As reported at the Religion Clause, the 1st Circuit Court of Appeals has permitted the optional inclusion of “So Help Me God” in the oath of naturalization. Referring to the test used by the Supreme Court regarding the Bladensburg Peace Cross, the Court said:
We follow the Supreme Court’s most recent framework and apply American Legion’s presumption of constitutionality to the phrase “so help me God” in the naturalization oath because we consider the inclusion of similar words to be a ceremonial, longstanding practice as an optional means of completing an oath. And because the record does not demonstrate a discriminatory intent in maintaining those words in the oath or “deliberate disrespect” by the inclusion of the words, Perrier-Bilbo cannot overcome the presumption.
That amount of legal defense almost seems ridiculous, given that the plaintiff was complaining about an optional phrase. She wasn’t trying to avoid saying something she didn’t want to; she wanted to prevent others the option of saying it. She’d already been given more than one option to omit the phrase: Read more
Michael “Mikey” Weinstein recently declared “victory” after a second Veterans Administration facility altered the traditional POW/MIA remembrance table in response to his complaints.
An MRFF representative, retired US Army Capt Jordan Ray, had filed the complaint about the facility more than an hour and a half away from him — so far out of his way, in fact, that he asked the VA to take the time to photograph the “new” display so he didn’t have to drive down to do it himself, giving the MRFF a fundraising prop for free.
Writing at FoxNews.com, Mike Berry of First Liberty Institute decried Michael “Mikey” Weinstein’s attempts to overturn the tables of POW/MIA remembrance memorials around the country:
Michael “Mikey” Weinstein, founder and president of the deceptively-named Military Religious Freedom Foundation (MRFF), demanded an Akron, Ohio VA clinic remove the Bible from its POW/MIA remembrance table. This isn’t the first time the MRFF has targeted a symbol of faith for our nation’s POWs and MIAs. In 2014, it attacked remembrance tables in the Air Force and Navy.
It goes without saying that Weinstein has an issue with the Bible. Besides his Read more
Update: Follow-ups by US Air Force Chaplain and Congressman Doug Collins, Christian Today, and the Christian News Network.
Last Thursday Michael “Mikey” Weinstein’s MRFF trumpeted his influence in getting a VA clinic to remove a Bible and Bible verse from a POW/MIA table. The story was essentially ignored until FoxNews’ Todd Starnes reported on it yesterday [emphasis added]:
A Bible and Bible verse were removed from a POW/MIA display inside an Ohio Veteran’s Administration clinic after the notorious Military Religious Freedom Foundation complained.
The religious artifacts were part of a “Missing Man Table” recently erected by volunteers at an outpatient clinic in Akron.
Weinstein called the presence of Bible a “violation of the US Constitution.” While the VA didn’t necessarily agree, in an ill-fated attempt to avoid offending someone, they kowtowed.
Starnes accurately reported that official military and government Read more
While it may not always seem so, attacks on religious freedom in the military are phased and timed. Critics likely know that if they pick and lose the wrong battle, or too many battles, they will lose their access to the press and even some of their own supporters. Some critics also know how to work the press, holding onto stories while there are major world events ongoing, and waiting for a lull (and a Tuesday).
That’s why Michael “Mikey” Weinstein recently went after the “so help me God” in the cadet honor oath: it was an easy target, about which few outside of USAFA even cared. It was enough to get him back in the media without over-selling his point.
That’s also likely one reason Read more
In 2010 West Point Cadet Alan Spadone was disenrolled for failing to participate in a remediation program after admitting to violating the Honor Code. He was directed to begin serving as an enlisted soldier, as he had already begun his third year at West Point when he committed his violation in the fall of 2009.
He filed civil complaints on multiple counts, including everything from the remediation program was unreasonable to the government was trying to “enrich itself” by making him serve as a soldier. Those claims were all dismissed in a recent ruling:
Spadone has not established that his suspension and disenrollment from West Point violated the APA or his right to due process, and Spadone failed to demonstrate a waiver of sovereign immunity for his claim of unjust enrichment.
Interestingly, however, Spadone is permitted to continue his claim that the Establishment Clause of the US Constitution was violated when Read more