Monday, January 31, 2011

Weinstein takes AFA to court

Posted By on Mon, Jan 31, 2011 at 5:51 PM

Mikey Weinstein's Military Religious Freedom Foundation has filed a federal lawsuit seeking an injunction to stop the Air Force Academy from having a Christian-based speaker at its National Prayer Luncheon on Feb. 10. The keynote speaker will be Lt. Clebe McClary, a decorated disabled Vietnam veteran who now says he serves the "Lord's Army," according to his website.

Lt. Gen. Gould: Served with papers today.
  • Lt. Gen. Gould: Served with papers today.

The lawsuit argues McClary should be prevented from appearing:
It is contended in this law suit that for the command structure of the AFA to undertake a purely religious activity such as this is a violation of the Establishment Clause of the First Amendment to the United States Constitution. Plaintiff s who are all faculty or staff members, both civilian and military, at the AFA seek injunctive relief in order to stop this from occurring. They are proceeding as John Doe plaintiffs in this action as they fear retribution from the command structure if their identities are revealed.

Academy spokesman Lt. Col. John Bryan said he was aware of the lawsuit. "We'll let the legal process take its course, and we'll abide by the ruling of the court."

The lawsuit was brought in behalf of MRFF, a group of unnamed "John Does" and an academy professor, David Mullin.

The MRFF has stirred the waters for days over McClary's appearance, and various other organizations, including the Interfaith Alliance of Colorado, the ACLU, a Muslim organization and many others from across the country, have sent letters to the academy urging Supt. Lt. Gen. Michael Gould to rethink the invitation.

More from the lawsuit:

The net result of the official AFA imprimatur on this event is to foster the correct belief among Plaintiffs as well as numerous other AFA personnel that command endorses this event. This has led to a perception by Plaintiffs and numerous others at the Academy that in order to insure that their Air Force careers proceed in a favorable trajectory, they are expected to attend the Prayer Luncheon and that their careers may suffer if they fail to attend even though attendance is “voluntary.”

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