Tell a friend


Email sign-up

defending the First Amendment against the Christian right ...

Jews On First!

... because if Jews don't speak out, they'll think we don't mind

Mikey Weinstein and his lawsuit against the U.S. Air Force

Please note: Reports and other materials about religious coercion at the U.S. Air Force Academy are on the page by that name. (Click here.) Reports and documents related to the disclosure by Weinstein's Military Religious Freedom Foundation of a religious recruiting video filmed at the Pentagon and starring uniformed senior officers are here.

Onward Christian Soldiers
The growing power of fundamentalist evangelical Christianity in the U.S. military

by Haim Dov Beliak and Jane Hunter,, June 9, 2008.

This article was commissioned and posted by Religion Dispatches, which has generously permitted us to repost it here.
We invite you to listen to our interview with Army Specialist Jeremy Hall and Mikey Weinstein of the Military Religious Freedom Foundation.

In a lawsuit filed against the Department of Defense and his commanding officer, Army Specialist Jeremy Hall alleges that Maj. Freddy J. Welborn broke up an atheists’ meeting organized in Iraq, exclaiming: “People like you are not holding up the Constitution and are going against what the founding fathers, who were Christians, wanted for America!” In an interview last week, Hall said that he and another Army specialist attending the meeting were forced to stand at attention before Welborn and submit to his authority, saying: "'Yes sir, I see where you’re coming from, yes sir I see what you mean, this that and the other." The encounter with Welborn, Hall continued, forced him “to totally lie. My integrity was taken from me. My pride. Everything was stripped from me when I had to say, ‘Yes sir,’ and shake his hand.” Please click here to read our report and listen to our recorded interview with Hall and Mikey Weinstein, whose Military Religious Freedom Foundation is providing his legal representation.

Are U.S. troops being force-fed Christianity?
A watchdog group alleges that improper evangelizing is occurring within the ranks.

By Jane Lampman, The Christian Science Monitor, October 4, 2007

At Speicher base in Iraq, US Army Spec. Jeremy Hall got permission from a chaplain in August to post fliers announcing a meeting for atheists and other nonbelievers. When the group gathered, Specialist Hall alleges, his Army major supervisor disrupted the meeting and threatened to retaliate against him, including blocking his reenlistment in the Army.

Months earlier, Hall charges, he had been publicly berated by a staff sergeant for not agreeing to join in a Thanksgiving Day prayer.

On Sept. 17, the soldier and the Military Religious Freedom Foundation (MRFF) filed suit against Army Maj. Freddy Welborn and US Secretary of Defense Robert Gates, charging violations of Hall's constitutional rights, including being forced to submit to a religious test to qualify as a soldier.

The MRFF plans more lawsuits in coming weeks, says Michael "Mikey" Weinstein, who founded the military watchdog group in 2005. The aim is "to show there is a pattern and practice of constitutionally impermissible promotions of religious beliefs within the Department of Defense." Continue.

Mikey Weinstein Debates Christian Right Leader Jay Sekulow at Air Force Academy

April 24, 2007

April 24, 2007. Mikey Weinstein, who is leading a campaign to uproot religious intolerance from the U.S. military, and particularly from the U.S. Air Force Academy, his alma mater, tonight debates Jay Sekulow, who heads the American Center for Law and Justice. Pat Robertson founded Sekulow's organization, which litigates to destroy the constitutional boundaries between church and state. We are posting reports and comment as it becomes available. Tonight we've posted a link to an essay by Weinstein and the text of a virulent attack on him by a Colorado Springs rabbi who works with local religious right leaders. Please click here.

Watchdog groups force Army, Air Force to drop sponsorship of right-wing evangelical Christian event
Mikey Weinstein planning lawsuit over Memorial Day weekend event

by, May 29, 2007

Last-minute intervention by constitutional watchdog organizations forced the Army and Air Force to drop their sponsorship of a right-wing evangelical Christian event.

The event, "Salute to the Troops," at Stone Mountain Park near Atlanta ran without official government sponsorship. Planned military involvement in the three-day Memorial Day weekend event was also greatly reduced after Americans United for Separation of Church and State (AU) wrote to the secretaries of the Army and Navy.

Nevertheless, Mikey Weinstein, founder of the Military Religious Freedom Foundation, said he is planning to sue the Pentagon over the event. Continue.

JewsOnFirst interviews Mikey Weinstein

Jews On First Interviews Mikey Weinstein
Alumnus suing Air Force Academy says Jews should wake up to Christocrat aggression

By, February 23, 2006

"I get demonized and canonized," said Mikey Weinstein, whose lawsuit against the Air Force brought attention to the burgeoning theocratic movement in the US military. While the case wends its way through the courts, Weinstein is barnstorming the country, warning of what he regards as aggressive moves by right-wing Protestant evangelicals to Christianize our government and culture. One religious right leader (he doesn't remember which) recently called him the most dangerous man in America. "They call me Satan's lawyer, and an arch secularizer. Secular is good, I keep telling them." Click to continue.

Because I love America: Reagan's Assistant General Counsel Speaks Out

Mikey Weinstein, president of the Military Religious Foundation,, April 23, 2007

Mikey Weinstein served as Assistant General Counsel for Ronald Reagan. He founded the Military Religious Freedom Foundation to ensure the continued separation of Church and State, as essential principle of America's Constitution.

When I began asking questions about what I saw going on at Colorado Springs in 2004 I never expected that the inquiry would lead me to the horrifying conclusion that our country had been taken over by people who have used our own freedoms to enslave us. But that is what happened. When I began I, like most people, was focused on the personal. I believed that what was happening at the United States Air Force Academy, the harassment of cadets and staff with unwanted evangelism, was limited in scope. As the months passed, however, I found myself forced to constantly reassess my basic assumptions. The logic of events was stark and undeniable. Promises of an open inquiry were ignored; decent and courageous people like former Air Force Chaplin MeLinda Morton were intentionally muzzled to ensure the truth would not be heard and the wrongs righted.

As a Republican and an Academy graduate I find myself in head on conflict with my own oath to protect the Constitution. As a Jew I confronted a situation through ears that still hear the cries of my people walking silently into the brick buildings that would reduce them to ash. I cannot stand still and let that happen to my country.

You know about the law suit we filed; that suit took on the issue directly, based on the 1st Amendment Right of members of the military to choose their own spiritual paths, unhampered by those placed in positions of authority and on the basis of the Establishment Clause and Clause Three of Article Six, which prohibit the existence of a national religion. That is what has happened. America now has a national religion whose tenets extend to a foreign policy that sees war in the Middle East as the fulfillment of its core mission . The power block responsible for the take over are now, effectively, in charge of the mightiest weapon the world has ever known, the United States Military.

My law suit was one element in the larger battle to take back America. That might seem excessive or alarmist; I only wish that was the case. Continue

Weaponized Evangelism

By Rob Eshman, Editor-in-Chief, Jewish Journal, May 18, 2007

A force of nature named Michael Weinstein swept into my office and set about trying to convince me this country is in much bigger trouble than I can imagine.

According to Weinstein, the U.S. military "has just been completely infused by premillennial, dispensational, reconstructionist, dominionist, evangelical, fundamentalist Christians who want to spread a weaponized version of the gospel of Jesus Christ."

Instead of using the might of the most powerful war machine in the history of the world to defend all Americans, these evangelical Christians seek to spread democracy and the gospel, to be crusaders for Christ, at any cost to America and to treat American military personnel as "the lowest hanging fruit" in their drive to evangelize. "There's a serious threat out there that we view to be as much a national security threat internally to this country as that presented externally by Al Qaeda," he said. Continue.

In The Name Of The Constitution: Military Dad Fights Religious Right
Interview With Michael L. Weinstein, Founder Of Military Religious Freedom Foundation

By Nathan Diebenow, Lone Star Iconoclast (Crawford, Texas), April 10, 2007

PASSING ALONG PRAISE — Michael L. Weinstein recently presented an award intended for Congressman Steve Israel (D-NY) to one of the Congressman’s staffers.

ALBUQUERQUE, N.M. — If you ever find Michael L. "Mikey" Weinstein pissed off, it could be for only a handful of reasons.

But the one thing that really gets his goat is when people using the institutions of government attempt to impose a religious world view on the general population.

That kind of abuse of the U.S. Constitution doesn’t sit well with this former assistant general counsel to President Ronald Reagan. Continue.

Activist to speak on military, religion

Pam Wight, Whittier Daily News, March 15, 2007

Mikey Weinstein, a lightning rod in the battle over church/state separation ever since he sued the U.S. Air Force for religious discrimination, will speak about his experiences at the Beth Shalom of Whittier on Friday as part of a nation-wide book tour.

Weinstein's book, "With God on Our Side," details his and others' exposure to what he says was overt evangelical proselytizing at the Air Force Academy in Colorado Springs. Continue

The fight for freedom at home

Opinion Article by Mikey Weinstein, The Hill, May 16, 2006

My battle against the Air Force began two years ago when I learned that my sons, the eldest an Air Force Academy graduate and the other a cadet at the Academy, were subjected to taunts and derision because of their Jewish faith and that each had faced proselytizing both from their peers and superiors. My daughter-in-law, a graduate of the Air Force Academy and a practicing non-evangelical Christian, also found herself subjected to evangelizing.

The matter was personal, but it was very clear that it was not just my sons and daughter-in-law whose constitutional rights were being violated. Air Force personnel — non-evangelical Christians, those of minority faiths and those who chose not to worship at all — were experiencing illegal proselytizing and evangelizing.

After reaching out to Air Force leadership and numerous members of Congress without success, my battle manifested itself into a federal lawsuit, and most recently the creation of the Military Religious Freedom Foundation. It’s no longer just the Air Force I’ve focused my attention on — it’s the entirety of our nation’s armed forces. Continue

JewsOnFirst reports

In the news: Christianizers in the military
Anti-semitic attack on Air Force Academy graduate

by, May 11, 2006

May has brought forth new reports about Christianizers in the U.S. military. Most significantly, an Air Force general used his military email account to send 200 of his Air Force Academy classmates a pitch for a Republican congressional candidate that focused on the man's Christian credentials. Mikey Weinstein, the Jewish academy graduate who shared his copy of the email with reporters was attacked by an old-style anti-Semite and the candidate.

Meanwhile, Congressional Republicans rebuffed an effort to call for sensitivity in the Air Force's policy for chaplains. Issued in February, that policy delighted Christocrat because it allows chaplains to offer sectarian prayers at official occasions. Lastly, a zealot Navy chaplain, Lt. Gordon Klingenschmitt, got his fight for sectarian prayers back into the news. Continue

Weinstein's book, With God on Our Side

Coincidences among Topeka crimes concern religious leaders

By: Rick Hellman, Editor, Kansas City Jewish Chronicle, November 17, 2006

TOPEKA, Kan. -- The coincidences last week among the visit to town of a Jewish civil-rights activist, the anti-Semitic graffiti spray-painted on the property of Temple Beth Sholom and the arson fire that destroyed St. David's Episcopal Church have people here talking.

Police and fire officials are aware of the coincidences, too, as they investigate the crimes. But Topeka Police Major John Sidwell said this week there was "nothing to tie the two cases together, other than the timing."

Temple President Dr. Susan Eyman, a psychologist, downplayed the possibility that the crimes could be connected. "I think arsonists are different than those who spray paint a sign," she said. But she admitted congregants have been talking about it. "As the church pastor said, I am hoping there is no connection, because it's a shame just to think about that."

Mikey Weinstein of Albuquerque, N.M., spoke at Temple Beth Sholom on Friday, Nov. 10. An Air Force veteran himself and father of three current or former Air Force Academy cadets, Weinstein is the author of a new book calling for an end to Christian evangelism by military chaplains. Continue.

Smoke and debris
Mikey Weinstein's war comes to Barnes & Noble

Cara DeGette, Colorado Springs Independent Newspapers, October 19, 2006

You may remember Mikey Weinstein; he's hard to forget. Last year, the 1977 Air Force Academy honors graduate filed a lawsuit against the United States Air Force for allowing, even promoting, aggressive evangelical Christian proselytizing at his alma mater.

Several events led up to the lawsuit, including Weinstein's son, a cadet, being warned he would burn in the eternal fires of hell because he is Jewish.

The subject of a March 2 Independent cover story (, Weinstein, an attorney who worked in the Reagan White House, is the founder of the Military Religious Freedom Foundation, designed to expand the battle for plurality and against religious intolerance through the military. His bombast and fiery quotes have made him a household name for supporters -- and a nemesis to Christian evangelicals who maintain the First Amendment secures their right to proselytize at tax-funded military installations. Continue

Law journal article

Service Before Self?
Evangelicals Flying High At The U.S. Air Force Academy

by Heather Cook, Journal of Law and Education, January 2007

On October 6, 2005, Michael "Mikey" Weinstein, a second generation graduate of the United States Air Force Academy and father of a current cadet, sued the United States Air Force alleging numerous instances of evangelical Christian proselytizing and other Establishment Clause violations. While Weinstein alleges that the problem is systemic throughout the Air Force, most of the allegations underlying the lawsuit occurred at the Academy in Colorado Springs, Colorado. Not surprisingly, Colorado Springs is also home to a number of national evangelical Christian organizations including, National Association of Evangelicals, Focus on the Family, Compassion International, The Navigators, Youth with a Mission, Young Life and the International Bible Society, "earning the city the tongue-in-cheek nickname 'the Protestant Vatican'."

In response, evangelical groups have filed motions to intervene in the lawsuit in order to protect what they see as the Free Exercise rights of service members to "worship according to their conscience and lead others in authentic expressions of personal veneration to Almighty God." According to them, the Weinstein lawsuit is nothing more than "an assault on religious speech within the United States Air Force" that will have a chilling effect on constitutionally protected rights of service members.

Navigating the scope of the religion clauses of the First Amendment presents a complex problem, especially in the area of military colleges. First, students in colleges and universities fall outside the scope of the United States Supreme Court's Establishment Clause protections. Currently, the Court's jurisprudence only extends to violations occurring in primary and secondary schools. Additionally, the Court has refused to grant certiorari in a number of cases over the past ten years that would have provided an opportunity to clarify the state of the law with respect to the establishment and free exercise of religion in higher education. Continue.

Judge dismisses Weinstein's lawsuit against Air Force

Air Force Academy religion suit dismissed
Graduates’ allegations of bias, evangelizing vague, judge says

By Bill Vogrin, The Gazette, (Colorado Springs), October 28, 2006

A federal judge on Friday dismissed a lawsuit by a group of Air Force Academy graduates who claimed evangelical Christian officers and cadets illegally "attempted to impose" their religion on others at the military school.

U.S. District Judge James A. Parker in Albuquerque threw out the lawsuit, saying it contained only vague allegations that the academy is biased in favor of evangelical Christians and improperly allowed evangelizing.Continue.

Case against Air Force Academy dismissed

By Lara Jakes Jordan, Associated Press, Seattle Post-Intelligencer, October 27, 2006

WASHINGTON -- A federal judge on Friday threw out a lawsuit against the U.S. Air Force that contended evangelical Christian values were being illegally pushed on Air Force Academy cadets.

An academy graduate said he would appeal the decision by senior U.S. District Judge James A. Parker in Albuquerque, N.M. "Our fight is far from over," said honors graduate Mikey Weinstein of Albuquerque.

The case was brought by Weinstein and other Air Force Academy graduates who contended a military chaplain violated their religious freedom rights by urging cadets to attend Christian services or face being burned "in the fires of hell." That incident reflected a broader policy, the group charged, of efforts to evangelize Air Force staff.

But Parker, in a 16-page decision, said the graduates could not claim their First Amendment rights were violated since they no longer attended the Academy. Moreover, the group failed to give specific examples of which cadets were harmed, or when. Continue.

Military Religious Freedom Foundation Disappointed By Court Ruling, Vows To Refile Lawsuit

Statement, Military Religious Freedom Foundation, October 30, 2006

Mikey Weinstein, founder and president of the Military Religious Freedom Foundation today vowed to refile a lawsuit seeking to protect our nation’s armed forces from unconstitutional violations of their religious freedom.

A federal judge today in New Mexico dismissed on a technicality the lawsuit filed against the United States Air Force. Mikey Weinstein released the following statement in response to the decision:

"While we respect Judge Parker’s ruling, we are deeply disappointed that our efforts have been delayed to protect the rights of the brave and honorable men and women serving in our nation’s armed forces. We will refile our lawsuit as quickly as possible. Our fight is far from over. Religious bias and the outrageous violations of the separation of church and state continue to spread rampantly throughout our military.

The Military Religious Freedom Foundation remains steadfastly committed to upholding our constitutional rights and to ensure that our government and military officials do the same. We will do everything in our power to halt the encroachment of fundamentalist religious ideology on our nation’s armed forces." Click here.

Federal Judge Dismisses Air Force Academy Religious Freedom Suit
The court affirmed the right of government employees to share their personal faith, but the threat is not going away

Steve Jordahl, Focus on the Family, October 31, 2006

Mikey Weinstein and four of his classmates were suing the Air Force Academy because they claimed there was an evangelical bias on campus. But, the court found that none of the former cadets personally experienced the alleged bias and dismissed the suit . Ted Haggard of the National Association of Evangelicals says the decision could have been a historic setback for freedom of religion.

"If the judge would have gone the opposite direction then that would have been the first time in American history that we would have had to developed a protocol in the government to establish religion." Continue

Judge Dismisses Lawsuit against Air Force Academy
Allegations of widespread bias by Christians unproved and complainants lacked standing to bring suit.

Pete Winn, Focus on the FamilyOctober 31, 2006

Evangelical Christians and legal experts applaud a federal judge for tossing out a lawsuit against the U.S. Air Force Academy last week -- one which had accused the academy of creating an atmosphere which fostered religious discrimination.

U.S. District Judge James A. Parker in New Mexico ruled that Albuquerque-based lawyer Mikey Weinstein and the handful of other former cadets who brought the legal action had provided no proof to their "vague" allegations that the academy was biased in favor of evangelical Christians and improperly allowed Christian cadets to proselytize those of other faiths.

Alliance Defense Fund attorney Kevin Theriot said the judge wisely ruled that since the former cadets who filed the suit were no longer at the academy, the legal action served no purpose.

"He dismissed a completely baseless suit," Theriot told CitizenLink. "The plaintiffs were trying to get the court to prohibit, not only people at the academy, but anyone in the Air Force from sharing their faith with their fellow servicemen while they were on duty. And that would have been an incredibly intrusive restriction on religious speech and the ability of people of faith -- any faith -- to share their faith." Continue

Recent news

Uniformed Senior Army and Air Force Officers Appear in Religious Group's Video
Pentagon allowed video for Christian Embassy to be shot on premises

By, December 12, 2006

Six uniformed senior offices, Army and Air Force generals and colonels, offer testimonials in a promotional video for the Christian Embassy, a Washington based Christian Right group that evangelizes official Washington. According to the Christian Embassy, the Pentagon permitted the video to be shot on its premises.

The Military Religious Freedom Foundation (MRFF) brought the video to public attention and the Washington Post broke the story. Click here, please.

Go Tell It to the Enemy, Mikey

Rush Limbaugh program transcript, December 13, 2006

RUSH: Here's another example, ladies and gentlemen. From the Cybercast News Service: "Pentagon Evangelism Called 'National Security Threat.' Christian military officers who share their faith at work in the Pentagon pose a threat to national security, according to a group that advocates for religious neutrality in the military." Yeah. Religious neutrality in the military. That's why we have to build separate religious facilities for Muslim soldiers, religious neutrality. Who are these people? Well, stand by. I'll tell you. "Public displays of faith by high-ranking military officers project an image of a Christian nation waging war on non-Christians, both inside and outside the United States, the Military Religious Freedom Foundation said Monday." Continue.

Academy graduate: Get rid of ‘Crusaders’ emblem

By Tim Korte, Associated Press, Air Force Times, September 1, 2006

The 523rd Fighter Squadron's unit emblem features a cross, a sword and an armored helmet. The squadron uses the nickname "Crusaders" for its unit. Mikey Weinstein has challenged the unit’s emblem and nickname, claiming blatantly sectarian religious symbolism on the patches they affix to their uniforms. — Cannon Air Force Base

An Air Force Academy graduate from Albuquerque wants Cannon Air Force Base officials to end the 523rd Fighter Squadron’s use of “Crusaders” as the unit’s nickname.

Mikey Weinstein, who has sued the Air Force over allegations that Air Force Academy cadets were unconstitutionally subjected to Christian evangelization, has complained about the 523rd’s unit emblem, which features a cross, a sword and an armored helmet. Continue

Marching as to War
Former Air Force Officer Mikey Weinstein Zeroes In on Proselytizing in the Military

By Alan Cooperman, Washington Post, July 16, 2006

Porcelain figurines are perched on the mantelpiece behind Mikey Weinstein. Guests are seated on chintz couches in front of him. It's a nice crowd at a polite fundraising party.

But Mikey -- his friends, his enemies, even complete strangers call him "Mikey" -- has had it with nice. Click here to continue reading this report (a PDF document on the website of Weinstein's Military Religious Freedom Foundation).

Jewish father tackles proselytizing in the Air Force after sons’ harassment

By Ron Kampeas, Jewish Telegraphic Agency, June 15, 2006

WASHINGTON, June 15 (JTA) — Betrayal. Contagion. Oceans of blood. That’s Mikey Weinstein, describing the threat he believes the United States faces from the Christian evangelists he says are permeating the military. At least, that’s the printable Weinstein. And he says to expect more of the same in-your-face approach as his Military Religious Freedom Foundation picks up steam and continues to pursue lawsuits against the U.S. military. Continue

For more on the Jewish organizations' recommendations to the Air Force mentioned in this report, please click here.

The Passion of Mikey Weinstein

Mathew Berger, Moment Magazine, June-July 2006

This article focuses on Mikey Weinstein's background and how he came to challenge the military establishment's evangelical tilt.Click here

Church-State Gadfly Roils Military, Rips

By Jennifer Siegel, Forward, May 12, 2006

In the face of mounting Republican opposition, a fiery Air Force veteran-turned-gadfly is stepping up his fight to stop Christian proselytizing in the military, and criticizing Jewish groups for not doing more to help his cause. Continue

Antagonist of Christians in the Military Steps It Up
Mikey Weinstein creates a foundation to oppose sharing faith.

Focus on the Family, June 6, 2006

Attorney Mikey Weinstein -- best known for challenging the free speech of Christian cadets at the U.S. Air Force Academy -- has created a new group called the Military Religious Freedom Foundation to fight what he calls "coercive indoctrination by evangelical Christians." Continue.

A.F. turns blind eye to religious intolerance

by Mikey Weinstein, Washington Jewish Week, February 22, 2006

"The United States Air Force's recently released revised guidelines for religious expression are not just a terrible disappointment. They are a colossal, constitutional step backward in the struggle to protect members of the U.S. Armed Forces from religious coercion.

"Moreover, the guidelines make another uncomfortable truth clear: To appease powerful voices on the religious right, the Air Force ‹ almost unimaginably ‹ made a political decision to tread upon sacred constitutional safeguards intended to protect those who follow nonevangelical Christian sects and minority religions, including Jews, as well as those who choose to follow no faith at all....

"The United States Air Force's recently released revised guidelines for religious expression are not just a terrible disappointment. They are a colossal, constitutional step backward in the struggle to protect members of the U.S. Armed Forces from religious coercion." Click here for Weinstein's comment.

Religion in the Air Force

PBS NewsHour with Jim Lehrer, February 22, 2006

Report on the situation in the U.S. Air Force Academy includes interviews with cadets, Rev. Melinda Morton who lost her job as an Air Force chaplain because she exposed the coercive right-wing Protestant evangelism at the academy, Mikey Weinstein who is suing the Air Force over religious coercion, and Pastor Ted Haggard, who heads the National Association of Evangelicals and the New Life Church in Colorado Springs, across the highway from the academy. Click here for the transcript and links to audio and video clips of the segment.

Military Maneuvers: New Group Fights For Religious Freedom For Those In Uniform

The Wall of Separation, official weblog of Americans United for the Separation of Church and State (, March 16, 2006

"Albuquerque businessman Mikey Weinstein yesterday announced the launch of a new non-profit group called the Military Religious Freedom Foundation (MRFF).

"Weinstein’s son, Curtis, attends the U.S. Air Force Academy in Colorado Springs. Curtis Weinstein reported incidents of anti-Semitism and official bias toward evangelical forms of Christianity to his father. While investigating the matter, Mikey Weinstein uncovered troubling evidence of a too-close-for-comfort relationship between branches of the military and Religious Right-style evangelicals." Continue.

Mikey's Army
The high-powered men and women who have taken their positions — fighting religious intolerance in the military

by Cara DeGette, Colorado Springs Independent, March 9-15, 2006

This is the second of a two-part series. The first, "Mikey's Mission," is below. This report focuses on Weinstein's new Military Religious Freedom Foundation and the people he has recruited to join its board. Click here for the report.

Activist Mikey Weinstein Says Revised Air Force Guidelines on Religion 'Dead on Arrival' and Fail to Rectify Key Issues

Rabinowitz/Dorf Communications, U.S. Newswire, March 2, 2006

Mikey Weinstein issued a statement on the Air Force's revised guidelines, calling them "dead on arrival" and saying "they blatantly fail to deal with fundamental issues - namely the protection of the Constitutional guarantee of the separation of church and state, and protection for junior officers and enlisted airmen from coercive proselytizing and evangelizing by their superiors. " Click here for the complete statement.

Weinstein's lawsuit against the Air Force

Note: Older reports on the lawsuit are in the section below entitled "Earlier reports on Weinstein and the lawsuit." (Click here)

Plaintiffs say Air Force recruiters told to use religion as tool

By Patrick O'Driscoll, USA TODAY, March 10, 2006

Weinstein filed a motion seeking to add a plaintiff, a master sargeant who claims that he has been regularly proselytized by his superior officers for almost a decade. The filing also alleges that Air Force recruiters were encouraged to personally "accept" and use Jesus Christ as a recruiting tool. Click here for the report.

Mikey's Mission
Air Force Academy graduate Mikey Weinstein has entered the battle over church and state — with cannons booming

By Cara DeGette, Colorado Springs Independent, March 2-8, 2006

This article touches on the religious intolerance that Mikey Weinstein's sons experienced at the Air Force Academy. One son experienced upper class cadets asking him if he minded that his Jewish family was "going to burn in hell." Click here for the report.

Note: Older reports on the lawsuit are in the section below entitled "Earlier reports on Weinstein and the lawsuit." (Click here)

Air Force files new guidelines as evidence in lawsuit

Justice Dept. asks for dismissal of religious-intolerance lawsuit

By The Associated Press, First Amendment Center, February 20, 2006

"ALBUQUERQUE, N.M. — The Air Force has filed in federal court new guidelines on religion as part of its fight against a lawsuit by an Air Force Academy graduate who alleges the school's senior officers and cadets illegally impose Christianity on others...

"[Mikey] Weinstein [who is suing to force an end to religious coercion at the academy] called the guidelines a gift to his side of the argument.

"'They completely, thoroughly violate the Constitution of the United States,' he said. 'We were wondering how we were going to get these in (the court case). Well, here they are. Thank you, Justice Department.'" Click here for the report.

Evangelical Association bids to intervene in lawsuit

Evangelical Group to Intervene in Lawsuit Involving Chaplains' Religious Liberty
NAE Head: USAF Cadets' Christian Harassment Complaint Veils Attempt to Secularize Military

By Chad Groening, Agape Press, March 2, 2006

A Colorado-based organization whose national membership comprises some 52 evangelical congregations has plans to intervene in a lawsuit filed by several former U.S. Air Force Academy cadets, in which they claim the school allows Christians to harass cadets who do not share their faith. According to the head of the major Protestant Christian agency, the suit is nothing more than an effort to secularize the U.S. military." Click here for the report.

Evangelical group plans to intervene in Air Force lawsuit

By Tom Roeder, The Gazette (Colorado Springs, Colorado), February 7, 2006

"A Colorado Springs-based evangelical organization is expected to file court papers Wednesday asking to intervene in a lawsuit that charges the Air Force with religious intolerance.

"The Air Force won't comment, but the National Association of Evangelicals says it has talked with government attorneys and is entering the case to defend the rights of evangelical chaplains." Click here to read the report.

Air Force Has New Guidelines Regulating Prayer
New policy coincides with request from NAE to be part of lawsuit targeting prayer.

By Steve Jordahl, Family News in Focus (Focus on the Family), February 10, 2006

Despite its headlines, this article is mainly about the attempted intervention of the National Association of Evangelicals into the lawsuit seeking to compel the Air Force Academy to end sectarian religious coercion. It contains a denial that the Air Force helped the association with its filing. Click here for the report.

Evangelical group weighs in on religion dispute

By Bryant Jordan, Air Force Times, February 8, 2006

"Kyle Fisk, executive administrator for the [National Association of Evangelicals], told the Colorado Springs Gazette, 'It is the policy of the Air Force to remain neutral when it comes to intervention, but we believe we are doing the Air Force a service.'" Click here for the report.

In its "Breaking News" section on February 9th, the Jewish Telegraphic Agency reported: "If the court accepts the petition, the evangelical group would be able to work with the military on its defense and present new facts at a trial.

"Kyle Fisk, executive administrator of the National Association of Evangelicals, said Weinstein is seeking the 'secularization' of the military. After pressure from Weinstein, the military recently issued guidelines to promote religious tolerance at the Colorado Springs school."

Earlier reports on Weinstein and the lawsuit

Jewish cadets at Academy remember religious slights small and large

By Robert Wiener, New Jersey Jewish News, January 26, 2006

"Simmering discomfort by some Jewish and other non-Christian cadets over religious practice at the Air Force Academy heated up in 2004, when a 1977 graduate from New Mexico, Mikey Weinstein, began speaking publicly about the plight of his two sons, Casey and Curtis. Casey Weinstein, one of 20 Jews in the 1,000-member class of 2004, complained he faced a 'hostile environment' in which faculty members and fellow cadets tried to convert him to Christianity." Click here to read the report.

Evangelical's Spat With Jewish Activist Goes Public

By E.J. Kessler, Forward, January 6, 2006

"Mikey Weinstein, the New Mexico businessman who is suing to stop Air Force officers from evangelizing, first became angry when Pastor Ted Haggard, president of the National Association of Evangelicals and founder of the New Life Church, one of the country's largest ministries, suggested that Weinstein's suit was endangering Jewish-Christian relations. 'I just wanted you to know,' Haggard wrote, 'that I'm constantly involved in trying to protect Israel and other international Jewish interests, and find it difficult to defend Jewish causes around the world and, at the same time, have men like yourself trying to use increased government regulation to limit freedom here at home.'" Click here for the report.

When Hollywood Imitates Life

By Cara DeGette, Colorado Springs Independent, November 17-23, 2005

Mikey Weinstein, the Academy alumnus and parent, who is suing to stop religious coercion at the school, connects the upsurge of evangelism with the move to the Colorado Springs area of Christian organizations, including Focus on the Family. According to the paper, "Last week, the Scottsdale, Ariz.-based Alliance Defense Fund, a Christian law center co-founded by Focus on the Family founder James Dobson, filed a motion in opposition of Weinstein's complaint, presumably in Jesus' name." Click here to read the report.

AFA grad: 'Religious war' under way in U.S.

By Dick Foster, Rocky Mountain News, October 22, 2005

"This is about ensuring that one particular religious view is not allowed to engage the machinery of the state to further it so that all the rest of us are children of a lesser God," said Mikey Weinstein, who is suing the Air Force Academy to stop religious coercion, in a speech at a Colorado Springs synagogue. Click here to read the report

Air Force Academy grad: school 'very, very ill'

Rocky Mountain News, October 10, 2005

In this interview, Mikey Weinstein expressed concern that the leaders of the officer training academy were nurturing a culture where right-wing evangelicals bully those of other religions. Click here to read the report.

Kingdom Of Heaven?
Fundamentalist Christian Crusade At Air Force Academy Sparks Official Military Investigation

Rob Boston, American United for Separation of Church and State, June 2005

When Albuquerque attorney and businessman Mikey Weinstein stopped in to see his son Curtis at the U.S. Air Force Academy in Colorado Springs in late July of 2004, he could tell something was wrong. Normally upbeat and exuberant, the 20-year-old seemed downcast and troubled.

Weinstein’s son drew him aside during a cocktail party mixer for Academy alumni and cadets.

“He came over to me and said, ‘Dad, can we leave here? I want to go off base,’” Weinstein said.

At a nearby McDonald’s, the cadet explained what was troubling him. Recalls Weinstein, “Curtis said, ‘Could you tell Mom I’m going to be getting into trouble?’ I was floored and asked, ‘What did you do?’ He said, ‘It’s what I’m going to do’ and he explained to me that he had been called a [expletive] Jew, accused of killing Jesus by a number of cadets.”Continue

Air Force Chaplain Policy Cited in Faith Bias Case
Guidelines that may have encouraged Christian evangelizing were rescinded in August, according to a lawyer for the service.

By Mark Mazzetti, Los Angeles Times, October 11, 2005

WASHINGTON - The Air Force until August provided guidelines to chaplains that officials believe may have encouraged them to aggressively advocate Christianity throughout the ranks, according to a letter written by a top military lawyer in a lawsuit over religious discrimination. Click here to read the report