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 <firstname.lastname@example.org>
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
SSgt Abdul Rahman Gaitan has become the first US Air Force Airman to obtain a religious exemption to grow a beard in uniform:
The biggest challenge yet, was getting approval for his shaving waiver from Air Force Headquarters. This required endorsement by the unit commander, base chaplain, installation commander up to the Air Force Deputy Chief of Staff, Personnel Division. This process took Gaitan almost four years to accomplish.
Interestingly, the article explains Gaitan was actually Catholic, but he apparently became disenchanted with the lack of authenticity in the liturgical faith — and he was drawn to the seeming sincerity of Islam he saw in locals while stationed in Turkey.
With the beard openly displaying his religion, Gaitan says Read more
Retired US Air Force General Roger Brady made some waves in 2005 when he led an investigation of the US Air Force Academy’s religious climate. Much to some activists’ dismay, the report said there were some issues and perceptions, but there was not a systemic or institutional religious problem at USAFA. (Gen Brady also famously criticized Airmen who contacted their congressmen — an explicitly protected form of communication within the military.)
General Brady was interviewed recently by Christianity Today on faith and the military in a Veterans’ Day article that led off noting the recent “controversy” surrounding Air Force BGen John Teichert — as initiated by “former Air Force Captain and activist attorney Mikey Weinstein“.
The interview was highlighted by the Baptist Joint Committee — a liberal leaning group — as having “both some troubling and some heartening perspectives and insights.” That seems accurate, as Gen Brady says thing both sides of the religious liberty debate will support and oppose. In fact, in just two sentences he managed to hit both sides of the fence [emphasis added]: Read more