Sued: Pentagon for Mikey Weinstein documents, Anti-Christian Activist Who Compares Evangelicals with Taliban and al-Qaeda
(Washington, DC) – Judicial Watch announced today that on September 10, 2013, it filed a Freedom of Information Act (FOIA) lawsuit in the U.S. District Court for the District of Columbia against the Department of Defense seeking “all records and communications” between the Pentagon and Military Religious Freedom Foundation (MRFF) founder Mikey Weinstein, a controversial activist who has compared evangelicals with the Taliban and al-Qaeda and has called for the court martial of Christian chaplains (Judicial Watch v. U.S. Department of Defense (No. 1:13-cv-01372 )).
On May 23, 2013, Weinstein met with a group of top Pentagon officials, including the Air Force Judge Advocate General, other generals, and a military chaplain, to discuss his concerns about religious issues in the U.S. military. After Breitbart broke the story of the high-level meeting, the Pentagon sent out an email suggesting it was a one-time event. Further investigation, however, revealed that it may have been part of a continuing relationship dating back to the beginning of the Obama administration. On March 1, 2009, the New York Times reported that Weinstein met with the Air Force Chief of Staff, Gen. Norton Schwarz, on February 24, 2009. The story noted this was the first time Weinstein and MRFF had “gotten an audience with a member of the Joint Chiefs of Staff.”
Judicial Watch seeks access to the following records pursuant to its original FOIA request submitted on May 13, 2013:
Any and all records and communications concerning, regarding, or related to consultations between the Department of Defense and Mikey Weinstein.
Weinstein has a long history of opposing the exercise of religious liberty in the military, including, according to the New York Times, “official military retreats at off-base churches, the appearance of uniformed officers at religious events, displays of crucifixes at military chapels in Iraq and Afghanistan, and the practice of ‘dipping’ the American flag at the altar of the Naval Academy in Annapolis, Md., among others.”
In a Huffington Post article entitled “The Pentagon Most Certainly is Listening to Mikey Weinstein,” Chris Rodda, the senior research director at the Military Religious Freedom Foundation, reinforced Weinstein’s relationship with the Pentagon, boasting that he forced Idaho’s Mountain Home Air Force Base to remove an inspirational piece of artwork from its dining facility with a single phone call:
Mikey immediately called the Pentagon because, you know, he can do that (to the obvious consternation of the folks at breitbart.com, certain members of Congress, and other modern-day Christian crusaders).
“Fifty-six minutes after his call to the Pentagon, the image of the crusader, with its odious melding of the crusader flag with the American flag, had been removed from the dining hall.”
“The American people deserve to know the full truth about just how close the relationship is between anti-Christian activist Mikey Weinstein and the Obama Department of Defense,” said Judicial Watch President Tom Fitton. “There is increasing intolerance for the First Amendment rights of traditional Christians in today’s military.”