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Watchdog Group Claims 'Jesus'-Themed Candies on Air Force Base Violate Religious Freedom

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A watchdog group is claiming the sale of Jesus-themed candies on an Air Force base in Colorado is an inappropriate violation of armed service members’ First Amendment rights.

Military Religious Freedom Foundation founder and president Mikey Weinstein is angrily calling out Peterson Air Force Base in Colorado Springs for allowing the product to be sold at its base exchange.

“Peterson’s selling of for-profit, clearly marked ‘Jesus candy’ at its base exchange (BX) is merely the fundamentalist Christian straw breaking the MRFF clients’ backs,” Weinstein told Crooks and Liars.

“Peterson Air Force Base, located deep in the intolerant, fundamentalist Christian enclave of Colorado Springs, Colorado, has consistently been one of the most horrendous military installation abusers of the Constitutional mandate to NOT establish Christianity (or any other faith or even ’non-faith’) as the de facto armed forces State Religion,” he added.

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“MRFF has fought many battles throughout our long years of civil rights activism at PAFB against this wretched, fundamentalist Christian, religious extremist bigotry and prejudice,” Weinstein said.

The tip about the sale of the Jesus-themed candy came via an email to the MRFF, which included a picture of the allegedly offending treats.

“The base exchange at Peterson Air Force Base is currently selling ‘Jesus’ candy,” the email reportedly read. “The exchange at the Air Force Academy was also selling ‘Jesus’ candy at Halloween, although I didn’t get any pictures of that.”

Do you think selling Jesus-themed candy violates the First Amendment?

First Liberty Institute lawyer and director of military affairs Mike Berry told Fox News that Weinstein’s complaint is without legal merit.

“This is just the latest publicity stunt by a bunch of activists. A real constitutional expert — or any first-year law student — knows that selling candy canes at Christmas is perfectly legal,” Berry said.

“Of course, the MRFF has its own version of the Constitution,” the Marine Corps combat veteran added. “Sadly, the MRFF has duped its so-called ‘thousands’ of alleged clients into believing its dubious legal fairy tales.”

Earlier this month, Weinstein protested the presence of an inflatable Santa Claus dressed in fatigues holding a sign that read “God Bless America” at the post exchange on Fort Belvoir in northern Virginia.

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“I can’t make this s— up,” Weinstein told Crooks and Liars regarding Santa’s presence at the PX, further noting that old Saint Nick’s uniform says, “Christmas Force.”

“Almost all the complainants — like the lead one that came to us on this — have been through mandatory situations where they’ve been forced to engage in blessing for Jesus Christ,” he added. “It’s always one faith, always it’s Christianity.”

Berry told Fox News the inflatable Santa does not speak for the government and even if it did, “service members are permitted to say ‘God Bless America,’ just as the Commander-in-Chief does on a routine basis.”

This past summer, Weinstein filed a legal complaint with the Department of Defense over the Army allowing private companies to print Bible verses on military-style dog tags.

Weinstein, a 1977 Air Force Academy graduate, made headlines in 2005, when he sued his alma mater for allegedly failing to stop cadets from being proselytized by Christians on campus. The case was dismissed by a federal district court judge, who wrote that no plaintiffs in the suit offered proof of their own constitutional rights being impinged.

Weinstein has brought multiple actions against the different branches of the military over religious issues since that time.

In 2016, he filed a complaint with the United States Military Academy at West Point after a video was posted showing an Army football coach leading his team in prayer.

Later that same year, Weinstein contacted the Air Force Academy after a football coach used his Twitter account to post religious quotes.

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Randy DeSoto has written more than 1,000 articles for The Western Journal since he joined the company in 2015. He is a graduate of West Point and Regent University School of Law. He is the author of the book "We Hold These Truths" and screenwriter of the political documentary "I Want Your Money."
Randy DeSoto is the senior staff writer for The Western Journal. He wrote and was the assistant producer of the documentary film "I Want Your Money" about the perils of Big Government, comparing the presidencies of Ronald Reagan and Barack Obama. Randy is the author of the book "We Hold These Truths," which addresses how leaders have appealed to beliefs found in the Declaration of Independence at defining moments in our nation's history. He has been published in several political sites and newspapers.

Randy graduated from the United States Military Academy at West Point with a BS in political science and Regent University School of Law with a juris doctorate.
Harrisburg, Pennsylvania
Graduated dean's list from West Point
United States Military Academy at West Point, Regent University School of Law
Books Written
We Hold These Truths
Professional Memberships
Virginia and Pennsylvania state bars
Phoenix, Arizona
Languages Spoken
Topics of Expertise
Politics, Entertainment, Faith