Tuesday, February 21, 2012

UPDATE: Weinstein will be coming to Poor Richard's

Posted By on Tue, Feb 21, 2012 at 5:05 PM

Jenna Hilb, marketing coordinator at Poor Richard's, confirms that Weinstein will indeed hold a book-signing at the store from 5 to 7 p.m., March 3.

——- 9:21 A.M., THURSDAY, FEB. 16 ——-

According to an employee of Poor Richard's Bookstore, Weinstein's March 3 book-signing is not yet confirmed. We'll update when anything changes.

——- ORIGINAL POST, 3:30 P.M., MONDAY, FEB. 13 ——-

To say Mikey Weinstein has made a name for himself would be an understatement. Now the Washington Post will be giving its readers a steady dose of Weinstein's message through a twice-monthly column called "Faith at the Front."

Weinstein: A force to be quoted.
  • Weinstein: A force to be quoted.

Since forming the Military Religious Freedom Foundation in 2004, the 1977 Air Force Academy grad has become the watchdog for unconstitutional imposition of religion on military members. His organization represents tens of thousands of soldiers, airmen and sailors, including more than 300 cadets, faculty and staff at the Air Force Academy.

Here's a few of the issues he's brought to light.

New York Daily News, January 2010:

A Michigan weapons company is under fire for branding thousands of rifle scopes used by U.S. soldiers and Marines in Iraq and Afghanistan with passages from the Bible.
U.S. military rules prohibit any service member from proselytizing while serving in Iraq or Afghanistan, which are primarily Muslim nations.
Trijicon, a sighting manufacturer based in Wixom, Mich., has several multimillion-dollar contracts with the Pentagon to make sights.
Along with the sight's stock number, there are coded Bible passages from the New Testament engraved on the sights. One reads JN8:12, an apparent reference to John 8:12, which says, "Whoever follows me will never walk in darkness, but will have the light of life."

The Pentagon later ordered the manufacturer to stop putting Bible verses on the guns.

TruthOut.org, July 2011:

The United States Air Force has been training young missile officers about the morals and ethics of launching nuclear weapons by citing passages from the New Testament and commentary from a former member of the Nazi Party, according to documents obtained exclusively by Truthout.
The mandatory Nuclear Ethics and Nuclear Warfare session, which includes a discussion on St. Augustine's "Christian Just War Theory," is led by Air Force chaplains and takes place during a missile officer's first week in training at Vandenberg Air Force Base in California.

The Pentagon later suspended its war ethics training for nuclear missile officers.

The Gazette, November 2011:

The Air Force Academy backed down Thursday after it came under fire for alleged religious intolerance, this time with a program designed to spread Christmas cheer.
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.

The academy later apologized and said promotion of the program was "inappropriate."

Most recently, Weinstein's group exposed a Marine unit's display of a Nazi SS flag below a United States flag.

Screen_shot_2012-02-13_at_2.38.00_PM.png

Although the Marines initially claimed they didn't know where the flag came from or even what it stood for, Weinstein said his supporters have run down the source. It came from a Third Reich website, he says.

Anyway, you get the picture. Weinstein and his organization are credible. So it's peculiar why the Gazette would report on Saturday that everything seems to be going well at the academy on the religion front. Reporter Jakob Rodgers, a cops reporter recently assigned to cover the military, reported that the academy's Board of Visitors was told the academy would be providing training to faculty on religious sensitivity. He also quoted the board chair:

“It is incredible how far we’ve come since 2004,” said Susan Schwab, chairwoman of the board and a professor of public policy at the University of Maryland. “It’s very impressive.”

What's missing from the story is a comment from Weinstein, who instigated examination of allegations that the academy favors fundamental Christianity eight years ago. Former Superintendent Lt. Gen. John Rosa admitted in 2004 the academy had a serious problem with religious sensitivity.

Turns out, Rodgers interviewed Weinstein on Friday but decided not to include him in his story. We asked Rodgers and weekend editor Tom Roeder why he left Weinstein out of his report, and Roeder declined to comment.

In case anyone thinks everything at the academy is peachy, just a week or so ago, the academy dealt with a cadet who sent a religious message to her entire class. The Indy reported that here. The academy treated the incident as a "teaching moment," giving the freshman the benefit of the doubt.

In case you're wondering, here's what Weinstein says he told Rodgers:

"I told him that first of all, I didn't want to hear anything related to the faculty reception to religious tolerance when the head of the faculty has lied about her calling for a counter insurgency to my organization," he tells us, referring to Dean of Faculty Brig. Gen. Dana Born.

"I also said, 'Let's make sure we say B-O-R-E-D of visitors, because they're asleep at the switch. That place is a disaster. Until Dana Born gets fired and gets punished for what she's done and her superiors, there's nothing to talk about in rearranging the deck chairs on the Titanic.' I thought that was fairly relevant, but I didn't get any comments in the story."

As for Weinstein's column in the Post, that gig starts later this month.

Weinstein will attend a book-signing for his newest release, No Snowflake in an Avalanche, recently published by Vireo of Rare Bird Books, at 7 p.m. 5 p.m., Saturday, March 3, at Poor Richard's Bookstore.

The book is his second; With God on our Side was published Oct. 1, 2006, by St. Martin's Press.

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