While the American Center for Law and Justice continues to (1) fight for religious freedom, (2) fight the scourge of genocide throughout the world, (3) battle to limit unconstitutional Executive overreach by the IRS and the Obama Administration, it appears that Mikey Weinstein and the Military Religious Freedom Foundation (MRFF) are energized to remove a single Bible from the desk of a military officer.
Consider these facts:
While the ACLJ is fighting to get to the bottom of the State Department’s secret negotiations with Iran culminating in the payment of ransom to the world’s leading state sponsor of terrorism, Air Force Major Steve Lewis has suffered harassment at the hands of the MRFF. For a number of years, Major Lewis has placed an open Bible on his desk in his own personal workspace at the Reserve National Security Space Institute. While working at the institute, which is part of U.S. Space Command in Colorado Springs, he did not engage in preaching, nor did he read his Bible to co-workers. Neither did he attempt to convert them to Christianity. Again, it is his Bible on his desk in his office.
Reacting to an anonymous complaint, coupled with a photographs of the Bible in question, Mikey Weinstein and MRFF leapt into action! In response to the absurd demand for an official investigation by the U.S. Air Force, Colonel Lisa Johnson, actually initiated a Command Climate Survey for the entire unit. These surveys are used so that individual service members can honestly and anonymously evaluate a unit and its leadership to see if there are any issues that affect good order or cohesion of the group.
Yet, the official investigation and the Command Climate Survey found that no regulations were violated, that the Bible was NOT an issue to the assigned personnel and that it did not violate Air Force Instruction 1-1 as to the Free Exercise of Religion. The investigation concluded that the presence of a Bible on desk did not impact “unit readiness, cohesion, good order or discipline.”
Disappointed with this response Mr. Weinstein submitted a Freedom of Information Act (FOIA) request through official channels. Among other things the FOIA request seeks “All records relating to any investigation into Major Steve Lewis’s practice of keeping an open, highlighted Bible on his desk, including but not limited to correspondence (including emails); meeting minutes, notes, and/or agendas; policies, regulations, and/or procedures; research; complaints regarding Major Lewis’s placement of the Bible; and all records concerning any action taken in response to such complaints . . . .” In addition, Weinstein wrote a letter to the Inspector General of the Department of the Air Force questioning the investigation of Major Lewis and demanding that Lewis be “aggressively punished.”
It is manifest that there are dramatic and indisputable differences between organizations like the Military Religious Freedom Foundation and the American Center for Law and Justice. Mr. Weinstein’s and the MRFF’s energies and indignation are misplaced. Given the pressing issues facing our nation, including the fact that children are dying in Syria, Christians and others are being beheaded and crucified with impunity by ISIS, and the continuing pattern of executive overreach by the Obama Administration, the MRFF’s decision to relentlessly harass a member of the U.S. military – simply for having a Bible on his desk – lacks any semblance of balance.
Undeterred by organizations such as the MRFF, the ACLJ continues to fight for religious freedom, to end genocide, and to investigate the overreach of government bureaucracies and so much more. For example, right now the ACLJ has active FOIA requests and federal lawsuits concerning the Iran Nuclear Deal, the genocide of Christians by ISIS, the purge of radical Islamic terms like “jihad” from the Department of Homeland Security’s lexicon, and potential pay-to-play collusion between the Obama State Department and the Clinton Foundation. In fact, last month we secured a great legal victory in federal appeals court over corruption at the IRS and its unlawful targeting of conservative non-profit groups.
Based on this record, it becomes clear why so many citizens embrace the stark differences between the ACLJ and the MRFF. The ACLJ looks forward to the continued support of all Americans who regard religious liberty, limited government, and government integrity as quintessential elements of our republic.
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