The ACLJ is once again standing as the voice of reason against attacks on military religious freedom by Michael “Mikey” Weinstein’s MRFF. Last week the ACLJ wrote to Secretary of Defense James Mattis — the same recipient of the MRFF’s letter — defending BGen John Teichert. The letter began with what is probably the most astute and clear statement on dealing with accusations from the MRFF:
We must admit it is difficult to know exactly where to start to refute the many false allegations and legal misstatements contained in Mr. Rehkopf’s letter. As we will show below, Mr. Rehkopf imputes impure motives to General Teichert and alleges harm based on his and MRFF’s hypersensitivity to religious expression by persons in uniform.
When Mr. Rehkopf encounters a religious view expressed Read more
The ACLJ has recently begun to more firmly establish itself as one of the most articulate and assertive defenders of military religious freedom, specifically as it pertains to the attacks on religious liberty by Michael “Mikey” Weinstein.
Two weeks ago, Skip Ash (who has already written some lengthy and well-cited rebuttals to Weinstein and his acolyte John Compere) wrote an article detailing how the ACLJ had stood in opposition to Weinstein’s attacks on Bibles in POW/MIA displays. Noting Weinstein’s MRFF had sent yet another letter demanding an investigation (after their first demand was denied), Ash notes the ACLJ also wrote another letter to the DoD, saying
Our purpose, as always, is to educate DOD IG personnel on what the Constitution actually requires and permits vis-à-vis such displays and to refute the broad (though, admittedly, consistent) Constitutional misinterpretations of the MRFF and its supporters. The MRFF and its supporters grossly misunderstand what the Establishment Clause requires, and they too frequently interpret freedom of religion to actually mean freedom from religion.
As has been noted in the past, such Read more
John Compere is a bit of an oddity at Michael “Mikey” Weinstein’s MRFF. Like many in Weinstein’s circle, he flaunts his credentials, choosing to anoint himself with this byline:
Brigadier General John Compere, Judge Advocate General’s Corps, US Army (Retired), former Chief Judge, US Army Court of Military Review, disabled American veteran (Vietnam), MRFF Advisory Board Member & Texas rancher
(Run by a man whose ego knows no bounds, humility seems to run deep at Mikey Weinstein’s MRFF. In another example, Weinstein disciple Greg Petrequin frequently, and humbly, introduces himself as a “retired senior military officer.”)
Compere — who is otherwise unknown to anyone — never really gives anyone a reason to understand why they should listen to him, and his writings certainly don’t help. While Compere beats out compatriot Chris Rodda’s writings by actually having a point, he appears to borrow from both Rodda and Weinstein as he lets obtuse wording, word count, and pithy quotations pass for supporting a thesis.
And, of course, Compere believes he cannot be wrong.
Thus, when the ACLJ’s Skip Ash wrote a lengthy and thorough rebuttal to a Compere piece in 2016, Compere responded by saying the very fact anyone would dare to critique his position confirmed the piece’s “accuracy”: Read more
Officers’ Christian Fellowship and First Liberty Institute recently participated in an episode of OCF’s fledgling Crosspoint podcast in which retired Navy JAG CAPT Chris Blake and First Liberty lawyer (and Reserve Marine JAG) Mike Berry discussed the “religious rights of those in uniform.”
At one point, CAPT Blake asks “what has changed” over the past few decades that makes it seem the support for religious freedom has waned since the unashamed exercise of faith years ago. To that, Mike Berry had a witty reply:
The opponents of religious freedom have become louder…but that doesn’t make them more correct.
That was an observation Read more
In response to the recent demand letter to the Air Force by Michael “Mikey” Weinstein’s MRFF (a letter probably written by Chris Rodda), Skip Ash and Jay Sekulow of the American Center for Law and Justice wrote their own letter (PDF)to Wright-Patt encouraging the Air Force to do the right thing — and continue ignoring Mikey Weinstein. Weinstein had written to demand “punishment” over a base chapel’s wing-wide email announcement of an upcoming leadership conference.
The letter was a well-written takedown the attack by “outlandish atheist” Mikey Weinstein — not Read more
On 8 November, the Air Force Times published its letters to the editor online. Among them was one from retired US Navy Commander Wayne Johnson, who took Michael “Mikey” Weinstein to task for his attacks against US Air Force LtCol Michael Kersten.
Johnson had some advice for the Air Force. Rather than telling Weinstein to pound sand, Johnson suggested something simpler:
Nuts! [emphasis added]
‘NUTS’ TO DEMAND
In a recent interview with base public affairs for a Meet Your Leadership series at Incirlik Air Base, Turkey, Air Force Lt. Col. Michael Kersten, 39th Medical Support Squadron commander, mentioned his Christian faith and quoted the Bible.
The Military Religious Freedom Foundation and its president, Mikey Weinstein, is demanding the Air Force rebuke what Kersten said as well as punish him. If the Air Force has real integrity, it should respond to this demand with the words of Army Brig. Gen. Anthony C. McAuliffe, commander Read more
In a well-written piece posted at the ACLJ, senior counsel Skip Ash (who recently disassembled an MRFF attack on religious liberty) wryly noted that Michael “Mikey” Weinstein is saving the world, one “New Testament Bible” at a time:
In fact, he has been on an anti-“New-Testament-Bible” (using Mr. Weinstein’s words) warpath of late, writing to various VA facilities demanding that any and all Bibles be removed forthwith. To make matters worse, some VA officials have actually caved to his demands.
Ash notes the same thing said here many times: When the government singles out one viewpoint or one religion for special treatment (that is, the Bible), it violates the very rules its claiming to defend [emphasis added]: Read more
The following is a very long but outstanding article from Senior Counsel at the American Center for Law and Justice (ACLJ) Robert W. “Skip” Ash. Ash, a retired US Army officer, delivers a point-by-point response to retired US Army BGen John Compere, a retired JAG who purports to defend the need to restrict military religious freedom. Compere is an ally and vocal advocate of Michael “Mikey” Weinstein, and he has occasionally commented on this site.
Within the analysis you’ll note some themes common among Compere, Weinstein, and his allies, from straw man arguments to misquoting the Constitution. Their position is impassioned but inconsistent with either basic religious liberty or the US Constitution.
Our thanks to Skip Ash for his tireless work in defense of military religious freedom. You can also read his article at its original ACLJ site.
Why the Angry Atheists are Wrong: A Reply to “Our Constitution, Any Religion & the Military”
By Skip Ash
Every so often, I visit the Military Religious Freedom Foundation (MRFF) website to see what Mr. Weinstein and his fellow travelers have been up to. When I visited the website on October 31, 2016, I came across a short article entitled, “Our Constitution, Any Religion & the Military,” written by MRFF Advisory Board Member, retired Brigadier General John M. Compere, whose listed credentials read, “Brigadier General, Judge Advocate General’s Corps, US Army (Retired); former Chief Judge, US Army Court of Military Review; disabled American veteran (Vietnam era); Military Religious Freedom Foundation Advisory Board Member; and Texas rancher.” As a partially disabled veteran myself, I appreciate and salute General Compere’s service to our Nation.
I began to read General Compere’s article with considerable interest. As a Constitutional law attorney, however, I was quickly disappointed in both what Read more