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
More than 100 members of Congress filed an amicus brief supporting the Bladensburg cross, a “Peace Cross” that was erected after World War I to honor local war dead. The memorial was initially found to be permissible, but the Fourth Circuit court of appeals overturned that ruling, declaring it a violation of the US Constitution. The case has been appealed to the Supreme Court — which, to date, has not explicitly ruled on the long-running war on war memorials with religious iconography: Read more
For the second time, the US Navy has denied the application of Dr. Jason Heap to become a “humanist chaplain” in the sea service. A Navy board had supported his appointment; when word of that decision leaked, members of both the House and Senate wrote the Navy in protest. Those congressmen have now revealed that the Navy has rejected Heap’s application, again.
Heap’s application as been widely opposed by religious liberty groups, largely because humanism isn’t a religion — and the chaplaincy is religious.
On that point, Hemant Mehta, the poorly Read more
Though not officially announced, a few websites and organizations have revealed that the Navy Chaplain Appointment and Retention Eligibility (CARE) Advisory Group has recommended that Jason Heap, an atheist, be appointed a US Navy chaplain. (The official silence may be because CARE’s decision was leaked in violation of Navy policy, which dictates the sessions be “closed” with members forbidden from “discussing deliberations or recommendations”.)
Heap had previously sued the Navy over its denial of his application to become a chaplain. The lawsuit was largely dismissed, though some claims proceeded. One site claimed the suit was subsequently “settled” under unpublicized terms.
Navy regulations say the CARE group is primarily composed of senior chaplains and other senior leaders. CARE ensures the “full spectrum” of professional qualifications is considered when someone applies to be a chaplain. The objective, in context, is to prevent people from becoming chaplains just because they meet the bare minimum requirements.
CARE’s role is to validate Read more
Last week US Air Force Chaplain (Capt) Sonny Hernandez published a column at Barbwire.com entitled “Christian Service Members: Avoid Supporting or Accommodating Evil!” The article has been widely criticized — from the much-expected Michael “Mikey” Weinstein, to Chelsea Clinton, to multiple other sites — by those who have taken issue with Hernandez’s views on Christianity and military religious freedom.
Some of the criticisms are laced with the vitriol of those who despise Christianity in any form but milquetoast — so it wouldn’t matter what Hernandez said. Some of the criticisms are more academic. But almost all call for Hernandez’s head — or at least a pro forma “investigation” followed by a foregone dismissal. While Hernandez may have said — and did say — things that seemed illogical, theologically questionable, or wrong, nothing he said was illegal or otherwise a violation of any rule, regulation, or law. Those who are attacking his ability to serve in the US military — that so-called bastion of tolerance and diversity — have no leg upon which Read more
In an “exclusive,” CBN News talked to Ralph Drollinger of Capitol Ministries and his successful efforts to lead Bible studies at the White House — presumably after an 8-year Obama Administration hiatus:
Drollinger is a former NBA-playing giant of a man with an even bigger calling. He founded Capitol Ministries with the idea that if you change the hearts of lawmakers, then their Christian world view will guide them to make good policies.
He’s started Bible studies in 40 state capitols, a number of foreign capitols, teaches weekly studies in the U.S. House and Senate and now leads about a dozen members of President Trump’s Cabinet in weekly studies of the scriptures.
Health Secretary Tom Price, Energy Secretary Rick Perry, Education Secretary Betsy DeVos, Agriculture Secretary Sunny Perdue, and CIA Director Mike Pompeo are just a few of the regulars.
The article leads off by noting President Trump’s staff has “been called Read more
Hemant Mehta recently stumbled all over himself trying to say that the Southern Poverty Law Center’s designation of “hate groups” is fine when it comes to Christians, but not when it comes to atheists (something he first tried to do last November).
Just a few days ago Mehta defended the SPLC when Guidestar, a charity review site, began including the SPLC’s ‘opinion’ on charities it claims are “hate groups”. Within the conversation, Mehta appropriated the SPLC’s “hate group” designation for some Christian groups. When those groups complained they were being targeted for their beliefs, Mehta said “that’s a lie” and celebrated the idea they would lose charitable donations for the designation. (Guidestar subsequently dropped the categorization under pressure.)
Then, the news broke that Maajid Nawaz is suing the SPLC. He’s a former Read more
Critics have come out in force against US Senator Bernie Sanders (I-Vt) after he said he would not support President Trump’s nominee for the deputy director of the White House Office of Management and Budget, Russell Vought. Sanders’ reason? Vought has Christian beliefs, which he expressed in a column defending Wheaton College in 2016 in which he said that “Muslims stand condemned”:
Muslims do not simply have a deficient theology. They do not know God because they have rejected Jesus Christ his Son, and they stand condemned.
In his questioning during the confirmation hearing for Vought’s nomination to the OMB, Sanders asked:
Do you believe people in the Muslim religion stand condemned? Is that your view?
…I don’t know how many Muslims there are in America. Maybe a couple million. Are you suggesting that these people stand condemned? What about Jews? Do they stand condemned too?
In your judgment, do you think that people who are not Christians are going to be condemned?
I would simply say, Mr. Chairman that this nominee is really not someone who this country is supposed to be about.
Atheists, liberals, and Christians alike have condemned Read more