Not long after receiving a letter (PDF) from the First Liberty Institute, the New Hampshire Air National Guard at the Pease ANG Base has said they have chosen to ignore the previously reported complaint from the Freedom From Religion Foundation:
“We don’t plan on responding to the FFRF,” [Greg Heilshorn, spokesman for the New Hampshire National Guard] said. “We haven’t had any formal complaints from our airmen internally regarding any concerns with prayers being said at various ceremonies. We will continue as we’ve done before. It’s our tradition. We believe our chaplains…[are a] vital part of our organization.”
Well done. The US military is not obligated to respond to the FFRF — or any other third party complaint — at all. By declining to do so, they avoid the perception they are legitimizing the FFRF or its generalized accusations about religious expression in the US military. Meanwhile, if there are any actual complainants who have an actionable grievance, they still have access to every grievance system within the military.
Part of the issue with Read more
First Liberty Institute, one of the leading religious liberty legal groups in the country, recently said in an interview that they’re very hopeful about the opportunities for freedom under the Trump administration. Kelly Shackelford, president and CEO of the First Liberty Institute, said
that President Donald Trump “made a lot of promises as a candidate about religious freedom. He’s very committed to making sure that things changed. And so now it’s just going to be a matter of whether those promises are followed through.
“So far, he’s been fulfilling his promises. Read more
Michael “Mikey” Weinstein has an abysmal record as a lawyer, having participated in at least six lawsuits in the past few years and having won exactly zero. (An MRFF FOIA lawsuit against the US Air Force Academy is scheduled for a settlement conference this month.)
In 2016, Weinstein’s impotence grew so much he lost in yet another area, his near-annual competition for the Christmas Grinch. Over the past couple of years Mikey Weinstein has been Read more
The American Humanist Association’s bid to have the Bladensburg Peace Cross war memorial torn down (or its cross member sawn off) continued this month with oral arguments at the Fourth Circuit court of appeals. The AHA lost their case last year and appealed in December 2015.
The First Liberty Institute, which is defending the cross, accurately Read more
The case of former US Marine LCpl Monifa Sterling, who made national news when her court-martial included charges related to posting a Bible verse on her desk, has been appealed to the US Supreme Court.
Sterling was a substandard Marine, but the straw that broke the camel’s back to get her court-martialed was posting, “No weapon formed against me shall prosper,” a paraphrase of Isaiah 54:17…
Religious liberty lawyers at First Liberty Institute agreed that Sterling’s posting Bible verses is protected by law…[and] recruit[ed] one of the greatest Supreme Court litigators in recent decades, former Solicitor General Paul Clement, to lead their team…
Sterling’s case has become a fascinating discriminator for Read more
Todd Starnes made news last week when he announced he’d invited the US Army’s Six-String Soldiers to perform at his annual Fox Radio Christmas Show — and the Army denied his request because it determined the event was “religious.”
Starnes didn’t dispute the characterization:
I’ve been busted, folks. What the Army alleged is the gospel truth.
My Fox Christmas show unashamedly proclaims that Jesus is the reason for the season. We are loud and proud.
In my defense, though, the reason my Christmas show is religious is because Christmas is in fact a religious holiday.
Former Presidential candidate Mike Huckabee, though, rejected the Read more
A Military Chaplain’s Practical Perspective, Part 2
by Sonny Hernandez
The lesbian, gay, bisexual, and transgender (LGBT) movement is drifting the military culture away from the Lord and into lewdness. An observer may wonder if patriotism is being replaced with perversion, or honorable service is substituted for homosexuality, and if serving with integrity is now sexual immorality, based upon the current policies that are manifesting themselves in the Armed Forces.
The military ultimately reflects the culture from which it is drawn, as demonstrated when Defense Secretary Ash Carter announced transgender individuals will be able to openly serve, which will result in transgender training for service members in the future. The full policy will be completely implemented no later than July 1, 2017. An observer may also deduce that this will add to the woes for Bible-believing Christians that are serving in the US military.
LGBT advocates will demand that they be “treated with love and acceptance,” but will threaten Read more
It’s been in the paperwork for months, but the “exciting” political environment has overshadowed the potential religious liberty fight brewing in the 2017 National Defense Authorization Act. The House version of the NDAA contains a simple, if seemingly obtuse, statement known as the Russell Amendment (via Rep. Steve Russell, R-OK, who offered the amendment):
Any branch or agency of the Federal Government shall, with respect to any religious corporation, religious association, religious educational institution, or religious society that is a recipient of or offeror for a Federal Government contract, subcontract, grant, purchase order, or cooperative agreement, provide protections and exemptions consistent with sections 702(a) and 703(e)(2) of the Civil Rights Act of 1964 (42 U.S.C. 2000e-1(a) and 42 U.S.C. 2000e-2(e)(2)) and section 103(D) of the Americans with Disabilities Act of 1990 (42 USC 12113(D)).
The short version of the story is that in 2014 President Obama issued an Executive Order that required anyone wanting to do business with the Federal government to affirmatively state they hire without regard to “sexual orientation or gender identity.” That could very well affect a large number of contractors who do hire with regard to such issues — because they hire based on the requirements of their religious faith.
The Russell Amendment basically Read more