Speaker files lawsuit against U.S. Air Force

Julie Knapp

There is a political storm forming in the military when it comes to religious freedom, and Mikey Weinstein is right in the middle of it.

Weinstein, who visited Washburn last Thursday night, filed a lawsuit in 2005 against the Air Force aimed at ending illegal evangelizing and seeking new guidelines on religious tolerance. He said the lawsuit was recently dismissed because of technical reasons, but his organization, Military Religious Freedom Foundation, will soon file other lawsuits against the Air Force.

According to the organization’s Web site, it is a watchdog organization aimed to ensure the U.S. Armed Forces upholds its duty to provide religious freedoms to those serving the United States.

Weinstein, in his speech to about 100 people Thursday, said there are 702 U.S. military institutions in 132 countries with Christian military fellowships, because people are aiming for a “spiritually transformed military.”

Weinstein, who is Jewish, started the organization and filed the lawsuit based on his son’s negative experiences and subjection to anti-Semitic taunts while a cadet at the Air Force Academy. Weinstein said the wall between the military and religion is nothing but smoke and debris right now and is convinced his fight against the military is important.

“Dissent is what keeps democracy from dying a cold death behind closed doors,” said Weinstein, a graduate himself of the Air Force Academy.

Weinstein recently released his book “With God on Our Side: One Man’s War Against an Evangelical Coup in America’s Military.” The book chronicles his fight while in the Armed Forces and discusses ways to preserve the separation of the church and state.