PRESS RELEASE

Military Religious Freedom Foundation (MRFF)
Launches Landmark Lawsuit against DoD Secretary Gates
and Major Freddy Welborn


INTERNATIONAL PUBLIC RELATIONS
Press Contact, Ilene Proctor
310 271 5857 – email [email protected]

CLICK HERE TO READ THE COURT FILING (PDF)

Los Angeles, Sept 18, 2007… The day of legal reckoning is coming. “This landmark Federal litigation is just the first of a galaxy of new lawsuits that will be expeditiously filed against the Pentagon in a concentrated effort to preserve the precious religious liberties guaranteed by our beautiful United States Constitution," states
Mikey Weinstein, founder and President of the Military Religious Freedom Foundation (MRFF). Today, we are boldly stabbing back against the evil heart of unconstitutional darkness, a contagion of fundamentalist religious supremacy and triumphalism noxiously dominating the command and control of the technologically most lethal organization ever created by humankind: our honorable and noble United States armed forces."

(MRFF) and U.S. Army Specialist Jeremy Hall have filed a lawsuit against Defense Secretary Robert Gates and Major Freddy Welborn in U.S. District Court in Kansas City, Kansas citing a pattern of military practices that discriminate against non-Christians in the military. The lawsuit also cites overt government support of private civilian religious organizations and activities.


The complaint, filed in US District Court in Kansas City, Kansas names as plaintiffs the nonprofit (MRFF), and Jeremy Hall, an Army specialist. In August of this year, Specialist Hall, after receiving permission from a chaplain at Contingency Operations Base Speicher, Iraq, posted flyers around his base announcing a meeting of atheists and other non-Christians. When Hall attempted to convene the meeting it was disrupted by Major Freddy Welborn who threatened to initiate an action under the Uniform Code of Military Justice against Hall. In the lawsuit, Hall and MRFF claim that Welborn's conduct is part of a larger pattern of DoD intolerance for religious diversity.

Moreover, the complaint alleges Hall received permission from an Army chaplain to post flyers around the base to announce the meeting of other non-Christian believers. Army Major Freddy Welborn disrupted the meeting and threatened to retaliate against Hall by charging him with violating the Uniform Code of Military Justice and vowed to block Hall's reenlistment in the Army because of Hall’s role in organizing the meeting, a violation of Hall's First Amendment rights under the Constitution.

The complaint charges that Hall, who is based at Ft. Riley, Kansas, has been forced to "submit to a religious test as a qualification to his post as a soldier in the United States Army," a violation of Article VI, Clause 3 of the Constitution.

Since he launched his watchdog organization nearly two years ago, Weinstein’s web site has been bombarded by over 5,000 active duty and retired soldiers, many of whom served or serve in Iraq, who pleaded for the Foundation’s help as they were pressured by their commanding officers to convert to Christianity, or face other consequences.

The Military Religious Freedom Foundation said Defense Secretary Robert Gates is named as a defendant in the lawsuit because he has allowed the military to engage in "a pattern and practice of constitutionally impermissible promotions of religious beliefs within the Department of Defense and the United States military."

The lawsuit seeks an injunction against Welborn from further engaging in behavior "that has the effect of establishing compulsory religious practices" and asks that Gates prevent Welborn from interfering with Hall's free speech rights.


ABOUT MIKEY WEINSTEIN


Michael L. “Mikey” Weinstein is Founder and President of the Military Religious Freedom Foundation (http://www.militaryreligiousfreedom.org). He is an attorney and businessman who spent over three years as a White House counsel in the Reagan White House. He was formerly General Counsel for H. Ross Perot and Perot Systems Corporation. An Honor Graduate from the USAF Academy, he served on active duty in the USAF as a Judge Advocate General (JAG) for ten years. He lives in Albuquerque, New Mexico. He is also author of the book With God on Our Side: One Man's War Against an Evangelical Coup in America's Military with Davin Seay."