Officer that Army said does not exist has been found; suit against Army modified with his real name
- From: Kickin' Ass and Takin' Names <PopUlist349@xxxxxxxxxxx>
- Date: Thu, 27 Sep 2007 04:50:28 -0700
Charges in Religious Lawsuit Against Army Detailed
By Jason Leopold
t r u t h o u t | Report
Tuesday 25 September 2007
An Army major who was sued last week for allegedly threatening to
retaliate against a soldier, and whom Pentagon officials said could
not be located, has been tracked down through his MySpace page.
Freddy J. Welborn was identified in a federal lawsuit filed last
week by Army Spc. Jeremy Hall, 22, and the Military Religious Freedom
Foundation, a watchdog organization. Because his name was mistakenly
listed in the complaint as Paul Welborne, the Army said it was unable
to locate him.
However, Mikey Weinstein, the founder and president of the
Military Religious Freedom Foundation, said researchers working for
his group discovered Welborn's MySpace page on Sunday morning.
Weinstein said the complaint his organization and Hall filed against
Welborn, and Defense Secretary Robert Gates, will be amended and
refiled in US District Court in Kansas City, Kansas on Tuesday to
reflect Welborn's proper identity.
On Saturday, Lt. Col. James Hutton, a spokesman for multinational
forces in Iraq, told an Associated Press reporter "several media
reports list a person named Maj. Paul Welborne as having been involved
in this situation."
"To date, we have not located any soldier by that name," Hutton
told The Associated Press, in response to the story first reported by
Truthout about the lawsuit filed against Welborn and the Pentagon.
The issue appeared to be an attempt to cast doubt on the validity
of Hall's claims of widespread constitutional violations. However,
hours after The Associated Press report was published, Weinstein's
researchers and Hall were both able to locate Welborn, albeit under a
different first name, at Combat Operations Base Speicher, Iraq, where
Hall is serving his second tour of duty.
Hutton's statement to The Associated Press came on the heels of
another Truthout report in which Weinstein said Hall was being
threatened with bodily harm by other soldiers as a result of the
lawsuit he had filed against Welborn and Defense Secretary Gates.
The lawsuit alleges Hall's First Amendment rights were violated
beginning last Thanksgiving when, because he does not believe in God,
he declined to participate in a Christian prayer ceremony
commemorating the holiday.
"Immediately after plaintiff made it known he would decline to
join hands and pray, he was confronted, in the presence of other
military personnel, by the senior ranking ... staff sergeant who asked
plaintiff why he did not want to pray, whereupon plaintiff explained
because he is an atheist," says the lawsuit, a copy of which was
provided to Truthout. "The staff sergeant asked plaintiff what an
atheist is and plaintiff responded it meant that he (plaintiff) did
not believe in God. This response caused the staff sergeant to tell
plaintiff that he would have to sit elsewhere for the Thanksgiving
dinner. Nonetheless, plaintiff sat at the table in silence and
finished his meal."
Moreover, the complaint alleges that on August 7, when Hall
received permission by an Army chaplain to organize a meeting of other
soldiers who shared his atheist beliefs, his supervisor, Army Major
Welborn, broke up the gathering and threatened to retaliate against
the soldier by charging him with violating the Uniform Code of
Military Justice. The complaint also alleges Welborn vowed to block
Hall's reenlistment in the Army if the atheist group continued to meet
- a violation of Hall's First Amendment rights under the Constitution.
Welborn is named as a defendant in the lawsuit.
"During the course of the meeting, defendant Welborn confronted
the attendees, disrupted the meeting and interfered with plaintiff
Hall's and the other attendees' rights to discuss topics of their
interests," the lawsuit alleges.
The complaint charges that Hall, who is based at Fort Riley,
Kansas, has been forced to "submit to a religious test as a
qualification to his post as a soldier in the United States Army," a
violation of Article VI, Clause 3 of the Constitution.
Welborn, 44, who appears on his MySpace page in his Army uniform,
wrote on his MySpace page that he is a devout Christian who received a
bachelor's degree in "personal evangelism" and a minor in "Biblical
world view" from Temple Tennessee University. He wrote that he is
pursuing a second bachelor's degree in Christian studies from Calvary
Bible College And Theological Seminary in Kansas City, Missouri. He
lists his occupation as "Bible Study--Operation Iraqi Freedom" and
wrote that his interest is evangelism and preaching the Gospel of
"Currently serving w/3rd Inf Div [3rd Infantry Division] Civil
Military Operations (Governance) in Baghdad Iraq," Welborn wrote on
his MySpace page. He describes himself as a ""Warrior for the Lord
Jesus Christ." He wrote that he and his wife Carla "place all our
Faith & Trust in our Savior the Lord Jesus - who provides eternal life
to anyone that believes that he is the Son of God, that he was born of
a virgin, lived as God in the flesh (as man) was crucified, died, and
was buried then rose from the grave the third day, then acended [sic]
to the right hand of the Father - True repentance (turning away from
Sin to God) Being born again, Forgivness [sic] & Justification occure
[sic] to the True Believer in Christ when Baptized w/God's Holy
Additionally, Welborn endorses Stephen Mansfield's "The Faith of
the American Soldier," a book that defends and praises controversial
statements made by retired Lt. Gen. William G. Boykin, the former
deputy undersecretary of defense for intelligence, who characterized
the war on terrorism as a clash between Judeo-Christian values and
Welborn could not be reached for comment. He did not reply to an
email sent to him through his MySpace page. A Pentagon spokesman said
it is not uncommon for soldiers to maintain their own blogs or web
sites and he did not believe Welborn's MySpace page violated military
Weinstein, a former White House attorney under Ronald Reagan,
former general counsel to H. Ross Perot, and who spent a decade as an
Air Force Judge Advocate General (JAG), has been waging a war against
the Department of Defense (DOD) for what he says is a blatant
disregard of the Constitution and a pattern of forcing soldiers to
embrace evangelical Christianity. Weinstein published a book on his
fight: "With God on Our Side: One Man's War Against an Evangelical
Coup in America's Military." He is also an Air Force veteran and a
graduate of the Air Force Academy. Three generations of his family
have attended US military academies.
Since he launched his watchdog organization nearly two years ago,
Weinstein said he has been contacted by more than 5,000 active duty
and retired soldiers, many of whom served or currently serve in Iraq,
who told Weinstein they were pressured by their commanding officers to
convert to Christianity.
Last month, the Pentagon's inspector general (IG) excoriated high-
ranking military officials for engaging in evangelism while on duty
and in uniform. The IG responded to a complaint filed last year by the
Military Religious Freedom Foundation alleging DOD officials violated
military regulations by appearing in a video promoting an evangelical
The IG agreed and issued a 47-page report that was highly critical
of senior Army and Air Force personnel for participating in the video
while in uniform and on active duty.
The report recommended Air Force Maj. Gen. Jack Catton, Army Brig.
Gen. Bob Caslen, Brig. Gen. Vincent Brooks, Maj. Gen. Peter Sutton,
and a colonel and lieutenant colonel whose names were redacted in the
inspector general's report, "improperly endorsed and participated with
a non-Federal entity while in uniform" and the men should be
disciplined for misconduct. Caslen was formerly the deputy director
for political-military affairs for the war on terrorism, directorate
for strategic plans and policy, joint staff. He now oversees the 4,200
cadets at the US Military Academy at West Point. Caslen told DOD
investigators he agreed to appear in the video upon learning other
senior Pentagon officials had been interviewed for the promotional
The inspector general's report recommended the "Secretary of the
Air Force and the Chief of Staff of the Army take appropriate
corrective action with respect to the military officers concerned."
The Army generals who appeared in the video appeared to be
speaking on behalf of the military, but they did not obtain prior
permission to appear in the video. They defended their actions,
according to the IG's report, saying the "Christian Embassy had become
a 'quasi-Federal entity,' since the DOD had endorsed the organization
to General Officers for over 25 years."
- Prev by Date: Anti-Christian Socialist Edwards Promises to Redistribute Wealth
- Next by Date: Kookcinich Squirms Like Weasel When Asked About Nearly Bankrupting Cleveland as Mayor
- Previous by thread: Anti-Christian Socialist Edwards Promises to Redistribute Wealth
- Next by thread: Kookcinich Squirms Like Weasel When Asked About Nearly Bankrupting Cleveland as Mayor