Not long after receiving a letter (PDF) from the First Liberty Institute, the New Hampshire Air National Guard at the Pease ANG Base has said they have chosen to ignore the previously reported complaint from the Freedom From Religion Foundation:
“We don’t plan on responding to the FFRF,” [Greg Heilshorn, spokesman for the New Hampshire National Guard] said. “We haven’t had any formal complaints from our airmen internally regarding any concerns with prayers being said at various ceremonies. We will continue as we’ve done before. It’s our tradition. We believe our chaplains…[are a] vital part of our organization.”
Well done. The US military is not obligated to respond to the FFRF — or any other third party complaint — at all. By declining to do so, they avoid the perception they are legitimizing the FFRF or its generalized accusations about religious expression in the US military. Meanwhile, if there are any actual complainants who have an actionable grievance, they still have access to every grievance system within the military.
Part of the issue with Read more
Court-martialed Marine LCpl Monifa Sterling has appealed to the US Supreme Court, alleging her religious liberty was violated when she was convicted for not removing Bible verses posted to her desk.
The Supreme Court has not yet agreed to hear the case — and there are already significant briefs being filed in her support.
Critics like Michael “Mikey” Weinstein have tried to frame her case as a Christian trying to inappropriately “expose” others to their beliefs — and thus deserving of court-martial.
However, people who actually support religious freedom — rather than advocate discrimination against Christians as Weinstein does — are coming out in support of Sterling.
This includes a substantial number of significant and high profile non-Christians. Those supporting Sterling’s case with amicus briefs include: Read more
In her writing, Michael “Mikey” Weinstein’s research assistant Chris Rodda has often struggled with both the truth and the ability to convey a clear, coherent, and supported argument — all while under pressure from her sort-of boss to make it sensational enough that people will read it.
Late in December, she tried to overcome those shortcomings in a piece at the Huffington Post.
Her 2,500-word article — short, by Rodda standards — really needs go no further than the headline:
Gay-Bashing Chaplain Endorsers Admit That The Military Chaplaincy Is Disproportionately Anti-LGBT
It would have been more honestly titled Read more
Retired US Air Force Chaplain Norris Burkes first came to the attention of this site in 2009, when the syndicated chaplain wrote a column about the burning of Afghan-language Bibles by American troops in Afghanistan (a controversy discussed here). In essence, Burkes approved, and noted:
The possession of such religious material violates something the military calls General Order No. 1.
Though he was dismissive of most input, he did finally concede that he was wrong — General Order Number One says no such thing.
Despite the admission, Burkes declined to change the article, and it can still be found on his website, with the unchanged statement that even Burkes admitted was wrong.
Chaplain Burkes recently popped up again, and for some reason he Read more
Michael “Mikey” Weinstein recently demanded the court-martial of US troops who attended an awards event hosted by the Chaplain Alliance for Religious Liberty, a coalition of chaplain endorsers. The reason Weinstein demanded their court-martial was his bigotry toward the Christian beliefs espoused by the chaplain groups represented. Weinstein essentially admitted as much when he hatefully caricatured and lambasted those Christian beliefs in his attack.
But since “Mikey Doesn’t Like Christians” isn’t actionable by the military, he tried to use an old technique that unintentionally won him a battle many years ago: He claimed the service members violated regulations by “endorsing” the chaplains by virtue of their presence at the event in uniform.
The Air Force rebuffed that claim, and there is no evidence any Read more
A variety of religious and liberty groups have called on Congress to reverse the military’s decision to allow transgender service, saying:
This [policy] is an affront to the American people and is certain to undermine readiness, recruitment, and retention in the military. Thus, we urge you to halt the implementation…
The repeal of Don’t Ask, Don’t Tell took an act of Congress because the ban on homosexual service was part of US law. (Many forget that DADT was the policy used to avoid enforcing the law banning homosexuals from the US military.) The military could not change its policy without Congress changing the law.
But the ban on transgenderism was more basic. It was simply Read more
A few weeks ago, Michael “Mikey” Weinstein praised a new Department of Veterans Affairs memorandum (PDF) regarding religious exercise and expression, saying the [emphasis added]
MRFF [was] validated by [the] Department of Veterans Affairs Memorandum! The VA finally gets it: POW/MIA Bible displays can’t favor one religion.
Yesterday, retired US Army General William “Jerry” Boykin commended the same Veterans Read more
Chris Gacek of the Family Research Council recently urged readers to voice their support for military chaplains in a blog entitled “Protect Your Military Chaplains from a Bully.” The context of his call was the most recent “histrionics” of a bully — Michael “Mikey” Weinstein — as he attacked Chaplain (MajGen) Dondi Costin and others for attending the CALL awards event:
What is of particular note is Weinstein’s complete and utter lack of perspective. Does he honestly believe that a retirement-type event honoring a member of Congress who has supported the needs of chaplains would not be attended by appreciative members of the military chaplaincy? Is he really so misguided as to think that the DOD IG is going to state that military chaplains attending a retirement event for a member of the House in the company of other House members and a U.S. Senator is a punishable offense? Sadly, he appears to be.
That’s true, with nuance. Weinstein wouldn’t have Read more