Though it isn’t being reported this way, last Friday President Trump actually rescinded the ban he previously implemented on transgenders in the military last August. The new memorandum (PDF) explicitly withdrew his prior policy:
I hereby revoke my memorandum of August 25, 2017, “Military Service by Transgender Individuals,” and any other directive I may have made with respect to military service by transgender individuals.
The new memo did not institute a new presidential directive. Rather, the President deferred to the Department of Defense — that is, the “independent judgment” of the DoD — with regard to its policies. He said [emphasis added]:
These [DoD-produced] documents set forth the policies on this issue that the Secretary of Defense, in the exercise of his independent judgment, has concluded should be adopted by the Department of Defense.
It’s a clever move. Lawsuits and Read more
Michael “Mikey” Weinstein, ever the publicity seeker, recently put out a statement opposing the appointment of Mike Pompeo to replace Rex Tillerson as Secretary of State.
The reason Weinstein doesn’t think Pompeo should be allowed to serve as SecState? Pompeo is a Christian — but not the right kind of Christian, according to Mikey, who said [emphasis added]:
I am disgusted…by [Trump] for picking Mike Pompeo, an unabashedly fundamentalist evangelical to replace Rex Tillerson as Secretary of State…
Pompeo is explicitly Islamophobic. He sees the war on terrorism as akin to a holy war and remarked that terrorists will “continue to press against us until we make sure that we pray and stand and fight and make sure that we know that Jesus Christ is our savior [sic] is truly the only solution for our world.” Pompeo appears a proponent of the biblical apocalyptic “rapture,” and MRFF’s fear is that his appointment is yet a closer step towards allowing dominionist fundamentalist elements the opportunity to invoke biblical ideology as a means to initiate a “holy war” with the middle east.
Note that Weinstein provides no context or support for labeling Read more
Though not officially announced, a few websites and organizations have revealed that the Navy Chaplain Appointment and Retention Eligibility (CARE) Advisory Group has recommended that Jason Heap, an atheist, be appointed a US Navy chaplain. (The official silence may be because CARE’s decision was leaked in violation of Navy policy, which dictates the sessions be “closed” with members forbidden from “discussing deliberations or recommendations”.)
Heap had previously sued the Navy over its denial of his application to become a chaplain. The lawsuit was largely dismissed, though some claims proceeded. One site claimed the suit was subsequently “settled” under unpublicized terms.
Navy regulations say the CARE group is primarily composed of senior chaplains and other senior leaders. CARE ensures the “full spectrum” of professional qualifications is considered when someone applies to be a chaplain. The objective, in context, is to prevent people from becoming chaplains just because they meet the bare minimum requirements.
CARE’s role is to validate Read more
At The Ada News, a local paper from just outside Oklahoma City, Richard Putnam wrote a short piece on “Christians and Violence” entitled “The Veterans’ Chaplain.”
Putnam, who apparently supports the concept of a military and non-pacifistic defense, also says:
How…do we square the business of defending ourselves and our loved ones with Jesus’ explicit command to not engage in violence? The answer is, of course, that we cannot. We cannot obey Jesus’ command to remain nonviolent and engage in battle to protect our families.
The short column is best summed up here [emphasis added]: Read more
Michael “Mikey” Weinstein tried to stop Kenneth Copeland from speaking at Fort Jackson’s Prayer Breakfast in February, apparently believing he needed to protect US troops from Copeland’s religious beliefs regarding faith, healing, and PTSD. While Weinstein’s pleas were loud and desperate, the event went on regardless.
Not much later, David Barton — seemingly Chris Rodda’s sworn enemy — spoke at Joint Base Langley-Eustis, but the MRFF was apparently unaware. Since no one complained, Weinstein and Rodda were unable to protect the troops from Barton’s — presumably offensive — Christian beliefs and presentation on the history of prayer in America.
At about the same time, another prayer luncheon occurred at Fort Hunter Liggett, where a keynote speaker held politically sensitive views and religious beliefs opposed by a substantial percentage of American citizens — and, yet again, Mikey Weinstein was silent.
This time, the speaker Read more
After all the stories about “firsts” with regard to female and African-American chaplains, the Georgia Army National Guard had its own first, with a chaplain who was a first in his faith:
[Paul] McCabe became the first Episcopal Chaplain the history of the Georgia Army National Guard.
On one hand, this seems Read more
Vice President Mike Pence made waves a few months ago when word got around that, as a rule, he would not spend time alone with a woman who was not his wife. It was almost immediately coined “The Mike Pence Rule,” though it was actually “the Billy Graham rule” for the preceding few decades, and it has been a fairly common “rule” in the Christian community just as long.
As was pointed out several months ago, many in media and society strained to portray the “Pence rule” as a bad thing. Katelyn Beatynov wrote an OpEd at the NYTimes on “A Christian Case Against the Pence Rule,” essentially saying the rule was an admission that men were uncontrollable “beasts”:
The Pence rule arises from a broken view of the sexes: Men are lustful beasts that must be contained, while women are objects of desire that must be hidden away. Offering the Pence rule as a solution to male predation is like saying, “I can’t meet with you one on one, otherwise I might eventually assault you.”
Awkwardly, Beatynov is unable to square her takedown with her own comments in that same article saying “there’s wisdom” in the rule. David French did a more than adequate rebuttal of Beatynov’s Read more
After Michael “Mikey” Weinstein recently decried the National Prayer Breakfasts at both Fort Jackson and Whiteman AFB, one might have thought US troops were stumbling over each other to beg for his help in the face of religious oppression and pancakes.
In actuality, National Prayer Breakfasts are happening at military facilities around the country — entirely without incident. Even the ones Weinstein complained about so boisterously occurred without so much as a ripple.
Why the disconnect? Aside from the obvious answer that Weinstein doesn’t always tell the truth, the simple fact is US service members aren’t coming to Weinstein in droves to complain about these events — or anything else, for that matter — despite Weinstein’s claims to the contrary.
Rather, Mikey Weinstein finds out about an event — even if just from a simple internet news alert — socializes it among his followers to create “complainants”, and then tries to ride the complaints about the event for publicity (and his personal benefit, of course).
In other words, the “complaints” are essentially manufactured. But for Mikey Read more