As noted at Military.com, the Air Force Equal Opportunity office at Joint Base Andrews dismissed the EO complaint from contractor Deborah Schoenfeld, the self-described Hindu-interested-in-Wicca (whose complaint was previously discussed):
The office on Oct. 27 dismissed her complaint, saying she filed too late and also because the individuals she claimed discriminated against her “are not Air Force employees.”
Schoenfeld disputes the filing deadline issue, but it appears to be moot if the subjects of the complaint weren’t even in the Air Force. Schoenfeld disputes that, too, saying Read more
Update: In a letter to the MRFF, Deborah Schoenfeld publicly confirmed she was a government contractor, which means the US military was not responsible for her hiring or firing, despite Mikey Weinstein’s implications to the contrary. Weinstein’s public excoriation of the military — as opposed to her actual former employer — appears to have been little more than a publicity stunt, using “witch” references for shock value and attention.
Michael “Mikey” Weinstein has come to the defense of Deborah Schoenfeld, a civilian dental technician at Fort Meade who claims she was fired after filing an Equal Opportunity complaint claiming religious discrimination:
The Military Religious Freedom Foundation is representing a former Air Force contractor who says she was fired from a dental clinic at Fort Meade, Maryland, after complaining that her co-workers discriminated against her because she was Hindu. She claims they then accused her of being a witch.
In his public complaint, Weinstein says Read more
Michael “Mikey” Weinstein was recently invited to Patrick Henry College to be interviewed as part of its “Newsmaker” series. The interviewer was Marvin Olasky, editor in chief of World News Group, which produces WORLD Magazine.
Olasky started the interview by presenting Weinstein with a variety of situations pulled from the media regarding expression of religion in the US military, querying Weinstein as to whether he felt there was a problem with the particular event. His answers were almost exclusively no, though he started to hedge as he figured out where the conversation was going.
Olasky asked about events in the military from four different religions over a period of just a few minutes, and Weinstein addressed each one succinctly. When Olasky broached a Christian topic, however, Weinstein Read more
While the US Air Force Academy is regularly accused of being dominated by Christianity, its support for other faith systems routinely goes unnoticed or unpublicized (even by its own Public Affairs, apparently):
Selena Fox, who calls herself a Wiccan priestess, was recently hosted by the USAFA chaplains. (She’s holding a chapel coin.) They took a hike with some local pagans up to Falcon Circle, formerly known as the LZ, an “outdoor chapel” area created with some intent to host earth-centered religious adherents a few years ago.
The Stars and Stripes recently covered a few chaplains who were busy during the recent holy day celebrations for US troops in Afghanistan:
US Army Chaplain (Col) Mike Charles serves in Kabul, Afghanistan, has deployed four times, and notes the week celebrating Christ’s resurrection is one of the busiest of the year:
Charles must ensure that religious leaders are available for the week’s numerous religious events – from Passover to Easter Sunday – and that troops across all corners of Afghanistan are able to worship appropriately.
That protection of religious exercise involves both going Read more
The Huffington Post had a photo collection “celebrat[ing] the religious diversity of the military” on Veteran’s Day. Their list:
Cauldrons, spell books, brooms, and swords in a military witchcraft ceremony.
Photo credit: Katrina Gutierrez
A local paper — in an article briefly titled “No Hocus Pocus” — noted that “hundreds” of basic trainees have attended Wiccan services at Lackland AFB, Texas:
[There is] a curious multiplication of Wiccans at Lackland. Hundreds of basic military trainees have chosen to study witchcraft at the base.
“When we come over here on a Sunday, often times, there are 300 to 400 (trainees),” Tony Gatlin said.
Gatlin is the coven’s high priest. His wife Read more
The Colorado Springs Gazette, local to the US Air Force Academy, carried a variety of positive comments from participants in USAFA’s second Religious Respect Conference. In fact, USAFA chaplains are advocating for their programs to be implemented Air Force-wide. In “AFA religious respect program could soon go service-wide,” reporter Erin Prater noted
Chaplains hope to transition the Religious Respect Training Program throughout the Air Force as soon as possible, chaplain Maj. Shawn Menchion said…
David Oringderff, a local Wiccan leader, had high praise for USAFA’s efforts: Read more