Update: Now widely covered at various sites, those they don’t name US Army Soldier Austin Harasti.
The Army Times reports that a Soldier at the 14th Military Police Brigade at Fort Leonard Wood, Missouri, has been granted a religious accommodation to wear a beard — because he is a “Norse pagan.” From Col Curtis Shroeder’s memo to the 795th Military Police Battalion Soldier [emphasis added]:
“In observance of your Heathen; Norse Pagan faith, you may wear a beard, in accordance with Army uniform and grooming standards for soldiers with approved religious accommodations.”
Interestingly, there is no tenet of “Norse pagan faith” that requires a beard, as a heathen-advocacy site pointed out. As quoted in the article:
According to the Open Halls Project, an advocacy group for heathens serving in the military, the beard is a beloved tradition, but not a requirement.
“There is no religious requirement for beards in Heathenry,” according to a 2017 post about beards. “…We, as Heathens, have no such religious requirement with regards to hair.”
In essence, this is the same as a Christian seeking a waiver for a beard because Jesus had one. That said, Army policy is to, by default, grant the accommodation so long as Read more
In a column published by the Air Force Times, US Air Force SSgt Preston Haskell called the Chief of Staff of the Air Force, Gen David Goldfein, “wrong.”
Kind of a bold move, but he has an interesting point of view, including this tidbit on whether the Air Force values diversity over unity:
A truly pervasive cultural phenomenon is plaguing our military, and that is one of political correctness. For example, one of my most cherished feelings I have about our military is how integrated and multifaceted we all are. I absolutely love that I work with people from almost every background, race and religion our nation has to offer. So why would the Air Force encourage division?
You are allowed to be proud, and even proclaim that pride, in being black, Latino, homosexual, atheist or transgender, yet I cannot Read more
Michael “Mikey” Weinstein recently attacked a chaplain at TARDEC (a US Army facility in Michigan) for doing exactly what Mikey Weinstein demanded.
In his press release — the only public source of this information — Weinstein said a command chaplain sent an email to everyone at TARDEC:
The email from the TARDEC Command Chaplain’s Office promoted an event entitled ‘The Passion and the Glory’…
This email was sent to all TARDEC personnel (around 8,000) with no opt-out or reply options for recipients.
It was, by Weinstein’s own admission, an email of upcoming religious services (the week preceding Easter) — an informative email wholly in keeping with the purpose of US military communications. In addition, it was handled in a way Mikey Weinstein once claimed was appropriate.
Remember, just a few years ago Weinstein was on record attacking military commanders who allowed announcements of religious issues to go out through “command” channels. Weinstein claimed Read more
Chris Rodda — Michael “Mikey” Weinstein’s sometime research assistant — wrote a column yesterday at the Washington Examiner saying “Bibles don’t belong on POW remembrance tables.” (Two years ago Rodda said the same thing, though it was only self-published on the Huffington Post. The Examiner opportunity was apparently created by Mike Berry’s article on the same website.)
It’s possible an editor chose her title (and also word-limited the normally very verbose Rodda), but it’s worth noting Rodda never gets around to saying why Bibles ‘don’t belong on POW tables.’
First, she says that, historically, early POW/MIA remembrance tables didn’t have Bibles. She revisits her previous strawman by saying the American Legion doesn’t include Bibles in its remembrance ceremony, as if that is remotely relevant. Her point was long ago rebutted: The issue isn’t what the Legion — or any other group — chooses to do; it’s what they prohibit others from doing.
No one is traipsing around the country demanding Bibles be included on POW/MIA tables — at the American Legion or anywhere else. What some Americans are doing is Read more
The recent incident involving a POW/MIA memorial table — in which Michael “Mikey” Weinstein claimed a Bible was an illegal promotion of Christianity — serves as a potent reminder of the danger of trying to appease Weinstein.
Consider Weinstein’s response to the Navy’s decision to rebuff his demand [emphasis added]:
MRFF has long enjoyed considerable success in the very recent past in getting Christian bibles removed from military and civilian agency POW/MIA display tables…
He’s right. Weinstein has “enjoyed” coercing agencies into removing Bibles — because they’ve surrendered to him. But they didn’t surrender because they had to. There was no legal, Read more
Update: In response to this denial, Mikey Weinstein is now demanding the POW/MIA table be piled with books of various other spiritualities. This is standard Weinstein fare (he’s used it before) for trying to try to milk the “controversy” timeline and make the situation as annoying as possible in hopes he’ll be placated. Meanwhile, who, precisely, is being “honored” by this?
As reported at the San Diego Tribune, the US Navy has rebuffed Michael “Mikey” Weinstein’s attempt to have a POW/MIA display “investigated” because it contained a Bible:
In a letter dated April 17 and mailed to New York attorney Donald G. Rehkopf Jr., San Diego-based Rear Adm. Paul D. Pearigen said that “neither further review nor an investigation of this matter is necessary.”
Initially, it appeared the Navy had asked “how high?” when Weinstein Read more
Update: In an interesting take, Patrick Hornbeck, a department chair of theology at Fordham University and an open homosexual, admitted that Chaplain Squires was “mistreated,” but attributed it to the natural consequences of “bureacracy” and a “well-meaning if somewhat confused investigator.”
The world waited with bated breath for Michael “Mikey” Weinstein — self-declared savior of military religious freedom — to speak on the case of Chaplain (Maj) Scott Squires. Chaplain Squires had been investigated and recommended for reprimand after he re-scheduled a Strong Bonds event just so a homosexual could attend, hosted by a different chaplain whose endorsing agency apparently is not morally opposed to homosexual “marriage.” Given the affront to his faith, and his efforts to accommodate the homosexual couple in an a different affirming event, naturally a defender of religious freedom would rally to Chaplain Squires’ side.
Noting that Chaplain Squires was following his endorsing agency’s guidance, as both the agency and the US Army requires, this was Weinstein’s response:
Our argument is [Defense Secretary Jim Mattis] ought to disqualify that particular entity as a chaplain endorsing agency.
Weinstein Read more
In what seems to be second case of Equal Opportunity offices gone wild, another US military EO office has determined that a Christian military officer is guilty of discrimination — and should be reprimanded — because of his religious beliefs about sexuality.
US Army Chaplain Scott Squires was apparently tasked to host a Strong Bonds marriage retreat — and a homosexual couple signed up. Chaplain Squires is a Southern Baptist, and his ecclesiastical endorser has said Southern Baptist chaplains can’t perform ministry that might appear to condone sexual sin. (This would be equally true for any Catholic or Muslim chaplain.) Thus, Chaplain Squires rescheduled the Strong Bonds event to a weekend in which another chaplain — one whose faith group would support a homosexual “marriage” — could host the event.
That wasn’t good enough. The Soldier complained to EO — and the EO office said the chaplain should be reprimanded [emphasis added]: Read more