Apart from that, government officials cannot use their position to endorse private programs for personal gain, he contended.
The next day Tasker emailed civilians and military personnel under his command that his secretary’s communication was “not sent at my direction and is not endorsed in any way by me or any level of command.”
Weinstein declared victory.
But Tomlin savaged him with his Oct. 28 commentary for the Christian Examiner, a publication of the powerhouse Christian Media Corporation International, titled, “How The Grinch Stole Christmas — at Dover Air Force Base.”
“Apparently, the offer to volunteer in a program that sends soap, socks, school supplies and Life Savers in shoeboxes to underprivileged children overseas is now as dangerous as the Islamic State in the eyes of Weinstein and the other hostiles at the foundation,” he wrote.
In the sixth paragraph of his article Tomlin said that after the email solicitation was distributed, “Weinstein, who is Jewish, pounced. He wrote that the email, because it spread religious belief, was a violation of military protocol.”
“Talk about trying to kill a fly with a sledgehammer. Weinstein’s literary acumen is as sharp as his predilection for hyperbole.”
Tomlin contended that Weinstein selectively quoted air force regulations and misinterpreted the First Amendment when he demanded that Tasker disavow his secretary’s solicitation.
“I have no doubt that such words as those in the Operation Christmas Child email offended some military personnel, but the First Amendment does not guarantee anyone — atheist, Jew or even any Christian — freedom from offense, Mr. Weinstein, even in the military.”
“It does protect from compulsion, coercion, confinement, confiscation and actual violations of conscience (such as claims of conscientious objection). None of those are in play here,” he concluded.
On Nov. 9, Military Religious Freedom Foundation trial lawyer Randal Mathis sent Tomlin a two-page letter that essentially made the same arguments Weinstein did to this reporter—minus the curse words.
The letter did not object to the October 24 news story Tomlin about the controversy headlined “Atheists object to Christmas toy drive on Air Force base—and win.”
That headline of the news story has since been altered to “Activists object to Christmas Toy Drive on Air Force base — and win.” But Tomlin’s opinion piece remains, as of Monday, unchanged.
Reached for comment at his Fort Worth, Texas home, Tomlin offered up a series of denials, evasions and contradictory statements reminiscent of Bloomberg columnist Jonathan Alter earlier this year insisting he was not scheduled to testify at the trial of Ed Schultz, even though his name appeared on the witness list and he was the subject of multiple court motions.