In February the US Supreme Court will hear the case of the Bladensburg Peace Cross, a near-century old war memorial in Maryland that anti-religious groups claim is an illegal endorsement of religion.
The Cross was ruled “unconstitutional” by the Fourth Circuit, and that is how the case approaches the Supreme Court.
Many have spoken out in defense of the memorial, which might explain why one group that filed a brief in support of the cross went unnoticed.
A group of retired flag officers are asking the Court (PDF) to “correct the court of appeals’ stilted view of the First Amendment” and defend the cross. Those officers include:
Michael “Mikey” Weinstein, outspoken critic of Christians in the US military, once bragged he’d called the Pentagon and had a poster pulled off the wall of an Air Force base chow hall in less than an hour. Last week, he tried again, and he did it in 68 minutes.
Pam Zubeck, a “journalist” with the Colorado Springs Independent — local to the US Air Force Academy — has long been an ally of Weinstein in his crusade against the Academy. Last week, she helped his cause when USAFA sent the CSIndy some photos of the USAFA Prep School, one of which was a photo of a poster hanging on a wall. The picture of the F-100F on static display in front of the Prep School contained the following quote [emphasis added]:
We will not lie, steal [or cheat,]* nor tolerate among us anyone who does. Furthermore, I resolve to do my duty and to live honorably, so help me God.
Zubeck was clearly concerned about Read more
LtGen Michelle Johnson, USAFA Class of 1981, recently took over as the Superintendent of the US Air Force Academy, replacing outgoing LtGen Mike Gould.
Many references to her new command have noted she is the first female to be Superintendent. (A few quick-to-report articles said she was the first woman to lead a ‘major’ or ‘DoD’ service academy. The qualifier is necessary since RADM Sandra Stosz has led the Coast Guard Academy since 2011, and the CG Academy is not part of the DoD and is sometimes considered ‘minor.’) The official Read more
An LA Times article on the drawdown in Afghanistan had an interesting lede:
Photo at LATimes.com (David S. Cloud / Los Angeles Times / December 9, 2012)
KANDAHAR, Afghanistan — Fifteen U.S. soldiers huddle in a circle. A blue Toyota packed with explosives has been reported somewhere in the city. The troops bow their heads and clasp hands.
“Dear Lord, protect us and protect those entrusted to us as Read more
US Air Force Academy PA Don Branum writes a post-event update on last week’s Religious Respect Conference, and it contains some amazingly positive comments on the environment of religious freedom at USAFA [emphasis added]:
Cadet 4th Class Wasim Soomro [from a Muslim family] captured the attention of the attendees with a recollection of his experiences.
Soomro didn’t have to put his faith aside for BCT. The military guidance officer for Soomro’s unit, Cadet Squadron 39, visited him on his second night of basic cadet training. The officer knew from Soomro’s biography that he was Muslim and wanted to know how to meet his religious needs.
“He asked me what times of day I was supposed to pray,” Soomro said. “I told him the morning was huge, and then the midday…” Read more
In December of last year a group called on Congress to investigate the relationship of the US Air Force with Michael Weinstein, the President of his self-founded Military Religious Freedom Foundation. Weinstein has shown an ability to access private military records, apparently through his “high ranking” contacts, and his public statements seemed to indicate he was given unusually unfettered access to senior leadership.
A portion of Weinstein’s relationship with the USAF was revealed as recently as the blurb on Weinstein’s newest book, when the newly retired Air Force Judge Advocate General, three-star LtGen Jack Rives, “came out” as a strong cheerleader for Weinstein’s cause. Gen Rives had been charged with advising the Air Force in its dealings with Weinstein’s continuous complaints — while he simultaneously supported Weinstein’s “tireless civil rights fight against fundamentalist religious predators in our nation’s armed forces.”
Weinstein has now published a 2,000-word diatribe admitting to Read more
The Colorado Springs Independent‘s Pam Zubeck — a veritable PR arm of Michael Weinstein’s MRFF — has a post stating a US Air Force Academy fourth class cadet (freshman) sent an inappropriate religious email to his classmates. She said the cadet
has been “counseled” for sending an e-mail to the entire freshman class urging them to pray and citing specific Scriptures. [formatting original]
She then includes the content of the 500-word email, which had been sent only two days prior. The email does, shockingly, “urge people to pray” and does, indeed, cite “specific Scriptures.” What Zubeck fails to mention is the email is a forward of a daily devotional by Gloria Copeland, distributed on the same day the cadet forwarded it: Read more
US Representative Randy Forbes (R-Va) has written a letter (PDF) signed by 35 members of the House asking the Air Force restore a unit’s motto that was changed after an atheist’s complaint. The incident to which Rep Forbes is referring was actually first reported on ChristianFighterPilot.com, with the Religion Clause and the ADF Alliance Alert subsequently citing this site.
As noted three weeks ago, the USAF Rapid Capabilities Office responded to “needling” from former Army Captain Jason Torpy, an atheist, and changed its motto from “Doing God’s work with other people’s money” to “Doing miracles with other people’s money.”
The letter, addressed to Secretary of the Air Force Michael Donley and Air Force Chief of Staff General Norton Schwartz, says:
It has come to our attention that the US Air Force Rapid Capabilities Office (RCO) has modified the logo on its official patch to remove its reference to “God,” following a complaint from Read more