Tag Archives: mike berry

Army Punishes Chaplain for Mentioning Faith

Update: Chaplain Lawhorn’s initial LOC is now available, and, as reported, it hinges entirely on (subsequently rescinded) violations of two regulations — and this interesting justification:

As a result, an individual in attendance wrote an article about the event on http://militaryatheists.org.

It would be interesting to see the Army cite a regulation that supports action against a Soldier because “a person wrote an accusation on the internet…”


Update: Now covered at the Army Times, the Christian Post, the Gospel Herald, the Daily Caller, and Opposing Views.  Atheist Jason Torpy responded to the “evangelical backlash” over his accusations against the Army.


The Liberty Institute is now representing a chaplain who was punished by the US Army for mentioning his faith during a unit training day:

On November 20, 2014, Chaplain Lawhorn conducted suicide prevention training [in which he] discussed his own personal struggles and how he used the Bible to successfully combat his depression. One of the soldiers in attendance complained to an atheist group about Chaplain Lawhorn’s presentation. In response…Colonel David G. Fivecoat, issued Chaplain Lawhorn a Letter of Concern alleging that Chaplain Lawhorn “advocated for…Christianity and used Christian scripture and solutions” and therefore violated Army regulations.

The complaint was shepherded by atheist and former Army Captain Jason Torpy, who published the complaint online 24 hours after the event — meaning it was public even before the Army had a chance to respond.  The Army may also have been influenced by the publication of the “scandal.”

In a seeming admission the commander might have gone too far, Col Fivecoat apparently called Army Chaplain (Capt) Joseph Lawhorn back Read more

Congressional Hearing on Military Religious Freedom, Hostility

As previously noted, the House Armed Services subcommittee on personnel invited five civilian witnesses to provide testimony on the state of religious freedom in the US military last Wednesday.

Attending were:

  • Michael Berry, Liberty Institute attorney who acted on behalf of cadets at the US Air Force Academy this year
  • Retired Chaplain (Col) Ron Crews, an outspoken advocate for military religious freedom
  • Travis Weber, Director of the Family Research Council’s Center for Religious Liberty, US Naval Academy graduate and former Naval aviator.
  • Rabbi Bruce Kahn, a retired Navy Captain and Chaplain, a founding member of the Equal Rights Center, and an advocate for homosexual “rights.”
  • Michael “Mikey” Weinstein, founder and sole employee of his Military Religious Freedom Foundation, engaged in a self-described “war” against Christians in the US military.

Contrary to some predictions, it wasn’t really a contentious meeting. What the hearing did reveal was the committee members were Read more

Military Religious Freedom goes to Congress

The congressional hearing postponed in late September, in which a House Armed Services subcommittee was to hear testimony on military religious freedom, has been rescheduled for tomorrow, 19 November, at 1400 Eastern.  The hearing is scheduled to be broadcast online.

The original invitees included retired Chaplain (COL) Ron Crews, Liberty Institute attorney Michael Berry, Travis Weber of the Family Research Council, retired Navy Chaplain (CAPT) Bruce Kahn, and former Air Force Captain Michael “Mikey” Weinstein.

Chaplain Crews recently made a point of saying he intended to speak about the “duplicity” of the US Air Force, which published an atheist’s commentary but censored a Christian’s. Read more

Congress to Hear Testimony on Military Religious Freedom

A group of military religious freedom supporters — and at least one critic — will appear before the House Armed Services Personnel Subcommittee this week to testify on the state of religious liberty in the US military.

Advocates for military religious freedom invited to the hearing include

  • Michael Berry, Liberty Institute attorney who acted on behalf of cadets at the US Air Force Academy this year
  • Retired Chaplain (Col) Ron Crews, an outspoken advocate for military religious freedom
  • Travis Weber, Director of the Family Research Council’s Center for Religious Liberty, US Naval Academy graduate and former Naval aviator.

Their organizations are also part of the Restore Military Religious Freedom coalition.

On the critics side, Michael “Mikey” Weinstein Read more

Army ROTC to Hold Lecture on Religion and the Military

The University of Arkansas Army Reserve Officer Training Corps is planning a lecture on April 24th specifically on the issue of religious freedom in the US military.

The lecture and discussion will provide a platform for students to learn more about religious freedoms in the military and discuss experiences with other veteran students. The event will give students and future service members the opportunity to ask questions and discuss the lecture topics and the speakers’ life experiences.

The speaker will be Read more

Congressmen Call Air Force Religion Rules Unconstitutional

Update: Congressman Lamborn’s potential political rivals reacted, with Republican Bentley Rayburn, a retired Major General and 1975 USAFA graduate, saying Lamborn hasn’t done enough to support religious freedom at USAFA, while Democrat Irv Halter, also a retired Major General and 1977 USAFA graduate, says Lamborn has gone too far.


A few weeks ago congressmen asked the Secretary of the Air Force to document and explain the Air Force religious policy and its application at the US Air Force Academy, following USAFA’s command decision to pull down a Bible verse on a cadet’s whiteboard. As noted then and in a subsequent congressional hearing, the Air Force has relied heavily on AFI 1-1, a Chief of Staff level AFI published in the final days of General Norton Schwartz’s tenure in 2012.

Now, Congressman Doug Lamborn of Colorado (home to the US Air Force Academy) has written a letter signed by 22 other congressmen asking Secretary of the Air Force Deborah Lee James to revise the policy at issue:

The August 2012 Air Force regulations which govern religious freedom and expression (AFI 1-1) are inconsistent with Congressional intent and current law…

The first issue Lamborn cites is the “undefinable” standard the Air Force uses [emphasis added]:  Read more

Liberty Institute Responds to MRFF Attack

At the beginning of March Michael “Mikey” Weinstein’s research assistant, Chris Rodda, posted a lengthy* diatribe that attempted to parse a talk given by the Liberty Institute’s Kelly Shackelford to USAFA cadets during the 2014 NCLS.

Apparently upset that Shackelford was there at all, the MRFF surreptitiously recorded his speech and Rodda attempted to dissect it, labeling it “fear and misinformation.”

The Liberty Institute’s Michael Berry recently responded, essentially noting that Rodda was uninformed, and therefore incorrect, on pretty much every point:

The problem is that Rodda lacks first-hand knowledge (i.e., the real facts) of the matters on which she opined. As an attorney, I can tell you that the law has a strong preference for first-hand knowledge and knowing the true evidence. And because Shackelford was an attorney in nearly every one of the cases he mentioned, he knows the actual facts of each of those cases.

Rodda’s original piece garnered almost no attention, as she Read more

Air Force to Document, Explain USAFA Religious Policy

Since when is the standard of what’s constitutional based on what offends someone else?
Tony Perkins, Family Research Council, addressing USAFA’s statement that a Bible verse was removed because it made someone feel “uncomfortable.”

Congressman Mike McIntyre (D-NC) asked Secretary of the Air Force Deborah Lee James if she would provide an official explanation of the USAFA Bible verse incident:

Would you be willing to submit a detailed explanation within the next 10 days…of the event that occurred…, what the Air Force Academy policy is, and…how that policy was applied in this situation?

Secretary James agreed to do so. The Air Force has already said its policy is found in AFI 1-1, which says  Read more

1 5 6 7 8