Click on names below for
biographies of each recipient
Ambassador Joseph C. Wilson IV
Dr. Barry Fagin
William B. Wiener Jr.
Thomas Jefferson Award Luncheon
date and location to be announced.
THIS BEAUTIFUL CITY To Close
At The Vineyard Theatre 3/15
Wednesday, March 11, 2009
By BWW News Desk
The Vineyard Theatre will welcome one of the real-life subjects depicted in its production of This Beautiful City, Michael "Mikey" Weinstein -- well-known and recently profiled in the New York Times as founder of the Military Religious Freedom Foundation -- at a post-performance Q&A about the play and its subject matter, the mega-church movement in Colorado Springs, following the Sunday, March 15 matinee performance (3 p.m.) of This Beautiful City at The Vineyard Theatre. (108 East 15th Street) in New York City.
A mesmerizing, fiercely intelligent portrait of Colorado Springs.
The Civilians, the OBIE-Award winning theatre company from New York City known for their boldly theatrical snapshots of the human psyche, brings its newest project to the Vineyard Theatre.
In this new play with music, they tackle the fervor behind the Evangelical movement, the effect its growth had on its unofficial U.S. capital, Colorado Springs, and the confusion of a community in crisis following the scandalous fall of pastor Ted Haggard.
Created from interviews with actual persons and featuring music by the award-winning composer of Bloody Bloody Andrew Jackson, This Beautiful City is a fiercely intelligent, explosive and ultimately sincere exploration of a uniquely American phenomenon and its passionate followers.
This Beautiful City is a fascinating and timely look at faith and how it affects the American landscape. The Civilians’ work has been called "superb" by the NY Times and "clear evidence of evolution in the world of modern theatre," by Time Out New York.
Attention NYC Area supporters!
Exclusive discount code PLAY40TBC for $40 (reg. $60) tickets
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(Ticket discount valid for all performances through 3/15/09. Some blackout dates apply. Phone and online orders are subject to regular service charges. This offer is not valid on previously purchased tickets, is subject to availability and may be revoked at any time. Offer Expires 03/15/2009.)
The Stanford Progressive is a bi-quarterly political magazine at Stanford University.
An Interview with Mikey Weinstein, Founder of the MRFF
Thursday, March 12, 2009
By Ross Raffin
The Progressive metaphorically sat down with founder of the Military Religious Freedom Foundation, Mikey Weinstein. Mikey Weinstein is a registered Republican who spent three and a half years in the West Wing of the Reagan administration as legal council. He later became first general counsel to two time presidential candidate Ross Perot. Mikey served as a military attorney for ten years and graduated from the United States Air Force Academy in 1977. In 2004, Mikey Weinstein put his sharp tongue and colorful language to use in political activism and formed the Military Religious Freedom Foundation (MRFF). The MRFF is dedicated to ensuring that the government adheres to the letter and spirit of the constitution in military matters. Most recently, the MRFF has been investigating the improper and unconstitutional use of military authority for the evangelical proselytizing of fellow soldiers and middle-eastern civilians in conflict areas like Iraq and Afghanistan. The following are excerpts from the interview.
Ross Raffin: Let's dive right in. You have said this isn't a conflict between you and Christianity but instead a conflict with a sect known as Dominionism. What is Dominionism, how is it different from Evangelical Christianity, and, if you had to give a quick summary, what does Dominionism have to do with the Pentagon,
Air Force, and Army?
MRFF's Mikey Weinstein
listed in anti-Semitic
"100 Really Scary Jews" hatemail
Mikey is listed with the likes of
Adam Sandler and Wolf Blitzer.
Now we ask you, are these
seriously "really scary Jews?"
Click image above to see larger version
This week's article comes from the March 6, 2009 issue of Tropical Times, the newspaper of the U.S. Navy
Support Facility, Diego Garcia.
In this article, titled "Journey To The Outer Limits," the personnel at Diego Garcia are informed by the chaplain that:
"...anyone who blasphemes against the Holy Spirit will not be forgiven.”
And, that Luke 19:1-9 says that the tax collectors forgiven by Jesus were:
"the Jewish Mafia"
Click here to download pdf of this article
The Latest on MRFF
Saturday, March 7, 2009
By Ed Brayton
I had an interesting conversation with a former Navy chaplain who was seated at the same table with Richard Dawkins, Rob Pennock, Carl Bajema and me on Sunday. We spoke about the Military Religious Freedom Foundation and their work to combat religious coercion and proselytization in the military. She agreed that there are a lot of chaplains like Klingenschmitt who do not understand that their job is to support the emotional needs of soldiers, not to exploit those needs to woo them into their religion.
The New York Times had an article about MRFF on Sunday that looked at a lot of related issues. I like this statement from the plaintiff in MRFF's lawsuit against the Pentagon:
"The Army enforces policies against racism and sexism, but doesn't bat an eye at these kinds of religious discrimination," said Specialist Dustin Chalker, an Army medic based at Fort Detrick, in Maryland, who was raised in a Christian home but is now an atheist. "Why is it acceptable that soldiers are unable to serve this nation without attending state-led religious practices they find offensive and false?"
Read More and See Selected Reader Comments...
Anything But Straight:
Do Tell, Live in Hell
Thursday, March 5, 2009
By Wayne Besen
Rep. Ellen Tauscher (D-CA) introduced a bill this week to repeal Don't Ask, Don't Tell, a law that prohibits gay and lesbian military personnel from serving openly.
While this is welcome news, there is no guarantee of a "welcome mat" for gay and lesbian soldiers if the ban is lifted. In the years since Don't Ask, Don't Tell was adopted in 1993, there has been a rigorous effort to force religion into the barracks. Fundamentalist Christian groups have infiltrated some of our leading military bases and have made life uncomfortable for anyone who does not conform.
* This first came to light in 2005 after the Air Force Academy in Colorado Springs had become a bastion of Anti-Semitism and Christian proselytizing. The problem escalated as some cadets were reportedly harassed and called "filthy Jews." A chaplain who complained about the Biblical abuse was unceremoniously demoted and shipped off to Japan. To stop the attempted conversions, the military brass had to meet with the Anti-Defamation League.
Randy Forbes Wants
Congress to Declare
"The Holy Bible is God's Word"
David Barton Admits that Forbes is
"capitalizing on Obama's use of the Lincoln Bible"
Monday, March 9, 2009
By Chris Rodda
On January 28, Rep. Randy Forbes (R-VA), founder of the Congressional Prayer Caucus, introduced H. Con. Res. 34, a resolution "Calling upon the Capitol Preservation Commission and the Office of the Architect of the Capitol to place the Lincoln-Obama Bible on permanent display upon the Lincoln table at the Capitol Visitor Center for the benefit of all its visitors to fully understand and appreciate America's history and Godly heritage."
Now, I have no objection whatsoever to this Bible being displayed in the Capitol Visitors Center. It is an historical fact that this was the Bible that Abraham Lincoln used at his second inauguration, and an historical fact that Barack Obama chose to use this same Bible at his inauguration, so displaying it on the table used to hold it at Lincoln's inauguration, which is already in the exhibit, and adding a sign saying that Obama also used it, is absolutely appropriate. I don't think anyone could reasonably disagree that our first black president incorporating in his inauguration this connection to the president who freed the slaves is something that should be seen by future generations visiting the Capitol, and putting the Bible on the table used to hold it at Lincoln's inauguration would simply add to the accuracy of the exhibit's recreation of that event.
Is Obama Bringing Too Much Religion into the White House?
Thursday, March 5, 2009
By Liliana Segura
Now that Bush is history, one thing we can be sure of is a return to the traditional barrier dividing church and state. Right?
Since taking office, President Barack Obama has raised eyebrows by mixing faith and politics in a way that has dismayed some of his secular supporters.
First there was that Jesus-laden invocation by conservative Pastor Rick Warren at the inauguration. Then, an executive order that, rather than doing anything to dismantle Bush’s faith-based initiatives, bolstered them with a new "advisory council on faith." And then, last month, U.S. News and World Report published an article with the following announcement as its title: "A New Tradition for Obama's Presidential Events: Opening With a Prayer."
March 8, 2009
To: the Military Religious Freedom Foundation:
I am a member of the faculty at the United States Air Force Academy and an officer in the United States Air Force. I am also a Protestant Christian. I would give more information about my personal history and the details which lead me to more general conclusions in order to further substantiate what I'm about to report, but I fear that doing so would make it easier for Academy authorities to determine my identity and severely punish me and my USAFA staff friends and family for speaking up. Many USAFA faculty, staff and cadets here live essentially in a "gulag-state" of abject fear of retribution and reprisal. Where faculty members at the nation’s truly premier colleges and universities are protected by the tenets of academic freedom, publicly speaking about USAFA’s institutionally-sanctioned, fundamentalist Christian oppression to anyone, particularly Mikey Weinstein and the Military Religious Freedom Foundation, violates the expectation that USAFA faculty and staff be blindly loyal to the institution. Nevertheless, I would like to add my voice to the growing chorus of those who will testify about the unbridled, overwhelmingly evangelical Christian environment at the Academy and how it directly and indirectly assaults basic constitutional and human rights on a daily basis.
March 4, 2009
To: Mikey Weinstein and the Military Religious Freedom Foundation
I grew up in a practicing Christian household but gradually realized I was non-religious during my early adulthood. Accepting my commission as an officer in the United States Air Force, I was sure that being a female in a male-dominated profession would prove my greatest challenge. Happily, I have discovered that my gender has not created the slightest obstacle to the camaraderie experienced between me and my fellow "brothers at arms". And yet, my particular religious outlook has been the catalyst for much annoyance, frustration, and even humiliation.
From my early AF days, I noticed a pattern of favoritism towards certain religious inclinations. During pre-commissioning training, the enticements to attend church services included the forbidden nectar coffee as well as the opportunity to "relax" and "be yourself". Nobody forces you to brace a wall or scream out the seven basic responses at church. When I attempted to voice my opinion that this seemed unfair, there were those who turned on me for making so-called anti-Christian remarks.
March 3, 2009
To: Mikey Weinstein and the Military Religious Freedom Foundation:
From: A Concerned USAF Academy Instructor/Professor
First of all, every time there is some concern re: "inappropriate" religious activities at USAFA-- Air Officer Commanding (AOC) to cadet, cadet to cadet, God to cadet-- YOUR name, Mikey, gets mentioned as a "catastrophe" to avoid. Which unfortunately tells me that YOU are really the only thing/person USAFA is playing to.
With regard to keeping religious expression private, out of the institution, and un-endorsed, you need to know that the Academy is mostly eye wash and zero enforcement. For instance, just a couple of days ago, our USAF Academy Faculty Department convened at the Dean's direction in response to an incident involving an AOC reprising former head football coach Fisher DeBerry with an in-squadron, "voluntary" prayer group. The Dean , typical, runs off a one-sheeter with a flow chart (!) anticipating various ranges of expression of religious affiliation, how to respond to cadets asking to pray for the instructors (no kidding, talk about subtle harrassment-- "Sir, I got a C, can I pray for you?") The triggering incident for the brief was an AOC who was holding prayer vigils in the cadet squadron area-- thus, obviously making it clear for everyone to see who attended and who didn't. No pressure, right? The Dean says she takes this as seriously as an episode of sexual harrassment-- I take the Dean at her word-- which led the Dean to direct all USAF Academy Dept. Chairs to immediately go over protocol. NOW GET THIS, MIKEY: Less than five minutes into our faculty Dept's brief, the evangelicals in our Dept were actually getting permission TO IGNORE THE DEAN'S DIRECTIVE! They were like little kids looking for exceptions to plain language forbidding prayer between instructors and cadets by saying-- "Well, hey, if the cadet initiates a statement of his faith and asks me mine and we're alone in the office and, well, THEN we can pray together, right?" One instructor/professor actually said there was no more risk of favoritism in this exchange than a cadet and officer who were both, say, professional hockey fans.
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The constitutional violations occurring in our military are so numerous and widespread that we can't possibly find all of them ourselves. MRFF counts on its supporters and volunteers -- the indispensable "eyes and ears" who alert us to everything from the most egregious of constitutional violations to articles we might be interested in.
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