The US Senate confirmed Biden appointee — and former Obama Chief of Staff — Denis McDonough as the Secretary of Veterans Affairs on Monday.
A relatively unnoticed office for most of the US public, the VA Secretary has, like so many positions, become increasingly political and controversial. Robert Wilkie, the previous VA Secretary under President Trump, made waves when the VA decided to put the VA motto on plaques at 142 VA cemeteries last summer. This wouldn’t seem like a big deal, except the VA motto is a quote from a speech made by President Abraham Lincoln: Read more
Much like he has in a few VA hospitals, Michael “Mikey” Weinstein’s “charity” recently tried to make a kerfuffle out of a magazine sitting in a clinic waiting room at the US Air Force Academy. When Pam Zubeck of the local tabloid-esque regional paper asked USAFA for a statement, they gave a pretty understandable reply:
We have not received any complaints regarding the publication you reference. The clinic staff did not place the publication in the waiting area nor are they aware of how it may have been placed there. Often, patients will leave magazines in waiting areas after they have finished reading them. Additionally, the publication you sent us is not a USAFA publication.
Apparently aware he had Read more
A US Army Private recently related how the pagan community at Fort Jackson, South Carolina, helped him find his way:
I graduated [training] a few weeks ago and only got to attend one gathering, It was a great experience…I was raised in an environment always surrounded in crystals and meditation, energy and magics, Reiki and healing, spirits and the like, but no words to put to what I knew…
It wasn’t until I went to the circle at Fort Jackson that I could definitively say I’m a white magic practitioner and hold pagan beliefs as far as karmic law and universal ties and energy go…
HeatStreet recently published a blog on the Fort Jackson pagan circle, which it claims now 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
As reported at FoxNews, Michael “Mikey” Weinstein recently celebrated the fact a Veterans Affairs clinic removed a Gideon’s Bible from its waiting room:
Weinstein, a fussy little man with a strong aversion to our Lord, said the Bible’s placement in the waiting room was “illicit and unconstitutional.”…
“The Athens CBOC is unsure how this came into the clinic but it has been removed,” Associate Chief Adam Jackson wrote to Weinstein.
In reality, if a Bible on a stack of old magazines is the Read more
A few weeks ago, Michael “Mikey” Weinstein praised a new Department of Veterans Affairs memorandum (PDF) regarding religious exercise and expression, saying the [emphasis added]
MRFF [was] validated by [the] Department of Veterans Affairs Memorandum! The VA finally gets it: POW/MIA Bible displays can’t favor one religion.
Yesterday, retired US Army General William “Jerry” Boykin commended the same Veterans Read more
NPR’s Weekend Edition recently noted the increasing variety of “emblems of belief” that are permitted to adorn headstones provided by the Veterans’ Administration:
Don Murphy spent two decades with the National Cemetery Administration. The VA’s list now has 61 symbols, ranging from crosses to a swirling atom to the hammer of Thor.
MURPHY: If the list continues to grow, that is fine. The VA does not question the individual belief system of any eligible veteran or their spouse or dependent.
There are a few requirements. The icon must be dignified and has to lend itself to being carved in stone, but beyond that, the definition of belief is fairly broad. And according to military chaplain Nickolas Gaines, more and more, that’s how belief is.
VA’s Sandhill Crane
The addition of Thor’s Hammer was noted here a few years ago; that Read more
A local radio host highlighted the Montana Veterans Administration flying a rainbow-colored gay pride flag on its grounds rather than an American flag. Johnny Ginnity, VA director for Montana, said in reply:
I don’t really consider it a flag, it’s really a banner…
I have a mandate that tells me I have to observe the holiday…
Ginnity ultimately defended the gay pride flag in a statement.
The rainbow flag has flown over many US embassies (including Israel, which is relatively liberal on the issue, though the flag has apparently not been raised in any other Middle Eastern country) and even in Afghanistan, as well as in “modified” US flags on US bases.
Also at the Independent Record and the Stars and Stripes.