Bibles Removed From Air Force Displays, Congressman Objects

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by Church Militant  •  ChurchMilitant.com  •  April 15, 2016   

Congressman Mike Turner calls decision a "dangerous precedent"

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DAYTON, Ohio (ChurchMilitant.com) - Bibles are being removed from military facilities in Dayton, Akron and Youngstown, Ohio — and an Ohio congressman is objecting.

Republican Congressman Mike Turner wrote a letter to General Ellen Pawlikowski, the head general at Wright-Patterson Air Force Base, near Dayton, saying the decision to remove the Bible was "unacceptable" and a violation of religious freedom.

Last week a Bible was removed from a POW/MIA display in the hospital's dining facility, after the Military Religious Freedom Foundation (MRFF) demanded that the base either remove the Bible or replace it with a generic prop book.

The Bible in the Akron Air Force display was also removed, and the one in the Youngstown display was replaced with a prop book.

Congressman Turner said that a government installation making policy changes merely because of complaints from "a group that has an issue" sets a "very dangerous precedent."

"We need to know exactly what happened, what the process was, why was this done," Turner said.

"This is an issue of national policy," he continued, "not an issue of individual affront or concern, and it needs to be handled in that manner. ... [MRFF's] voice should not be greater than anyone else's."

Thomas More Law Center president Richard Thompson also objected to the the Air Force's decision, saying that the courts have already ruled that ceremonial displays by government facilities are "not considered an establishment of religion."

Thompson added that if General Pawlikowski had wanted to challenge the complaint, the Thomas More Law Center would have been happy to represent the organization for free because "I think we would have won the case."

MRFF president Mikey Weinstein insisted on the Bible's removal, saying it was "unconstitutional" because it was "elevating one particular faith over all others." Weinstein also accused Congressman Turner of "grandstanding an election."

Weinstein has a long history of Christian discrimination. In May 2005, he pressured the Air Force Academy into mandating a new course :"Respecting the Spiritual Values of All People."

But this wasn't enough for Weinstein, and in October 2005, he sued the USAF for religious discrimination. But the suit was dismissed by Judge James A. Parker in New Mexico because it "contained only vague allegations."

Weinstein also influenced the Pentagon to discontinue the sale of military-themed bibles, a practice begun during the Bush administration. Reports say Weinstein called the practice a "national security threat."

As a result of Weinstein's complaints, the Pentagon announced in 2013 that officers could no longer keep bibles on their desks because it "might appear" that they were condoning a particular religion.

Later that year, Weinstein objected to a painting in the dining hall of Mountain Home Air Force Base in Idaho because it had a Scripture quotation. Reports say the painting was removed less than one hour later.

Weinstein further succeeded in having two Nativity scenes taken down at the Guantanamo Bay naval base in December 2013. Fox News host Bill O'Reilly interviewed Mikey Weinstein, who refused to answer O'Reilly's question why anyone should be offended by a display acknowledging a national holiday, e.g., Christmas.

After Weinstein called O'Reilly "an aggressive bully and an arrogant idiot," O'Reilly responded, "I covered four wars with a pen, OK, Mr. Weinstein? So don’t impugn my courage ever again. You're a weasel."

 

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