Despite claiming to represent more than 40,000 “clients,” Michael “Mikey” Weinstein has apparently been unable to sustain a donor base to the “charity” that funds his paycheck and is the vehicle that allows him to attack military religious freedom.
Weinstein’s public Facebook profile has been hammered in recent days by comments from those who disagree with his attacks on religious liberty and Christianity. A few MRFF acolytes were apparently surprised by the sudden influx of “trolls” and have tried to defend against these criticisms by asking why those critics are bothering to visit a page they don’t like.
It turns out those critics aren’t visiting Weinstein’s page. Mikey Weinstein is paying to visit them.
It seems Mikey Weinstein has been paying Facebook to Read more
Michael “Mikey” Weinstein recently demanded that Marine Corps Base Hawaii remove a sign that said “God bless our military, their families, and the civilians that work with them.” A few years ago, Weinstein’s shrill voice would have been the loudest in the room, and some military commanders would have bowed to him if only to try to make him go away — even if his demands might result in US troops’ religious liberties being restricted.
Now, however, many groups have banded together to defend military religious freedom against those, like Weinstein, who attack it. The Restore Military Religious Freedom coalition is made up of an astounding 26 different organizations dedicated to defending military religious freedom. Members of the group have had some significant successes — as when the Air Force re-published an article by Chaplain Kenneth Reyes that it had censored at Mikey Weinstein’s request. (Weinstein subsequently blamed the reversal on “pernicious…Christian[s].”)
When Weinstein’s group demanded the Marine sign come down, Daniel Briggs of the Alliance Defending Freedom quietly emailed (PDF) the same Marine commander to Read more
In response to recent attacks on religious freedom, an article by Chuck Holton questions whether Christians in the US military have become the new class of “Don’t Ask, Don’t Tell.”
The repeal of “Don’t Ask, Don’t Tell” worried the chaplains who follow the biblical view of same-sex relationships. Congress then stepped in, passing a bill that guaranteed the rights of all military personnel to exercise their faith.
Ron Crews, head of the Chaplain Alliance for Religious Liberty, said the result of that legislation is that “chaplains can be chaplains.”
Unfortunately, there continue to be attacks on Christians who want to exercise or express their faith as they serve in the US military. (The article cites the story of Chaplain Lawhorn, for example.) While these attacks have generally come from outside the service — from critics like Michael “Mikey” Weinstein, for example, who attacks even Christian church services — the US military has sometimes reacted to these attacks as if the critics were correct from the outset, even if they were ultimately proven wrong. The perception of this propensity is unprecedented on any other issue over which the military is critiqued.
The result has been Read more
While recent changes in Air Force regulations and a favorable congressional hearing have given some groups a positive perception of the direction of religious liberty in the US military, it is worth noting that even that trend isn’t universal, and it hasn’t reversed some of the damage done over the past few years.
Naval Support Activity (NSA) Bahrain recently kicked off the holiday season with its traditional tree lighting — absent one of its longstanding traditions. In 2012, Jason Torpy — an atheist and former Army officer — single-handedly persuaded the US Navy to ban a children’s “live Nativity” from the tree lighting ceremony.
The reason? According to Torpy, the kids
threaten[ed] US security and violat[ed] the Constitution.
It was probably “easier” for the Navy to surrender to Torpy and remove the children’s event rather than try to defend it for its positive value. Thus, plastic baby Jesus Read more
The 180th Fighter Wing Commander has reportedly censored an article written by his Medical Group Commander, Col Florencio Marquinez, because of a complaint by Michael “Mikey” Weinstein. (The article can be read here.)
According to the Christian legal organization Alliance Defending Freedom (ADF), [a civilian] complained about Marquinez’ article, claiming that it was “odious” and “offending.” In response to the complaint, Commander Col. Craig R. Baker ordered the newsletter to be republished without Marquinez’ piece.
Weinstein claimed full credit, praising the commander. The “odious” and “offending” words were his [emphasis added]: Read more
A group of military religious freedom supporters — and at least one critic — will appear before the House Armed Services Personnel Subcommittee this week to testify on the state of religious liberty in the US military.
Advocates for military religious freedom invited to the hearing include
- Michael Berry, Liberty Institute attorney who acted on behalf of cadets at the US Air Force Academy this year
- Retired Chaplain (Col) Ron Crews, an outspoken advocate for military religious freedom
- Travis Weber, Director of the Family Research Council’s Center for Religious Liberty, US Naval Academy graduate and former Naval aviator.
Their organizations are also part of the Restore Military Religious Freedom coalition.
On the critics side, Michael “Mikey” Weinstein Read more
A petition sponsored by the Family Research Council and the Restore Military Religious Freedom coalition garnered more than 100,000 signatures before it was delivered to the US Air Force Academy last week.
The petition seems nobly intended:
The petition calls on the Air Force Academy to protect the First Amendment rights of cadets, after a recent incident in which a cadet was censored for writing a Bible verse on a white board outside of his dorm room.
and its text calls for USAFA to “protect the religious expression” of cadets:
Recently, a handwritten Bible verse on a United States Air Force Academy cadet’s dry-erase board was removed after a complaint by an anti-Christian activist group…As an American, I trust the Air Force Academy to train up the best young men and women our nation has to offer…Part of that trust hinges upon the notion that the Academy would protect the religious freedom Read more
The Restore Military Religious Freedom coalition took a page from Mikey Weinstein’s playbook and posted a billboard near the US Air Force Academy:
On a background of Mount Rushmore, the text reads:
Air Force Cadets: Are you free to say “So help me God?” They did.
and references the militaryfreedom.org website. The text, which Read more