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Fleming and Scalise Raise Religious Freedom Concerns with Defense Secretary Hagel

Seek details about Pentagon meeting with anti-religion activist.

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Washington, D.C., May 13, 2013 | Doug Sachtleben ((202) 225-2777) | comments
Congressman John Fleming, M.D., and Republican Study Committee Chairman Steve Scalise have sent a letter to Defense Secretary Chuck Hagel expressing their concerns and raising questions about a meeting between Pentagon officials and Michael “Mikey” Weinstein to discuss religious freedom in the military. The letter outlines Weinstein’s well-documented disparaging remarks about Christianity and questions the Pentagon’s reasoning for accepting the meeting.

“Mikey Weinstein has characterized Christians as ‘monsters who terrorize their fellow Americans,’ and has compared men and women of faith in the military to the Taliban and Al Qaeda,” said Fleming. “Since this meeting occurred in April, the Pentagon has sent mixed signals that are raising questions about the religious freedom of the men and women who fight to protect that freedom for all Americans. We need answers about this meeting, and any others, that might infringe on the freedom of all of our Armed Forces to live out their religious beliefs without fear of punishment.” 

“The actions and derogatory comments made by Michael Weinstein highlight his questionable judgment and disrespect towards those of the Christian faith,” Scalise said.  “The fact that Pentagon officials met with Mr. Weinstein raises serious questions and concerns about the Pentagon's approach to finalizing religious protection regulations.  It is critical that Pentagon officials provide much-needed answers to the thousands of Christians that serve in our armed forces and clarify the nature and intent of the meeting.”

The letter drafted by Rep. Fleming and Rep. Scalise can be read here. Fifty-nine House members have signed the letter.

Dr. John Fleming is Chairman of the Natural Resources Subcommittee on Fisheries, Wildlife, Oceans and Insular Affairs and is a member of the House Armed Services Committee. He is a physician and small business owner and represents the 4th Congressional District of Louisiana.
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