Monday, US Attorney General Jeff Sessions announced the creation of a Religious Liberty Task Force that will attempt to proactively protect the religious liberty of American citizens. During the announcement, AG Sessions said [emphasis added]:
A dangerous movement, undetected by many, is now challenging and eroding our great tradition of religious freedom. There can be no doubt. This is no little matter. It must be confronted and defeated..
We have gotten to the point where courts have held that morality cannot be a basis for law; where ministers are fearful to affirm, as they understand it, holy writ from the pulpit; and where one group can actively target religious groups by labeling them a “hate group” on the basis of their sincerely held religious beliefs…
The Task Force will help the Department fully implement our religious liberty guidance by ensuring that all Justice Department components are upholding that guidance in the cases they bring and defend, the arguments they make in court, the policies and regulations they adopt, and how we conduct our operations.
It’s an outstanding thing to hear our government say — to Read more
Chaplain (RAdm) Brent Scott recently replaced the retiring Chaplain (RAdm) Margaret Kibben as the Chief of Chaplains for the US Navy.
Chaplain Scott had previously been the Deputy for the Chief, which also Read more
Widespread news stories are covering US Air Force Academy football player and sophomore Cadet Bradley Kim for publicly announcing his sexuality:
A defensive back for the U.S. Air Force Academy’s football team came out Friday as the first openly gay football player to play for one of the three major U.S. service academy teams.
Sophomore Bradley Kim announced his sexual orientation to teammates, on social media and in OutSports.com, the Colorado Springs Gazette reported.
The response is being described Read more
The ACLJ has recently begun to more firmly establish itself as one of the most articulate and assertive defenders of military religious freedom, specifically as it pertains to the attacks on religious liberty by Michael “Mikey” Weinstein.
Two weeks ago, Skip Ash (who has already written some lengthy and well-cited rebuttals to Weinstein and his acolyte John Compere) wrote an article detailing how the ACLJ had stood in opposition to Weinstein’s attacks on Bibles in POW/MIA displays. Noting Weinstein’s MRFF had sent yet another letter demanding an investigation (after their first demand was denied), Ash notes the ACLJ also wrote another letter to the DoD, saying
Our purpose, as always, is to educate DOD IG personnel on what the Constitution actually requires and permits vis-à-vis such displays and to refute the broad (though, admittedly, consistent) Constitutional misinterpretations of the MRFF and its supporters. The MRFF and its supporters grossly misunderstand what the Establishment Clause requires, and they too frequently interpret freedom of religion to actually mean freedom from religion.
As has been noted in the past, such Read more
Update: “Shame” from the Washington Times. Also at the Baptist Joint Committee., with more vitriol from the Freedom From Religion Foundation.
I lived on what I referred to as faith. There were four. One was faith in myself. Two was faith in those around me. Three was faith in my country. And four was faith in my God.
– US Air Force Capt (Ret) William Robinson, the longest-held enlisted Prisoner of War in American history
Michael “Mikey” Weinstein is again gloating about his success in persuading a military base to remove a Bible from a POW/MIA remembrance table.
But it isn’t the giant scandal it may seem.
For Weinstein, POW displays are the gift that keeps on giving. There are Read more
Joan Slish has long been a source of fascinating inside information at Michael “Mikey” Weinstein’s MRFF. She sometimes seems to tell it like it is, even to the MRFF’s detriment (see here, here, and here, for example).
Slish is one of several people who “corresponds” with those who write hate mail to the MRFF — even if it comes from a supposedly fake email address. (Her 1500-word responses are almost precisely the same copy/paste text every time.) Why bother “writing” to a junk address? Apparently, the correspondence is distributed among the MRFF faithful as some sort of mark of pride. Fair enough, if that’s really where you want to exert your energy.
But what if the email address is legitimate?
That’s what makes this thinly veiled threat from Slish concerning: Read more
The Family Research Council’s Tony Perkins has been appointed to the US Commission on International Religious Freedom (USCIRF) via Senator Mitch McConnell:
I am grateful to Majority Leader McConnell for appointing me to this prestigious position. From my post at USCIRF, I look forward to doing all that I can to ensure that our government is the single biggest defender of religious freedom internationally…
Tony Perkins and Read more
In an unusual case that will probably generate support and criticism from all sides, former Air Force Chaplain (Capt) Jeffrey Montanari has alleged that after he converted from Christianity to Judaism (as a chaplain) he faced discrimination and mistreatment, and that he was ultimately denied a position as a Jewish chaplain as a result.
Chaplain Montanari is now represented by First Liberty in a scenario likely making critics of “fundamentalist Christianity” heads explode. As reported in the Air Force Times [emphasis added]:
Montanari…became an officer and a chaplain in the Air Force Reserve in 2010, endorsed by the International Church of the Foursquare Gospel…
In 2012, he transferred to a position in the California Air National Guard…
[His experiences with the local Jewish community], coupled with his discovery of his own Jewish lineage, led Montanari to begin seriously considering a conversion to Orthodox Judaism.
But that decision allegedly came at a high cost.
Superiors allegedly demeaned his character, refused to grant him a religious accommodation, segregated him from the rest of the chaplain staff, and excluded him from chaplain meetings, according to a statement from his lawyers. They effectively drove him out of the Air Force because of his change in religious affiliation, his lawyers argue.
At this point, Michael “Mikey” Weinstein would Read more