Tag Archives: first liberty institute

Breaking: Bayview Cross Will Stand

As previously discussed, the Bayview Cross in Pensacola, Florida, had been challenged on the same grounds as the Bladensburg Peace Cross, with accusations it was an unconstitutional endorsement of the Christian faith.

The original court ruled against the Bayview Cross — reluctantly, essentially asking the Supreme Court to overrule it. The Supreme Court remanded the Bayview Cross case after its Bladensburg ruling.

Now, the 11th Circuit Court of Appeals has finally formally ruled the Bayview Cross can stand: Read more

Mikey Weinstein, Chris Rodda Panic over Dog Tag Legislation

Last July, Michael “Mikey” Weinstein’s MRFF complained to the US military that Shields of Strength was combining US military trademarks with Bible verses on novelty dog tags. SoS did have authorization to use the military trademarks, but the Army told SoS to stop to prevent the “negative press.” A few weeks ago, the Marines did the same thing. First Liberty has come to their defense.

In an op-ed published at the Military Times earlier this week, First Liberty’s Mike Berry told the story:

Kenny Vaughan started Shields of Strength (“SoS”). SoS is a small, faith-based company from Texas that produces military-themed items inscribed with encouraging Bible verses. For more than two decades, Kenny has been making these inspirational replica dog tags for service members and first responders. To date, SoS has donated hundreds of thousands of its replica dog tags to military units…

Over the years, SoS replica dog tags became so popular and so nearly ubiquitous that, according to author and historian Stephen Mansfield, “aside from the official insignias they wear, [the SoS dog tag] is the emblem most often carried by members of the military in Afghanistan and Iraq.”

Berry and First Liberty sent Read more

Religious Liberty Group Defends Religious-Themed Dog Tags

Remember Shields of Strength?

In July, this site highlighted the complaint by Michael “Mikey” Weinstein that caused the US military to tell Shields of Strength to stop putting Bible verses on their military-themed faux dog tags.

As noted at the time, contrary to Weinstein’s claims, the military is free to license its trademarks to anyone it wants — so long as it doesn’t discriminate on the basis of religious beliefs when it does so.

And that’s precisely what it did with the license to SoS.

First Liberty has now taken up the cause of Kenny Vaughan and Shields of Strength, sending a letter to the Army telling them what they already know: They’re guilty of viewpoint discrimination — restricting Shields of Strength only on the basis of the content of their beliefs. Said Mike Berry of First Liberty:

“The government grants licenses to people and entities all the time,” Berry said over the telephone. “What the government can’t do is discriminate when it grants those licenses. … It is basically saying ‘we’re happy to grant licenses to anyone, as long as it’s not religious.’ And that’s clearly what the Army is doing here.”

That’s precisely what the military is doing — and they’re clearly wrong to do so.

In July, Weinstein tried to Read more

Manchester POW Bible Case Proceeds, but Standing Questioned

Yesterday, the Federal District Court in New Hampshire allowed the lawsuit against the VA Medical Center POW/MIA display to proceed, and it also permitted the Northwest POW/MIA Network, which erected the display, to intervene. (The POW/MIA Network is represented by First Liberty.) In one of the more interesting arguments, the presiding judge questioned whether the plaintiff had standing because he’s a Christian. Judge Paul Barbadoro [emphasis added]

acknowledged no shortage of case law and legal precedent regarding religious symbols on public property…

But Barrington resident James Chamberlain, the plaintiff in the challenge, is a Christian who attends a Congregational church, and therein lies the rub, according to the judge.

Barbadoro said he knows of no prior case stemming from a Christian challenging a symbol of Christianity.

“If he were an atheist, he would have standing and that would be clear,” the judge said.

There are certainly legal reasons to require “standing” in a judicial proceeding — but Read more

Update: Mikey Weinstein Compares President Trump with Assassinated Roman Emperor

Regarding the speech discussed earlier today by Vice President Pence, Michael “Mikey” Weinstein eventually followed through and did not disappoint, calling Pence

one of the most repulsive and repellent fundamentalist Christian supremacists and bullies…

It’s almost funny to hear the vituperative, loud-mouthed, threat-filled Mikey Weinstein called Mike Pence — one of the most peaceable, humble men in politics today — a “bully.” Project much, Mikey?

President Trump re-tweeted Read more

VP Mike Pence to Mikey Weinstein: The Bible Stays

Vice President of the United States Mike Pence spoke at the American Legion National Convention in Indianapolis yesterday, and he had a message about a lawsuit against the Manchester VA for its display of a Bible on a POW/MIA table (previously discussed here):

You might’ve heard even today that there’s a lawsuit to remove a Bible that was carried in World War II from a Missing Man Table at a VA hospital in New Hampshire. There’s a lawsuit underway. It’s really no surprise because, under the last administration, VA hospitals were removing Bibles and even banning Christmas carols in an effort to be politically correct. But let me be clear: Under this administration, VA hospitals will not be religion-free zones.

We will always respect the freedom of religion of every veteran of every faith. And my message to the New Hampshire VA hospital is: The Bible stays.

A standing ovation followed.

Pence is Read more

POW/MIA Network Seeks to Intervene in Lawsuit over Bible

POW/MIA lawsuit may be decided on National POW/MIA Recognition Day…

The Northeast POW/MIA Network has asked the Courts to allow it to intervene in the lawsuit between James Chamberlain and the Veterans Administration, in which Chamberlain (who is being ‘sponsored’ by Michael “Mikey” Weinstein) has claimed the Manchester, NH, VA Medical Center is violating the Constitution by allowing a Bible to sit on a POW/MIA remembrance table.  The Network sponsored the display in question, and provided the Bible:

The veterans group that sponsors the oldest continuing POW-MIA vigil in the country is asking a federal court to allow it to intervene in a case that centers on whether a former POW’s Bible can be featured in a lobby display at the Manchester VA hospital…

The Manchester display includes a Bible donated by Herman “Herk” Streitburger, a Read more

VA Gives Lessons on Defying Mikey Weinstein. Again.

As has been noted here several times before, Michael “Mikey” Weinstein has made a routine event of having acolytes scour the country for POW/MIA displays, including those in VA medical facilities. Weinstein then complains loudly about the inevitable Bible on those displays in the hopes the organization would remove it. The world is made up of many people, including some who aim for peace at any price — and others who actually agree with Weinstein. As a result, Weinstein had some successes in having facilities ban the Bible, which Weinstein has loudly celebrated.  While those “victories” undoubtedly inflated his ego, Weinstein has been unusually quiet about those facilities that ignored him and left the Bible there — even if he apparently abandoned Read more

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