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WAR ON CHRISTMAS: Secularists Target Military Gravesites

Sekulow Radio Show / Jay Sekulow & Jordan Sekulow
The Truth Network Radio
December 15, 2021 12:00 pm

WAR ON CHRISTMAS: Secularists Target Military Gravesites

Sekulow Radio Show / Jay Sekulow & Jordan Sekulow

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December 15, 2021 12:00 pm

As we're ten days out from Christmas day, the attacks on Christianity by secularists are ramping up to a truly absurd level. The Military Religious Freedom Foundation (MRFF) has launched its latest attack, this time targeting Christmas wreaths being placed on military graves. MRFF has gone as far as saying these wreaths look like "Christian gang signs." Jay, Logan, and the rest of the Sekulow team break down this anti-Christian attack. This and more today on Sekulow .

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This is Jay Sekulow as the war on Christmas returns secularist target military grape sites. Keeping you informed and engaged, now more than ever, this is Sekulow. We want to hear from you.

Share and post your comments or call 1-800-684-3110. And now your host, Jay Sekulow. Hey everybody, welcome to the broadcast. Well, it's getting very close to Christmas, which means the annual, what is some group going to target for this holiday season? The target of choice this year seems to be, and I think this one is really offensive, is by the Military Freedom from Religion Foundation, or the Military Religious Freedom Foundation. They have targeted a Christian gang symbol. That Christian gang symbol, according to them, is wreaths that are being put out by an organization called Wreaths Across America. They lay about 30,000 wreaths, including at Arlington National Cemetery. There's a picture for those watching on our social media outlets and TV. They lay these at military outlets and cemeteries throughout the country.

Wes, you said you've seen them. Absolutely. It's a major event during the holidays at Arlington National Cemetery and in veterans and military cemeteries around the nation. Arlington is the largest cemetery where wreaths across America place the wreaths, but it's not the only cemetery. No, no.

And the big event is going to be on Saturday. So this is what the leader of the Military Religious Freedom Foundation, Mikey Weinstein, said, we're not saying you can't lay wreaths, but you can't blanket it like that. That looks like it's a Christian gang sign, these are his quotes, that you're creating territory that is Christian territory.

He then said, that's like carpet bombing. That looks like it's a Christian gang sign that you're creating again, as he said, territory that is Christian territory. Wreaths Across the America organization said that organization is really not involved in religion or politics. No, I think for most of us, we probably didn't even know the wreath, traditional wreath. This is specifically Christmas wreaths, but they are claiming this symbol of the wreath is a Christian, solo Christian symbol. Again, I think most of us just think of it as a simple, nice gesture flower arrangement that you have at funerals or these kinds of things, or Christmas wreaths. Christmas wreaths. Wreaths, I'm saying the coupled versions of wreaths. And mainly this is just of course another way to insult, even though they are the military, insult families in the military. Rodney Weinstein gave an interesting explanation of a wreath.

I'm a Christian and an Episcopal priest. I didn't know that the circle represented everlasting life through Jesus Christ. Maybe he made it up. Will Haines, our producer, said he remembers that. When did you remember that, Will?

It was maybe a Sunday school lesson, but I haven't heard it many times. Okay. I mean, yeah, I'm sure he's probably not wrong. There probably is a tradition. What's wrong with that? Exactly. And it's another one of those things, they're just trying to find something else to go after.

Put it back up on the screen. This time though, what's different is it's insulting people in the military. I think that's the main difference between this and even this. By the way, they don't put these wreaths on, if there's a Star of David on the marker, they don't put a wreath on there.

If there's a crescent and star, they're not putting a crescent and moon, they're not putting a... Because these are Christmas wreaths specifically, right. So they're very sensitive to this. Most service members, because I've served at Arlington and other cemeteries, most service members, for whatever reason, I guess because 72% of Americans claim to be Christian, most military tombstones have a cross on them, even if they never went to church, unless they specifically put on their military records, not religious. You know, it's interesting because we've done battle with them before in cases. And I just think that they do this just to aggravate. You know, it's interesting to me that... And they have the right to their opinion. We have the right to our opinion. By the way, we've got a team of ACLJ lawyers putting a letter together right now, especially to Arlington National Cemetery, because we know that event is on Saturday. But Than, I'm gonna go to you quickly.

I really got 40 seconds before the break, but Washington, there's other things to worry about in Washington than this, you would think. No question about it, Jay. It's just an example of no good or kind deed going unpunished. And look, we've got to respond to these though. If you don't respond to them, Jay, sometimes they do win. We're gonna win in the end, but you can't just ignore them.

You've got to stand up and fight. Now, folks, what's going on in your community this Christmas? And what do you think about this attack on, really, Christmas and now of beers and military grave sites? 800-684-3110. We want to know what's going on in your hometown for Christmas. Nativity scene's up. What's happening?

800-684-3110. Back with more in just a moment. At the American Center for Law and Justice, we're engaged in critical issues at home and abroad. Whether it's defending religious freedom, protecting those who are persecuted for their faith, uncovering corruption in the Washington bureaucracy, and fighting to protect life in the courts and in Congress, the ACLJ would not be able to do any of this without your generous support.

For that, we are grateful. Now there's an opportunity for you to help in a unique way. For a limited time, you can participate in the ACLJ's Matching Challenge. For every dollar you donate, it will be matched. A $10 gift becomes $20.

A $50 gift becomes $100. This is a critical time for the ACLJ. The work we do simply would not occur without your generous support.

Take part in our Matching Challenge today. You can make a difference in the work we do, protecting the constitutional and religious freedoms that are most important to you and your family. Give a gift today online at ACLJ.org. Only when a society can agree that the most vulnerable and voiceless deserve to be protected is there any hope for that culture to survive. And that's exactly what you are saying when you stand with the American Center for Law and Justice to defend the right to life. We've created a free, powerful publication offering a panoramic view of the ACLJ's battle for the unborn.

It's called Mission Life. It will show you how you are personally impacting the pro-life battle through your support. And the publication includes a look at all major ACLJ pro-life cases, how we're fighting for the rights of pro-life activists, the ramifications of Roe v. Wade 40 years later, the play on parenthood's role in the abortion industry, and what Obamacare means to the pro-life movement. Discover the many ways your membership with the ACLJ is empowering the right to life. Request your free copy of Mission Life today online at ACLJ.org slash gift.

Hey, welcome back everybody, phone lines are jamming up. We want to hear from you on what's happening in your community on Christmas, because let me tell you what's about to happen, and that is the Military Religious Freedom Foundation and their President, Mikey Weinstein, told Fox News that we're not saying you can't play to wreath. This is because wreath across America are about to lay there, and it's already started laying wreath, thousands, 30,000 wreaths on military grave sites. We've got a picture of it.

Let's put it right up there for our people watching on, folks watching on our social media platforms, and I'm sure on television as well. And he says it's like carpet bombing that looks like a Christian gang sign that you're creating territory that is a Christian territory. Interestingly, he has not yet, Harry, sent a demand letter, which is typically what he does, and then we respond to it. He usually goes to the military leadership, and then we respond.

We're doing it proactively this time. We're gonna send a letter to the, Wes, you were saying we needed to send it to which groups exactly? Yeah, the chiefs of staff of each of the branches of the military. Plus the director of operations at Arlington.

Right, and the chief of chaplains for each branch. Yeah, so we're gonna do that because this is not an establishment clause violation, folks. But Harry, this is, again, not a shock either that they would do this. Although this one is a little shocking, actually.

Well, I would say yes and no. Among elites, we have seen a long history of moves. Essentially, peoples who are fleeing religion, they're also engaged in a flight from truth, and they're also engaged in an embrace of unreality. And so if you look at recent poll results, you can see a rise in the non-observant, but equally true, there is a rise in outright hostility to believers. And so I think we are seeing this play out in this particular situation, and depending on where you live in the United States, you will see it in your local jurisdictions as well.

You know, I was thinking about this, Logan. I remember back in the 80s and 90s, we had the nativity scene fights, and we won those ultimately at the Supreme Court, and then you had the Christmas carol sites. And then you couldn't say that we had a case in 1992, it was a long time ago, where the student couldn't sing Noelle because of the lyrics. Yet, we're still getting some of those. A lot of these are handled, a lot of those are almost settled law at this point and something you've worked on for the last 30 years, but occasionally and yearly around now is when these things come up. Sometimes, sure, is it for people like the Freedom From Religion Foundation and the Military Freedom Foundation to get publicity and PR and people to remember they exist? Of course. That is a large portion of this.

It's not necessarily an actual campaign. If you really look at it, I will. They sue. Will they go after it? Do they hope to win?

Of course. Who doesn't want to win? But this happens right now because they know it's going to get press. Look, we're talking about it right now, but you have to.

If you don't, they do win because it's easy. Like you said, a lot of times with those nativity scenes, still in places that the people don't know what the laws are, easily they get removed, taken down, things get changed because someone gets a little bit of pressure from the other side and quickly it's over. We used to send out, if you remember in the old days, we used to send out a letter to every municipality in the country about what can be done and can't be done during Christmas.

Now because of the internet, we're able to have this stuff all done digitally, but we have up on our website right now the Constitution and the celebration of Christmas dispelling myths and it goes through what you can and cannot do. We've settled on a number of cases even this week involving just these information letters, so that's good. We're getting calls on this and I think it's great. We want to hear from you at 800-684-3110. We want this to be interactive today, so let's go ahead and take a call. Let's go to Dan in Illinois on line three.

Dan, you're on the air. Yeah, in 2018, I nominated my brother. We're both truck drivers and he became their honor driver for Risacost America and drove their flagship truck from Maine all down the Eastern Seaboard all the way down to Arlington. As a Navy veteran, he said that was the most solemn and impressive, respectful display he's ever seen for veterans and fallen soldiers. He said the organization does not have a political agenda.

They don't have any other agenda except to show love for the families and love for the soldiers. Now, you're 100% correct and, again, I want to keep showing this picture to our audience. I can see it. I'll tell you what it is for the audience, our radio audience.

It's great. They're tombstones. They're grave markers with these really beautiful wreaths around them and there's, in some of these cemeteries, there's literally thousands of them. And this is a show of respect and honor and the fact that it represents Christmas has got the Military Freedom From Religion Foundation all up in a tizzy over really something. I have to be clear here that there is no constitutional law violation here. This is just not what it is.

And the idea that they would make it this, to me, is just ridiculous. And this means a lot to the soldiers, Wes, and you were a chaplain in the Army. Absolutely. That's what I was thinking about as we were discussing this morning and I was reading the headlines. I have dealt literally with thousands of Gold Star family members. Many of them are buried in Arlington and other national cemeteries. Because of where the cemeteries are located, especially Arlington, these family members, they do not get to visit their loved one's grave very often. And I know from talking to them, whether it's Wreaths Across America or the Flags End that we do on Memorial Day, these families are so grateful that people remember their loved one and that someone is placing something on the grave.

It is touching. It means so very much to them. And as I mentioned to you during our production meeting, Jay, now Arlington even allows, and did not used to do this, when family members do get to visit, they can leave personal remembrances of their loved one around the tombstone. Which they never did before.

They never did before. This, because of so many people having died in the last 20 years on this war on terror, this is a very sensitive issue. And like I said, I know from talking to these family members, they are grateful for organizations like Wreaths Across America. Yeah. And I was just there three months ago or so and got to see a lot of this firsthand at Arlington and all the people that are there and they're still visiting and going out there.

So it's really impressive. Speaking of which, let's go to Jerry in Rhode Island on line one. Jerry, you're on the air. Hey, Jerry. Hello, team. Happy holidays.

And I think young young secular is right. I think Mike is just wanting some press. My father, veteran of Korea and Vietnam is buried in there.

I buried him there and I buried 40 or 50 people in as part of the Marine Honor Guard. And this is just him trying to get headlines. I don't even know if he has standing to complain to maybe does he even have somebody in Arlington? No, I mean, and the fact of the matter is that you raised the legal issue of standing and Harry, I thought about that too.

What's his basis? Was he offended observer knowing there's a wreath being placed on someone's grave site? He's so, if they're so offended that they're going to try to bring a claim?

I mean, really? Well, I think certainly the standing issue would likely mean that he would be thrown out of court, appropriately, of course. And so I think at the end of the day, this is a highly orchestrated publicity campaign to draw more attention to his organization. You know, we're taking your calls at 800-684-3110 because we want to know what's going on in your community and also your reaction to this, especially if you served in the military. We would love to hear from you.

1-800-684-3110, that's 800-684-3110. And your reaction, we also want to know what's going on in your hometown. But then I was thinking about this, you know, this is where justices and judges matter. And I'm thinking about that and these, how would these cases play out today?

And frankly, a lot better than they played out 10 illegally, even 15 years ago. Well, the judges, they matter, Jay, because sometimes these cases do have to be resolved in a court of law, even if we don't think that they should. Sometimes they get there and sometimes you get bad rulings and you have to appeal them up through the process. The other thing I was thinking about, Jay, yeah, I mean, I think about the last caller and there's a temptation to say this is all about publicity. We'll just ignore it and it will go away. Jay, I think about the case that we handled involving the Capitol Visitor Center just a couple of blocks from where I'm sitting right now. That got constructed and somehow they omitted the national motto, In God We Trust. And so Congress intervened. They passed legislation, Jay, and directed the architect of the Capitol to inscribe the national motto. Jay, the Freedom From Religion Foundation took that to court. They sued the architect of the Capitol of that. Right. We had to intervene on behalf of members of Congress.

If you walk into the Capitol Visitor Center now, the first thing you see in giant letters above on a beam is the national motto, In God We Trust, appropriately so. But I bring that up, Jay, to say you have to engage, otherwise these challenges can carry the day. We are going to be in the next segment of the broadcast talking about another victory that we've had. We have talked about a couple of these.

We want to highlight these, especially in December, so you know what's happening. Listen, it's not just the Supreme Court of the United States. It's not the International Court in the Hague.

Sometimes it's just a local school district or a college or university. You heard about that case this week. And we've got another report coming out on a workplace win, a very interesting case, kind of different, but a religious freedom case that we think is important.

And that was a great win. We're taking your calls also at 800-684-3110. Our phone lines are jamming up, which is great.

So we're going to be able to take more of those calls when we come back from the break and also in the second half hour of the broadcast. But also, we want to let you know that this is an important time of year for us. It's our matching challenge campaign, ACLJ.org. Any amount you donate, we get a matching gift for at ACLJ.org. What that means is if you donate $20, we get $40. We've got donors that are ready to match that.

So again, ACLJ.org. And coming up, Logan, we're going to talk about a victory. We're going to take phone calls. We've got a little update on Afghanistan later in the broadcast as well. A lot going on. Yeah, there'll be a lot more coming up on Sekulow right now. We are live. And if you want to be on the air, phone lines are jammed, but they will open up at 1-800-684-3110, 1-800-684-3110. If you're watching online also on Facebook or on YouTube, make sure you comment, share, get this in people's feeds, click that thumbs up, subscribe. Make sure that you are telling people about this show because these are the type of news items, like we said, if we don't bring attention to them, you quickly become reality. And all of a sudden you have such a small little news story about these reads becoming real.

We'll be right back with more on Sekulow. Only when a society can agree that the most vulnerable and voiceless deserve to be protected is there any hope for that culture to survive. And that's exactly what you are saying when you stand with the American Center for Law and Justice to defend the right to life. We've created a free, powerful publication offering a panoramic view of the ACLJ's battle for the unborn.

It's called Mission Life. It will show you how you are personally impacting the pro-life battle through your support. And the publication includes a look at all major ACLJ pro-life cases, how we're fighting for the rights of pro-life activists, the ramifications of Roe v. Wade 40 years later, the play on parenthood's role in the abortion industry and what Obamacare means to the pro-life movement. Discover the many ways your membership with the ACLJ is empowering the right to life. Request your free copy of Mission Life today online at ACLJ.org slash gift. At the American Center for Law and Justice, we're engaged in critical issues at home and abroad. Whether it's defending religious freedom, protecting those who are persecuted for their faith, uncovering corruption in the Washington bureaucracy and fighting to protect life in the courts and in Congress, the ACLJ would not be able to do any of this without your support.

For that, we are grateful. Now there's an opportunity for you to help in a unique way. For a limited time, you can participate in the ACLJ's matching challenge. For every dollar you donate, it will be matched. A $10 gift becomes $20.

A $50 gift becomes 100. This is a critical time for the ACLJ. The work we do simply would not occur without your generous support. Take part in our matching challenge today. You can make a difference in the work we do, protecting the constitutional and religious freedoms that are most important to you and your family. Give a gift today online at ACLJ.org.

I want to talk about victories. Christy Campagnone, one of our litigation counsels up in our office in Washington, D.C. is joining us because we had a nice, I like these to report they get resolved quickly, expeditiously because of the work of our lawyers. But like I said, it's not everything is the Supreme Court of the United States. Not everything is the International Criminal Court in The Hague. Not everything is court.

Sometimes you can just get them resolved. Christy also, by the way, was the Virginia Bar Young Lawyer of the Year, which we're very proud of. So Christy, welcome to the broadcast. Tell us a little bit about the background on this particular case. It was an interesting one because the sign that was put up became the central focus of this. Tell us about the case.

Yes, sir. So we had someone contact us who was working in a manufacturing facility. And he was celebrating the 10 days of awe as a Messianic Jew. And he had a Shabbat shalom sign that also included those words in Hebrew at his personal workstation. Now it was his private station.

No one else was there. It was his own to display whatever he wanted. And there were several other employees at their workstations who displayed Halloween decorations and crosses. And one of his friends was in a motorcycle group that's Crusaders for Christ that had displays all over his workstation. However, his supervisors specifically came to him and asked him to remove his Shabbat shalom sign.

Wait, I'm going to stop you for a second. We'll get, we'll get, because I want people to understand what Shabbat shalom means. Good Sabbath. Shalom is peace. So it's peaceful Sabbath. Good Sabbath. Shabbat shalom is a traditional Jewish greeting going to Friday evening and on Saturday.

Good Shabbos is what it's said in Hebrew and Yiddish. It's a very common expression. Now, why this was compared to a Nazi symbol is beyond me, Christie. So you want to explain that? What, I mean, is that what their justification was here?

Yes. So he went to the HR representative and they said, well, if we allow you to put this up, it would be the same as allowing someone to put up a swastika because they're a racist. So equating racism as a religion for putting up the swastika to this Jewish heritage symbol that— Yeah, I mean, it's a greeting. Yeah, it's a heritage. I mean, Shabbat shalom, good Shabbos, is a traditional greeting that literally was creating a constitutional crisis until we intervened for this company. I mean, really, it's ridiculous.

I'm glad we got it resolved, but it shows you this. And then comparing it to saying, well, somebody could put up a Nazi symbol up there, which is, by the way, not the case. So I don't even know what they're talking about, but go ahead.

Well, I think your analysis is spot on. So if we focus on Shabbat shalom as a quote unquote offensive either symbol or set of words, I think it's important to keep in mind that we now live increasingly in a culture in which this type of confusion expands. And I think it's part of a willful policy within corporations, within institutions, and particularly within universities who seek to find offensive statements even where none can indeed be found.

And Christy, I'm going to come back to you in a second, but I want to go to Wes on this. I mean, I tie this into the wreaths across America and this sensitivity factor that anything that even hints of religion and good Shabbat is not like a proclamation of a religion, but it's just a recognition of that particular Friday, Saturday for within the Jewish community, Messianic Jewish community as well. It just, to me, this lack of understanding is mind boggling 20 years after the Supreme Court has resolved these issues.

Yeah, absolutely. Because we have, in America, we have freedom of religion and religious symbols are allowed and they are everywhere. There's a lot of misunderstanding, I think particularly because corporations and companies, they feel threatened by groups that complain, but we cannot let a litigious individual or litigious group rob people of their free exercise of religion or symbols that are meaningful to them like the Gold Star family.

So let me tie this back, Christy. So this was in this private workspace, other people had other religious symbolism. Did they ever give a, other than that reference to a swastika, which is, it really not makes any sense, did they give any other reason if they allowed other religious symbolism up, why they were really targeting Shabbat Shalom? No, and the contact's only concern was that it probably was the Hebrew language that was written on the sign. So the fact that Shabbat Shalom was in Hebrew was enough to get them concerned, literally, did they tell them to take it down?

Yes. All right, so what did we do? You drafted it, it sounds like an information letter laying out what his rights were.

What happened with that? Exactly. So we explained under Title VII that this would be considered religious discrimination and he brought it to the general manager of the entire company. So he is just one of the many plants that represent this entire company. So he brought it to the general manager and it was promptly taken into consideration and his right to keep that sign was restored. And in fact, the general manager went ahead and forwarded this to the chief of HR for the entire company to make sure that all of the plants across the country are following and protecting the rights of their team members. Which tells you one person standing up for their rights in one plant, in one town, ends up affecting the human rights policy, the display policy for an entire company that's coast to coast.

So that should be encouraging. We certainly are. But this happens, look folks, we get these all the time. We don't spend hours and hours talking about these on airs, but there are times when we want to and this is one of those days. And it does tie into the situation with Wreaths Across America, this religious sensitivity that's out there that if it still, if it smacks of something that might express faith, all of a sudden, you know, they treat it like it's asbestos in the ceiling tiles. That's what we used to argue, by the way. That was our line.

I think Jordan Lawrence, a friend of ours, came up with that in the 1980s and 90s. They treat religion as if it's asbestos in the ceiling tiles. You got to cover it. You got to seal it.

Don't let it out in the public square. Now you would think 40 years later, I think it was probably 35 years ago when Jordan came up with that, Jordan Lawrence, and that we would be past that. But here we are. But the good news is we got it resolved quickly and that is important. So Kristi, thank you.

Thanks for the work on that. We appreciate it and thanks for the update. Yes, sir. Thank you. All right. Very good. So there you go, folks.

That shows you the nature and scope of what we're doing. Our phone lines are jammed. Could we have time to squeeze one in, in two minutes?

Yeah, we can probably take a quick one. Let's go to Heather on line one in Texas. Heather, go ahead. Hi. Hi. Thank you for bringing this to my attention.

First of all, I didn't know this was going on right now. I'm a gold star South. My late husband was killed in Afghanistan in 2012. And I live in Texas and he's buried at Arlington. And Christmas was his favorite time of year and he loved decorating. He loved everything that Christmas stood for. We are Christians, but for me, Wreaths Across America is not about my Christianity. It's about celebrating a holiday with him in a way that I can't do myself because I have children and I can't travel out there. And I know someone already said that, but I just wanted to echo that because for me personally, it's so comforting knowing that it's not just a lonely grape side there, that there are people who care.

And I have friends that volunteer with Wreaths Across America every year on our behalf so that they can decorate and do that for me when I can't do it. Well, Heather, you know, thank you. First of all, thank you for calling.

We're so sorry about your loss, but your husband's service to our country will never be forgotten. And I just want to say this. This is why these groups, I get infuriated and I'm going to say it with Mikey Weinstein's hyperbole. You're such a tough guy. You're going to file a lawsuit because somebody... And I want to play for you, Mikey, what Heather just said. She can't go to Arlington. So she's thrilled that Wreaths Across the America can do this for her and for her family.

Wes? Thank you, Heather, for your sacrifice because you have sacrificed so much. We appreciate your phone call and we do remember you and this organization remembers you and will always stand up for your rights. No question about it, Logan. All right, that's good.

Do the fruit for the first half hour. If you don't get us on your local radio station, we're broadcasting live right now on ACLJ.org and across social media and YouTube. We'll be right back. At the American Center for Law and Justice, we're engaged in critical issues at home and abroad. For a limited time, you can participate in the ACLJ's Matching Challenge. For every dollar you donate, it will be matched. A $10 gift becomes $20.

A $50 gift becomes $100. You can make a difference in the work we do, protecting the constitutional and religious freedoms that are most important to you and your family. Give a gift today online at ACLJ.org. Keeping you informed and engaged, now more than ever, this is Sekulow.

And now your host, Jay Sekulow. We just had a call on the last half hour right at the end of the broadcast that was just heartwarming but heart-wrenching at the same time. And that is, must be a young woman because her husband was killed in Afghanistan in 2012.

So I'm guessing probably in her 30s. And Wreaths Across America does this. They lay out wreaths at the military cemeteries.

You're seeing it on your screen right now for those that can. It's a beautiful wreath. And of course, the Military Religious Freedom Foundation is saying that this is the equivalent of a carpet bombing of, I mean, this is really, you know, he likes hyperbole, Mikey Weinstein.

And I've debated Mikey, and we've gone at it, you know, it's part of the legal process and it's part of life. But he calls it carpet bombing. That looks like it's a Christian gang sign. You're creating Christian territory in this area. He said if somebody wants to lay a wreath, that's fine, but they don't want it done by groups in mass. Well, you know what? They have the right to do it in mass. This is a big organization. They're doing the right thing.

And it was exactly what the caller just said. She lives in Texas. She can't go to Washington every year to visit. Her husband's buried it at Arlington. And Logan, you just came back from Arlington.

And then you're there. I mean, this is, it's very, when you're at Arlington, it's a very somber and moving moment when you see this. And you took your grandkids. We took my kids.

My grandkids. We went through it and they wanted to see it because they're learning about all these wars. We're also learning about things that are active. It's also a very active cemetery. This isn't something that you're looking at hundreds of years old. I mean, there's certain things.

Sure. There's historical landmarks. There's specific people you would visit whether that's John F. Kennedy's tomb or whoever, but there's still active funeral processions happening as you're there.

You see them everywhere as you're going on this like tram tour they have. So for those families, you know, people who are not just going there to see a historical mark or Presidents or historical figures, tombs that are going there to actively have these funeral services every day, you know, however many that I forgot how many thousands they do a year for this situation to even be on their radar is really unfortunate. As we heard from that last call, it's just sad that this even has to be a point of discussion.

I mean, they're calling it a Christian gang symbol. I mean, you know, this is, this is, I mean, I know he does this for, for his everywhere. Yeah. During Christmas.

I'm sure he's offended by all of it. Do we have time for a call? Let's take another call.

Okay. We can take a call. Let's go to Rachel. Who's calling I'm from Connecticut on line five. Hey Rachel.

Oh, good afternoon. And thank you so much for taking my call. I'm calling because this strikes my heart very near and dear, and I'm saddened to hear the misdirection of so much energy in our society. My father was a World War II vet that saved the USS Bowditch. And if I'm not mistaken, only 7% of the American population ever sign up and serve. And so my dad gave everything and asked for nothing. He wasn't the type to brag about being in the service, didn't sign up for benefits.

And so to hear that the recognition at grave sites where my father's in a box by choice ashes or mine, it just is a really misdirection of energy. Yeah, Rachel, you're right. I mean, I said this to Than earlier. I said, with all the things going on in Washington, you would think this would not be on the list, but here it is. This is the least we can do. What did Will say? The target of choice.

It seems to be this one. Jay, it's the least we can do to honor those who signed up and volunteered to serve and then ultimately paid the ultimate price. Look, I'm just so thankful we have groups like this who will stand in the place of Rachel and Heather and others who can't come here to where I am to honor this. And Jay, it's not just wreaths this time of year.

I mean, flags show up at the grave markers at Memorial Day and at Independence Day. That is part of the honor at being buried at Arlington Cemetery is that you will have groups like this that will honor you when your family can't be there. All right, we want to hear from you. When we are hearing, we're getting great calls and we really appreciate these calls. So Logan, let's continue to get calls at 1-800-684-3110. If you served in the military, have a loved one buried in a military cemetery, we'd like to hear from you. Because that's who Mikey Weinstein and the Military Freedom of Religion Foundation needs to hear from, to realize the real family's impacted by these statements he makes and this group makes. 1-800-684-3110, that's 800-684-3110. That's right. And if you have a comment, make sure to put it in on Facebook or on YouTube and we will be back.

Make sure you hit share, subscribe, all those things. And again, support the work of the ACLJ at ACLJ.org. At the American Center for Law and Justice, we're engaged in critical issues at home and abroad. Whether it's defending religious freedom, protecting those who are persecuted for their faith, uncovering corruption in the Washington bureaucracy and fighting to protect life in the courts and in Congress, the ACLJ would not be able to do any of this without your support.

For that, we are grateful. Now there's an opportunity for you to help in a unique way. For a limited time, you can participate in the ACLJ's Matching Challenge. For every dollar you donate, it will be matched. A $10 gift becomes $20.

A $50 gift becomes $100. This is a critical time for the ACLJ. The work we do simply would not occur without your generous support.

Take part in our Matching Challenge today. You can make a difference in the work we do, protecting the constitutional and religious freedoms that are most important to you and your family. Give a gift today online at ACLJ.org. Only when a society can agree that the most vulnerable and voiceless deserve to be protected is there any hope for that culture to survive. And that's exactly what you are saying when you stand with the American Center for Law and Justice to defend the right to life. We've created a free, powerful publication offering a panoramic view of the ACLJ's battle for the unborn.

It's called Mission Life. It will show you how you are personally impacting the pro-life battle through your support. And the publication includes a look at all major ACLJ pro-life cases, how we're fighting for the rights of pro-life activists, the ramifications of Roe v. Wade 40 years later, the play on parenthood's role in the abortion industry and what Obamacare means to the pro-life movement.

Discover the many ways your membership with the ACLJ is empowering the right to life. Request your free copy of Mission Life today online at ACLJ.org slash gift. We are taking your calls at 1-800-684-3110.

That's 1-800-684-3110. Let's go ahead and start getting great calls. Yeah, let's go and start with one from a veteran. Let's go to Trevor in California. You're on the air. Hi, Trevor. Hi.

Yeah, I wanted to say, you know, I've got a family of 65 years active duty between five of us. Great. And I'm not religious. I don't believe in God, but I'm not offended.

I think it'd be great if my dad in Punchbowl, Hawaii could get a wreath because, you know, I can't go to see him. Right. So I think that's, I'm not offended. I think it's a good thing. Well, Trevor, I appreciate you calling in, you know, and they, this is who he thinks he's representing. That's what's it.

Yeah. That's interesting that Trevor, and I really appreciate your honesty and telling us your, your thoughts of free country. I mean, you know what we believe in you, you know what we believe, but the idea that this is, but you're exactly right, Logan.

This is who Trevor is, who Mikey thinks he's representing. And they're not thinking that way. No, I don't think that's true for most military people. I don't think that's true for most people when they see a wreath as we've said that.

Yeah. You know, Christmas is widely celebrated in America by people who are not Christian because it has become, I mean, as a Christian and as a minister, I wish it was strictly religious, but it's not, it is a big holiday for people who have no religious affiliation or commitment at all. And this whole issue about the wreath, I was thinking about it during our radio break.

This is not about religion, contrary to Mr. Weinstein. This is about honoring the dead. And I looked up this quote from William Gladstone who said that, show me the manner in which a nation cares for its dead.

And I will measure with mathematical exactness, the tender mercies of its people, their respect for the laws of the land and their loyalty to high ideals. This is Christmas and we honor our war dead by doing this. Yeah. You know, and Harry, I've been, I've been racking my, we'll get more calls at 1-800-684-3110. We really want to hear from you. I mean, I've been thinking about this because we're going to write a response, even though Weinstein's group has not sent out as far as, of course they may have, we don't know this, but based on the reporting, they haven't sent out a letter yet. But traditionally what they do or typically what they do is they send out a letter and in that letter, they, you know, threaten that you're doing this, you're violating the establishment clause. So we're going to be proactive on this. And what we've said to be proactive, what we're going to do is we're sending out a letter now to the Director of Arlington Operations, the Chief of Chaplains and the Chief of Staff of each branch of the Congress, but specifically to Arlington, because we know that's a big, a big activity on Saturday, but to create a religion claim here is ridiculous, Harry.

I think that is correct. So I think remembering soldiers at Christmas who have made the ultimate sacrifice is a way of remembering what society constantly forgets. And so laying a wreath at a military ceremony, we then have an opportunity to remember the ultimate sacrifice that individuals have made. But increasingly we live in a society that is trying to privatize religion.

David Horowitz points out that in Oviedo, Florida, a public school lunch monitor told a five year old child that she could not say grace as she bowed her head and prayed quietly. So increasingly, Americans in my view, no longer share a common culture. We are fractured. We are fragmented and organizations like Mickey Weinstein's, they are trying to accelerate that process. But the Wreaths Cross America are doing a veteran ceremony, not too far from our studios, this very weekend. So this is not just in Washington, DC, they literally do this all over the country. And this is a great thing.

And it's a great organization. A non-controversial thing. No, but he's trying to create controversy. He doesn't know this group at all.

This is what bothers me. He doesn't know this group at all. And he accuses them of creating a Christian gang sign that's like carpet bombing. And that's the rhetoric he uses.

And he thinks that, you know, everybody's, well, you know, we're just attacking another organization. That's why we're responding, folks, to make clear what it is. Our phone lines are literally jammed. We're going to, let's keep going back to the phones.

Yeah, a lot of people have been waiting for quite some time. Let's first start with John in Florida on line three. John, welcome.

Hey, John. Hey, thanks for taking my call. And you guys are doing a great job. Thanks.

Thank you for indicating this. I'm a Vietnam veteran. And when I die, I'm going to be buried in Sarasota National Cemetery. And hopefully every Memorial Day and hopefully at Christmas time, somebody's going to remember me.

But I got to tell you, I attended a Vietnam funeral just two months ago in Ohio. And we did a slow salute at the end when taps were played. So my question is, are they going to ban taps too?

Because the very last line of taps is for God is nigh. And that kind of bothers me. Oh, would they? Yeah.

Well, first of all, John, thank you for your service and thank you for calling it. But if they could, would they? Oh, yes.

Now you've probably given them another idea. But we have been aggressive on this kind of thing since the beginning. And well, like I said, we have a former military colonel, chaplain, Colonel Wes Smith, who's with us, who handled the dignified transfers.

These were people killed in action. So this kind of trivializing or what John said, I mean, at the end of taps is God is nigh. And yeah, that would, I'm sure he would think that's a violation.

Yeah. Whether Mikey Weinstein likes it or not, religion is part of the foundation of our country. We don't establish one particular religion, but most Americans are people of faith, even if they don't go to church or to mosque or synagogue, it's part of who we are. But even if it were not, this is not again about religion.

I thank John for his advice as well. But people like the MRFF, they would eliminate every vestige of faith in religion in America if they could. And we simply cannot allow that to happen. Our phone calls show to us how meaningful symbols like wreaths across America, how meaningful it is to people who have served and those who have lost their loved ones.

I want to put that picture back on the screen. And Than, I want you to describe for people what it's like in Arlington. I mean, I've been there a lot, Logan and my grandkids, some of my grandkids just returned from there, but it's acres and acres and acres of people that served our country.

It's absolutely massive, Jay. My wife and I have taken our three young children there and it's really the best place around. There are a lot of monuments here, a lot of war memorials, Jay, but I really think that Arlington Cemetery is the best place to take children and just show them the sacrifice that was made for all of us to live in a way that we do today. So you go any time of year, it's somber.

You understand the sacrifice, Jay, but I think Logan referenced this. It's also celebratory. I mean, you also see the changing of the guard at the tomb of the unknown soldier. And there is an honoring that takes place every single day of the year. But one of the things that makes it special, Jay, is if you go there at different times of the year, at different holidays and different seasons, you see them honored in different ways. And it is that sort of specificity that I think makes it such a great honor to make your final resting place at Arlington. If you start pulling some of these things away, that honor is no doubt diminished.

Yeah, no, you're right. I appreciate that. Now let's take another call, Logan. I'm six. You're on the air, Tommy. Hey, Tommy.

Hi, thank you for taking my call. My grandfather is buried at Arlington Cemetery. He was awarded the Congressional Medal of Honor from World War I. Wow. And many of the people in my family have served, including myself. And I personally feel that I have standing to counter this, though, Mr. Weinstein's, I don't know what to call it, legal action.

Yeah. Let me say this, Tommy. Because of people like you, that's why this morning at about 10 o'clock, 9.30, I said, okay, he hasn't formally sent a demand in yet, Breeds Across America is doing their thing. Let's notify and send our own letter explaining that this is constitutional. And Wes pointed out, because we have Colonel Smith as part of our team, exactly who should get that. Yeah, the chiefs of staff of each branch of the service need to simply have this information as well as the director of Arlington National Cemetery.

And I would also include the chiefs of chaplain of each branch of service. This is a big deal to people all across our nation. We sure are hearing that.

To these Gold Star families and to those who have served. Well, we're hearing that. And then in that same meeting, Professor Hutchinson's there and he and I talked about what conceivable violation of the establishment clause could Military Freedom from Religion Foundation bring up.

And we concluded that their legal arguments would not have any merit. But the fact that they don't know anything about this group, really, and they call it carpet bombing, the kind of rhetoric that they use, is so disingenuous. I think that's correct. I think it's also offensive. But at the end of the day, I think these individuals increasingly are motivated by one thing and one thing only, hatred of religion, but also hatred of American history. And this is all part of a coordinated effort to overthrow Western culture and perhaps to reconfigure what our country stands for. And I think the American people need to rise up, become aware of this, and resist it. We're going to take more calls.

And our phone lines are open at 1-800-684-3110. We also got an email going out with our Afghanistan special as a gift if you would you give... If there are any donations made in the month of December right now, in your receipt, if you make it online on ACLJ.org, in your receipt will be a link to a exclusive new series, Revenge of the Taliban, a 10-part series I did with some of the top leaders in Washington, militarily, politically. It's a very interesting piece, historic piece that really leads you through what happened in the last few months in Afghanistan, as well as looking back at the history of the entire War on Terror. Again, that is Revenge of the Taliban, made exclusively available right now during the month of December for those that donate and support the work of the ACLJ. So if you go to ACLJ.org, make a donation of any kind, check your receipt, there'll be a link right there to watch it.

We'll be right back. Only when a society can agree that the most vulnerable and voiceless deserve to be protected is there any hope for that culture to survive. And that's exactly what you are saying when you stand with the American Center for Law and Justice to defend the right to life. We've created a free, powerful publication offering a panoramic view of the ACLJ's battle for the unborn.

It's called Mission Life. It will show you how you are personally impacting the pro-life battle through your support. And the publication includes a look at all major ACLJ pro-life cases, how we're fighting for the rights of pro-life activists, the ramifications of Roe v. Wade 40 years later, play on parenthood's role in the abortion industry and what Obamacare means to the pro-life movement. Discover the many ways your membership with the ACLJ is empowering the right to life. Request your free copy of Mission Life today online at ACLJ.org slash gift. At the American Center for Law and Justice, we're engaged in critical issues at home and abroad, whether it's defending religious freedom, protecting those who are persecuted for their faith, uncovering corruption in the Washington bureaucracy and fighting to protect life in the courts and in Congress, the ACLJ would not be able to do any of this without your support.

For that, we are grateful. Now there's an opportunity for you to help in a unique way. For a limited time, you can participate in the ACLJ's matching challenge. For every dollar you donate, it will be matched. A $10 gift becomes $20.

A $50 gift becomes $100. This is a critical time for the ACLJ. The work we do simply would not occur without your generous support. Take part in our matching challenge today. You can make a difference in the work we do, protecting the constitutional and religious freedoms that are most important to you and your family.

Give a gift today online at ACLJ.org. I don't think I actually play guitar in that, I think. But I said it was a good beat. Okay. I'm not self-promoting, although the band, we will have a concert at the end of the month, so that'll be good. Yeah, New Year's.

Yep, for New Year's. And so the target of choice is what we're calling it for the military. This is Mikey Weinstein's group, Military Religious Freedom Foundation, which is...

It's easy to get all of those groups confused. Well, because they, yeah. And so now they're attacking wreaths across America because they feel like they're carpet bombing with the wreaths, and that's a Christian... That's their quote. Yeah, that's their quote, by the way. That's not coming from you. That's their quote.

No, no, no, no, no. It's... And I'll read it exactly. He says, we're not saying you can't place a wreath, so you're talking about like the individuals there, but you cannot blanket it like that. That's like carpet bombing. That looks like it's a Christian...

This is his words. That looks like it's a Christian gang sign that you're creating territory that is a Christian territory. So, again, the fact of the matter is they do not put the wreaths at where Star of Davids are or a symbol of the Islamic faith or any other faith for that matter, because multiple faiths recognize they are all faiths or no faith at all. And yet... And that's because these are Christmas specific.

These are green and red Christmas wreaths, just to clarify. Yes, but they try to create literally an establishment clause, a constitutional crisis over this, which is ridiculous. So let's go... We got calls. We're taking the calls. All this is a brainstorming meeting with a few people saying, what haven't we done? And then they figured that they came up with this somewhat smart idea, because we're talking about it. I mean, I think it's a horrible idea. Well, that's what we're talking about, because they need to be called out on this stuff, because we're hearing from the military families, including an atheist, who called and said, this is ridiculous.

Yeah, no one's offended by a wreath. Very few people. Let's go ahead and go to Steve Pennsylvania online one. Steve, welcome. Hey, Steve. Good afternoon, gentlemen.

Yep. Good afternoon. Nice talking with you. Thank you for taking my call. Sure. Two quick points. My father is buried at the Virginia Town Gap National Military Cemetery.

Yes. And I can tell you from my own experience that the military take care of their own. That is a very clean place. Everything is done very respectfully and honorably.

And one thing I've noticed is that there is no division in a military cemetery. Yeah, we're having a lot of trouble hearing you on your connection, but you also said it makes me wonder if Mikey Weinstein or others- That's the next call. I'm sorry. Oh, I'm sorry. No, no, no. You're right. You're right. I'm sorry. It was both calls.

Okay. Whether Mikey Weinstein or people have had family in the military. He actually served in the military, honorably, I might say.

I think in the United States Air Force, I believe. I think he's an Air Force Academy graduate. So he served our country and I appreciate that. I just disagree with him on the law.

Like really disagree with him on the law. And I think this targeting is ridiculous, but nevertheless, we appreciate you calling in. We're going to try to get the rest of these calls in 800-684-3110. Let's go to Carol in California on line two. You're on the air. Hi, Carol. Hi.

Thank you for taking my call. My dad is buried at Riverside National Cemetery. Yes. And I'm just wondering, has Mikey Weinstein ever objected to the wreath at the Tomb of the Unknown Soldier? Good question.

It's a wreath at a tomb. Yeah. Good question. I mean, I don't know.

You want to describe that? Yeah. He claims the wreath is the equivalent of a gang sign that represents, because it's a circle, everlasting life to Jesus Christ. I've personally never heard that explanation, but we placed wreaths routinely at the Tomb of the Unknown Soldier and other places too. Our Presidents do it.

Yes. At all funerals. Everyone knows the wreath.

Obviously, these are specific. It's out of respect. This is a- Christmas. Christmas.

And that's what he's doing. He's saying, because it's Christmas. But it's not like the wreath- This is the same guy that went after the candy cane. The wreath is a wreath. It's a wreath at the end of the day.

This guy went after the candy cane because they called it Jesus candy. These are their words. So we respond to that one too.

But it just kind of tells you what they're thinking. All right. Calls. We're going to get all these calls in.

Yeah. We'll try to get to as many as we can. Let's go to Christine in Virginia on line four. Welcome.

Hi, Christine. I'm here. Okay. Go ahead.

Yeah. I'm here. I'm here. Sorry. No worries. Go ahead.

You're on the air. Okay. I just called to say that both my parents and my husband's parents are buried- my parents are in Arlington.

My husband's are in Quantico. Okay. And we, as a family, go to Arlington and Quantico every year to help lay wreaths. And I just wanted the people to know that live outside of this area and can't be there, that we are given very specific instructions to stand before each tomb that we're going to be laying a wreath and read aloud the name and everything that's on that grave marker. Yes.

And that as long... Yeah. Thank you, Christine, for that call, for someone who actually participates in this. And I've experienced that as well during my time serving in the District of Columbia.

There are explicit instructions given. And we actually do read the name, the birthdate, the death date, the date of service. Someone at least twice a year by doing this remembers out loud the name of that service member. That, too, is so meaningful to the Gold Star families.

And thank you, Christine, for that. And they do not place wreaths on the grave site of people who are Islamic or Buddhist or Jewish. Yeah, of course. It's just done for the other wreaths. Right.

And if there was a ceremony to do for those faiths, that would be fine, too. That's what I don't understand about this, Harry. It's not like... First of all, it's not a government actor. I guess their argument would be, well, it's Arlington, so it's government property. But they've allowed this, so it's kind of created the forum. They're not saying you can't put up a symbol of Judaism at a holiday season or at any time.

You can even personally adorn the memorials now. So there is no establishment clause violation here. This is him, and he's going after an organization and saying that they are engaged in carpet bombing veteran cemeteries with Christian gang signs.

That's what he said. And that is an affront to the establishment clause, actually, because it creates hostility towards religion. Yes, so I understand Mickey's approach. Essentially, he is saying that Christianity among religions is uniquely offensive. And some individuals follow along with that approach because they see Christianity as uniquely Western, even though if you actually understand Christianity and Judaism and Islam, they all originated where?

In the Middle East. And so I think at the end of the day, this is still grounded in hostility to the nation's founding and to the nation's founding, which is tied historically to Christianity with the pilgrims and other evidence of a Christian heritage. All right, Than, I want to go to one Washington downer before we close the broadcast. Where are we with the Build Back Better bill? Yeah, it's interesting, Jay.

I was following updates literally during the last break. It looks like they're actually moving away from it at the moment. They can't get that 50th vote. Senator Schumer says he still wants to pass it before Christmas. But Jay, as we speak, literally, they're counting the votes, and they're so convinced they don't have them at the moment that it looks like maybe they're going to go back to a voting rights bill, Jay.

We'll see. Now, that would be a major win, folks, and 87,000 less IRS agents and $8 billion less for them before they can get themselves back together on this. All right, folks, that does it for the broadcast today. We're going to take your support, and it's a matching challenge this month, which means when you donate to the ACLJ, we get a matching gift, and we want to encourage you to do that. You can donate $20, we get 40, 40 is 80. We encourage you to do that if you're able at ACLJ.org. I want to thank our donors also. We had a great year and your support. Look, we were able to respond to this, get this broadcast on the air, get the letters out to the various military officials, and respond to these things because of your support of the ACLJ at ACLJ.org.

At the American Center for Law and Justice, we're engaged in critical issues at home and abroad. For a limited time, you can participate in the ACLJ's matching challenge. For every dollar you donate, it will be matched. A $10 gift becomes $20. A $50 gift becomes $100. You can make a difference in the work we do, protecting the constitutional and religious freedoms that are most important to you and your family. Give a gift today online at ACLJ.org.
Whisper: medium.en / 2023-07-08 22:43:52 / 2023-07-08 23:08:48 / 25

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