In an interesting twist, the ACLU recently praised a decision by the US Army that “protect[ed] First Amendment rights” of Soldiers — but it was precisely the opposite position of Michael “Mikey” Weinstein, who claims his MRFF is the “sole group” providing soldiers that very protection. The ACLU said [emphasis added]:
[There have been] reports that Army diversity trainings have labeled various religious and socially conservative organizations as “extremist” or “hate groups.”
In response to some of that criticism, Army Secretary John McHugh recently suspended these trainings. The ACLU commended that move in a letter to the Army last week that dispels the perception left by some that the trainings were uniquely anti-Christian. The ACLU also urged the Army to better protect the First Amendment rights of military personnel going forward and offered suggestions on how to do so.
The Restore Military Religious Freedom coalition similarly applauded the decision by the Army to end and standardize those briefings. (To be fully accurate, the Read more
The Liberty Institute, the Chaplain Alliance for Religious Liberty, and the Family Research Council — all members of the Restore Military Religious Freedom Coalition — successfully waged a campaign to have the US Army order an end to briefings which labeled mainstream Christian groups “extremist.”
As reported by Todd Starnes at FoxNews:
“On several occasions over the past few months, media accounts have highlighted instances of Army instructors supplementing programs of instruction and including information or material that is inaccurate, objectionable and otherwise inconsistent with current Army policy,” Army Sec. John McHugh wrote to military leaders in a memorandum I obtained.
McHugh “directed that Army leaders cease all briefings, command presentations or training on the subject of extremist organizations or activities until that program of instruction and training has been created and disseminated,” Army spokesman Col. David Patterson, Jr., tells me.
Multiple briefings were presented as evidence of a widespread Read more
For the second time in just a few months, a military Equal Opportunity briefing has denigrated Christian beliefs as incompatible with the military. This time, the EO brief declared a Christian group to be a “hate” group — which means military members are forbidden from participating in it. Which group was it?
The American Family Association.
Several dozen U.S. Army active duty and reserve troops were told last week that the American Family Association, a well-respected Christian ministry, should be classified as a domestic hate group because the group advocates for traditional family values.
The briefing was held at Read more
Update: US Rep Steve Stockman (R-Tx) had this to say:
“Asking Mikey Weinstein to write policies on religious tolerance is like asking David Duke to plan an MLK celebration,” said Stockman. “His bizarre conspiracy theories and strident bigotry have no place in a sensible country.”
Michael “Mikey” Weinstein, of his self-founded “charity,” the Military Religious Freedom Foundation, struck a desperate tone recently as he tried to fend off the blowback from his ego-stroking announcement that he’d had a private meeting with senior military leaders about “religious issues.”
More than any recent event, his own boasting has caused people to take notice of his trail of vitriolic op-eds pronouncing Christians “monsters” or saying US military Christians are trying to institute what he calls “Plan B” — an American holocaust.
In other words, Weinstein’s “over the top” attacks on religious freedom are backfiring, and he’s back on his heels.
He and a few of his staff took to the internet to push back, claiming Read more
The US Army has received a string of criticism in the days since it was revealed a Reserve Army EO officer included evangelical Christians and Catholics (as well as all of Sunni Islam) in “religious extremism.”
FoxNews reports 12 members of Congress have called on the Army to apologize and “provide a balanced briefing on religious extremism.” (See Congressman Lamborn’s letter to the Secretary of the Army.)
Similarly, another Army email released to FoxNews included copied text from the Southern Poverty Law Center’s “anti-gay intelligence file” mocking the “Christian Right” and its “opposition to equal rights for gays and lesbians.” The author, an Army LtCol, said
just want to ensure everyone is somewhat educated on some of the groups out there that do not share our Army Values.
“Some of the groups” in the SPLC list included the Family Research Council (which has cited ChristianFighterPilot.com) and the American Family Association — two Christian groups villified by the SPLC for their opposition to the social normalization of homosexuality.
The inclusion of Christians and Christian beliefs in an Army email saying they don’t “share our Army values” actually contradicts Army values. The Department of Defense has Read more
The news of a US Army briefing seemingly supporting a doctrine of Michael Weinstein — and the firm decision by the Army to disavow the presentation — made surprisingly wide press this weekend.
At issue was a briefing given by a US Army Reservist on “Extremism and Extremist Organizations” (PDF, with notes) which listed “evangelical Christians,” “Ultra-Orthodox Judaism,” “Sunni Muslims” and “Catholicism” alongside “al Quaeda [sic]” as “religious extremism.” (In fact, evangelical Christianity was at the top of the list.) The briefer was apparently a Military Equal Opportunity officer, ironically enough.
An attendee of the briefing — who describes himself as an evangelical Christian — took issue, obtained a copy of the briefing, and provided it to the Chaplain Alliance for Religious Liberty (CARL) and the military Catholic Archdiocese:
“Men and women of faith who have served the Army faithfully for centuries shouldn’t be likened to those who have regularly threatened the peace and security of the United States,” retired Col. Ron Crews, Read more
Chuck Colson recently wrote Playing the Hate Card, in which he made a quick reference to a point often made here:
Foremost on my list [of things to be thankful for] was the freedom we as Americans still enjoy to practice our religion. This includes the right to promote laws and leaders who uphold our values. (emphasis added)
Again, Christians are not obligated to allow those whose values are in opposition to their own to prevail simply because Christians have a religious foundation. Even in a secular society, every citizen acts from their own moral foundation in their attempts to influence the social morality by promoting their own beliefs in the governance of society. The fact that one person’s foundation may be “religious” and another’s “religious” in another form does not negate the value of the position itself.
Colson was speaking in reference to the Southern Poverty Law Center’s Read more