Casey Weinstein is a Democrat running for the Ohio State House against incumbent Republican Kristina Daley Roegner. It’s a tough fight, but the Ohio Republican Party isn’t taking any chances. They recently sent out a deceptive mailer, claiming he “sued our soldiers” over a faith-based issue, just to trash his reputation.
“Casey Weinstein: No faith in our military,” reads one side of the flier, which was paid for by the Ohio Republican Party. On the opposite side: “Casey Weinstein sued the U.S. military. When some of our cadets wanted to watch a religious film, Casey Weinstein sued the U.S. military. Sued our soldiers? Vote no on Casey Weinstein.”
To suggest that Weinstein doesn’t care about the military is a joke. He graduated from the U.S. Air Force Academy and is a currently inactive captain in the Air Force Reserve. Many of his family members are also involved in the military.
So what’s this whole lawsuit issue about?
In 1994, when Weinstein was a student at the AFA in Colorado Springs, the school promoted a viewing of The Passion of the Christ. If that sounds like a promotion of religion… well, you’d be right. So Casey’s father, Mikey Weinstein of the Military Religious Freedom Foundation, filed a lawsuit against the school with Casey and three other cadets serving as plaintiffs.
PolitiFact spoke with Mikey Weinstein to get his response and explained what happened after that suit was filed:
Mikey Weinstein pointed out that the campaign flier gets the “sued our soldiers” claim wrong on two points. First, it implies that the suit targeted individuals for their individual acts, which is not accurate. A lawsuit filed against a military branch and its highest civil servant — in this case, the Secretary of the U.S. Air Force — is an action against the institution, not the individual.
Secondly, the servicemembers of the U.S. Air Force are referred to as airmen and airwomen, not soldiers. “Soldiers” applies to members of the Army.
As for the lawsuit against the U.S. Air Force, it was dismissed by a federal judge after Weinstein and his co-plaintiffs graduated, losing their legal standing against the institution. An internal Air Force investigation later substantiated the claims brought by the Weinsteins’ lawsuit and prompted the issuance of new religious tolerance policies.
In other words, the lawsuit was thrown out, but changes were later implemented, anyway… and the Ohio GOP cares about the military so much that it didn’t even bother calling airmen and airwomen by their appropriate titles.
To attack the candidate Weinstein for participating in a lawsuit all about making sure the Air Force Academy was following the Constitution seems completely backwards. He should be celebrated for trying to make the AFA a more inclusive place for people of all faiths and no faith.
In any case, it’s unclear whether the mailer will make any difference in the race. But the Ohio Republican Party clearly thinks it’s close enough to try an impugn Weinstein for his service to the country.
(Thanks to Brian for the link)