The US military has just updated its regulations with the intent of improving the protection of military religious freedom.
Department of Defense Instruction (DoDI) 1300.17 was previously known as “Accommodation of Religious Practices Within the Military Services,” but is now re-titled simply “Religious Liberty in the Military Services” (PDF). The new DoDI title sets the tone for a policy that presupposes religious liberty, rather than treats it as an outlier that may sometimes be “accommodated.”
That change in tone mimics the tone change in religious liberty policies in the Air Force – which may not be a coincidence. The new DoDI was approved by Undersecretary of Defense Matthew Donovan – a former Air Force fighter pilot who has been both an Undersecretary of the Air Force and even the Acting Secretary of the Air Force in the past few years, during which the tenor (if not always the actions) of Air Force policy leaned toward religious freedom.
It seems President Trump’s selection of Undersecretary Donovan may have set the stage for improving religious liberty in the US military.
As to the DoDI itself, it notably Read more
When he realizes the woman he once attacked as “the literal Poster Child [sic] of American fundamentalist Christian military Crusaderism”…
has become the literal poster child of the US Air Force Academy: Read more
Michael “Mikey” Weinstein’s “charity,” the MRFF, recently published a bit of fan-mail from a person excoriating President Trump’s Tuesday proclamation of Religious Freedom Day.
And even Weinstein’s own research assistant, Chris Rodda, probably grimaced.
The letter, written by a “30-year Active Duty Air Force Officer”, lambasts Trump’s proclamation, claiming it is a “dog whistle of Fundamentalist Christian Dominionism.” As proof [formatting original]:
To understand his real declaratory intent, we need only look at his last paragraph in which he says, “I have hereunto set my hand this sixteenth day of January, in the year of our Lord two thousand eighteen…”
…[Trump] ENLARGES the views of those that see 2018 as ‘The Year of Our Lord,’ i.e., Christians only.
Longevity in the military is clearly no guarantor of intellectual acuity.
As anyone with an elementary education and an internet connection could tell you, the Read more
Michael “Mikey” Weinstein used to say he would give his last drop of blood — and encourage his kids to give their last drop of blood — to defend the right of people to have their religious beliefs, even if he disagreed with them. While most of Weinstein’s talking points haven’t changed over the past ten years, this one has: He dropped this oft-repeated phrase long ago — likely because he knows it isn’t true.
Still, he leaned in that principled direction recently when on a “religious liberty panel” — a panel with such “diverse” religious liberty experts as the ACLU, AU, and Pedro Irgonegaray, one of Weinstein’s MRFF “voices.” In that panel, Weinstein said:
I don’t care what their [religious] views are. What I care (about) is when they try to use the power of the U.S. military to propagate it.
That’s a demonstrably false statement. Just take one quick example: When Read more
Michael “Mikey” Weinstein reserved special vitriol for US Air Force Major Christina “Thumper” Hopper when he accused her of being
the literal Poster Child [sic] of American fundamentalist Christian military Crusaderism.
Her high crime and misdemeanor? She had the gall to be quoted saying this in an Air Force personal story article:
The reason and the purpose behind everything I do is to glorify God and to make his name known.
For that reason only, Mikey Weinstein — “defender” of religious freedom — accused Hopper of Read more
When GOP Presidential candidate Ben Carson rose in the polls a couple of months ago, a buzz started — mostly among activists and agitators — about the religious statements made by his now-chief of staff, retired Gen Bob Dees. (Dees had long been on Carson’s staff, but Carson’s rise brought sudden attention to otherwise old information.)
Now that Ted Cruz has risen to be Donald Trump’s primary challenger, critics of faith and liberty have shifted the “religious analysis” to him.
At the liberal-leftist Daily Kos, Ian Reifowitz called on his readers to imagine if a Jew or Muslim had said what Cruz had. Citing Politico, Reifowitz quoted Cruz:
“I’m a Christian first, American second, conservative third and Republican fourth…I’ll tell ya, there are a whole lot of people in this country that feel exactly the same way.”
Could you imagine, for example, a Jewish candidate for president saying that he or she was a Jew first and an American second? Now imagine the sheer outrage if a Muslim American of any prominence whatsoever declared that he or she was Muslim first and American second. People’s heads would explode.
Reifowitz’s argument was almost immediately Read more
Michael “Mikey” Weinstein finally published his response to the Hopper dinner invite that was previously covered by MRFF ally Bob Lawrence and Christina Hopper herself, via Weinstein’s website.
Within the 2,000-word missive, Weinstein gets close — so close — to acknowledging he treated Hopper disrespectfully and wrongfully. But he never quite gets there.
He lauds the evening they spent together and even the character of Hopper and her husband, but even as he now realizes she doesn’t “stalk [her] helpless, lower-ranking subordinates,” he can’t bring himself to retract his accusation that she is a “proselytizing Air Force officer” who has “thrashed” Read more
US Air Force Major Christina “Thumper” Hopper, recently made famous as a target of Michael “Mikey” Weinstein, wrote an email to Weinstein last Wednesday with a brief outline of the event her husband’s “invitation to dinner” had become. The letter was intended for publication, and Weinstein duly posted it on his website. It seems to have been written at least in part as a result of Bob Lawrence’s blog a few days earlier.
In the letter, Hopper explains why they invited Mikey Weinstein to dinner after he denigrated her online:
My husband and I invited Mikey to dinner because we strive to live in harmony with others and hold to the biblical principle that if possible, as far as it depends on us, we should live peaceably with all (Rom 12:18). So, we wanted the opportunity to Read more