An activist hopes to remove a small Christian bookstore operating in an exchange mini-mall on Fort Liberty, N.C. claiming a violation of separation of church and state.
The Faith2Soar store has operated as a concessionaire in an Army and Air Force Exchange Service mall location for eight months after previously opening from kiosks.
“We have no trouble with any of these stores at all if they’re in some local mall. But it’s about the time, place and manner. This is on U.S. military property,” said Mikey Weinstein, founder of the non-profit Military Religious Freedom Foundation. “We would be just as upset if it were another religion.”
Weinstein said “the Constitution makes it clear that [the government] will not establish religion. This is the epitome of establishing religion, in a post exchange.”
“We’re not stopping anybody’s free exercise” of religion, said Weinstein, an Air Force Academy graduate who has sparred with a series of Christian organizations and military commands for nearly two decades. His organization boasts 85,000 members, including currently serving military, veterans, civilians and others, of various faith and non-faith groups.
“The obvious COMMAND endorsement and favor of fundamentalist Christianity, to the exclusion of all other faith and non-faith traditions of your subordinate U.S. Army soldiers, by the Fort Liberty command structure is unmistakable, untenable, illegal, immoral, and unethical!!,” Weinstein wrote, in an Aug. 31 letter registering his complaint with Lt. Gen. Christopher Donahue, commanding general of the 18th Airborne Corps and Fort Liberty.
“It represents the heinously un-American, unconstitutional epitome of unlawful, ‘in-your-face’, fundamentalist Christian nationalism, triumphalism, exceptionalism, domination, bullying and supremacy,” Weinstein wrote.
Weinstein calls for AAFES to investigate the store, and to remove it, saying his group “will exhaust all remedies.” . . . . (read more on Military Times)
In that case, support this store!
“We’re your local Christian bookstore and we have a passion to connect, inspire, and provide products that will nurture spiritual growth. For the past year we’ve proudly been your one stop shop for everything Christian in the Fayetteville, Fort Bragg, and Spring Lake area and we can’t wait to expand our main store in Spring Lake. In the coming months we will offer coffee and tea, a seating area, as well as a small play and reading area for children in our newly renovated Wisdom Well Coffee Shop.”
213 Skyland Plz.
Spring Lake, NC 28390
From Faith2Soar Facebook page (2 Sep 23)
Hello everyone. Most of you know that we have a second location on Fort Liberty(formerly known as Fort Bragg). We have a store front and kiosk that we rent from AAFES to sell Bibles and Christian books and other themed merchandise in the mini-mall near the Clothing Sales store.
Michael Weinstein is the leader of the Military Religious Freedom Foundation (MRFF) and has launched a request/condemnation letter to the Commanding General of Ft. Liberty demanding for our store to be removed as a violation of the Constitution and military regulations.
Mr. Weinstein also contributed heavily to an online article to discredit and pressure AAFES to remove our private business from a retail venue open to vendors of all types who submit what they sell to AAFES so as to be in accordance of policies set by AAFES to sell in an AAFES retail location (Faith2Soar met all the qualifications).
Mr. Weinstein claims to have 165 complaints from people who want our store gone as Christian material offends them (note: there are 50,000+ Soldiers and civilians at Ft. Liberty so this is less than half a percent). AAFES is now conducting an investigation and the Army Times has been alerted of the situation by most likely those who oppose our presence on Ft. Liberty.
Faith2Soar, is a private business, a for profit business, and the business of a service-disabled veteran and we want nothing more than to serve, honor, and glorify God and to help our community in having access to Christian material. May I encourage and ask for you to do a couple of things:
Two, stand up against this bullying in a godly way (overcoming evil with good).
Three, support our local Christian businesses.
Also, please pray for wisdom and favor for my family. For the case to be judged on truth (our business is legal). For AAFES and the military to have the wisdom and courage to decide on truth.
For this to be a victory across America to wake up to not only the unjust persecution, but the possibility to have Christian material available to military members and dependents to purchase at military bases just like any other business that meets the policies and is legally allowed to do. F
or Mr. Weinstein and other angry people, some of which have sent some mean, expletive laden messages and attacks to come to know the goodness of God.
In the words of a brother in Christ, and best friend of mine:
“We must stand up. We of the Christian faith have been asleep at the wheel. A small minority of angry, hurting people have intimidated us for years like Goliath did the Jewish Army and King Saul. May we have the faith and the courage of David to not be silent, but in a godly way (no verbal or physical attacks) overcome evil with good (Romans 12:21) in what we say, share, and spend that we may support the spreading of the Gospel in legal ways.
We have rights and responsibilities that come with rights and we surely don’t want a military devoid of Christ. Support local Christian businesses. If we don’t purchase material, and maybe it is more expensive than online at times by a dollar or two, Christian businesses will disappear. I’m not saying only shop at Christian stores, but I am saying Christian bookstores are dying and they are not very profitable in the first place. Ask the owners why they are in business and they have a passion to help others. Help them help the community.”
We are blessed to have a friend and brother in Christ who wrote these words, as well as all of you who continue to support us every day.
Father, we pray for the victory of Faith2Soar, the national publicity to come from it to encourage Christians, and Your revelation to the people who so angrily and some violently oppose Your Word. Strengthen our leaders to stand on the side of the law and not negative bullying. Grant me and my family the wisdom and guidance of what to say and do along with protection for those that would seek to harm us. Raise in us who call You by name the courage to take a stand for truth, liberty, and equal opportunity for all men and women in America. To You be the glory Father, in Jesus’ name, Amen.
Please spread this message.
By the way, in our 1 year of operation, Privates thru Generals, as well as veterans and their families have purchased books and other material at Faith2Soar to be encouraged, grow as leaders, and learn about God. And through every purchase, AAFES gets paid a percentage of our sales to fund MWR.
God bless our great nation and our men and women in uniform, all of them, as well as our first responders who place their lives on the line for all of us to benefit from the services they provide, and the freedoms they fight for and protect each and every day.