Christian Bashing: Are There Any Limits?

Cban

Michael Weinstein, Esq, the Founder and President of the Military Religious Freedom Foundation, is living proof that anyone with a word processor can call themselves a civil rights activist.

He’s also living proof that you can say just about any Christian-bashing thing you want and get away with it. 

I ask you, what would happen if you substituted “Jew,” or “black,” or “Muslim” or just about any other group of people for Christian in this little diatribe:

Ladies and Gentlemen, let me tell you of monsters and monstrous wrongs. And let me tell you what these bloody monsters thrive on.

I founded the civil rights fighting organization the Military Religious Freedom Foundation (MRFF) to do one thing: fight those monsters who would tear down the Constitutionally-mandated wall separating church and state in the technologically most lethal entity ever created by humankind, the U.S. military.

Today, we face incredibly well-funded gangs of fundamentalist Christian monsters who terrorize their fellow Americans by forcing their weaponized and twisted version of Christianity upon their helpless subordinates in our nation’s armed forces. Oh my, my, my, how “Papa’s got a brand new bag.”

What’s Papa’s new tactic? You’re gonna just love this! These days, when ANYone attempts to bravely stand up against virulent religious oppression, these monstrosities cry out alligator tears in overflowing torrents and scream that it is, in fact, THEY who are the dispossessed, bereft and oppressed. C’mon, really, you pitiable unconstitutional carpetbaggers? It would be like the utter folly of 1960′s-era southern bigots howling like stuck pigs in protest that Rosa Parks’ civil rights activism is “abusing” them by destroying and disenfranchising their rights to sit in the front seat of buses in Montgomery, Alabama. Please, I beseech you! Let us call these ignoble actions what they are: the senseless and cowardly squallings of human monsters.

Queasy with the bright and promising lights of the cultural realities of the present day, those evil, fundamentalist Christian creatures and their spiritual heirs have taken refuge behind flimsy, well-worn, gauze-like euphemistic facades such as “family values” and “religious liberty.” These bandits coagulate their stenchful substances in organizations such as the American Family Association  (AFA), the ultra-fundamentalist Family Research Council (FRC), and the Chaplains Alliance for Religious Liberty(CARL). The basis of their ruinous unity is the bane of human existence and progress: horrific hatred and blinding bigotry. However, when the Southern Poverty Law Center (SPLC) and others correctly characterize them as “hate groups,” they all too predictably raise a deafening hue and disingenuously bellow mournfully like the world class cowards they are. (Read the rest here.)

Idoppersecution

These lovely words did not come from some seldom-read little blog run by a nut and his pals. They were right up front on Huffington Post, with its huge circulation. 

I ask again: If the group which is the object of all this hatred was any other than Christians, what would the reaction be? But since it is about Christians, I ask you to notice the deafening silence. 

When it comes to discrimination and persecution, speech precedes action. Talking about people like this wears away the resistance to thinking about them in this manner. Thinking about them this way wears away the resistance to legal discrimination and ultimately, violent persecution. 

Zeke Pipher, who blogs at Man on the Run, has written an excellent article on Mr Weinstein’s Christian-bashing rant. You can find it here.

My question: How far does this have to go before Christians wake up, stand up, and say, Enough! 

Persecuted

  • Dale

    Um….wow.

    After reading Weinstein’s article, I wondered if the HuffPo had been hacked, and that a parody page had been inserted. But the article is two weeks old, and there are comments about it posted at the website of Weinstein’s organization, so I guess they really are his words.

    This is unfortunate, because he has had a prominent voice in the past. I have to wonder if the “welcome mat” won’t be pulled by responsible journalists and politicians. Of course, someone with such colorful attitudes might make for exciting television, so perhaps he will continue to appear on cable news programs. But I think his credibility is damaged.

    I would mention that Weinstein is a graduate of the Air Force Academy, and completed his service obligation. He also worked for the Reagan administration as a White House counsel, so he does have some legitimacy. He isn’t just some guy at the coffeehouse who decided to declare himself to be an activist. However, his past accomplishments can only carry him so far, and can only buy a limited amount of forgiveness for rants such as he posted at HuffPo.

    • D.K.

      I feel exactly the same way. I’m ready to kick some a$$, but my fear — and this may be unsubstantiated — is that they’re looking for people like me to make an example of. I wasn’t born until after 1945, but does this feel like Nazi Germany to anyone else?????

  • Jack

    1.Christian Bashing: Are There Any Limits?
    Jack.

    2.Keep doing nothing but talking and it will continue.

  • Indy

    We need to not underestimate the enemy. Michael Weinstein isn’t just some guy with a computer – he’s a former Reagan administration legal adviser, former adviser to Ross Perot and his organization has been nominated five times in the last four years for a NOBEL PEACE PRIZE (how is that for irony?). He is a very powerful man with a lot of powerful friends.

    • Rebecca Hamilton

      Very interesting Indy. It’s frightening that someone of that stature can say things like this, and even more frightening that he is rewarded for doing it.

      • http://fpb.livejournal.com/ Fabio P.Barbieri

        Not to mention the small matter of being adviser on religious tolerance to the present President.

  • Bro AJK

    AMEN! t0 the reminder you have given us of Christ’s teachings.

  • Ashley

    Weinstein’s correct. In the military, the problem is particularly acute because a fundamentalist Christian bent on imposing his religious views on others can make life miserable for dozens of subordinates without much fear of punishment because of the well-funded support networks they have built. This doesn’t affect only non-Christians; in fact, Catholics file more complaints to the MRRF than any other religious group. Don’t fool yourself; if the anti-homosexual, anti-atheist, anti-everyone but themselves fundamentalist groups succeed, they won’t stop there. They’ll be coming after you next.

    • Rebecca Hamilton

      Ashley, these claims are on Mr Weinstein’s web site. I don’t know if you got them there directly, or simply got them filtered through other sources. However, they are themselves Christian-bashing incitements to prejudice and discrimination against Christians.

  • http://heartfulmemories@wordpress.com Janice Oliver

    Thank you for bringing this to our attention. We saw it coming, now what are we going to do about? Our blogs can be powerful as well with help from God.

  • Bill S

    “My question: How far does this have to go before Christians wake up, stand up, and say, Enough!”

    Then what? Enough what? Free speech?

    • Ted Seeber

      Well, that is indeed the question isn’t it? In Robert Benson’s excellent sci-fi novel _The Dawn of All_ where the Church becomes a worldwide theocracy, the last sin that needed to be attacked in secular government was the use of the Death Penalty for heresy.

      It was hard to eradicate, because the secular government had the duty to protect the morality of the people from such ideas, and they were not capable of coming up with a better way of dealing with it.

      • Rebecca Hamilton

        Ted, what are you trying to say?

        • Ted Seeber

          I am saying that secular governments, when they persecute, are going to use brutal techniques- even IF they are persecuting under perfectly good moral systems. They do so, because the line in the sand has to be drawn someplace between your citizens and those who would harm your citizens.

          But finding that line is much harder than it looks.

  • FW Ken

    Its clear that Weinstein isn’t attacking “fundamentalist” Christians proper, but all Christians. For the secularist, all religious belief that moves out of the purely private sphere is “fundamentalism”. He simply hates us.

    • Doc Fox

      Either the Army has changed, or there’s something wrong. When I was in, my Chaplain had something to do with my later going to work for a ‘mainline’ Church. There was no bigotry in his speech or soul.
      But the author’s stress on the word “fundamentalist” time and time again appears to have significance. Also he identifies various anti-bigotry organizations (the Southern Poverty Law Center for one) with whom he agrees. Thus this is NOT an attack on Christianity per se, but an attack upon a certain flavor of organizations that label themselves as Christian.

      • Dale

        Some of the change may be related to the shift in the composition of US military chaplains. At one time, the composition more or less reflected the affiliations of the servicemembers they pastored. Since the Vietnam War, however, Evangelical chaplains have come to be predominant. For example, 20% of servicemembers are Catholic, but only 8% of chaplains are Catholic. 16% of chaplains are Southern Baptist, but only 1% of servicemembers are Southern Baptist.
        http://www.stltoday.com/lifestyles/faith-and-values/military-chaplains-are-faith-mismatch-for-personnel-they-serve/article_19c66ee6-82b8-59f7-b3d5-fd3cc05bc538.html

        Given an Evangelical focus on the Great Commission, there may be more proselytizing going on. And since, at least during the past 30 years, Evangelical leaders have often been associated with the Christian Right (particularly groups such as the AFA or the FRC) that may affect their conduct as well.
        But I am speculating on those two things, and may be wrong.

  • http://thabto.wordpress.com/ justturnright

    Excellent post. We’ve been talking about Weinstein, too, and his troubling connection to the current Administration and our military.

    It’s despicable, it’s deeply troubling, …and it’s all too typical of this bunch.
    God save us, and our nation.

    Again, nice job with this, as always.
    –JTR

  • http://www.patheos.com/blogs/erikcampano Erik Joseph Campano

    Maybe my logic is way too simple here… but if the persecuted are blessed, wouldn’t you want to be persecuted?

    • Jack

      “Blessed are those who are persecuted for righteousness’ sake, for theirs is the kingdom of heaven.”

      Here’s a dollar. Get a clue.

      • http://www.columbia.edu/~ejc2165/erikcampano/ Erik Campano

        Thanks for the dollar. Help me out here, Jack. I’m not very bright, and clues are a bit more expensive these days.

        The Beatitude says that if you are being persecuted, even for righteousness’ sake (doing what God wants) — which it sounds like you are — then you get to go to heaven. Sounds like a pretty good deal. Temporary suffering on Earth for an eternity in paradise. Why stop the persecution, and blow the guarantee of heaven?

        If God told me, “Erik, you have to eat only lima beans for 70 years (= persecution) so that for eternity you can have Nutella crepes (= heaven),” I’d happily eat the beans. I definitely wouldn’t get upset at the person feeding them to me. I’d be grateful to that person, because they’re making it possible for me ultimately to have infinite crepes.

        • Jack

          “The Beatitude says that if you are being persecuted, even for righteousness’ sake (doing what God wants) — which it sounds like you are — then you get to go to heaven.”

          First of all numbnuts. Referece?

          • Rebecca Hamilton

            No name-calling Jack.

            • Jack

              What about slapping out smart aleck clown journalists?

  • Doc Fox

    I have now read the whole thing. And it puts more context in. First of all, the tone is extremely intemperate, and for that there is no excuse.
    As far as the message goes, I’ve heard some of the same from veterans of Afghanistan and Iraq: that there is a flavor of Christianity being pushed by some non-coms and officers that is alien to my own understanding of Scripture and the teachings of our Lord. It is a flavor devoid of ecumenism. It is a flavor intolerant of other Christian denominations’ teachings. It is fundamentalism with a capital F in italics.
    I hope what I’ve heard from returning vets is atypical.

  • FW Ken

    Persecution is a fact, not a goal. We gain heaven by repenting our sins and trusting in God’s forgiveness. Persecution happens, but we don’t seek it. Suicide and martyrdom are opposites.


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