The ACLJ recently responded to the release of the Pentagon Inspector General’s report. They said
We think the legal conclusions of the Department of Defense Inspector General are incorrect as a matter of fact and as a matter of law.
They also stated that they represent two of the officers, including the retired Chaplain who was the focus of much of the report.
See the FRC response and original post below.
According to One News Now, Tony Perkins, President of the Family Research Council, is concerned that organizations like Weinstein’s MRFF may “extrapolate” the IG’s recent decision regarding Pentagon officers’ participation in a Christian Embassy video (see recent post below).
The IG found that the officers violated Joint Ethics Regulations regarding endorsement of a “non-federal entity while in uniform,” but also noted that the violations had nothing to do with religion. Weinstein has proclaimed on his website that the report proves
…the intentional dismantling of the Constitutionally mandated wall separating church and state by some of the highest ranking officials in the Bush Administration and the U.S. military…
Perkins points out that the issue at stake was not Constitutionality or the Establishment Clause, as Weinstein insists, but non-religious ethics regulations.
Perkins expressed concern that “extrapolation” to the appearance of punishing the officers’ involvement with a religious organization (which was not the case) may “intimidate…military personnel from being associated with religion.”
As noted recently in Time magazine (and the Washington Post, as of 6 Aug), the Inspector General completed its investigation (on July 20th) into the participation of military officers in a Christian Embassy promotional video.
No “official” release of the “Official Use Only” report could be found, though a few sites have scanned copies–most notably, Michael Weinstein’s MRFF, which claims credit for instigating the investigation. [Edit: The IG has released a public version on their website. It is now available here.]
Notable quotes from the report:
Military officers who appeared in a promotional video for Christian Embassy improperly endorsed and participated with a non-federal entity while in uniform. (Violates JER Sections 2635.702b and 3-300a, and DoD and Service Regulations on uniform wear.)
Two participants were found not to have violated any rules, because though they personally endorsed Christian Embassy Read more
Several months ago, Mr. Michael Weinstein made some boisterous but virtually ignored comments about the reasons for his conflict with the Air Force. During an interview with the Jewish News of Greater Phoenix Online (and repeated in his April 25th debate at the Air Force Academy), Weinstein said
I am not at war with Christianity or with evangelical Christians, but with a subset: postmillennial, reconstructionist, dominionist, evangelical Christianity.
(During the Academy debate, Weinstein said “pre-millennial,” rather than post, and added “dispensational” and “fundamentalist.” In an email reply to a request for clarification, Mr. Weinstein indicated that pre-millennial was a “correction” to his previous descriptors.) While dramatic, there have been few public responses. Weinstein apparently enjoys a status as one of the few “religious” Americans who can call for the “defeat” of another religious sect and not be roundly criticized by the press and the public. More recently, Weinstein made similar assertions when he said
We have a Christian Taliban within our US military, the Pentagon has become the penacostalgon and this administration has turned the Department of Defense into a faith based initiative…Dominionist Christians [are] praying and preying on non-Evangelical Christians.
Though his original lawsuit against the Air Force Academy was dismissed, Weinstein’s crusade continues. He has already announced his intentions to file a new federal lawsuit to overcome the “technicality” that scuttled the first. To understand why Weinstein acts as he does, it is interesting to analyze who he says he is “at war” with. Read more
Mr. Michael Weinstein has said his “fight is far from over” in his self-described war against evangelical Christianity in the military, despite the recent dismissal of his lawsuit against the Air Force Academy. According to his blog, Weinstein believes that the suit was dismissed on a “technicality;” once that technicality is overcome, the suit will be renewed. Judge James Parker dismissed the suit because it contained only “vague allegations” and no evidence of harm from people who lacked standing—because they weren’t cadets. Weinstein was unfazed and said:
“Religious bias and the outrageous violations of the separation of church and state continue to spread rampantly throughout our military” and that the “military is full of evangelizing fundamentalists.”