The ACLJ is once again standing as the voice of reason against attacks on military religious freedom by Michael “Mikey” Weinstein’s MRFF. Last week the ACLJ wrote to Secretary of Defense James Mattis — the same recipient of the MRFF’s letter — defending BGen John Teichert. The letter began with what is probably the most astute and clear statement on dealing with accusations from the MRFF:
We must admit it is difficult to know exactly where to start to refute the many false allegations and legal misstatements contained in Mr. Rehkopf’s letter. As we will show below, Mr. Rehkopf imputes impure motives to General Teichert and alleges harm based on his and MRFF’s hypersensitivity to religious expression by persons in uniform.
When Mr. Rehkopf encounters a religious view expressed Read more
Public releases have reported that President Trump will be the graduation speaker at the US Naval Academy at Annapolis, while the US Air Force Academy will host Secretary of Defense James Mattis for the Class of 2018.
West Point’s speaker has not yet been announced [UPDATE: CJCS Gen Joseph Dunford has been announced for West Point as of 12 May). The Read more
While the issue of transgenders in the US military has been at a low simmer for more than a year, it continues to be a source of consternation and angst within the military itself, just as any unresolved policy matter would be. While it seems transgenders would ultimately contribute little in the form of military readiness (some public reports indicate actual transgenders in the military number in the high-two digits), the manner in which to address this demographic continues to substantially draw on senior leader time and every troops’ moral conscience.
In an apparent effort to establish their argument as one beyond Donald Trump, the LGBT community Read more
Though it isn’t being reported this way, last Friday President Trump actually rescinded the ban he previously implemented on transgenders in the military last August. The new memorandum (PDF) explicitly withdrew his prior policy:
I hereby revoke my memorandum of August 25, 2017, “Military Service by Transgender Individuals,” and any other directive I may have made with respect to military service by transgender individuals.
The new memo did not institute a new presidential directive. Rather, the President deferred to the Department of Defense — that is, the “independent judgment” of the DoD — with regard to its policies. He said [emphasis added]:
These [DoD-produced] documents set forth the policies on this issue that the Secretary of Defense, in the exercise of his independent judgment, has concluded should be adopted by the Department of Defense.
It’s a clever move. Lawsuits and Read more
Last week, the US Air Force Academy hosted its annual National Character and Leadership Symposium. Superintendent LtGen Jay Silveria — fresh off his “diversity” Op-Ed — noted that diversity was a large part of this year’s NCLS as well:
[Silveria said] the Air Force Academy’s appreciation for diversity and its willingness to respectfully address controversy make the school stronger…
The theme of the event is “Ethics and Respect for Human Dignity, a topic Silveria called “timely and pertinent.”
USAFA’s opening press release noted speakers at the NCLS included Dr. Ruth Read more
Writing in the Stars and Stripes, First Liberty attorney Mike Berry rebutted recent calls to restrict religious freedom in the US military.
Referring to last month’s appeal by the Freedom from Religion Foundation and American Atheists for Secretary of Defense James Mattis to end military prayers, Berry pointed out the errors of the groups’ demands and then said [emphasis added]
Were the DOD to give in to the groups’ demands, the harm our military would suffer would be catastrophic. Religious freedom in the military is not a luxury; it is every bit a necessity as bullets, beans and bandages. Religious freedom is a force multiplier that enables all troops — regardless of their faith, or no faith — to prepare themselves for what may be required of them in military service.
The taking of a life — or indeed, the ultimate sacrifice of one’s own life — while Read more
The Freedom From Religion Foundation and American Atheists sent a letter (PDF) yesterday to Secretary of Defense James Mattis calling on him to act to end “coerced religious observances” within the military. Alison Gill and Rebecca Markert write that
The complainants allege, among other things, that facility organizers regularly include scheduled prayer in graduation ceremonies, cadets who opt not to attend worship services on Sundays are instead given menial tasks to perform, and instructors regularly lead recruits in prayers prior to administering tests.
The letter provides no examples. It appears to Read more
Kori Schake is a fellow at Stanford University and co-edited a book with now-Secretary of Defense James Mattis. (She also called then-candidate Donald Trump a “unique risk to US national security“.) In an article about the politicization of the deaths of US troops, she notes the US military is increasingly seen as a means to a sociopolitical end:
Research…points to a growing belief the military is fair game to mine for partisan talking points because of its place as America’s most trusted institution.
That’s something the homosexual movement discovered a few years ago, as they claimed an American service member who was willing to serve and potentially sacrifice his life for his country should, in return, have his preferred sexual lifestyle permitted, validated, and even honored. The homosexual Read more