Mikey Weinstein Appears on FOX News Channel to Discuss Religion in the Military

After right-wing websites wrongly claimed that Mikey Weinstein (founder of the Military Religious Freedom Foundation) had been hired by the Pentagon, Mikey appeared on The O’Reilly Factor last night to discuss the religion problem in the military (totally a coincidence, I’m sure):

All things considered, they had way more in common than I thought they would. Since Bill O’Reilly kept trying to elucidate exactly which Bible passages the “Jesus Rifles” cited — as if that actually mattered — here’s what they said:

One of the citations on the ACOG is “JN8:12″, a reference to John 8:12, which reads, “Whoever follows me will never walk in darkness, but will have the light of life.” “2COR4:6″ is a reference to Second Corinthians 4:6, which reads: “For God, who commanded the light to shine out of the darkness, hath shined in our hearts, to give the light of the knowledge of the glory of God in the face of Jesus Christ.

Incidentally, I was told by a reporter at The Christian Post that they will be updating/retracting the claim that Mikey was hired by the Pentagon, but that update hasn’t appeared on their website as of this writing.

About Hemant Mehta

Hemant Mehta is the editor of Friendly Atheist, appears on the Atheist Voice channel on YouTube, and co-hosts the uniquely-named Friendly Atheist Podcast. You can read much more about him here.

  • Baby_Raptor

    That was probably a waste of time. The Faux Noise addict I currently help support has said bluntly that he supports forcing everyone in the country to convert, because we’ll “thank him later when we don’t rot in hell.”

    If he’s a decent sample, most people probably shut their brains off at the words “Religious Freedom.” That means Not Christian, after all.

  • Rain

    Is O’Reilly seriously shocked, shocked I tell you, that the military is chock full of all that stuff? Giime a break! It’s like a glorified version of high school gym class, except with bigger dodgeballs.

    • 3lemenope

      “If you can dodge a wrench, you can dodge a ball.”

      • LesterBallard

        Throwing wrenches at Fox News personalities sounds like a lot of fun. I’d like to throw a dump truck full at the morning show assholes and Hannity.

        • walker

          Hannity makes more sense then any Democrat left wing nut job, since most are anyway. Long live O’Reilly!!

          • cipher

            Yes, fine, thank you. You can go back to your buddies at the trailer park now and tell them you put us in our place.

        • cipher

          Afterward, may I run over them with the truck?

          • LesterBallard

            Have at it.

            • Walker

              Whoa, whoa, whoa….kind of impulsive gentlemen. I guess I would be also if I didn’t have any ground to stand on either. Oh by the way, your missing your twisted MSNBC news.

  • FBG

    It doesn’t really matter what Weinstein says his current goal as regards “proselytizing” in the military is. His end goal is clearly to suppress Christianity. His feelings and ambitions are clear from his hyperbolic rhetoric, Christians=monsters, etc. Dehumanize opponent, destroy opponent: human history 101.

    • http://www.facebook.com/brian.westley Brian Westley

      Stop lying. Most of the soldiers who contact the MRFF are Christians who have complaints about how they are treated by selfish uber-Christians like yourself.

    • 3lemenope

      Let’s say, for the sake of (a really stupid) argument, that you are right, and Weinstein’s true intentions are to destroy Christianity and suppress its practice.

      I’m moved to ask, so what? Doesn’t God have their backs? If an insane Roman emperor couldn’t extinguish Christianity by lighting its adherents on fire and/or feeding them to wild animals, what threat could you possibly perceive as significant or relevant that comes from one guy saying he thinks that some Christians are monsters?

      Sometimes I’m under the impression that Christianity simply cannot function without repression. If there is a lack of actual repression of Christians, Christians are forced to *invent* it simply to feel that all is right with the world. If this is true and you are right, you should be thanking Mr. Weinstein, cause he’s doing you a favor.

      • http://twitter.com/InMyUnbelief TCC

        It really feels sometimes that a lot of Christians have taken Matthew 5:10 to mean that they have to be persecuted for their salvation to count.

        • digitalatheist

          Why of course they have to feel persecuted. The leaders need money to buy new cars… fancy houses. What better way to stuff the coffers than to tell the flock that they are being hunted by the big bad wolf and are all gonna be rounded up and converted into whatever the big scare is at the moment?

      • FBG

        I just personally think dehumanizing people is a dangerous thing. Yes, it’s something all human groups do, defining the insider and the outside, the enemy and the friend, but aren’t the people here supposed to be against tribalism and tribalistic rhetoric?

        Does it matter if God will or will not step in to defend Christians? I’d prefer not to see Christianity demonized, whether it’s an action bent on it’s eventual destruction or not. Having read the comments here, it’s hardly paranoia to believe that many atheists would prefer to see Christians gone, out of the way, deconverted ,deactivated, diffused, disempowered, what have you, with or without the messiness this kind of thing usually entails.

        • http://www.flickr.com/photos/chidy/ chicago dyke

          there is a xtian church on every block in every town in america. you people really need to get over yourselves. no one is persecuting you, you infest government, society, every aspect of human life on the planet, from africa to russia to greenland. yes, i said “infest.” get over it.

          • FBG

            Well, that’s clear. The lines are drawn then.

            • cipher

              You really have no clue as to what Mikey is about. As to this:

              The lines are drawn then.

              Don’t worry. We’ll be in hell soon enough. Just focus on how much pleasure that will give you.

          • walker

            You make terrible arguments, please educate yourself on whatever you are trying to say.

        • http://www.facebook.com/people/Michael-W-Busch/578120211 Michael W Busch

          Yes, it would be.

          You are confusing things like “people can’t force their religious beliefs or lack thereof on others” and “Christianity is wrong and here is why” with something like “destroy all the Christians”.

          If you seek to convert someone to your religion, or if a non-believer seeks to deconvert someone, there is exactly one acceptable method: persuasion. Coercion and suppression of beliefs is not allowed (note – beliefs are not the same as actions).

        • 3lemenope

          As has been repeatedly pointed out by others, Christianity was not demonized by Weinstein, and one can only arrive at that conclusion through selective decontextualization of what he actually said/wrote. My point only applied if one accepts for the sake of argument what is clearly not true; *if* Weinstein called for the destruction of Christianity, when he clearly has not. Then, it becomes about how silly the claims of persecution are and what derangements bend people towards inventing them.

        • Houndentenor

          Yes, I’d rather others didn’t believe in superstitious nonsense, but I respect their right to believe in such nonsense so long as they don’t cause harm to others.

          • walker

            By nonsense, you mean anything on MSNBC.

        • Spuddie

          Yet self-professed Christians do so on a regular basis. They dehumanize those of different faiths, they dehumanize women, the If you don’t want Christianity to be demonized, don’t support acts which are offensive and hateful.

      • Rwlawoffice

        It is not that weiny has any power to do what he wants its just that his rhetoric doesn’t match his stated goal of equal treatment. It is the same with a lot of liberals and atheists. The idea if equal treatment is only on their terms. They say with one breath everyone should be respected and treated the same and the. With their next breath they claim that those that belief in Christ are not worthy of respect and can be called monsters. It is hypocritical it typical.

        • http://www.facebook.com/people/Michael-W-Busch/578120211 Michael W Busch

          Again, you are missing an essential distinction. There is freedom of belief and freedom of speech. But there is not the same freedom for actions.

    • Wild Rumpus

      Source? Too many Christians make extraordinary claims without extraordinary evidence. Since you’re commenting on an atheist blog you should know we like facts over faith. I am sick of Cristians just making shit up.

      If by “dehumanizing” Christians, you mean “disagreeing” with Christians, then you’re right. He disagrees that Christians should get special priviledges in the military.

      If by “suppress Christianity” you mean “no special priviledges for Christians in the military, then you are right, but that’s what most non-Christians are looking for – equality for all!

      • Brian Morgan

        They always expect to get a free pass with their religions and its disgusting. Pay taxes national debt solved. You will not do it. Its true they speak of equal and the like, but what they mean is mooch off society under some fantasy character guise.

      • Walker

        I am in the military and a Christian, no special privilege here!

    • Baby_Raptor

      Quit martyrbating, bro. You’ll be a lot happier out here in reality.

      • http://twitter.com/InMyUnbelief TCC

        That word is such a great way of describing the persecution complex of so many Christians. Thanks for introducing me to it.

      • Houndentenor

        I hope you don’t mind if I steal the term martyrbating.

    • Gus Snarp

      He’s pretty clear that he’s not referring to all Christians. The “monsters” quote goes on to refer to their “twisted version of Christianity”. It couldn’t be more clear that he’s not referring to all Christians. I mean, unless you’re a fundamentalist evangelical who thinks that your sect are the only true Christians and proselytizing, even if it means abusing your authority over others, is the definition of Christianity, so being prevented from doing that is “suppression”. Which you probably are. We could save a lot of time and trolling if everyone who believes that would just come out and say it up front.

      • FBG

        Not a fundie, sorry.

        My question: is referring to a group of people defined by their religious beliefs (or lack of) as “monsters” dehumanizing or not? The posters here clearly prefer not to be lumped in with, say, Lenin or Pol Pot based on one personal characteristic.

        Weinstein’s rhetoric is not only over-the-top insulting and dehumanizing, it’s bizarre. He writes like a paranoid, 19th century adolescent girl on a tear.

        • http://www.facebook.com/people/Michael-W-Busch/578120211 Michael W Busch

          You should not be using “adolescent” or “girl” as insults. They aren’t.

          • delme

            If you are an adolescent girl, it is not. If you are a grown man, it is.

            • Michael W Busch

              If you are a grown man, it is.

              Only if you are misogynistic and ageist.

        • Gus Snarp

          It’s the behavior that’s monstrous. The attempt to force their beliefs on others through an abuse of power. That’s pretty clear in the full quote too. He’s not lumping people who have nothing whatsoever to do with Lenin* or Pol Pot in with them, he’s saying people who try to force their beliefs on others are monsters. It’s a specific behavior that’s being attacked, not a group of people at all.

          This also might have to do with the anti-semitic violence and hazing he experienced at the Air Force Acadamy.

          *They usually attempt to lump us with Stalin, not Lenin. Lenin wasn’t nearly an awful enough human being to lump Atheists with.

      • Rwlawoffice

        He has failed to define proselytizing. Is that simply sharing your faith? Is it wearing a cross where others can see it?is it praying in public? Is it holding a bible class and inviting others to attend?

        Frankly I am concerned when someone thinks a good Christian is a quiet Christian and the rest are monsters. That kind of thinking by people in power lead to actions that history shows is disastrous

        • Kengi

          It’s none of those things. Proselytizing in the Army is when people are ordered to attend an Evangelical event on base or be put on a punishment duty. It’s when officers tell the people under their command they must turn to Jesus to be an effective leader. It’s when the Army tells its people they must embrace a religion to pass a fitness evaluation. It’s when the building used by different faiths for worship on base permanently installs crosses instead of keeping them temporary as required by regulations.

          Why don’t you look at the cases the MRFF has fought before trotting out your straw man to beat upon?

        • Baby_Raptor

          A “good Christian” is the kind of Christian who realizes that they have no right to force their religion on others and lives their life that way. They don’t support policies making other people live by Christian beliefs, they don’t support enshrining religion in law, they don’t start preaching at every given opportunity. They just live their lives by their beliefs and let everyone else do the same.

          There’s nothing disastrous about that, unless you consider not being able to force people to adhere to your will disastrous.

          • CME

            Christians CAN’T force others to believe in Jesus as God. Each person has to make their own choice. All a christian can do is share. Hopefully telling others about Christ isn’t considered “forcing” anything.

            • http://www.facebook.com/people/Michael-W-Busch/578120211 Michael W Busch

              In the cases the MRFF deals with, it isn’t people “telling others about Christ”. It’s things like “I order you to listen to me tell you about Christ”, or “you’re not a Christian, so I can’t recommend you for promotion”, or “we’re using this building to tell people about Christ, so we’re going to cut crosses into the doors”.

              All of that is forcing people to behave in religiously-discriminatory ways, and that is the problem.

            • Leiningen’s Ants

              Do you mind if I take a moment to explain why Christ and God are fictions? Hope that isn’t considered “forcing” you to think about how stupid your choice is.

          • Rwlawoffice

            That is a relief. I can rest assured that I can stand up for my beliefs and not be persecuted for it. Oh wait that is not true. If I am a Catholic business owner I will be sued by the federal government for not wanting to pay for birth control that violates my faith. If I am a florist I will be sued by the state ag for not wanting to use my talents to support a same sex marriage ceremony. If I am a student who wants to mention God in my speech I will be prohibited from doing so. If I am a track athlete that raises my finger to God following a winning relay I will have my team disqualified. If I am a counseling student in college and refer a student to another counselor when I feel my counseling would be in violation of my beliefs I will be expelled from school. If I talk about my faith to militant atheists I will be ridiculed and told my beliefs are not worthy of respect.

            And if I am in the military by this regulation if I even give the appearance of proselytizing which could mean any sign of my faith in the presence of those I lead, I could face discipline including up to court martial.

            But it is okay baby raptor says this stuff doesn’t happen so all is good.

            • http://www.facebook.com/people/Michael-W-Busch/578120211 Michael W Busch

              No.

              You can believe whatever you want, but you are not allowed to do certain actions that discriminate against others.

              You can’t restrict your employee’s access to basic health care. You can’t discriminate against customers on the basis of sexual orientation (or race or religion or the color of their hair). You can mention your belief in god in a school-sponsored speech, but you can’t use such a speech to proselytize. You can’t refuse to treat a patient just because you think “gay people are icky” or some similar form of nonsense. If you’re in the military, you can have any religious beliefs you want, but you can’t force those onto others in any way.

              And people are worthy of respect. Ideas by themselves are not.

              • Rwlawoffice

                This is a response to Michael and Leiningen- The constitutional freedom of religion is not just to believe as I want, it is to be able to express and live that belief. It is simply not the case that religious freedom under the First Amendment is limited to thoughts only. Nor is it limited to worship service on Sunday. I understand that some atheists believe that a good christian is a quiet Christian, but the First Amendment allows for the free exercise thereof. To claim that this freedom of expression is not under attack is to deny reality.

                All of the instances I mention are occurring. You may belief that the state is justified in acting this way. I do not.

                • http://www.facebook.com/people/Michael-W-Busch/578120211 Michael W Busch

                  “The constitutional freedom of religion is not just to believe as I want, it is to be able to express and live that belief.”

                  That is true, but your right to freedom of expression is limited by the rights of others. You are not free to infringe on their rights.

                  Your right to freely express your religion does not extend to infringing on your employees’ rights to health care, or denying services to customers without cause, or using a restricted forum to advertise your religion, or refusing to treat a patient, or forcing soldiers under your command to believe a certain way.

            • Leiningen’s Ants

              It’s like every time we explain the difference between beliefs and actions, it goes in one ear and out the other. Any reasonable person would see this and simply stop replying to you. Full stop.

        • Baby_Raptor

          And, really, you just show your own stupidity and paranoia when you talk about having your basic rights stripped away from you. Nobody is doing that. Nobody is advocating that. It’s YOUR SIDE that wants to do that to people…Maybe that’s why you’re so scared of it? You’re afraid you’ll finally get what you’ve been giving?

    • BobaFuct

      I thought the suppression of Christianity was part of the end times and martyrdom = awesomeness. So shouldn’t Christians, premillenial dispensationalists in particular, be welcoming this “persecution” as it just means Jesus is on his way?

      • Stev84

        In a way they are welcoming it. They whine and whine about being persecuted, but deep down they love it because it allows them to show off their faith better.

    • RobMcCune

      It doesn’t really matter what Weinstein says…

      His feelings and ambitions are clear from his hyperbolic rhetoric…

      Don’t listen to what he says unless you want to believe what he says. You really didn’t think that one through, did you?

    • Gus Snarp

      I’m curious whether you actually watched the video. Particularly the parts where he said he doesn’t care what anyone believes, it’s only when their actions violate the constitution that he has a problem. Or the part where he pointed out that 96% of the people who’ve contacted the MRFF for help are Christians.

    • Spuddie

      Christian privillege rears its head once again. What you call supressing really amounts to objecting to particularly obnoxious, illegal and offensive behavior towards others. If some offensive is given by a Christian it is immediately justified as just part of the religion. Even though it isn’t. Frankly there is no excuse for prosletyzing in the ranks, attacking the faith of others, bullying and forming cliques within units based on religion

  • Seamus Ruah

    Please stop enabling Bill O’Liely and Faux News, shun them instead.

  • Gus Snarp

    I don’t know if I’ve ever seen anyone handle O’Reilly as well as Mikey did. Just the look on his face and his tone of voice conveyed how absurd O’Reilly was being expecting him to remember chapter and verse and text from the rifle scopes. He utterly shot down Bill’s attempt to switch the focus on that.

    • Stev84

      To be honest, the Jesus rifle thing was a bit overblown IMO. The engravings were so tiny that most people didn’t even realize they were there. And for once it wasn’t actually the military’s fault but the company’s. Maybe it’s not entirely unproblematic, but there are bigger issues.

  • JA

    Well, they didn’t say WHEN they’ll do the update…

  • CME

    I served in the Navy and while there were a few people who were obviously Christian, no one ever forced anything on me. In fact, I would say the bulk of the sailors on my ship were decidedly Unchristian in word and definitely in deed.

    • Leiningen’s Ants

      Yes yes yes, we all know how much your type love to judge others, no need to continually demonstrate it.

      • walker

        What do you mean,”his type?”

  • walker

    Jesus’ death is a historical fact…people believe in Alexander the Great, Ottoman Empire, Julius Caesar, etc. because of what is written in history books that we read in high school and college but many do not believe in what books, especially the Bible, say about Jesus. probably because if you did he would change your life and that is difficult, unfortunately too difficult for some To ever accept.


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