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:
This year issues of military religious freedom have boiled to the surface in two primary ways: free exercise and public expression.
For example, in its “top ten” list for 2018, The Baptist Joint Committee, a left-leaning group on religious liberty issues, highlighted the Masterpiece Cakeshop at #8 and the Bladensburg Peace Cross at #7. Similarly, Howard Friedman at the Religion Clause put Masterpiece Cakeshop at #1. The resolution of the Masterpiece Cakeshop case, which is arguably still ongoing, is directly related to the military: The case will ultimately Read more
Mike Berry, deputy general counsel and director of military affairs for First Liberty Institute, writes at the Daily Caller in defense of the ability of members of the Air Force to volunteer with the Salvation Army. Michael “Mikey” Weinstein had previously tried to lodge a complaint about the practice at Grand Forks AFB, ND.
Berry makes the point often made here: To single out a group, organization, or opportunity because of religion is to discriminate on the basis of religion, something the military cannot do [emphasis added]:
The Supreme Court has repeatedly held that the First Amendment’s Establishment Clause requires government neutrality towards religion. Neutrality not only means the government cannot favor a particular religion, but the government likewise may not demonstrate hostility against religion either. Read more
Sometimes, Michael “Mikey” Weinstein is so quick to pat himself on the back he ends up shooting himself in the foot.
Weinstein recently posted a sanitized email of praise from a [redacted] Chaplain, but it is fairly obvious from whence it came:
From: (Military Chaplain’s E-Mail Address Withheld)
Subject: Gratitude From (military branch withheld) Chaplain (name and rank withheld)
Date: December 20, 2018 at 1:08:38 AM MST
To: Mikey Weinstein <email@example.com>
Sir, as I make my end of year contribution to MRFF this morning I want to express my sincerest gratitude to you and MRFF for your tremendous support last February and for going to bat against one of this country’s worst examples of fundamentalist Christian supremacy and Read more
Michael “Mikey” Weinstein, who technically runs a “charity”, is doing his normal year-end push for donations, apparently to make sure he can maintain his multi-million dollar lifestyle. Notably, however, he’s finally softened one of his annual claims.
Weinstein has routinely claimed he fights against religious freedom “in the courts”, yet he hasn’t filed a lawsuit or even seen the inside of a court room in years. That led to this article, noting that Weinstein may actually have been using a fraudulent claim to solicit donations when he said he needed money to “continue his fight in the courts” [emphasis added]: Read more
Last week an enlisted Airman at Grand Forks AFB, North Dakota, sent an email soliciting volunteers for a Salvation Army food distribution that is scheduled to happen today and tomorrow. Apparently, one of the recipients forwarded the email to Michael “Mikey” Weinstein, who says he promptly complained to the base. Grand Forks passed Weinstein to their higher headquarters Public Affairs, to whom Weinstein says he sent this professional email thoroughly explaining his concern:
Volunteering for the Salvation Army “during duty hours”?
A local Grand Forks site quoted Weinstein saying Read more
Michael “Mikey” Weinstein’s contact at Newsweek, the routinely fact-challenged Nina Burleigh, wrote up a blog on Weinstein yesterday that did little more than repeat Weinstein’s recent tirades against the US military.
For example, regarding the Thanksgiving Day cake decorated with Psalms written on it:
Before the end of the holiday weekend, service members at Al Udeid and elsewhere had complained to [Weinstein].
We all know that’s not true. It’s evident Read more
Michael “Mikey” Weinstein’s pattern seems to be to collect potential “material” and then socialize it among his friends in an attempt to find volunteers to be counted as “anonymous” complainants. Despite his frequent claims, there is no evidence to date Weinstein has ever been approached by a group of aggrieved troops who, of their own initiative, came to him looking for help.
Instead, what appears to happen is Weinstein either finds or is told about something happening; Weinstein then sends it out to people who were blissfully unaware, but agree to be offended, and then Weinstein tries to go on a media warpath with “32 complaints, 25 of which are practicing Christians, etc.”
But sometimes things happen and Weinstein doesn’t know about it — and since no one is offended on their own (without his input), he doesn’t get the chance to complain.
Enter the DFAC cake made at Al Udeid Air Base, Qatar, last week:
Under normal circumstances, this would Read more