Michael Weinstein and his Military Religious Freedom Foundation have been repeatedly called out over the past few weeks for displaying an odious double standard: Weinstein has demanded various military Christians be court-martialed, accusing them of using their positions of power to proselytize and coercing subordinates based on their religion. He has failed to make any similar call against accused Fort Hood gunman Maj. Nidal Malik Hasan, even though Hasan has been accused of doing exactly the same things.
However, Michael Weinstein has finally asked, “Should Hasan be court-martialed?” Oddly, he never answers his own question.
To his credit, Weinstein does make a (qualified) statement that Hasan should have been court-martialed. That would be the most serious, if parsed, statement Weinstein has made against a person not of the Christian faith in the military. However, Read more
Groups and individuals (and there are several) who have recently proposed banning Muslims from serving in the US military as a result of the Fort Hood massacre are demonstrating naivete and an incorrect understanding of both the military and the US Constitution.
No American citizen should be prohibited from any government role, including military service, purely because of his religious beliefs.
Besides being ludicrous on its face, the enforcement of such a religious ban Read more
There have been two interesting cases of soldiers refusing to deploy. Both were court-martialed and convicted, both share the same lawyer, and both are from Fort Hood–but the details of how they handled themselves (and the punishments they received) are in stark contrast.
The first, Sgt. David Travis Bishop, 26, was found guilty by special court martial and sentenced to a year in jail and a bad conduct discharge, as well as a reduction in grade and fine. Bishop reportedly began studying his Bible after a tour in Iraq and Read more
The Washington Post writes that a Quaker has sued the Selective Service, with the assistance of the ACLU, because there is no way for him to record his status as a conscientious objector on the Selective Service registration forms. Because of that omission and Tobin D. Jacobrown’s refusal, he will be in violation of the law requiring registration and may be unable to obtain certain federal benefits. (As he is now 21, he has technically already violated the law, which requires him to register within 30 days of his 18th birthday.)
A Selective Service representative accurately pointed out that the system does not currently record objector status; instead, should the draft be instated, the application for such status would Read more
As previously noted, a federal court has reaffirmed the decision to grant an Army soldier a conscientious objector status over the protests of the Army.
A federal court has ruled that the Army must grant conscientious objector status to an Alaska-based soldier whose application was previously denied. Historically, the Army has insisted that a CO object to all war, not just “this” war, and the soldier’s previous comments seemed to indicate that he looked forward to combat. The soldier indicated that his objection developed as a result of what he saw in Iraq. The judge did concede that the military had a legitimate concern on the “timing” of the CO application, but that it could not deny it based solely on that cause.
The text of the ruling can be seen at the Religion Clause.
At the direction of Congress, the Government Accounting Office conducted a study of conscientious objectors, the trends in the military, and the military processes.
A summary of the report, which also contains a link to the full report, indicates that over the past 5 years there have been 425 applications for conscientious objector status; 53% were approved and 44% were denied, with the others having some form of administrative status. Of those that were approved, all but 14 received honorable discharges. The remainder received “general” discharges. Average time for application processing was 7 months.
As reported on a variety of local news sources, a 2004 USMA grad is suing the Army for conscientious objector status after his application was twice denied. The Captain is claiming a conversion to a pacifist interpretation of the Bible.