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
Michael “Mikey” Weinstein and his research assistant, Chris Rodda, recently criticized the presence of military symbols on products sold by Shields of Strength, an online jewelry/accessory store that sells various religious and patriotic-themed items, including some with Bible verses. (While Weinstein has claimed he never acts without a complaint from a member of the military, this complaint appears to have been generated by a FoxNews article and nothing more.) The duo took specific aim at the SoS line of dog tags, which combine Bible verses with the emblems of the US Armed Forces. From Chris Rodda [emphasis added]:
The problem? The use of official Armed Forces emblems and logos on blatantly religious items like these dog tags is not only an unconstitutional government endorsement of religion, but also violates the Department of Defense’s regulation on what items can and cannot be licensed to contain the official DoD emblems and logos.
The first accusation is laughable. No one thinks the government is establishing or endorsing a religion because a private company produces dog tags with Bible verses on them. The reference to Read more
The Air Force Times reports an unidentified Airman is under investigation after posting multiple YouTube videos of himself railing against homosexuals and other religions — while in uniform:
[The] airman…denounc[ed] gay people as “sodomites,” “pedophiles,” “roaches” and “vermin scum,” among other slurs.
[He] posted videos on YouTube under the name “Baptist Dave 1611” before taking down his account over the weekend, also voiced support for Grayson Fritts…and his views supporting the execution of gay people…
The videos are no longer available, so the accusations are absent any verifiable context. Assuming the Air Force Times portrayal is correct, the Airman will almost certainly soon be — and certainly should soon be — a civilian. At least as is reported, his conduct seems unrecoverable.
Not everything the Air Force Times quoted was impermissible on Read more
Two-star MajGen Dawn Dunlop was, until May 31st, the director of the Defense Department’s Special Access Programs Central Office. (That’s the office that handles programs so secretive they require even more clearances than usual — “special access.”) According to the Pentagon, Gen Dunlop was removed in response to an ongoing IG investigation. Anonymous sources quoted in the article indicated Gen Dunlop created a “toxic” leadership environment.
Gen Dunlop was feted as the Air Force’s highest ranking female fighter pilot.
This was a month after BrigGen Kristin Goodwin was fired from her position at the US Air Force Academy — also during an IG investigation apparently regarding her leadership style and treatment of subordinates.
Interestingly, both BrigGen Goodwin and MajGen Dunlop recently took a photo with Read more