Michael “Mikey” Weinstein and his research assistant, Chris Rodda, recently criticized the presence of military symbols on products sold by Shields of Strength, an online jewelry/accessory store that sells various religious and patriotic-themed items, including some with Bible verses. (While Weinstein has claimed he never acts without a complaint from a member of the military, this complaint appears to have been generated by a FoxNews article and nothing more.) The duo took specific aim at the SoS line of dog tags, which combine Bible verses with the emblems of the US Armed Forces. From Chris Rodda [emphasis added]:
The problem? The use of official Armed Forces emblems and logos on blatantly religious items like these dog tags is not only an unconstitutional government endorsement of religion, but also violates the Department of Defense’s regulation on what items can and cannot be licensed to contain the official DoD emblems and logos.
The first accusation is laughable. No one thinks the government is establishing or endorsing a religion because a private company produces dog tags with Bible verses on them. The reference to Read more
The Air Force Times reports an unidentified Airman is under investigation after posting multiple YouTube videos of himself railing against homosexuals and other religions — while in uniform:
[The] airman…denounc[ed] gay people as “sodomites,” “pedophiles,” “roaches” and “vermin scum,” among other slurs.
[He] posted videos on YouTube under the name “Baptist Dave 1611” before taking down his account over the weekend, also voiced support for Grayson Fritts…and his views supporting the execution of gay people…
The videos are no longer available, so the accusations are absent any verifiable context. Assuming the Air Force Times portrayal is correct, the Airman will almost certainly soon be — and certainly should soon be — a civilian. At least as is reported, his conduct seems unrecoverable.
Not everything the Air Force Times quoted was impermissible on Read more
A government that roams the land, tearing down monuments with religious symbolism and scrubbing away any reference to the divine will strike many as aggressively hostile to religion. Militantly secular regimes have carried out such projects in the past…
– Justice Samuel Alito
Yesterday the US Supreme Court issued a 7-2 decision that the Bladensburg Peace Cross could continue to stand and be maintained by the state — even though it was “undoubtedly a Christian symbol.” (Of note, the case was reversed and remanded “for further proceedings,” not simply dismissed.)
Some reports focused on the multiple opinions published by the justices, though these reports largely seemed to come from critics who believed that emphasizing the “splintered” nature of the ruling would Read more
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
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
Tulsi Gabbard is a Democrat representing Hawaii’s 2nd District in the US House of Representatives. She is also a Major in the Army National Guard and a recently declared presidential candidate.
She is also a Hindu.
In response to criticisms regarding her religion and her political aspirations, Gabbard wrote a strongly worded rebuttal published at Religion News Service saying “religious bigotry is un-American” [emphasis added]:
While the headlines covering my announcement could have celebrated this historic first [a Hindu presidential candidate], and maybe even informed Americans about the world’s third largest religion, some have instead fomented suspicion, fear and religious bigotry about not only me but also my supporters…
Some media outlets have chosen to craft a false narrative of intrigue by profiling and targeting all of my donors who have names of Hindu origin and accusing them of being “Hindu nationalists.”
Today it’s the profiling and targeting of Hindu Americans and ascribing to them motives without any basis. Tomorrow will it be Muslim or Jewish Americans? Japanese, Hispanic or African Americans?
While Gabbard is right to protest Read more