Not long after receiving a letter (PDF) from the First Liberty Institute, the New Hampshire Air National Guard at the Pease ANG Base has said they have chosen to ignore the previously reported complaint from the Freedom From Religion Foundation:
“We don’t plan on responding to the FFRF,” [Greg Heilshorn, spokesman for the New Hampshire National Guard] said. “We haven’t had any formal complaints from our airmen internally regarding any concerns with prayers being said at various ceremonies. We will continue as we’ve done before. It’s our tradition. We believe our chaplains…[are a] vital part of our organization.”
Well done. The US military is not obligated to respond to the FFRF — or any other third party complaint — at all. By declining to do so, they avoid the perception they are legitimizing the FFRF or its generalized accusations about religious expression in the US military. Meanwhile, if there are any actual complainants who have an actionable grievance, they still have access to every grievance system within the military.
Part of the issue with Read more
It’s been in the paperwork for months, but the “exciting” political environment has overshadowed the potential religious liberty fight brewing in the 2017 National Defense Authorization Act. The House version of the NDAA contains a simple, if seemingly obtuse, statement known as the Russell Amendment (via Rep. Steve Russell, R-OK, who offered the amendment):
Any branch or agency of the Federal Government shall, with respect to any religious corporation, religious association, religious educational institution, or religious society that is a recipient of or offeror for a Federal Government contract, subcontract, grant, purchase order, or cooperative agreement, provide protections and exemptions consistent with sections 702(a) and 703(e)(2) of the Civil Rights Act of 1964 (42 U.S.C. 2000e-1(a) and 42 U.S.C. 2000e-2(e)(2)) and section 103(D) of the Americans with Disabilities Act of 1990 (42 USC 12113(D)).
The short version of the story is that in 2014 President Obama issued an Executive Order that required anyone wanting to do business with the Federal government to affirmatively state they hire without regard to “sexual orientation or gender identity.” That could very well affect a large number of contractors who do hire with regard to such issues — because they hire based on the requirements of their religious faith.
The Russell Amendment basically Read more
The Air Force has backpedaled mightily over the apparent assault on retired SMSgt Oscar Rodriguez a few months ago during a retirement ceremony. The motivation for the three NCOs involved in the incident was allegedly to prevent him from saying “God” during a flag-folding ceremony for the retiree. Initially, Public Affairs at Travis AFB said
“Rodriguez ignored numerous requests to respect the Air Force prescribed ceremony and unfortunately was forcibly removed,” a Travis official said…
However, faced with a threat of a lawsuit, Big Air Force eventually rolled in and said Airmen can Read more
In response to demands made by the First Liberty Institute regarding military religious freedom, Secretary of the Air Force Deborah Lee James has reportedly instructed the Air Force Inspector General to review the incidents surrounding the forcible ejection of retired USAF SMSgt Oscar Rodriguez from a retirement ceremony.
In a statement that has been repeated Read more
Retired US Air Force Senior Master Sergeant Oscar Rodriguez was physically ejected from a fellow Airman’s retirement ceremony — to which he had been invited — when he began a flag-folding speech in which it was known he would invoke the name of God (as previously discussed).
With the assistance of the First Liberty Institute, SMSgt Rodriguez is now threatening legal action if the Air Force doesn’t respond. In the letter (PDF) written by First Liberty attorney Mike Berry, Rodriguez seeks four things: Read more
Update: Multiple news sources now report that 11 states have sued the Federal government for its edict attempting to require public schools to let children use the bathroom of their choice, rather than the bathroom of their gender.
When the homosexual movement began in earnest to assert its lifestyle in society a few years ago, it claimed — some would say knowingly falsely — that all it wanted was the “freedom to love.” What difference did it make to you, after all, if someone wanted to love a man instead of a woman?
Those who dared to call for protection of religious liberty were shouted down as unnecessary and were accused of harboring hatred, bigotry, and being the go-to slur of “homophobe.”
Of course, as everyone now realizes, those “homophobes” were right.
Just a few years ago it would have been laughable to claim the State would force a Christian — a private citizen — to participate in and affirm a “wedding” between homosexuals.
And yet that is precisely what has happened.
Just recently it would have been unthinkable that Read more
It’s been long established that Michael “Mikey” Weinstein’s awkwardly-named Military “Religious Freedom” Foundation actually fights against the religious freedom of Christians in the US military. Examples abound of cases in which a reasonable, principled religious liberty group should have stood up in defense of an Airman, Soldier, Marine, or Sailor, but Weinstein either refused to defend the troop because they were Christian or outright attacked their religious liberty instead.
Fortunately, genuine religious liberty groups have stood in the gap for such Christians — and have defended them even from Weinstein himself. One of the more notable groups is the Becket Fund for Religious Liberty, which has a long history of, unlike Weinstein, consistent, principled defense of religious freedom regardless of a person’s particular religious belief.
(To wit, the Becket Fund has been fighting for the right of Sikhs to serve in the US military while still being able to practice their religious faith; Weinstein has so far refused to do so, tacitly acknowledging that a “win” for the Sikhs would ultimately be a win for other faiths — including Christians.)
More recently, Mikey Weinstein tried to attack the religious liberty of Read more