Military Religious Freedom Foundation President Mikey Weinstein wants an Air Force Academy cadet who wrote a Bible verse on his personal whiteboard, to be "visibly" punished.
"We want to have visible punishment for the cadet," Weinstein reportedly said on the American Center for Law and Justice's radio program on Thursday, according to an email from the law group.
The incident concerns an Air Force cadet who cited Galatians 2:20 on his personal whiteboard: "I have been crucified with Christ therefore I no longer live, but Christ lives in me." According to Weinstein, this prompted 29 cadets and four faculty and staff members to contact his organization to complain.
The AFA removed the Bible verse from the whiteboard, saying that it had offended other cadets. The whiteboards are both for official and personal use, the AFA said.
"It clearly elevated one religious faith (fundamentalist Christianity) over all others at an already virulently hyper-fundamentalist Christian institution," Weinstein argued. "It massively poured fundamentalist Christian gasoline on an already raging out-of-control conflagration of fundamentalist Christian tyranny, exceptionalism and supremacy at USAFA."
The ACLJ, which advocates for freedom of religious speech, asked whether the military will begin court martialing Christians based on "angry atheist" demands.
"That's the danger we're facing. If the military is caving to someone who calls Christians 'monsters who terrorize,' religious liberty in the Armed Forces is in serious jeopardy. In fact, Mikey said that some Christians should be completely banned from service," said Jay Sekulow, ACLJ chief counsel, referring to Weinstein's heavy criticism of what he sees as fundamentalist Christian influence in the military.
Weinstein has said that the U.S. faces "incredibly well-funded gangs of fundamentalist Christian monsters who terrorize their fellow Americans by forcing their weaponized and twisted version of Christianity upon their helpless subordinates in our nation's armed forces."
Some Christian groups have spoken out against the AFA's decision to remove the Bible verse, including Mathew Staver, chairman of Liberty Counsel, who said in a statement that the incident "reveals a fundamental misunderstanding of religious freedom. Not only is the notion that cadets have to abandon or hide their faith as a requisite of military service not supported by law, it is actually discriminatory to brave men and women of faith that desire to serve their country."
The ACLJ said it is meeting with military academy officials to speak with them about the constitutional rights of service men and women, and added that it has started a petition to U.S. Military Academies and the Department of Defense in support of religious liberty.
"Religious liberty in our military is secured by the Constitution. Stop censoring the free speech of cadets. Protect religious liberty in our Armed Forces and ignore angry atheist agitators," states the petition, which has received over 70,000 signatures as of Friday.