Remember Shields of Strength?
In July, this site highlighted the complaint by Michael “Mikey” Weinstein that caused the US military to tell Shields of Strength to stop putting Bible verses on their military-themed faux dog tags.
As noted at the time, contrary to Weinstein’s claims, the military is free to license its trademarks to anyone it wants — so long as it doesn’t discriminate on the basis of religious beliefs when it does so.
And that’s precisely what it did with the license to SoS.
First Liberty has now taken up the cause of Kenny Vaughan and Shields of Strength, sending a letter to the Army telling them what they already know: They’re guilty of viewpoint discrimination — restricting Shields of Strength only on the basis of the content of their beliefs. Said Mike Berry of First Liberty:
“The government grants licenses to people and entities all the time,” Berry said over the telephone. “What the government can’t do is discriminate when it grants those licenses. … It is basically saying ‘we’re happy to grant licenses to anyone, as long as it’s not religious.’ And that’s clearly what the Army is doing here.”
That’s precisely what the military is doing — and they’re clearly wrong to do so.
In July, Weinstein tried to Read more
In what amounts to a repeat of his prior attacks on Christians, Michael “Mikey” Weinstein last week published a release saying the MRFF “fervently denounces” the Christian group OCF performing “spiritual commissioning” ceremonies for new officers. Officers’ Christian Fellowship is one of several para-church organizations that ministers to the military — and one Weinstein seems to hold much animus toward.
Oddly, Weinstein declined to provide his own typically vociferous and alliterative quote, and instead deferred to an “anonymous” letter from a purported retired Army Colonel — who is also “on the membership rolls” of OCF. Referring to OCF’s Command magazine, which covered the commissioning, the Colonel
demand[ed] a retraction and full apology from OCF…Their old-guard OCF leadership will continue to push their radical agenda. Therefore, I ask that ALL COMMISSIONING sources, including all federal Service Academies and state ROTC universities, review Officer Christian Fellowship chapter local practices on their respective campuses…
To be clear, a retired O-6 — who said he had supported OCF both as a cadet and Academy faculty member — apparently lacked the intestinal fortitude to tell OCF his thoughts and instead “filed” a public complaint through the MRFF.
Beyond his hurt feelings, it’s not clear.
The complaint says Read more
Retired Air Force Col Carlyle “Smitty” Harris was shot down over Vietnam on 4 April 1965. He spent nearly eight years as a Prisoner of War.
He recently published a book entitled Tap Code, based on the method of communication the POWs employed in the Hanoi Hilton. In an interview with the local Daily Journal in Tupelo, Harris said
There were times – too many to count – when a Read more
Much of the national US leadership has spoken recently in support of religious freedom and the value of their Christian faith.
US Attorney General William Barr spoke a particularly salient truth when he addressed the Notre Dame Law School last Friday [emphasis added]:
Barr, a devout Catholic, told students and faculty at the university’s law school that “the problem is not that religion is being forced on others, the problem is that irreligion is being forced — secular values are being forced on people of faith.”…
“I can assure you that as long as I am attorney general, the Department of Justice will be at the forefront of this effort, ready to fight for the most cherished of all American liberties: the freedom to live according to our faith,” he concluded.
Mike Pompeo was addressing the American Association of Christian Counselors when he spoke on Christian leadership: Read more
Michael “Mikey” Weinstein and his research assistant, Christine “Chris” Rodda have long claimed they fight for “religious freedom” in the military. The name of their charity, after all, is the Military “Religious Freedom” Foundation. They’ve also said in the past that they’re not opposed to Christians’ free exercise. Weinstein himself even once said he’d “give [his] last drop of blood” to support Christians’ rights to their beliefs.
Except, it seems they’re not telling the truth.
Weinstein has repeatedly Read more
Members of the US military aren’t permitted to engage in partisan politics in uniform, nor are they supposed to permit others use them for that purpose. They are also not permitted to “use contemptuous words” against the Commander-in-Chief — in or out of uniform.*
Unless, of course, they’re LGBTQ.
For years the American Military Partner Association blatantly paraded uniformed military members around in support of its political agenda, and it did so even while engaging in outright political lobbying. Its successor, the oddly named “Modern Military Association of America” (apparently “modern” now means non-heterosexual), now Read more
One of the MRFF’s ill-defined “clients,” former Airman Sandra Bell, has joined the lawsuit against the VA over the POW/MIA display in the foyer of the Manchester, NH, VA Medical Center. The reason, it seems, for adding Bell was to make sure one of the plaintiffs was a non-Christian (Bell says she’s an atheist) to alleviate the Judge’s qualms over a Christian being offended over a Bible.
While the MRFF publicly treats Bell as “new,” she’s been around the MRFF for a few months. She penned a self-described “op-ed” earlier in the year about the POW/MIA Bible. (She’s been a fairly prolific volunteer writer for them since.) Bell took particular issue with the fact it was a “Catholic” Bible, and essentially went on to equate Catholic Christianity and rape. (Bell has said she specifically wanted to point out it was a Catholic Bible because “the devil is in the details“.) Bell says when she enters the VA she “rushes past” the Bible, Read more
Yesterday, the Federal District Court in New Hampshire allowed the lawsuit against the VA Medical Center POW/MIA display to proceed, and it also permitted the Northwest POW/MIA Network, which erected the display, to intervene. (The POW/MIA Network is represented by First Liberty.) In one of the more interesting arguments, the presiding judge questioned whether the plaintiff had standing because he’s a Christian. Judge Paul Barbadoro [emphasis added]
acknowledged no shortage of case law and legal precedent regarding religious symbols on public property…
But Barrington resident James Chamberlain, the plaintiff in the challenge, is a Christian who attends a Congregational church, and therein lies the rub, according to the judge.
Barbadoro said he knows of no prior case stemming from a Christian challenging a symbol of Christianity.
“If he were an atheist, he would have standing and that would be clear,” the judge said.
There are certainly legal reasons to require “standing” in a judicial proceeding — but Read more