Many have grown accustomed to Congress taking the military to task for what it considers breaches of the religious freedom of US troops. Sometimes those congressional reprimands seem to have “fixed” issues. Other times they haven’t — and Congress has decided to pass a law to fix it instead.
It was an interesting turn, then, to see Congress go out of its way not to chide once more, but to laud the Air Force for defending religious liberty:
Congressman Doug Collins (R-Ga.) and Senator James Lankford (R-Okla.) led a bicameral letter of support to Pease Air National Guard Base (ANGB) in response to a complaint that the Freedom From Religion Foundation (FFRF) lodged against the base…
As you’ll recall, the FFRF lodged vague, vicarious complaints about chaplains’ prayers during official events. Pease AFB was so unmoved it didn’t even bother to respond to the FFRF.
Congressman Collins, who is also an Air Force Reserve Chaplain, led Read more
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
The Freedom From Religion Foundation has demanded that New Hampshire’s Pease Air National Guard (Facebook) base stop including prayer in association with official events:
A concerned guardsman informed FFRF that ceremonies at the Pease Air National Guard Base regularly have chaplains delivering invocations. These include readings from the bible and references to a Christian god. Attendance at these ceremonies is mandatory for all guardsmen.
The FFRF’s legal analysis was short and to the point: Read more
The town of Belle Plaine, Minnesota, opted to create a “limited public forum” after the Freedom From Religion Foundation threatened to sue them into financial ruin.
Because of a veterans’ memorial.
A display in a cemetery in Belle Plaine, Minnesota, honoring veterans consists of a soldier kneeling in prayer before a cross next to a grave. But a local citizen complained to the atheist Freedom From Religion Foundation. Alliance Defending Freedom attorney Doug Wardlow tells OneNewsNow the city council received a threatening letter from FFRF, contending the Constitution was being violated.
The town council initially voted to cut the cross off the memorial — which Read more
“Tattoo, tattoo, lights out in five minutes, standby for the evening prayer…”
A short but interesting article from the US Navy describes how Navy chaplain candidates — “chaplain candidate program officers,” or “CCPOs”) — are visiting aboard the embarked nuclear aircraft carrier USS John C. Stennis (CVN 74).
Of note [emphasis added]: Read more
The Freedom From Religion Foundation, whose apparent mission is to scour the public landscape for things over which to be offended, recently told the town of Hondo, Texas, that their welcome sign was unconstitutional.
The City Attorney, Frank Garza, told the “humorless” FFRF what he thought of that, noting first that the sign “clearly” survives the Lemon Test, and, more importantly, no one has been harmed: Read more
Annie Laurie Gaylor, one of two people representing the Freedom From Religion Foundation she co-founded with her husband Dan Barker, is demanding that the city of Hondo, Texas, remove a sign that calls the area “God’s Country”:
This is God’s Country. Please Don’t Drive Through It Like Hell.
Turns out the sign has been around for decades: Read more
Dan Barker, co-president with his wife of their self-founded Freedom From Religion Foundation, has filed a lawsuit against the Chaplain of the US House of Representatives, Patrick J. Conroy, because Barker was denied the opportunity to provide an atheistic “invocation.”
So, to be clear, a person who doesn’t play soccer is suing the soccer coach because he wants to be in the soccer game — but not play soccer.
Makes sense. Read more