Tag Archives: operation christmas child

Rhodes Scholar Zac Crippen on USAFA, Religious Freedom

US Air Force Lt Zac Crippen has a unique perspective on Michael “Mikey” Weinstein — Weinstein published his name for all the Internet to see back when he was a cadet in 2011.  Crippen recently talked about this at The Federalist in an article entitled The Sorry State Of Religious Freedom At The Air Force Academy:

When I was a senior at the Academy, I was an approval authority for emails disseminated to the student body. One of these emails — written by a fellow senior of mine — was collecting support for a charity campaign called Operation Christmas Child (OCC)…

MRFF filed an immediate complaint, and the next day I received an email from one of my superiors instructing me and my classmate to retract the email, which we did.

As he routinely does, Weinstein credited this Read more

Weinstein’s Imbalanced View of So Help Me God

Michael “Mikey” Weinstein penned half of a pro/con debate for the local Colorado Springs Gazette regarding the presence of “so help me God” in the USAFA Cadet Honor Oath.  Weinstein boils his argument down to this:

Removing those words from the published oath does nothing to change [cadets’ First Amendment] right [sic].

In balance, however, if the removal of those words affects not the First Amendment rights of believers, why would the presence of those words affect the rights of others?  Weinstein fails to justify his call for a change.

In one respect, Weinstein’s premise seems to be correct:  No religious Read more

Atheist Supports Restricting Military Religious Freedom

Update: Former Marine pilot Tom Carpenter of the Forum on the Military Chaplaincy — a liberal activist group — largely repeated the list below a few weeks later, though he did so without attribution.

Jason Torpy, the one-man band that is the Military Association of Atheists and Freethinkers, recently posted a point-by-point refutation of recent accusations of the US military being hostile to Christianity.

Much of his disagreement was nuance or the way in which something was phrased, which isn’t worth discussing here.  The interesting ones, though, were the cases in which he agreed with the US military’s “anti-Christian” actions:

January 2010 — Department of Defense orders removal of tiny Bible references on military scopes and gunsights.
Torpy: True and appropriate.

This issue has been discussed before.  While there is no religious requirement the references remain, the fact they were targeted because of their (obscure) religious reference — only after Michael Weinstein complained, notably — is troubling.  That he would seek this Read more

Chuck Norris, Religious Liberty, and Michael Weinstein

Chuck Norris recently cited “36 examples of religious liberty assault” (in Part 1 and Part 2) to defend an assertion that religious liberty is under attack in America.  About a third of his examples involved the US military, all of which have been discussed here before (amplifying remarks follow):

  • Culture and courts are also trumping citizens’ First Amendment rights who are refusing on religious grounds not to support or participate with groups and events that run contrary to their faith and practice. As a result, wedding cake bakers, T-shirt makers, bed and breakfast owners, pastry shops, high-school teachers, military chaplains, restaurant owners, photographers, parents, churches and others have been harassed, bullied, suspended, fired and sued for merely exercising their Christian beliefs. [As described by CARL.]
  • A three-judge panel of the U.S. Court of Appeals for the Ninth Circuit ruled that a cross displayed as part of the Mt. Soledad Veterans Memorial in San Diego, Read more

Congressmen Call Air Force Hostile to Religion Again

Updated with BrigGen Lee quote on Michael Weinstein.

Sixty-six members of Congress called on Secretary of Defense Leon Panetta to investigate the US Air Force for an environment of “hostility towards religious freedom” — the fourth time in recent months they’ve made such an accusation.

The Congressional letter (PDF) essentially said that Air Force Chief of Staff General Norton Schwartz’s September policy letter had created a “chilling effect” on religious freedom as Airmen attempted to comply with his guidance:

The decisions that have been made in reliance upon this policy go beyond what is required by the US Constitution.  The First Amendment prohibits the establishment of religion; however, the mere discussion of religion or reference to God certainly does not rise to that level.

The Congressmen said the Air Force had “capitulated” to organizations Read more

Article: USAFA “Dogged” by Michael Weinstein

An unusually pointed article from the Baptist Press summarizes some of the recent events at the US Air Force Academy — and minces few words on the cause of “anti-Christian pressure” at USAFA:

Recent actions by the U.S. Air Force Academy could appear as if commanders are on a mission to rid the institution of Christian influence, but a nearby pastor says the actions are the result of intense pressure from one man…

Mike Routt, pastor of Circle Drive Baptist Church in Colorado Springs, Colo., told Baptist Press the hostility toward Christianity at the Air Force Academy is not the result of the leadership there but is in response to pressure from Mikey Weinstein of Read more

Despite Weinstein Threats, USAFA Supports Local Food Bank

Just days after Michael Weinstein claimed the US Air Force Academy was inappropriately asking USAFA cadets to donate toys to needy children, a news article was published indicating what Weinstein describes as a “cancer” is, indeed, widespread:

The cadets are even making donations to a local food bank.

Air Force Academy chaplains and the Cadet Interfaith Council [presented] a $1,200 check along with 125 cans of food to the Care and Share Food Bank of Southern Colorado at the food bank’s site in Colorado Springs, Colo.

By its nature the Cadet Interfaith Council obviously had a connection to the chaplains, but the food drive was a cadet-initiated, cadet-run event:  Read more

Did USAFA Cancel Operation Christmas Child?

A few news sites reported last week on the US Air Force Academy’s participation in — and then reconsideration of its participation in — Operation Christmas Child, in which shoeboxes with basic sundries and gifts are given to needy children around the world by Samaritan’s Purse.

The situation is fairly complex, as evidenced by the fact a few news organizations had to edit and reissue their news articles to correct misunderstandings about what really occurred.

Undisputed public statements indicate cadets at the US Air Force Academy came up with the idea to participate in Operation Christmas Child.  They made an announcement in Mitchell Hall (the wing dining facility, with all cadets present) and subsequently sent out a wing-wide email explaining who to contact to participate.

A cadet who “didn’t think much about it at first” later forwarded the email to Michael Weinstein calling it part of the “religious problem” proving the US military “support[s] one religion, which is of course Christianity.”  (Weinstein published the email, complete with the names and personal information of the cadets involved, though he redacted his supporter’s information.)  Less than 24 hours later, Weinstein was in the local news

accus[ing] commanders of crossing the line by Read more

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