Congressional panel takes up religion in the military


Weinstein: Will speak to Congress. - FILE PHOTO
  • File photo
  • Weinstein: Will speak to Congress.
For the first time, the Military Religious Freedom Foundation has been asked to testify at a congressional hearing.

The MRFF's founder and chief Mikey Weinstein of Albuquerque, N.M., will testify on Sept. 19 at a House Armed Services Committee hearing.

Here's the notification he received from the House:
Mr. Weinstein, in follow-up to our phone conversation, the Military Personnel Subcommittee, chaired by Representative Joe Wilson (R-SC) and ranking member, Susan Davis (D-CA), are holding a hearing on religious freedom in the military on Friday, September 19th at 8 a.m. in 2118 Rayburn House Office Building. The hearing is expected to last from 8-10 a.m., and we expect to have 3 other witnesses from outside organizations testify. There will be no government witnesses at the hearing.

We appreciate your consideration to agree to testify. A hearing invitation letter will be sent to you, which will include the details of submitting a written testimony, along with your disclosure form. We ask witnesses to keep their oral statements to 3-4 minutes to afford greater interaction and dialogue among members. In addition to the subcommittee members, we expect members of the committee to attend the hearing, along with potentially members not on the committee given the interest in this topic.
Weinstein says he understands he'll be one of at least four witnesses.

"This gives a voice to those in the military who don't have a voice," Weinstein says via telephone. "We currently represent more than 38,100 active duty members, including 379 cadets, faculty and staff at the Air Force Academy." Most identify as Protestant and Catholic, he says.

"This is a victory for our clients and our staff and for the U.S. Constitution," he adds. "I'm honored for being given the opportunity."

Weinstein recently spoke at Duke University and is slated to speak on Sept. 26 at Patrick Henry College, an Evangelical Christian-based school in Purcellville, Va., in its newsmaker series.

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