Update: SPC Valdovinos has apparently now asked Fort Carson for a copy of the report, and, as is glaringly obvious and noted below, was told to file a FOIA. She’s complained no one told her she’d need to do that. You know who should have told her? Her supposed legal representation, Michael “Mikey” Weinstein. His incompetence is staggering.
Remember US Army SGT Cesilia Valdovinos? Back in April she was Michael “Mikey” Weinstein’s golden ticket, with her story of Islamophobic persecution at the hands of the US Army garnering him international attention. Multiple headlines portended an upcoming lawsuit against the US military for its treatment of the Muslim Soldier.
SGT Valdovinos was promptly forgotten, including, it seems, by Mikey Weinstein.
The Colorado Springs Gazette, on the other hand, stayed on the story and obtained a copy of the local investigation directed by the Brigade Commander, Col David Zinn. The investigator, Capt Jeremey Kinder, included
more than a dozen interviews in assembling a 67-page report. It cleared the Army of the discrimination claims but also showed the service has plenty of learning to do.
“I find that better communication with all parties involved would have de-escalated the situation and recommend that future inspections of a personal nature be conducted in complete privacy…”
The report also noted that SGT — now SPC, following an unrelated demotion — Valdovinos Read more
There’s been much ado about the fact the State Department declined to authorize US embassies to fly “gay pride” rainbow flags from the main embassy flagpoles. (The wailing and gnashing of teeth failed to acknowledge the “ban” only applied to flagpoles, and such flags or other similar decorations were allowed to be flown elsewhere. In fact, one report seemed to think the continued displays were “defiance”, when Vice President Pence explicitly stated no other restrictions were placed on the display of “pride”.) President Obama had begun declaring June “gay pride month,” a “celebration” that has largely fallen silent under President Trump.
US Rep Ilhan Oman even claimed the denial was “bigotry and discrimination” by the Trump administration — strong words, given the traditional treatment of homosexuals by her Islamic faith.
And while the US State Department would not allow “gay pride” to join the US flag around the world, a US Air Force AWACS crew decided they’d advertise on the flight line of in a deployed location:
“On our deployment Read more
In a first for the Service, the US Air Force has allowed a Sikh Airman to wear a beard in uniform:
The U.S. Air Force has granted a religious accommodation to an active duty Sikh airman that will allow him to wear a turban, beard and unshorn hair in accordance with his faith.
In a statement, Airman 1st Class Harpreetinder Singh Bajwa said he was “overjoyed that Read more
US Air Force Academy Computer Science professor Barry Fagin is continuing his role as an inside source for Michael “Mikey” Weinstein’s vendetta against religious freedom at USAFA. Last Wednesday he attended an Easter-themed presentation (only because he wanted to report on it) sponsored by Christian Faculty Fellowship on the topic of the Shroud of Turin. As dutifully repeated by the MRFF mouthpiece, Pam Zubeck [emphasis added]:
Barry Fagin…argues the school’s seeming endorsement of the talk…is embarrassing in light of scientific evidence that the shroud is merely a 14th century forgery…
Military Religious Freedom Foundation founder Mikey Weinstein says that 23 people — cadets, faculty and staff — complained to him about the lecture…Weinstein says he was told by the complainants that they were disappointed…
A former insider, former Col and now retired BGen Marty France, moved directly from USAFA to Weinstein’s board and wrote a letter to USAFA complaining about the presentation on Read more
As has now been widely reported, US Army SPC Cesilia Valdovinos — who converted to Islam in March 2016 — has claimed discrimination over her wear of the hijab, for which she was granted a religious accommodation just last summer. According to Valdovinos, a senior enlisted leader required her to remove her hijab to prove her hair was being correctly worn underneath it. (While the accommodation was granted, she is still required to maintain certain standards, even under the hijab.) The reason for the “inspection” was the belief her hair was not properly maintained while under her hijab, as was required. When she removed the hijab, her hair was, indeed, down — though Valdovinos says it was because it was held up by the hijab itself. Valdovinos apparently found this exchange inappropriate and filed an EO complaint.
There are aspects to this story on both sides that Read more
A variety of websites reported on the FBI report released last month that indicated occurrences of “hate crimes” had risen in 2017.
Most noted the largest portion were “racial and ethnic bias,” but there was also a substantial increase in “hate crimes” based on religion:
There was also a nearly 23 percent increase in religion-based hate crimes in 2017…
Reports also highlighted the increase in anti-Semitic crimes, though anti-Muslim offenses actually decreased. From the report: Read more
In early November Jason Torpy posted a profile on Jared Anderson, a man who presents himself as a chaplain endorsed by the Humanist Society. A former Mormon (Latter Day Saint) — or a current LDS who doesn’t follow LDS theology, depending on how you look at it — Anderson advocates “religious humanism.”
The nice thing about the United States of America is you can call yourself whatever you want. However, that does not mean you get to do whatever you want, nor that the government or society are required to support your choice (gender and pronouns notwithstanding, apparently).
That’s something Anderson apparently doesn’t understand, as he claims he wants to be a military chaplain (and the US military doesn’t have non-religious religious leaders) [emphasis added]: Read more
SSgt Abdul Rahman Gaitan has become the first US Air Force Airman to obtain a religious exemption to grow a beard in uniform:
The biggest challenge yet, was getting approval for his shaving waiver from Air Force Headquarters. This required endorsement by the unit commander, base chaplain, installation commander up to the Air Force Deputy Chief of Staff, Personnel Division. This process took Gaitan almost four years to accomplish.
Interestingly, the article explains Gaitan was actually Catholic, but he apparently became disenchanted with the lack of authenticity in the liturgical faith — and he was drawn to the seeming sincerity of Islam he saw in locals while stationed in Turkey.
With the beard openly displaying his religion, Gaitan says Read more