In what has become a predictable annual event, Michael “Mikey” Weinstein has again begun lodging his regular complaints about prayer breakfasts/luncheons being hosted on military bases or for military audiences around the country.
In January, Weinstein demanded Fort Jackson drop its invitation to Kenneth Copeland, because Mikey Weinstein disapproved of Copeland’s theology.
This month, Weinstein is demanding Whiteman AFB remove the commander’s “endorsement” from the wing’s annual prayer breakfast event announcement.
In the former example, the Army rightfully ignored Weinstein, and the event occurred as planned, despite Weinstein’s desperate pleas.
In the latter example, Weinstein is Read more
Update: The lecture was postponed to next semester due to a “scheduling conflict.”
On May 1st, which was also the National Day of Prayer, Chaplain (Col) William Lee of the Maryland National Guard gave a talk on “Religious Liberty and the Military Chaplain: Current Challenges to Religious Liberty in the U.S. Armed Services.” The event was hosted by the Institute for Religion, Politics and Culture at Washington College. Read more
Update: Listen to Admiral Lee’s message to the 2013 National Day of Prayer. Noted at Baptist Press and Fox News.
As has now been widely reported, US Coast Guard Rear Admiral William Lee spoke “from the heart” — rather than his prepared remarks — at the 2013 national observance of the National Day of Prayer:
He recounted a recent meeting with a 24-year-old soldier who had attempted suicide but survived…Lee said when he heard the man’s story, he knew the rules said he should send the man to a chaplain, but his heart said to give him a Bible.
“The lawyers tell me that if I do that, I’m crossing the line,” Lee said. “I’m so glad I’ve crossed that line so many times…”
Lee pledged not to back down from “my right under the Constitution to tell a young man that there is hope…”
“As one general so aptly put it – they expect us to check our religion in at the door – don’t bring that here,” Rear Admiral William Lee told a National Day of Prayer gathering. “Leaders like myself are feeling the constraints of rules and regulations and guidance issued by lawyers that put us in a tighter and tighter box regarding our constitutional right to express our religious faith.”
Funny that he’d mention lawyers. Didn’t the Air Force’s highest ranking lawyer, the JAG of the Air Force LtGen Richard Harding, just Read more
In another setback for Michael Weinstein’s vitriolic assaults on religious freedom in the US military, the Department of Defense issued a clarifying statement (full text below) disavowing Weinstein’s characterizations and accusations.
It did so in a unique way, however:
Service members can share their faith (evangelize), but must not force unwanted, intrusive attempts to convert others of any faith or no faith to one’s beliefs (proselytization).
(The DoD statement would presumably override the one from the Air Force the day prior, saying troops couldn’t share their faith if it made others “uncomfortable.”)
It’s an awkward turn of semantics, since most dictionaries don’t define “proselytizing” as being “unwanted” or “intrusive” (its a neutral term “to convert”). Over the past few years, the term has been so often associated with “coercion” it has come to have a negative connotation. (Weinstein’s research assistant, Chris Rodda, actually agrees the Read more