The US Army post at Fort Riley recently cancelled a scheduled prayer breakfast because Michael “Mikey” Weinstein complained about the speaker: Retired LtGen William “Jerry” Boykin.
A wide variety of people have come out in support of LtGen Boykin, including Franklin Graham, Ted Cruz, and Congressman Tim Huelskamp — the Representative for the District encompassing Fort Riley.
LtGen Boykin is now calling for an apology from the US Army — not for him, but for the troops [emphasis added]:
What is really important about this is that the leadership of Fort Riley caved to pressure by these extremists and denied every person who planned to attend this event their own First Amendment rights.
I am told that there were many people who planned to attend and that 80 percent of the soldiers at the Fort self-identify as Christian. Attendance was totally voluntary, and no one was compelled to be there…
The Commanding General of the 1st Infantry Division, Maj. Gen. Wayne Grigsby, should apologize to the soldiers of Fort Riley and assure them that the leadership of Fort Riley will stand up to the anti-religious freedom agitators and defend their rights of assembly and the right to believe and live out their faith.
LtGen Boykin’s call for an apology is an outstanding reminder Read more
As previously noted, the House Armed Services subcommittee on military personnel heard testimony from several witnesses on religious freedom in the military after the DoD’s recent changes to accommodation policy.
The Stars and Stripes noted that while many have focused on ‘turbans and beards,’ Congress didn’t:
Accommodation for minority religions was not the main concern of the primarily Republican House members present Wednesday, however. Many of their questions centered around allegations that free expression of faith by Christian believers was being suppressed…
Instances of Christians being told 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
Congressman Tim Huelskamp (R-KS) published a lengthy and very strongly worded column that summed up what he called “Obama’s War on Religion in the Ranks.”
If Army chaplain Emil Kapaun served in Afghanistan today rather than Korea six decades ago, President Obama would probably give the Catholic priest discharge papers instead of the Congressional Medal of Honor.
Update: Weinstein responded:
Weinstein is the kind of guy who revels in the dislike of his adversaries.
“How terrified are these little pu***es in Congress that they have to pass an amendment about me?” he shouted in a phone interview from the foundation’s headquarters in Albuquerque, N.M., using a putdown associated with a woman’s genitalia.
In the 2014 National Defense Authorization Act, US Rep John Fleming successfully changed the 2013 NDAA wording after the US Air Force appeared to be acting as a part of Michael Weinstein’s Military Religious Freedom Foundation’s self-described “war” on Christians.
Weinstein also inspired US Rep Tim Huelskamp (R-Ks) to add an amendment of his own which would require the Department of Defense to report to Congress every time it met with an outside group for the purpose of
writing, revising, issuing, implementing, enforcing, or seeking advice, input, or counsel regarding military policy related to religious liberty.
This was clearly in response to Weinstein’s 23 April meeting with the JAG of the US Air Force, among others, which Weinstein bragged about to his like-minded media arm, Sally Quinn. Rep Huelskamp even called it a “rebuke” of “anti-Christian zealot Michael Weinstein.”
The MRFF has sarcastically embraced this amendment, because it would “force” the DoD to report on its meetings with groups like Chaplain endorsers: 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
US Rep Tim Huelskamp (R-KS) introduced the Military Religious Freedom Act (HR 3828), which aims to prevent chaplains and other troops from being “penalized” for failing to support homosexuals in the military.
It would exempt chaplains from functions that violate their Read more
The US House of Representatives passed the 2012 Defense Appropriations bill last week. (The previously-passed Defense Authorization Act ‘authorizes’ the military, while the Appropriations Act funds it.) It included an amendment affecting funding for Chaplain training, intended to prohibit them from performing ‘homosexual marriage’ ceremonies in military chapels, regardless of state law. It was intended to ensure military policy remained Read more