# National Interfaith Alliance Lawsuit is TOSSED OUT

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mugaliens
http://www.veteranstoday.com/2011/01/29/national-interfaith-alliance-president-hits-air-force-academy-prayer-breakfast-and-fundamentalist-keynote/" [Broken]tells the story of four USAF Academy faculty members who, along with the National Interfaith Alliance, filed for an injunction against the USAF Academy-hosted National Prayer Breakfast. According to the article, "Of particular concern is the Air Force Academy’s selection of Lt. Clebe McClary to keynote a prayer breakfast that it is hosting."

Well, that's how this fiasco began, along with a rather lengthy and out-to-lunch letter by http://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Michael_L._Weinstein" [Broken](mentioned in the article) appearing in the Colorado Springs Gazette last week. It was countered on the same page by a rather detailed but dead-on historical reminder that after Thomas Jefferson wrote his "separation of church and state" letter to the Danbury Baptist Church, he continued holding worship services in government buildings due to a lack of church buildings in the area.

Weinstein pulled a similar stunt against the USAF Academy back in 2005, and that was dismissed by a U.S. District Court Judge, as well.

The story morphed over the last week, with the four faculty members claiming they felt they would be unfairly viewed and their careers would be in jeopardy if they didn't attend. As a 20-year veteran of the U.S. Air Force, having received many invitations over the years, and having attended half a dozen prayer breakfasts, I can't fathom how or why those faculty members would/could ever come to that conclusion, for two simple reasons:

1. Every invitation I've ever received has made it abundantly clear the event is strictly optional.

2. Although all members on base are invited, few attend. In fact, I'd put the numbers at around 7%, given the base populations and the numbers attending. If the four faculty members' concerns had any validity at all, the 93% who didn't attend would all have put their careers in jeopardy.

Today, a judge threw out the lawsuit citing "lack of evidence."

Yeah!

Some people erroneously think "separation of church and state" automatically translates into government being forbidding from having anything to do with religion at all. Jefferson didn't think so. Our current Congress doesn't think so (each session begins with prayer). The courts don't think so, either, and have consistantly ruled that government facilities may be used to host religious events, provided they do not respect one establishment of religion over another.

It's nice to see when sane minds behind the bench do the right thing.

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Mentor
Religion has no place in any area of government that is paid for by taxes, IMO.

If people in military wish to hold prayer breakfasts, it should not be at taxpayers expense.

Lacy33
religion has no place in any area of government that is paid for by taxes, imo.

If people in military wish to hold prayer breakfasts, it should not be at taxpayers expense.

amen!

mugaliens
If people in military wish to hold prayer breakfasts, it should not be at taxpayers expense.

So you advocate banning all chapels and chaplains? What if they exist because long ago it was determined that the inclusion of religious activities makes for a more efficient, effective, and well-grounded member of the military, thereby saving as much if not more taxpayer dollars than the chaplaincy costs?

Regardless, the funds for the Prayer Breakfasts come from the passing of the plate at chapel services on Sunday, not from your taxpayer dollars.

Gold Member
2021 Award
Religion has no place in any area of government that is paid for by taxes, IMO.

If people in military wish to hold prayer breakfasts, it should not be at taxpayers expense.

The military, and government in general, should provide for the wellbeing of all regardless of gender, race, religion, political affiliation, sexual orientation, etc. As religious services are important for the wellbeing of many in the US military, I have no problem with taxpayer money supporting religious services for service people who choose to attend (the same opportunities for funding are available to soldiers of any religion). By the same token, I do have problems with the fact that, even with the repeal of DADT, the partners of homosexual service people would not be afforded the same benefits as the partners of heterosexual service people.

waht
USA is a highly religious country. And so, church+state is just a natural consequence of majority rule and dominance over a minority like secularists or any other group for that matter, religious or not, it's usually the majority way or the highway.

WhoWee

Given the tragic statistics - this is an important discussion.
http://www.npr.org/templates/story/story.php?storyId=127860466

"Nearly as many American troops at home and abroad have committed suicide this year as have been killed in combat in Afghanistan. Alarmed at the growing rate of soldiers taking their own lives, the Army has begun investigating its mental health and suicide prevention programs."

WhoWee
USA is a highly religious country. And so, church+state is just a natural consequence of majority rule and dominance over a minority like secularists or any other group for that matter, religious or not, it's usually the majority way or the highway.

I'm not so sure of that - any support for this comment?

JaredJames
USA is a highly religious country. And so, church+state is just a natural consequence of majority rule and dominance over a minority like secularists or any other group for that matter, religious or not, it's usually the majority way or the highway.

Doesn't the constitution say something about keeping them separate?

amen!

Seconded.

mugaliens
Doesn't the constitution say something about keeping them separate?

Nope. Our First Amendment merely prohibits our government from "respecting an establishment of religion." When one goes back and reads the letters of those who wrote, modified, and ratified the First Amendment, it's abundantly clear they simply meant to prohibit the government from giving the nod to ("respecting") one religion ("an establishment of religion") over another.

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waht
I'm not so sure of that - any support for this comment?

While there is no official recognition of some church or temple allowed by the constitution, but rather, since the majority of US population is religious and always has been, most if not all elected politicians are religious. That is fine of course, as long as they keep it to themselves, but unfortunately it's not always the case. The net result is that it's pretty tough going against checks and balances ran by people, who in their private lives, have allegiance to same institution, the church.

The OP is one such example of abuse of power, which I argued is derived exclusively from majority.

Another example is when the president ends his speech by saying "God bless America" or US mint prints "In God we trust" on every dollar, or including 'God' in the pledge.

At first sight, these are innocent little interjections interwoven into the fabric of US government. But at face value they are Trojan Horses used to advance the religious message.

JaredJames
Nope. Our First Amendment merely prohibits our government from "respecting an establishment of religion." When one goes back and reads the letters of those who wrote, modified, and ratified the First Amendment, it's abundantly clear they simply meant to prohibit the government from giving the nod to ("respecting") one religion ("an establishment of religion") over another.

Yeah just Googled it and saw the wiki on. Interesting stuff.

I still hold that the government shouldn't pay for it.

Am I right in thinking the constitution simply says the government can't prevent you practising, not that they have to supply you the means to?

On this basis, any military personnel should be allowed to practice their religion but I don't see why valuable space on an aircraft carrier (or any government asset) should be dedicated to a religion (I was just watching a documentary from a year or so back on life on board a British Naval Aircraft Carrier and they had quite a substantial prayer room).

Plus the fact the Navy employed a priest on board - now a room I could just about let go seeing as it doesn't really have an associated cost, but a priest? There's an expense we could do without!

Doesn't the constitution say something about keeping them separate?

No it doesnt, it says:
Congress shall make no law respecting an establishment of religion, or prohibiting the free exercise thereof; or abridging the freedom of speech, or of the press; or the right of the people peaceably to assemble, and to petition the Government for a redress of grievances.

Which imo says that congress cant forbid one to practice a religion, nor can they force one to practice a religion. The seperation part comes from a private letter between Jefferson and the danbury baptists like mugaliens already pointed out in the op.

WhoWee
While there is no official recognition of some church or temple allowed by the constitution, but rather, since the majority of US population is religious and always has been, most if not all elected politicians are religious. That is fine of course, as long as they keep it to themselves, but unfortunately it's not always the case. The net result is that it's pretty tough going against checks and balances ran by people, who in their private lives, have allegiance to same institution, the church.

The OP is one such example of abuse of power, which I argued is derived exclusively from majority.

Another example is when the president ends his speech by saying "God bless America" or US mint prints "In God we trust" on every dollar, or including 'God' in the pledge.

At first sight, these are innocent little interjections interwoven into the fabric of US government. But at face value they are Trojan Horses used to advance the religious message.

I'll accept your response to indicate you don't have any direct support for your post then?

Jack21222
Nope. Our First Amendment merely prohibits our government from "respecting an establishment of religion." When one goes back and reads the letters of those who wrote, modified, and ratified the First Amendment, it's abundantly clear they simply meant to prohibit the government from giving the nod to ("respecting") one religion ("an establishment of religion") over another.

"Respecting" in this case means "about," or "with respect to."

http://www.merriam-webster.com/dictionary/respecting

Anyway, your interpretation of the first amendment is completely irrelevant to the discussion. Here's what the SCOTUS says the establishment clause means:

http://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Everson_v._Board_of_Education

"The 'establishment of religion' clause of the First Amendment means at least this: Neither a state nor the Federal Government can set up a church. Neither can pass laws which aid one religion, aid all religions or prefer one religion over another. Neither can force nor influence a person to go to or to remain away from church against his will or force him to profess a belief or disbelief in any religion. No person can be punished for entertaining or professing religious beliefs or disbeliefs, for church attendance or non-attendance. No tax in any amount, large or small, can be levied to support any religious activities or institutions, whatever they may be called, or whatever form they may adopt to teach or practice religion. Neither a state nor the Federal Government can, openly or secretly, participate in the affairs of any religious organizations or groups and vice versa. In the words of Jefferson, the clause against establishment of religion by law was intended to erect 'a wall of separation between Church and State.'" 330 U.S. 1, 15-16.

For the rest of this thread, people should keep the above meaning in mind.

No it doesnt, it says:
Congress shall make no law respecting an establishment of religion, or prohibiting the free exercise thereof; or abridging the freedom of speech, or of the press; or the right of the people peaceably to assemble, and to petition the Government for a redress of grievances.

Which imo says that congress cant forbid one to practice a religion, nor can they force one to practice a religion. The seperation part comes from a private letter between Jefferson and the danbury baptists like mugaliens already pointed out in the op.

The above goes for you, too. The separation part comes from the Supreme Court. They argue that the text of the first amendment, which you quoted, has the same meaning as the "wall of separation" mentioned by Jefferson.

JaredJames
"Neither a state nor the Federal Government can, openly or secretly, participate in the affairs of any religious organizations or groups and vice versa."

I'm curious, would that apply to the government providing prayer rooms and other such facilities?

WhoWee
Last May, soldiers were punished for not attending an evangelical Christian concert on base. They were confined to barracks and were assigned to chores and forbidden to use their cell phones or computers because they chose not to attend the concert.

http://www.huffingtonpost.com/chris-rodda/us-soldiers-punished-for-_b_687051.html

Do you think this blogger might be a tad biased?

"Chris RoddaSenior Research Director, Military Religious Freedom Foundation; Author, Liars For Jesus"

Her blog needs support.

WhoWee
Apparently, you have been living under a rock somewhere. This was all over the news and although you think the lady is "biased" you might do a little digging on your own.

http://www.veteranstoday.com/2010/08/19/u-s-soldiers-punished-for-not-attending-christian-concert/

Your personal attack aside - perhaps if you posted a real news account I wouldn't have to do a little digging on my own. Your sources look pretty slim. The NY Times article is from August - has nothing else been reported in the past 6 months?

Your support - needs support - IMO.

Gold Member
Your personal attack aside - perhaps if you posted a real news account I wouldn't have to do a little digging on my own. Your sources look pretty slim. The NY Times article is from August - has nothing else been reported in the past 6 months?

Your support - needs support - IMO.
It was not a personal attack. This situation was all over the news last summer, and it should not have to be dredged up in detail all over again. I don't suppose the story was covered on FOX or in the Washington Times, but mainstream media carried it, and it engendered letters to the editor and editorial columns regarding the propensity of some of our military's leaders to proselytize for evangelical Christian religions. Why should taxpayer dollars be spent hiring $$Christian groups to "entertain" our troops? Especially, the ones who feel that they are forced to attend the concerts. Edited to correct the name of the newspaper from the Post to the Times Last edited: WhoWee It was not a personal attack. This situation was all over the news last summer, and it should not have to be dredged up in detail all over again. I don't suppose the story was covered on FOX or in the Washington Post, but mainstream media carried it, and it engendered letters to the editor and editorial columns regarding the propensity of some of our military's leaders to proselytize for evangelical Christian religions. Why should taxpayer dollars be spent hiring$$\$ Christian groups to "entertain" our troops? Especially, the ones who feel that they are forced to attend the concerts.

Well, if it was "all over the news" and "mainstream media carried it" - you should be able to support your post - shouldn't you?

Btw - first you tell me (I'll assume you meant the living under a rock comment) was not personal - then you make a comment about Fox News and the Washington Post - that sounds personal. If I suggested you frequent Huffington or al jazeera you would be indignant - wouldn't you?

Gold Member
Well, if it was "all over the news" and "mainstream media carried it" - you should be able to support your post - shouldn't you?

Btw - first you tell me (I'll assume you meant the living under a rock comment) was not personal - then you make a comment about Fox News and the Washington Post - that sounds personal. If I suggested you frequent Huffington or al jazeera you would be indignant - wouldn't you?
Not a bit. And if you demand detailed support for every single post that offends your sensibilities, you'll end up unsatisfied anyway. BTW, I not only look at Huffington, bur Yahoo and Google News feeds every day, and when their internal links point to sources, I often follow those, too, no matter where they lead.

And yes, this story was covered all over the mainstream media. You can easily dredge up a hundred links to it if you wish. I'm not going to do that for you. IMO, anybody reading this thread has probably already become familiar with this problem in our military. And it IS a problem. Enforcing religious beliefs through a command structure in a crucial part of our society is dangerous. Would you support a general officer who required all of the troops in his command to attend Muslim prayer-services or Buddhist ceremonies?

WhoWee
Not a bit. And if you demand detailed support for every single post that offends your sensibilities, you'll end up unsatisfied anyway. BTW, I not only look at Huffington, bur Yahoo and Google News feeds every day, and when their internal links point to sources, I often follow those, too, no matter where they lead.

And yes, this story was covered all over the mainstream media. You can easily dredge up a hundred links to it if you wish. I'm not going to do that for you. IMO, anybody reading this thread has probably already become familiar with this problem in our military. And it IS a problem. Enforcing religious beliefs through a command structure in a crucial part of our society is dangerous. Would you support a general officer who required all of the troops in his command to attend Muslim prayer-services or Buddhist ceremonies?

Again turbo - you continue to maintain it was all over the news - it should be VERY easy for you to support your post with a mainstream news report.

Gold Member
Again turbo - you continue to maintain it was all over the news - it should be VERY easy for you to support your post with a mainstream news report.
I already did so. Please stop the hectoring and nay-saying. If you wish to come up with stories countering the ones I posted, you are free to do so. Otherwise, I'm done on this thread and you can beat it into the ground, if you like.

Staff Emeritus
2021 Award
Apparently, you have been living under a rock somewhere. This was all over the news and although you think the lady is "biased" you might do a little digging on your own./QUOTE]

Your first link is by the same person. You can't refute the claims that a source is biased by providing another reference from the same source. (That's not a comment about the substance of the argument; I don't care one way or the other)

Gold Member
Your first link is by the same person. You can't refute the claims that a source is biased by providing another reference from the same source. (That's not a comment about the substance of the argument; I don't care one way or the other)
Is MSNBC a real news source?

http://www.msnbc.msn.com/id/38792399/ns/us_news-life/

http://www.armytimes.com/news/2010/09/MONDAY1army-concert-090610w/

http://www.examiner.com/atheism-in-...shed-for-not-attending-christian-rock-concert

How about the "News-Lite" USA Today?

http://www.usatoday.com/news/military/2010-08-21-troops-christian-concert_N.htm

It would have been very difficult to have avoided notice of this story last summer, since it was all over the mainstream media. The idea that taxpayer money is being spent to proselytize for any religion (popular or not) to our soldiers is offensive to me. The government should have no role in that arena. If the military wants to provide chaplains, rabbis, imams, etc for the troops for support and consultation, that's OK by me, but to force troops to attend religious gatherings is 'way over the line.

WhoWee

:uhh: From the MSNBC link:(my bold) "At the Pentagon, Army spokesman Col. Thomas Collins said the military shouldn't impose religious views on soldiers.

"If something like that were to have happened, it would be contrary to Army policy," Collins said."

The rest of the story is the same as the other account?

"The Military Religious Freedom Foundation first reported on the Christian concert. The foundation said it was approached by soldiers who were punished for not attending or offended by the religious theme of the event.

The group's president, Mikey Weinstein, claims Christian-themed events are "ubiquitous" throughout the military, and he credited the soldiers for stepping forward.

"Whenever we see this egregious, unconstitutional religious tyranny our job is to fight it," he said."

Mentor
:uhh: From the MSNBC link:(my bold) "At the Pentagon, Army spokesman Col. Thomas Collins said the military shouldn't impose religious views on soldiers.

"If something like that were to have happened, it would be contrary to Army policy," Collins said."

The rest of the story is the same as the other account?

"The Military Religious Freedom Foundation first reported on the Christian concert. The foundation said it was approached by soldiers who were punished for not attending or offended by the religious theme of the event.

The group's president, Mikey Weinstein, claims Christian-themed events are "ubiquitous" throughout the military, and he credited the soldiers for stepping forward.

"Whenever we see this egregious, unconstitutional religious tyranny our job is to fight it," he said."
WhoWee, you asked turbo to post a mainstream news source and he did.

WhoWee
WhoWee, you asked turbo to post a mainstream news source and he did.

The Pentagon spokesperson in his source said "If something like that were to have happened, it would be contrary to Army policy," Collins said."

That's not exactly support and validation of the story - is it?

Mentor
The Pentagon spokesperson in his source said "If something like that were to have happened, it would be contrary to Army policy," Collins said."

That's not exactly support and validation of the story - is it?
Did you miss the link to this in turbo's original article?

At Fort Eustis, he promoted a series of concerts, featuring christian performers, aimed at awakening Soldier's sprititual awareness.

This is in www.army.mil[/URL]

[URL]http://www.army.mil/-news/2008/07/09/10753-fort-lee-commanding-general-reaches-out-to-soldiers/[/URL]

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WhoWee
Did you miss the link to this in turbo's original article?

This is in www.army.mil[/URL]

[URL]http://www.army.mil/-news/2008/07/09/10753-fort-lee-commanding-general-reaches-out-to-soldiers/[/URL][/QUOTE]

I'm not questioning the concerts. This is his first post:(my bold)
[I]"Last May, [B]soldiers were punished for not attending an evangelical Christian concert on base. They were confined to barracks and were assigned to chores and forbidden to use their cell phones or computers because they chose not to attend the concert[/B].

[PLAIN]http://www.huffingtonpost.com/chris-..._b_687051.html [Broken] "[/I]

I still don't see a mainstream news report that validates this story - do you?

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Gold Member
Thanks, Evo. My sister and I discussed this situation at length last summer. Her son is a lifer in the Navy, and though she is a Christian, she brought him up to make his own choices and she respects those choices.

My nephew has worked his way through the ranks from a grunt to Warrant Officer (specialty in propulsion) and has had to deal with sometimes not-so-subtle pressures to conform in areas of faith. He was sailor of the year so many times at so many levels from individual ships up to entire carrier groups that you would think such coercion wouldn't be a problem. It was. There is no need to subject our military personnel to such pressures. They already have enough to worry about, with long deployments, extended separations from family and friends, etc.

mugaliens
For the rest of this thread, people should keep the above meaning in mind.

Your "above meaning" is rubbish, and is contrary to the writings of both Jefferson and the other founding fathers. It's revisionist history at it's worst. Do not forget it was Jefferson who, both before and after writing the letter to the Danbury Baptists, hosted church services in federal buildings. If he believed even a

The separation part comes from the Supreme Court. They argue that the text of the first amendment, which you quoted, has the same meaning as the "wall of separation" mentioned by Jefferson.

You are correct in that it came from the Supreme Court. Ordinarily, no private letter, even one written by a President, has the authority to become a key cornerstone of federal law. Madison, in fact, vetoed two bills submitted to him by Congress as he felt the bills violated the First Amendment. It was the Supreme Court of the United State who misappropriated Jefferson's private letter, thereby creating a precedent in case law which has yet to be successfully contested by Congress. Many have critized SCOTUS for doing what they did, as they essentially overstepped the bounds of their authority and stepped into Congress' neck of the woods. Many Congressional experts contend that Congress would never have enacted legislation on the order of the SCOTUS interpretation of Jefferson's letter.