Former Air Force Captain Michael “Mikey” Weinstein and retired Chaplain (Col) Ron Crews are friends, sort of. They’ve spoken in the past about having dinner together at Weinstein’s house. This is despite the fact Weinstein’s MRFF is (almost) universally ideologically opposed to Crews’ CALL. Weinstein attacks religious liberty in the US military, and Crews defends against him.
Chaplain Crews recently honored outgoing Congressman Randy Forbes as the recipient of their annual Torchbearer Award. The ceremony at which the award was presented was well attended by several members of Congress — as well as uniformed Air Force and Army chaplains.
The event has Weinstein seething and demanding the chaplains be court-martialed. It remains to be seen if the personal relationship between Crews and Weinstein can withstand Weinstein’s bigoted diatribe in the MRFF “demand” letter addressed to the Department of Defense Inspector General: Read more
As part of the celebration of the 240th year of the Navy Chaplaincy, US Navy Chief of Chaplains (RAdm) Margaret Kibben and Chaplain of the Marine Corps (RAdm) Brent Scott opened the US House of Representatives and US Senate, respectively, with prayer on December 16th [emphasis added]:
During her prayer to open the session of the House of Representatives, Kibben acknowledged the “pastors, rabbis, priests and imams who over the course of 240 years have left the safety of their homes and the comfort of their pulpits to wear the cloth of this country’s Navy” and asked God’s help “to ensure the voices of faith are never silenced.”
In his prayer before the Senate, Scott thanked God for Read more
Update: Tony Perkins of the Family Research Council released the following statement in response to General Welsh’s testimony [italics original]:
“The perception is that Mikey Weinstein is setting the policy for religious expression in the U.S. Air Force, as evidenced by the growing number of incidents of religious hostility toward Christians. Instead of denying reality, General Welsh should have taken the opportunity in Friday’s hearing to discuss how he would bring the Air Force into compliance with the new DOD instructions protecting religious expression…
“Family Research Council and the Restore Military Religious Freedom Coalition will not stand by while the Air Force Chief tries to evade the reality of these attacks on religious expression. We will continue to do all we can to protect the rights of the men and women serving in the Air Force and in all the uniformed services.”
A visibly frustrated General Mark Welsh, Chief of Staff of the Air Force, fielded questions about religious liberty during what was supposed to be a congressional committee meeting on the Fiscal Year 2015 Air Force budget:
The single biggest frustration I’ve had in this job is the perception that somehow there is religious persecution inside the United States Air Force. It is not true.
Interestingly, the words “religious persecution” were General Welsh’s characterization, not the Congressman’s.
To be fair, that statement may be technically accurate in Read more
In December of last year a group called on Congress to investigate the relationship of the US Air Force with Michael Weinstein, the President of his self-founded Military Religious Freedom Foundation. Weinstein has shown an ability to access private military records, apparently through his “high ranking” contacts, and his public statements seemed to indicate he was given unusually unfettered access to senior leadership.
A portion of Weinstein’s relationship with the USAF was revealed as recently as the blurb on Weinstein’s newest book, when the newly retired Air Force Judge Advocate General, three-star LtGen Jack Rives, “came out” as a strong cheerleader for Weinstein’s cause. Gen Rives had been charged with advising the Air Force in its dealings with Weinstein’s continuous complaints — while he simultaneously supported Weinstein’s “tireless civil rights fight against fundamentalist religious predators in our nation’s armed forces.”
Weinstein has now published a 2,000-word diatribe admitting to Read more
A group of Congressmen has become the latest part of the government to take the US military to task for its apparent capitulation to external critics. In this case, 23 members of the House signed a letter to Secretary of Defense Leon Panetta concerning the removal of the DoD insignia from Holman Bibles, a “scandal” previously discussed. The Congressmen said the issue was not that the seals were removed, but the fact the action was taken only because Michael Weinstein was bothered by it:
“The problem here is that it appears the decision made by DoD was in response to a manufactured, frivolous complaint,” [Congressman Alan] Nunnelee said. “The military should not be succumbing to pressure from outside groups to alter longstanding policy.”
The letter does not demand that permission to use the seals be returned; it is three paragraphs of concern over why it appears the US military keeps “bowing” to Michael Weinstein: Read more
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