A Colorado Eagle Scout who wanted to honor military veterans has been nationally shamed by the Military Religious Freedom Foundation because his capstone project included a reference to Jesus Christ.
Michael Carlson, a 16-year-old from the town of Monument, spent two years raising private donations for a memorial to honor military veterans. Michael is the son of a Vietnam War veteran and the grandson of a World War II veteran.
The memorial was erected on private property using private funds in the Monument cemetery.
At one end of the wall is a headstone engraved with the sentences, “Only two defining forces have ever offered to die for you, Jesus Christ and the American soldier. One died for your soul, the other died for your freedom. We honor those who made freedom a reality.”
On the opposite end of the wall is another marker with a plaque thanking all the donors to the project, topped with a sculpture of a pair of combat boots, a rifle standing upright on its stock and a combat helmet hanging on the end of its barrel, known as a battlefield cross, the Tribune newspaper reported.
Those sentences triggered the Military Religious Freedom Foundation, a notorious organization that has a history of targeting any manifestations of Christianity in the military.
Mikey Weinstein, founder of the MRFF, called the memorial a "blatant" violation of the U.S. Constitution and demanded that it be removed.
"It is simply unconstitutional for your Town to be using taxpayer funds to promote any religious faith, as herein, Christianity,” Weinstein wrote in a letter to the town’s mayor. "The obviously and incontrovertibly sectarian, Christian proselytizing message of that Veterans Memorial would be absolutely fine in a private cemetery, but in a publicly maintained and controlled cemetery, as in this instant matter, it is quite unconstitutional and illegal."
In an interview with “The Friendly Atheist,” he called the teenage boy’s memorial a “wretched, unconstitutional dumpster fire.”
First Liberty Institute, one of the nation’s most prominent religious liberty law firms, is representing the city and they are demanding an apology from Weinstein.
“You're going after a 16-year-old kid and calling his capstone Eagle Scout project a wretched dumpster fire,” First Liberty Institute’s Jeremy Dys said during an interview on The Todd Starnes Radio Show.
“How many other 16-year-old kids does this guy abuse across the country like this,” Dys asked. “Whenever I see anybody abusing a kid, whether he's 16 or 15 or less, I think the minimum thing we should expect from people like that is an apology. But when they go after a 16-year-old kid for simply doing a patriotic project as a part of his Eagle Scout project.”
Even the so-called “Friendly Atheist” attacked the Eagle Scout’s memorial calling it “an obvious promotion of religion. The city might as well put up another monument giving a big middle finger to Jews, Muslims, and atheists.”
Dys said the Military Religious Freedom Foundation should muster the courage to do the right thing and apologize to the teenager.
“You have slandered and just absolutely been insulting towards this young kid who was just simply trying to do a peaceful thing, a patriotic thing in respect of those men and women who died serving our country,” Dys said, speaking directly to Weinstein.
I think it's all the more requiring that they offer an apology here, the attorney said.
“I think it's perfectly right for the town of Monument, Colorado, to insist that Mr. Weinstein apologize for the massive insults he's made towards the 16-year-old boy who is just trying to do something to honor the men and women who have served in our armed forces.”
Whatever the reason Mr. Weinstein lashed out at an innocent child, he needs to apologize.
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