Friends, The new Alliance Alert Daily Digest is finally here! You can subscribe to the daily e-mail here: Subscribe to our mailing list * indicates required Email Address * First Name * Last Name *
Chaplain Alliance for Religious Liberty: The Air Force has quickly reversed a ban on the words “have a blessed day” when used by military personnel to greet visitors at the security gate entrance to Robins Air Force Base.
Christian News Network: The U.S. Army has ordered the removal of a sandwich board outside of an Arizona recruiting office because it included the phrase “On a mission for God and country.”
Congressman confronts military activist in heated exchange over ‘fundamentalist Christian monsters’ quote during religious freedom hearing
The Blaze: Sparks briefly flew Wednesday when Mikey Weinstein, president of the Military Religious Freedom Foundation, a First Amendment group, appeared before a subcommittee of the House Armed Services Committee to discuss complications and confusion surrounding religious freedom in the U.S. military.
The Christian Post: “So no matter how stressful your life can be with juggling family issues, relationships, career advancement, work, school, or any burden that life throws your way, cast it upon the Lord and He will sustain you,” the colonel wrote.
Opposing Views: “Simply hearing another pray burdens no one,” Brett Harvey, of the Alliance Defending Freedom, a Christian law firm, told Campus Reform. “Limiting the way a person is able to pray suppresses religious freedom. True freedom permits a prayer giver to choose for themselves how to pray, while permitting those to hear it the liberty to agree, disagree, or disregard.”
Campus Reform: “Simply hearing another pray, burdens no one,” Brett Harvey from the Alliance Defending Freedom told Campus Reform.”Limiting the way a person is able to pray suppresses religious freedom. True freedom permits a prayer giver to choose for themselves how to pray, while permitting those to hear it the liberty to agree, disagree, or disregard.”
Christian News Network: “The U.S. military has no plans to back out of a National Day of Prayer event after being urged by a prominent activist group to withdraw, reports state.”
Army Times: “In a letter to military leaders and the White House, the Military Religious Freedom Foundation is asking officials not to provide speakers or ceremonial support for the event, which they argue would show favoritism and endorsement of evangelical Christians.”
Religious freedom group puts billboard in the middle of military’s “So help me God” controversy | BizPac Review
BizPac Review: “Coalition member Alliance Defending Freedom’s executive vice president Gary McCaleb said that ‘suppressing religion is wrong whether it is done behind an iron curtain or in a dorm hallway,’ and has no place in the Air Force, The Blaze reported.”
Bob Unruh at WND: “The new billboard by the Restore Military Religious Freedom Coalition simply asks: ‘Are you free to say so help me God? They did.’ . . . The coalition includes the American Family Association, American Values, Alliance Defending Freedom . . .”
Todd Starnes at Fox News: “There appears to be a double-standard at the Air Force Academy. The Academy is defending its promotion of an atheist event just a week after a Christian cadet was pressured into removing a Bible verse from his personal white board because it allegedly offended non-Christian cadets.”
The New American: “Gary McCaleb a coalition member as well as a vice president with the conservative legal advocacy group Alliance Defending Freedom, said that ‘suppressing religion is wrong whether it is done behind an Iron Curtain or in a dorm hallway. Certainly such raw anti-religious discrimination has no place in America’s Air Force.’”
Ken Klukowski at Breitbart: “Christians in the U.S. military are being told they must forfeit their First Amendment rights. Bible verses are being erased from cadets’ personal dorm-room white boards, and military lawyers claim that legal protections for religion only pertain to matters such as clothing and growing beards but do not extend to any religious expression such as talking about one’s faith or posting a Bible verse.”
Bible verse removal mobilizes conservative legal groups to prepare for battle with Air Force Academy | The Blaze
The Blaze: “Gary McCaleb, another coalition member who serves as chief solicitor and executive vice president for strategy implementation at Alliance Defending Freedom, added that ‘suppressing religion is wrong whether it is done behind an Iron Curtain or in a dorm hallway.’”
Restore Military Religious Freedom Coalition offers legal aid to Bible verse cadets | ChristianNewsWire
Christian News Wire: “Gary McCaleb, Chief Solicitor and Executive Vice President for Strategy Implementation at Alliance Defending Freedom: ‘Suppressing religion is wrong whether it is done behind an Iron Curtain or in a dorm hallway. Certainly such raw anti-religious discrimination has no place in America’s Air Force.’”
Charisma News: “‘Suppressing religion is wrong whether it is done behind an Iron Curtain or in a dorm hallway. Certainly such raw anti-religious discrimination has no place in America’s Air Force,’ noted Gary McCaleb, chief solicitor and executive vice president for Strategy Implementation at Alliance Defending Freedom.”
National Journal: “Despite an ongoing fight about retiring the A-10 and investigations into cheating scandals, perhaps the most contentious moment of a House committee hearing on the Air Force budget on Friday focused on religious freedom.” | See this Alliance Alert search for more coverage.
Zac Crippen at The Federalist: “In full disclosure, I need to mention that I have some personal experience with Mr. Weinstein’s organization. In 2011, when I was a senior at the Academy, I was an approval authority for emails disseminated to the student body. One of these emails—written by a fellow senior of mine—was collecting support for a charity campaign called Operation Christmas Child (OCC) . . . If Mr. Weinstein were a better student of the law, he would recognize that a cadet’s whiteboard does nothing to establish a state religion. If Mr. Weinstein were a better student of American history, he would recognize the positive role that religious faith has played in the character formation of the men and women in our military.”
Fox News: “The Restore Military Religious Freedom coalition, a group of two dozen like-minded religious liberty organizations, announced Thursday that they are ready to offer assistance to any Air Force Academy cadet who faces repercussions for writing Bible verses on their hallway whiteboards. . . . ‘Suppressing religion is wrong whether it is done behind an Iron Curtain or in a dorm hallway,’ said Gary McCaleb, of the Alliance Defending Freedom. ‘Certainly such raw anti-religious discrimination has no place in America’s Air Force.’”
Fox News: “The Air Force Academy removed a Bible verse posted on a cadet’s whiteboard after it determined the posting had offended other cadets, a spokesman for the academy said.”
CNSNews: In response to a letter from a coalition of religious liberty advocates concerned about anti-Christian bias in Defense Department “equal opportunity” training materials, the Department of Defense says it is reviewing those materials and will decide this month whether to continue using “private organizations” as resources in developing them.
AP: The commander of the Guantanamo Bay naval base decided Wednesday to move Nativity scenes from two dining halls following complaints that the decorations improperly promoted Christianity.
AP: Some troops at Guantanamo Bay want the U.S. Navy to remove nativity scenes and Christmas decorations from two base dining facilities, saying they improperly promote Christianity over other faiths, an organization that advocates for religious freedom in the military said Wednesday.
Fox News: The Baby Jesus has been kicked off Shaw Air Force Base in South Carolina, according to an organization who relishes any opportunity to eradicate Christianity from the U.S. military.
AP: The U.S. Air Force Academy may drop a religious reference from an oath cadets take to swear allegiance to the school’s honor code after a religious freedom group said it’s a litmus test for honesty.
NC Register: “There is a disturbing trend, an authoritarian trend, among some supporters of the agenda to redefine marriage,” says attorney Jordan Lorence, who is a senior counsel with the Alliance Defending Freedom. “They are forcing people to express beliefs they don’t believe in or punishing them for expressing support for marriage between one man and one woman.”
Govt Watch Group Files Suit to Obtain Correspondence Between Pentagon, Anti-Christian Activist | ChristianNews.net
ChristianNews.net: Jerry Boykin of Family Research Council, Ron Crews of the Chaplain Alliance for Religious Liberty, Sandy Rios of the American Family Association, and attorney Kellie Fiedorek from Alliance Defending Freedom all participated in the meeting, which they characterized as “productive.” “[W]e asked that the Department of Defense move quickly to implement the religious freedom protections enacted in last year’s National Defense Authorization Act,” Boykin stated. “Given new incidents of military personnel facing career reprisals for their religious beliefs, it is vital that regulations preventing discrimination be issued by the Secretary of Defense as required by law.”
Military Religious Freedom Foundation files FOIA requests to uncover Pentagon links with fundamentalist Christian lobbyists
AlterNet: All other correspondence, emails, or other records on any subject between representatives of the “Restore Military Religious Freedom Coalition” and/or its constituent member organizations (including but not limited to the Alliance Defending Freedom, the American Family Association, Chaplain Alliance for Religious Liberty, and the Family Research Council) and any Air Force or other Department of Defense personnel.
WorldNetDaily: Litigation Counsel Kellie Fiedorek of the Alliance Defending Freedom noted when Weinstein was complaining about the World War II poem: “Chaplains have the freedom and obligation to speak about faith and religious values, and this freedom should not be censored or prohibited. The Air Force should be commended for recognizing this and returning Chaplain Reyes’ essay to the ‘Chaplains Corner’ portion of his base’s website.”
One News Now: Now Reyes’s posting has been restored following the efforts of Alliance Defending Freedom and the Chaplain Alliance for Religious Liberty. Accompanying the re-posted column are comments such as “Glad to see Chaplain’s Corner is back as well as this message” and “Thanks to everyone who fought to bring back this article and to fight for our religious rights as Americans.”
‘No Atheists in Foxholes’ Article Restored to Air Force Website Following Removal Over Complaint | Christian News Network
Christian News Network: The Christian legal organization Alliance Defending Freedom says that it was concerned about the matter and filed a Freedom of Information request to determine what led to the article being removed from the site. “Chaplains have the freedom and obligation to speak about faith and religious values, and this freedom should not be censored or prohibited. The Air Force should be commended for recognizing this and returning Chaplain Reyes’s essay to the ‘Chaplains Corner’ portion of his base’s website,” stated Litigation Counsel Kellie Fiedorek. “We will continue to monitor that as we stand ready to defend our men and women in uniform just as they stand ready to defend us.”
ChristianNews.net: The United States Marines Corps may soon be leveled with a lawsuit over language in one of its training documents, which cites “lack or loss of spiritual faith” as being a risk factor for suicide among soldiers.
Katie McDonough at Salon: A United States Marine Corps publication on harm reduction among service members lists a lack of spiritual faith as one of 11 possible risk indicators, including prior suicide attempts, a history of psychiatric hospitalizations, and substance abuse.
he Chaplain Alliance for Religious Liberty, an organization of chaplain endorsers representing more than 2,000 chaplains actively serving the armed forces, has contacted senior Air Forces officials asking that they refrain from viewpoint discrimination and allow chaplains to speak freely on issues of faith.
Ken Klukowski at Breitbart: A Christian chaplain in the military is being officially censored for engaging in free speech, and anti-Christian activists are demanding he be punished.
Tod Starnes at Fox News: A chaplain at Joint Base Elmendorf-Richardson in Alaska was ordered to remove a religious column he had written titled, “No Atheists in Foxholes: Chaplains Gave all in World War II,” because it allegedly offended atheists serving on the Air Force base.
Ken Blackwell at CNS: Mikey Weinstein and his militant atheizers in MRFF (the so-called Military Religious Freedom Foundation) are boasting of their ability to crush any outbreak of Christian expression in the military. Mikey and MRFF proudly call CAIR their “allies.” CAIR is the Council on American-Islamic Relations. CAIR, as the former federal prosecutor Andrew C. McCarthy has noted, has close ties to Hamas. [The Grand Jihad, by Andrew C. McCarthy, p. 160.]
Anti-Religion Group Touts Growing Influence at DOD After Air Force Base Ditches Picture with Bible Verse
CNSNews: An anti-religion group touting its access to Defense Department officials is taking credit for the removal of a painting from an Idaho Air Force base on Friday that featured a Bible verse within an hour of making the demand.
Todd Starnes at Fox News: An inspirational painting that referenced a Bible verse has been removed from a dining hall at Mountain Home Air Force Base after an anti-religion group filed a complaint.
Ken Klukowski at Breitbart: One month ago the Pentagon assured the public it was not being advised by anti-Christian extremist Mikey Weinstein. Yet two days ago Weinstein called the Pentagon demanding that a Christian painting be removed from a dining hall in an Idaho Air Force base, and the Pentagon complied with his demand–in less than one hour.
Missouri Family Policy Council: Members of Congress are sending correspondence to Pentagon officials expressing concern about the rising tide of anti-Christian hostility in the U.S. Armed Services.
Ken Klukowski at Breitbart:The Obama-Hagel Pentagon is trying to minimize Breitbart News’blockbuster story last week of top brass meeting with anti-Christian extremist Mikey Weinstein, whom we reported calls Christians “monsters” imposing a “rapacious reign of theocratic terror” and says sharing the gospel of Jesus Christ in the military an act of “sedition and treason” that must be punished.
Joe LaRue went on radio to discuss the situation: Pentagon backtracks on evangelization comments, investigation launched. | The Vicki McKenna Show —– MP3 audio 14:20 mins | WAVA Radio with Don Kroah —– MP3 audio 13:25 mins | The Zeb Bell Show —– MP3 audio 13:04 mins
Citizen Link: Actually, Michael “Mikey” Weinstein, the founder of the Military Religious Freedom Foundation (MRFF), uses some form of the word “monster” to describe Christians 12 times in this diatribe. Now to be fair, Weinstein is only talking about “fundamentalist Christian monsters,” whoever those are. But since he mentions Focus on the Family’s founder, Dr. James Dobson, then that pretty much brings all evangelicals within the “monstrous” realm of Mikey’s imagination.
Sally Quinn at the Washington Post: Weinstein told me after the Pentagon meeting that military leaders need to understand that “there is systematic misogyny, anti-Semitism and Islamophobia in the military.” He said it is all part of the same culture. “This is a national security threat. What is happening [aside from sexual assault] is spiritual rape. And what the Pentagon needs to understand is that it is sedition and treason. It should be punished.”
Todd Starnes at Townhall: Religious liberty groups have grave concerns after they learned the Pentagon is vetting its guide on religious tolerance with a group that compared Christian evangelism to “rape” and advocated that military personnel who proselytize should be court martialed.
he Chaplain Alliance for Religious Liberty, an organization of chaplain endorsers representing more than 2,000 current chaplains actively serving the armed forces, expressed both gratitude and concern Tuesday over the Air Force and a new “religious tolerance” policy.
Breitbart: “Today, we face incredibly well-funded gangs of fundamentalist Christian monsters who terrorize their fellow Americans by forcing their weaponized and twisted version of Christianity upon their helpless subordinates in our nation’s armed forces.”
Fox News: The U.S. military ordered soldiers to remove a cross and a steeple from atop a chapel and to board up cross-shaped windows at a remote American forward operating base in Afghanistan.
Religion Clause Blog: In a Huffington Post essay on Monday, West Point cadet Blake Page announced that he is resigning from West Point 5 months short of graduation in protest of the school’s promotion of religion . . .
Christian Fighter Pilot: Michael Weinstein, the self-described “litigator and agitator” who has managed to have every one of his 5 lawsuits dismissed in the past few years, now finds himself on the receiving end of legal action: [A former Navy chaplain has filed a] defamation lawsuit against the militant anti-Christian activist Mikey Weinstein, who got served yesterday. Chaplain Gordon James Klingenschmitt, PhD, just filed the new legal complaint in New Mexico State Court, citing multiple counts of defamation and malicious abuse of the legal process by Weinstein and his openly anti-Christian organization the Military Religious Freedom Foundation, Inc.
Indy Blog: Often accused of a bent toward fundamental Christianity, the Air Force Academy will hold its Biannual Religious Respect Conference on Tuesday and Wednesday. But its biggest critic, Mikey Weinstein, won’t be there.
Christian Post: Why would anyone not want every resource available to help our military personnel? This press release is one more example of intolerance toward faith that runs counter to everything we hold dear in this nation,” Chaplain (Col.) USAR retired Ron Crews, executive director for the Chaplain Alliance for Religious Liberty, told The Christian Post on Tuesday. “I sincerely hope that military leaders will not bow toward this intolerance.”
God and Country: The investigation into the burning of Islamic religious material confiscated from an Afghan prison was reportedly completed, with no one criminally charged or court-martialed.
Marine Corps Times: Two national atheist groups, and one advocating religious freedom, have complained to Navy Secretary Ray Mabus that officials at Camp Pendleton, Calif., continue to deny them access to the base while giving “preferential treatment” to Christian religious organizations, including a controversial church they say is steeped in “doomsday theology” and embroiled in sexual-abuse scandals.
Huffington Post: The long-smoldering debate at the U.S. Air Force Academy over the role of religion in cadets’ lives has reignited, just as a new class arrives on campus for basic training.
One News Now: ol. Ron Crews (USA-Ret.) served as a chaplain for 28 years and now serves as a spokesman for the Chaplain Alliance for Religious Liberty. “It just seems that every time Mikey Weinstein sends an e-mail over to the Pentagon that they just cater to his every whim,” Crews says. “This one individual has that much influence in the Pentagon. They just cave in.”
Colo. Springs Independent: An Air Force lawyer at the Pentagon has essentially cleared Brig. Gen. Dana Born, the Air Force Academy’s dean of faculty, of ordering a counterinsurgency against the Military Religious Freedom Foundation
The Chaplain Alliance for Religious Liberty expresses disappointment over a decision by Department of Defense officials to remove military edition Bibles from the shelves of military exchange stores. This is one more case of Department of Defense officials bowing to political pressure to create a “religion free” zone in the military.
U-T San Diego: But in a heartless move, two hypersecularist groups – the Military Association of Atheists & Freethinkers, and the Military Religious Freedom Foundation – are now threatening to sue if the U.S. Marine Corps refuses to take down the crosses. They say the crosses establish a religion and they want to see the crosses put into “a private church.”
Religion Clause Blog: MSNBC reported Wednesday that the Military Religious Freedom Foundation has sent a letter (full text) to the Secretary of the Navy and Commandant of the Marine Corps objecting to a commanding officer’s decision last month to reinstate the name “Crusaders” as the label for Marine Fighter Attack Squadron 122 . . .
Christian Fighter Pilot provides some additional background on the controversy.
Religion Clause Blog: Military.com reports that last week, after receiving a letter from the Military Religious Freedom Foundation, the Air Force dropped a required reading from its online Squadron Officer School’s course.
Casey Law Office: A Dallas district judge Monday upheld prayers posted on a personal website as protected free speech, not a conspiracy to harm, as an anti-religious activist claimed without any supporting evidence . . . The Alliance Defense Fund assisted with funding for the defense of free speech principles in the case.
OneNewsNow.com: The Council on American-Islamic Relations (CAIR) teamed up with the liberal veterans group VoteVets.org and with anti-Christian crusader Mikey Weinstein of the Military Religious Freedom Foundation to petition West Point to disinvite Lt. Gen. Jerry Boykin (USA-Ret.) from the February 8 event.
God and Country : The band Aiden has announced it will be playing the atheist festival “Rock Beyond Belief” at Fort Bragg in March 2012, as the lead-in act to Richard Dawkins, the main attraction at the “concert.”
Religion Clause Blog: God and Country blog reported yesterday that the Military Association of Atheists and Freethinkers (MAAF) has convinced the U.S. Air Force Rapid Capabilities Office (RCO) to change the logo on its official patch which, like many, apparently contain “in-jokes.”
Chaplain endorsers, representing more than 2,000 military chaplains, commend the commander of Travis Air Force Base and his legal team for their decision to keep the traditional manger scene as part of the 17-year tradition of displays during the Christmas season.
Mercury News: ravis Air Force Base will not meet the demands of a group trying to take down the nativity scene and menorah displayed at a main intersection on the base.
Military.com: California Rep. Duncan Hunter has waded into the battle over the so-called Camp Pendleton cross — put up by leathernecks in honor of four buddies killed in Iraq — by asking the commander of Marine Corps Base Camp Pendleton to let the cross stay.
Mercury News (AP): The December culture wars are here again and this year’s target sits squarely on Travis Air Force Base. At issue are a nativity scene and menorah sitting amongst a host of secular Santas and holiday signs at the corner of Travis Avenue and Skymaster Drive. The religious displays are the subject of a letter from a group called the Military Religious Freedom Foundation.
Christian Post: Perkins’ comments came after the two, along with Alan Sears of the Alliance Defense Fund, discussed a recent incident in which the Air Force Academy apologized for promoting the ministry Operation Christmas Child on campus.
Colorado Springs Gazette, CO: Academy critic Mikey Weinstein accused commanders of crossing the line by promoting “Operation Christmas Child” a program sponsored by an evangelical Christian group that sends toys and toiletries in shoe boxes to needy kids around the globe. The group includes a Christian message with the gifts.