s really no surprise because, under the last administration, VA hospitals were removing Bibles and even banning Christmas carols in an effort to be politically correct. But let me be clear: Under this administration, VA hospitals will not be religion-free zones.
We will always respect the freedom of religion of every veteran of every faith. And my message to the New Hampshire VA hospital is: The Bible stays.
A standing ovation followed.
Pence is Read more
POW/MIA lawsuit may be decided on National POW/MIA Recognition Day…
The Northeast POW/MIA Network has asked the Courts to allow it to intervene in the lawsuit between James Chamberlain and the Veterans Administration, in which Chamberlain (who is being ‘sponsored’ by Michael “Mikey” Weinstein) has claimed the Manchester, NH, VA Medical Center is violating the Constitution by allowing a Bible to sit on a POW/MIA remembrance table. The Network sponsored the display in question, and provided the Bible:
The veterans group that sponsors the oldest continuing POW-MIA vigil in the country is asking a federal court to allow it to intervene in a case that centers on whether a former POW’s Bible can be featured in a lobby display at the Manchester VA hospital…
The Manchester display includes a Bible donated by Herman “Herk” Streitburger, a Read more
In a recent article the Air Force indicated that despite the recent publicity of Airmen and other military members being granted waivers to grow religious beards, there hasn’t been a marked increase in the requests:
The Air Force, citing privacy concerns, declined to identify how many airmen have obtained waivers based on religious exemptions but said the publicity surrounding approvals in recent years has not caused an increase in waiver requests.
The article also revealed that despite the publicity surrounding the “heathen” beard approval for SSgt Garrett Sopchak, he was actually the second Airman to get one for “norse heathenism”, after SSgt William Bailey in March.
The policy changes that have supported Read more