Base commander told 'God bless' sign can stay
by Chad Groening (OneNewsNow.com) Tuesday, September 29, 2015
An anti-Christian activist is at it again, this time demanding removal from a U.S. military base a sign asking God's blessing on the troops – but the base commander is being advised not to kowtow to the demand.
The sign at Marine Corps Base Hawaii reads: "God bless the military, their families, and the civilians who work with them." It has stood there for 14 years. But Mikey Weinstein, founder and president of the Military Religious Freedom Foundation, recently demanded that the sign be taken down or moved to be near a chapel.
The sign stands out "like a tarantula on a wedding cake," Weinstein told one Honolulu newspaper.
Ron Crews, executive director of the Chaplain Alliance for Religious Liberty, spoke with OneNewsNow about this latest effort by Weinstein, who he says is "going through his usual rant."
"He's demanding of the commander that he take [the sign] down ... and as usual Mikey is wrong," says Crews. "There's absolutely nothing wrong with a sign that says God bless our military."
In an email to Col. Sean Killeen, the base commander, MRFF spokesman Blake Page described the sign as "a brazen violation" of the Establishment Clause in the U.S. Constitution, arguing that it sends a clear message that the base "gives preference to those who hold religious beliefs over those who do not."
In response, Crews has challenged Weinstein and his group's claim of unconstitutionality.
"Only someone with a great misunderstanding of the First Amendment or an axe to grind against religion would claim that such a slogan poses a threat or is in any way unconstitutional," he says in a press release. "The real threat is posed by those who want to whitewash any reference to God from public discourse – even ones as innocuous and uplifting as this one."
Crews points out to OneNewsNow the U.S. military has a rich Christian tradition. "Our first commander-in-chief, George Washington, one of the first things he did was call the soldiers to prayer and ask for God's favor on this nation," the former military chaplain notes. "And so that's our history. Our military needs God's blessings."
The Alliance leader says Col. Killeen was going to take Weinstein's complaint to his legal advisors. "... It is my sincere hope that this commander will stand firm and keep that sign where it belongs: right there for people to see," Crews concludes.
Alliance Defending Freedom emailed the base commander on Monday, urging him not to remove the sign and explaining that, in fact, it would be a violation of the Establishment Clause to do so because it would show "preference for no religion over religion."
"The Establishment Clause," wrote ADF's Daniel Briggs, "does not provide a heckler's veto to those who find offense. MRFF and its members are entitled to feel offense, but it is part of living in a pluralistic military community."
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