Tag Archives: blake page

ACLJ: AF Commander Unwitting Pawn in MRFF Strategy

Skip Ash, the senior litigation counsel for the American Center for Law and Justice, has stated that in its effort to appease Michael “Mikey” Weinstein, the Air Force actually committed the very violation it thought it was trying to avoid:

Despite the MRFF rantings, the chaplain committed no violation of the U.S. Constitution, federal law or military regulations by what he did. It was the commander at the base and his staff who actually wronged the chaplain by buying into the MRFF’s skewed view of what the Constitution and military regulations require. The commander was wrong.

The ACLJ also sent a letter (PDF) to Col Brian Duffy, the base commander who ordered Chaplain Kenneth Reyes’ article removed because of someone’s claimed “offense.”  The letter rightly notes Blake Page, Michael Weinstein’s “special assistant,” didn’t even get the basic facts of the situation correct, nevermind accurately apply the law [emphasis added]:  Read more

Commander Who Pulled Chaplain Post Issues Statement

Update:  An Army Chaplain weighed in with a response to Col Duffy’s decision to pull Chaplain Reyes’ article, and a comment on the Commander’s statement from a recently retired Air Force Colonel takes Col Duffy to task:

Sir…Can you understand how your actions in kowtowing to [MRFF] threats now opens you and your fellow Blue Suiters up to even more insidious actions? Do you think this group will just roll over after having demanded that you take administrative actions against Lt Col Reyes for having had the audacity to write and publish this article? After they labeled his use of “no atheists in foxholes,” as a “… bigoted, religious supremacist” phrase? I believe we both know the answer to that question.

Sir, you hit the nail right on the head when you stated that you must protect the constitutional right of free speech and the free practice of religion…Where you go wrong is when you decide that this article, regarding faith and one’s perception of it in their own life, somehow is “governmental establishment of religion.”

The Joint Base Elmendorf-Richardson Facebook page was inundated with criticisms of Col Brian Duffy’s decision to pull Chaplain (LtCol) Kenneth Reyes’ column and issue an apology to Michael Weinstein. Those criticisms appear to have been completely deleted and replaced with a statement from the Colonel.

In short, the Colonel admits the article was removed out of concern for “those who may have been offended,” and called his decision a

“balance…between constitutional protections for free exercise of religion and the constitutional prohibition against governmental establishment of religion.”

A few commenters called that out, given that not even the MRFF claimed the Air Force was violating the First Amendment with the article.  Besides, the Constitution says nothing about “offense,” which is the stated reason the article was pulled (which caused a spate of responses claiming various things were offensive, and demanding Col Duffy remove more content from his website).  Several atheists chimed in and criticized the censorship as well — noting it wasn’t an “atheist vs Christian thing” — but a Weinstein vs Christian thing.

Then, though, the Colonel turned stern and took the unusual step of commenting on potential punishment — something normally rebutted with a “we make no comment on personnel matters.”  In short, this time Col Duffy flatly refused Michael Weinstein’s demands and says he has “not and will not reprimand anyone.”  The entire statement follows:  Read more

Air Force Pulls Chaplain Column, Atheist Article Remains

Update: The Air Force has restored the censored article.  Read more here, or the chaplain’s original article here [updated link].

Update: The Air Force has reportedly declined to explain what regulations prohibit the chaplain’s column, which Liberty University School of Law fellow Ken Klukowski says “looks like expression protected by the free speech and religious freedom provisions of the First Amendment.”

 A chaplain has been censored for expressing his beliefs about the role of faith in the lives of service members.  There has to be a recognition that this is discrimination against Christians… When anti-Christian activists like Mikey Weinstein are dictating the rules for what chaplains are allowed to do, then we must ask the question why we [even] have chaplains.

– LtGen Jerry Boykin, USA, Ret

The US Air Force reportedly pulled down an official article written by a Chaplain because someone claimed to be offended by the title.

A chaplain at Joint Base Elmendorf-Richardson in Alaska was ordered to remove a religious column he had written titled, “No Atheists in Foxholes: Chaplains Gave all in World War II,” because it allegedly offended atheists serving on the Air Force base.

Col. Brian Duffy, the base commander told Fox News the column was removed “out of respect for those who considered its title offensive.”

The article notes that the column, written by Chaplain (LtCol) Kenneth Reyes, did not “attack or insult” anyone — it simply began with the question of the origin of the phrase.  It seems a few critics didn’t read beyond the title, and criticized a caricature of what Chaplain Reyes wrote, such as atheist Jason Torpy, who makes a point of addressing the “no atheist” cliché wherever he finds it on the internet:  Read more

Groups Seek “Equal Time” after US Air Force Hosts Religious Critic

Religious groups who endorse US military chaplains have asked the US military for “equal time” after they hosted religious liberty critic Michael Weinstein at the Pentagon.  Said retired Chaplain (Col) Ron Crews, of the Chaplain Alliance for Religious Liberty:

Crews says if the Air Force wants to be serious about religious liberty, its sole and exclusive meeting should not be with a man who calls religious service members “spiritual rapists” or “human monsters.”

“[Mikey Weinstein] is not the person to talk about religious liberty,” he states. “So we’re asking for a meeting with senior Air Force officials to [request that] if they’re going to revise their policy, we want to make sure that the religious liberty of all the airmen who are serving courageously in the Air Force gets maintained.”


If the Air Force wants to be serious about religious freedom, its sole and exclusive meeting should not be with a man that calls religious service members ‘spiritual rapists’ or ‘human monsters’…

The military — specifically, the Air Force — has long been accused of granting Michael Weinstein special access to military leaders.  It seems Weinstein has had ideological allies at the top of the US Air Force, which may be why he has Read more

Army Starts Recoupment Action against Atheist Former Cadet

According to NBC News, the US Army is starting the process to recoup the cost of atheist former Cadet Blake Page’s West Point education:

In a memorandum dated Dec. 12, the superintendent of West Point Academy, Lt. Gen. David Huntoon, did recommend to Army headquarters that Page be honorably discharged and that recoupment — in the form of money or service as an enlisted soldier — be waived.

The response, signed by Thomas R. Lamont, assistant Army secretary, approves Page for an honorable discharge, but disapproves the waivers. In the Jan. 28 memorandum, he orders the West Point superintendent “to conduct a recoupment investigation.”

The Army could demand up to $250,000 or order Page back to active duty, where he previously served enlisted before Read more

Anti-Religious Groups Harass West Point over Prayer

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.”

The ADF sent a letter to West Point on behalf of the Chaplain Alliance Read more

Activists Call for End to West Point Prayers

Americans United for the Separation of Church and State has called on the US Military Academy at West Point to “stop including prayer during official events.”

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]:  Read more

Atheist Cadet Discharged in Publicity Stunt over Religion

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.

A new ABC article may bear that out, where the AP reports Page admits Read more

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