In 2012, Michael “Mikey” Weinstein lost the fifth of five lawsuits he has filed since 2005. None survived to trial. The last was Weinstein v Ammerman, which was a personal lawsuit against former Navy Chaplain Gordon Klingenschmitt for his “imprecatory prayers.” As with all of his lawsuits, Weinstein promised an “aggressive” appeal when it was dismissed. As with all of his lawsuits, Weinstein never appealed.
The essence of Klingenschmitt’s defense was the only “harm” Weinstein could produce occurred prior to Klingenschmitt’s public prayers. It was said several times that for Weinstein’s case to have merit, he would have needed a time machine.
As a result, following the dismissal of Weinstein’s lawsuit, Klingenschmitt chose to file a lawsuit against Weinstein for “abuse of process” and defamation. The former, because Weinstein allegedly filed his lawsuit knowing it to be false; the latter, because Weinstein allegedly knowingly connected Klingenschmitt with criminal acts he had nothing to do with.
Last week, a New Mexico judge dismissed the abuse claim but allowed the defamation claim to proceed.
A defamation lawsuit filed by a Read more
Following the revelation that Shaw Air Force Base had removed a Nativity scene immediately following Michael “Mikey” Weinstein’s request, public outcry has left the Air Force “mulling” how to respond to the other side of the issue — those who view such a move as both unconstitutional and a questionably inappropriate relationship with Weinstein.
Though Weinstein was able to get action from the Air Force in “two hours and 15 minutes,” other normal Americans and a few reporters had trouble even getting a statement — which inspired Fox News columnist Todd Starnes to publish the (publicly available) phone numbers and emails of Shaw Public Affairs to see if others would have more success (they didn’t). This may be because most people did try to go through Public Affairs — while Weinstein had managed to get connected through the Base Command Post. (In what is unlikely a coincidence, Shaw AFB removed their Command Post phone number from their website yesterday.)
Shaw has subsequently clarified the situation, noting that a Shaw AFB chapel congregation put the Nativity up next to the Base Christmas tree, which Read more
President Obama has nominated BGen Chris Burne to be the next The JAG of the Air Force (TJAG):
Secretary of Defense Chuck Hagel announced today that the president has made the following nominations:
Air Force Brig. Gen. Christopher F. Burne has been nominated for appointment to the rank of lieutenant general and for assignment as the judge advocate general, Headquarters U.S. Air Force, Pentagon, Washington, D.C. Burne is currently serving as the staff judge advocate, Headquarters Air Combat Command, Joint Base Langley-Eustis, Va.
Like the retiring LtGen Richard Harding, whom he will replace, BrigGen Burne will skip his second star and go directly to his third.
General Harding is one of the last senior officers from the tenure of former Chief of Staff General Norton Schwartz — and one of the last to have a long running, if tenuous, relationship with military religious freedom critic Michael “Mikey” Weinstein. (General Read more
Michael “Mikey” Weinstein’s discombobulated responses to the Air Force Academy decision to make “so help me God” optional in the Cadet Honor Oath (he both welcomes it and threatened to sue) may have been his flailing efforts to regain the narrative in a losing effort. His research assistant, Chris Rodda, seems to indicate the MRFF is trying to point the narrative in a different direction. In a local news report on the Academy decision (original here):
Air Force Academy cadets are no longer required to say “so help me God” at the end of the Honor Oath. The change was made in response to complaints from a group called the Military Religious Freedom Foundation…
Chris Rodda, of the Military Religious Freedom Foundation, said…”The people we are battling on this will say that nobody’s forced to say ‘so help me God.’ That actually is not true. The cadets received an email that said that they must say it for their commissioning oath to be legal.”
Rodda’s response is noteworthy because the Cadet Honor Oath has nothing to do with the commissioning oath, and nothing to do with the MSgt’s email. Whether the MRFF is intentionally trying to alter the debate or if Chris Rodda is incompetently Read more
The American Family Association has joined other groups in asking [PDF] that they, too, be allowed to meet with senior US military leaders on issues of religious freedom and tolerance — as Michael Weinstein was:
Because religious freedoms are extremely important to us, to military service members and to our veterans, we request a meeting with [the JAG, Deputy IG, Deputy Chief of Chaplains, Director of AF EO, and other staff members], which will confer the same courtesy extended to Mr. Weinstein and MRFF.
While Weinstein claimed he was invited, the Air Force excused the meeting by saying he’d simply asked for, and been granted, an audience. In so doing, Air Force leaders opened themselves up to exactly what has happened: They are forced to grant other groups the same treatment, lest they succumb to the accusation that they gave Michael Weinstein “special treatment.”
No word yet on whether these groups have received personal emails from Air Force Chief of Staff General Mark Welsh, as Weinstein did — a move that supporters claimed legitimized his cause.
As previously noted, Michael Weinstein boasts about his hate mail like some people do pictures of their grandkids. The MRFF publishes some of those emails, and, more often than not, a “volunteer” staff member posts an online rebuttal. The replies are often critical and sarcastic, meaning they’re mostly red meat for MRFF acolytes. Occasionally, though, one reveals the underbelly of the MRFF opposition to religious liberty.
Such was the case with Joan Slish, an MRFF “advisory board” member who has two claims to fame: First, according to the MRFF website, she left the Assembly of God because they were the wrong kind of Christian (though she oddly still claims an AoG Pastorate). Second, she inadvertently revealed in 2011 that the MRFF was the arbiter of “true” Christianity — telling the world the MRFF would vitriolically attack the religious liberty of the wrong kind of Christian. (Weinstein was already doing that; Slish was simply the first ‘staff member’ to admit it.)
Now she can add a third trophy: An official MRFF email reply riddled with statements at times false, at others ridiculous, and almost always comical — but one that also has another peek behind the MRFF curtain.
She falters right out of the gate in following the MRFF tradition of Read more
An Air Force Airman claims he received verbal reprimands after he was dissatisfied with the Air Force’s response and complained to Michael “Mikey” Weinstein in 2010:
I met with the Cadet Wing Chaplain here at the time and the incident was forwarded up the chain-of-command. After over two weeks of nothing being said to anyone…I decided to bring this to MRFF’s attention. Mikey and MRFF were all over it and came down hard on USAFA.
I received verbal reprimands from Read more
Two Air Force JAGs, Major Ken Artz and 1Lt Peter Smyczek wrote a fascinating article that supported General Mark Welsh’s assertion that the accepted culture is part of the sexual assault problem in the military. Entitled “Sexual Assaults in the Military: Porn is Part of the Problem,” their piece began with a simple statement [emphasis added]:
If our military is to lower its rate of sex crimes, it must limit its members’ consumption of pornography and educate them about its risks.
The JAGs point out that the Air Force must address the underlying behaviors that lead to sexual assault — not merely attack the Read more