Does it pass the Air Force common sense test that a Nativity is officially removed because no one else wants to put up another display alongside it?
In an event that drew national attention — including from the US Congress — Shaw Air Force Base erected a plastic figurine Nativity in front of the base’s Palmetto Chapel. As predicted, it was placed in its traditional location from years past: Read more
Following the revelation that Shaw Air Force Base had removed a Nativity scene immediately following Michael “Mikey” Weinstein’s request, public outcry has left the Air Force “mulling” how to respond to the other side of the issue — those who view such a move as both unconstitutional and a questionably inappropriate relationship with Weinstein.
Though Weinstein was able to get action from the Air Force in “two hours and 15 minutes,” other normal Americans and a few reporters had trouble even getting a statement — which inspired Fox News columnist Todd Starnes to publish the (publicly available) phone numbers and emails of Shaw Public Affairs to see if others would have more success (they didn’t). This may be because most people did try to go through Public Affairs — while Weinstein had managed to get connected through the Base Command Post. (In what is unlikely a coincidence, Shaw AFB removed their Command Post phone number from their website yesterday.)
Shaw has subsequently clarified the situation, noting that a Shaw AFB chapel congregation put the Nativity up next to the Base Christmas tree, which 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
FoxNews had a somewhat inflammatory title to its article, “Air Force cracking down on Christians,” in which columnist Todd Starnes noted the story of SMSgt Philip Monk, currently being investigated after filing a complaint of religious discrimination.
Lost in some of the controversy, though, was this near the end of the article [emphasis added]:
[Monk’s] not the only Christian at Lackland Air Force Base facing persecution for opposing gay marriage, according to Monk’s pastor.
Steve Branson is the pastor of Village Parkway Baptist Church, about five miles from the Air Force base. He tells me that as many as a half dozen of his church members are currently facing persecution…for their religious beliefs.
“Sgt. Monk is just the tip of the iceberg,” Read more
FoxNews reports on the continuation of a “scandal” from 2010: Trijicon, the maker of the much-vaunted ACOG gun sight, was known for putting an abbreviated Bible verse reference on the end of its serial numbers. Michael Weinstein found out, claimed that Islamic terrorists were offended when they were shot by rifles with these scopes, and demanded the Army remove them. Trijicon ultimately offered to provide kits to remove the references. (After threatening legal action against Trijicon, Weinstein also apparently implied his MRFF was a Christian organization…)
The Army now claims these inscriptions violated the terms of the contract: Read more
Todd Starnes of Fox News raises an interesting comparison:
In the 1930s, the Germans tried to shut down Jewish-owned businesses. In 2012, Democrats are trying to shut down Christian-owned businesses.
Too much? His argument is fairly robust.
There may be some room for comparison. It gradually became “socially acceptable” in Nazi Germany to progressively discriminate specifically against Jews. As many recent events have shown, Christianity is becoming the one religion that its “politically correct” to condemn in America today.
It may be a great irony that a 21st century self-described “Jewish agnostic who prays” — Michael Weinstein — has emerged as a Read more
Various reports indicate the US military has identified five soldiers (and an Afghan-American interpreter) who are “responsible” for burning the Quran at Bagram Air Base, Afghanistan. The Islamic holy texts (which were reportedly defiled by Islamic detainees) were among more than 1,600 books and other materials intended for destruction due to their apparent use by detainees to pass messages.
The probe launched by the top U.S. commander in Afghanistan, Marine Gen. John R. Allen, is still underway, but five soldiers were involved in the incident, NBC News reported Friday.
A careful reading of the reports indicates it is possible not a single one of the five involved knew there were Korans among the texts.
Obviously, the results of the American investigation were made public to some end, which may only fuel the calls for Americans to be put on trial in Afghanistan (including by the Afghan President):
Afghanistan’s senior religious leaders have said that an Read more
[Update: In a brilliant move, Travis AFB is inviting the local press to come see the “holiday” display today. Officials also indicated the issue was being elevated, since, as noted below, Travis is far from the only military facility to have religious displays during Hanukkah and Christmas.]
Michael Weinstein, the single paid officer of his personally-founded charitable “foundation,” has threatened Travis Air Force Base with legal action.
Because they put up a nativity scene and a Menorah.
In case you hadn’t noticed, it is approaching Christmas and Hanukkah. It is traditional during this time of year for military bases around the world to light Christmas trees, have visits from Santa (he arrives by plane), erect nativities and Menorahs, and sponsor what is often known as a “holiday card lane.” This confluence of events is an acknowledgement of the celebrations in which a vast majority of military members — and American citizens — partake.
The issue of “holiday” trees has already been discussed. Though the legal letter fails to mention it, the nativity and Menorah at issue are part of the Holiday Card Lane at Travis AFB. Traditionally, Air Force bases allow units, individuals, and organizations to create “holiday cards,” often out of 4×8 sheets of plywood. There may or may not be other criteria in place, like whether or not the cards can have lights or need to be fastened down to the ground. These cards are lined up along an avenue of the base. Sometimes, they are judged in contests or inaugurated simultaneously with the tree-lighting (as were the ones at Travis).
The only thing Weinstein takes issue with, however, is the nativity and Menorah. Why? The letter from Jones Day, written by attorney Katherine Ritchey, interestingly never mentions Weinstein by name. It says Read more