How Much Influence Does this Christian Basher Have at the Pentagon?

Anti religion

Remember Michael, aka Mikey, Weinstein?

It’s not a name that falls trippingly off the tongue, but I’m beginning to think it is worth remembering. Michael Weinstein recently penned a diatribe against Christians that hails back to the hate-speeches of every genocidal maniac spawned in the 20th Century.

He is a self-proclaimed “guardian” of Constitutional freedoms in the military. His backers include the usual list of suspects, such as  branches of the ACLU, the former Oklahoma Director of Americans United for Separation of Church and State, and various atheist organizations. 

According to “Mikey,” Christians are (and I quote), monsters, bloody monsters, well-funded gangs of fundamentalist Christian monsters, carpetbaggers, senseless and cowardly, bandits who coagulate their stenchful subtances in organizations such as the Family Research Council … and who disingenuously bellow mournfully like the world class cowards they are, fundamentalist Christian monsters of human degradation, marginalizaton, humiliation and tyranny, who have a putrid theology… of their rapacious reign of theocratic terror. 

I could go on, but I’ll bet you get the point. “Mikey” Weinstein is a world class Christian basher and bigot who foments hatred toward a whole group of people and then blames them for his personal moral and emotional viciousness. 

Sound familiar? It you’ve read the history of the dehumanizing language that precedes every mass slaughter of whole groups of people, it should. It’s especially repugnant that Mr Weinstein chose to quote Elie Wiesel at the end of the rant I’m referencing. 

After Huffington Post published this hate-article, an internet rumor sprang up that Mr Weinstein held an official position with the Pentagon under the Obama Administration. I found no evidence of this. However, I did find a sort of denial about it from the Pentagon. 

I decided to leave the question with that. 

The reason I’m taking the subject up today is another Huffington Post article titled The Pentagon Most Certainly is Listening to Mikey Weinstein. A reader sent me a link to this article, and when I read it, I decided that it is something you need to know about. 

The author, Chris Rodda, is the Senior Research Director at Mr Weinstein’s organization, the Military Religious Freedom Foundation. She is also the author of Liars for Jesus.

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Ms Rodda admires her boss. The article she writes seems to be in a race with itself as to whether it will attack Christians or express over-the-top praise for Mr Weinstein. She makes him sound like the kind of guy who can change the course of mighty rivers with his bare hands and jump the Pentagon in a single leap. 

I say this to caution you: This article is almost certainly at least partly hyperbole and self-promotion by the Military Religious Freedom Foundation. It claims that an individual representing 22 airmen who, the article also claims, were all Christians of various denominations, contacted the Military Religious Freedom Foundation because they were offended by a poster or painting (I’m not sure which it was) hanging on the wall of the Air Force base where they work. 

I don’t know what part of this to believe. It comes from an organization whose founder and leader has published hate speech labeling Christians, and by derivation me, my family and just about everyone I love, as “rapacious, bloody monsters.” Just call me small-minded, but that tends to color my opinion of the organization’s integrity. 

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The real question here is not whether or not I admire Mr Weinstein’s assessment of my faith (I do not) but how much he influences things at the Pentagon. The part of the article which is pertinent to that question relays how Mr Weinstein reacted to the appalling threat to the Constitution posed by this painting. The pertinent part of it says (emphasis mine):

Mikey immediately called the Pentagon because, you know, he can do that (to the obvious consternation of the folks at breitbart.comcertain members of Congress, and other modern-day Christian crusaders).

Mikey gave the Air Force an hour to take action.

By the time Mikey talked to the Wing Commander at the base a few minutes later, the Wing Commander had already been contacted by the Pentagon.

Fifty-six minutes after his call to the Pentagon, the image of the crusader, with its odious melding of the crusader flag with the American flag, had been removed from the dining hall.

Nobody is sure exactly how long this utterly inappropriate and blatantly unconstitutional image has been hanging in the dining hall, and whoever should be held responsible for deciding to place it there may very well no longer even be at the base. But the current Wing Commander, although not responsible for the hanging of this now removed dining facility artwork, is responsible for everything that happens on his base now, and to his credit has decided to take action beyond just the removal of this single offensive display.

The question: Is this claim of Mr Weinstein’s personal influence with the Pentagon brag, or is it fact?

Since we are dealing with people who specialize in braggadocio and scalding hot rhetoric, it’s difficult to know for sure. I am assuming that the basic facts of the article are true; that there was a painting which hung at an Air Force base, that there was some sort of complaint and that maybe the complainers may have gone to Sunday school or something and are claiming to be Christians, and that Mr Weinstein complained and the painting was taken down. 

As I said, I am assuming these things are true. I do not believe that this painting was ever a “threat to the Constitution.” Artistic vision, perhaps. But not the Constitution. I also do not believe that you can trust what these people say. 

I believe Mr Weinstein is a Christian-bashing bigot. The language I read in his article is inflammatory, hate-filled and ugly. If he told me it was raining outside, I would get up, go to the window, and look for myself. 

This leads back around to the question: Does this Christian-bashing bigot and his inflammatory, hate-filled rhetoric have some sort of gravitas at and with the people who run our military? That is a sobering question. 

  • Heloise1

    I believe he does. I seem to recall other instances of him interfering with the military in the past. In fact, Mr. Weinstein had come to the attention of Congressman Jim Bridenstine, who along with several other Congressmen, had challenged the DOD in a letter written to Mr Hagel over the undue influence.

  • Steve

    Wait a second he calls us “carpetbaggers”? What exactly does that mean. Carpetbaggers were northerners who moved down to the south after the Civil War. They were aligned with Reconstruction politics and despised by the Klan. Am I missing something here? That is the most random and historically nonsensical insult you can call someone. Plus, it makes you sound like a prejudiced guy from the 19th century.

  • Fabio Paolo Barbieri

    It is bad enough that he should feel able to brag it. Quite apart from the odious language, who died and made him God? Who is he to boss over the members of an elected government and over public servants who swore an oath to the Constitution? I rather think this is a feat of imagination, but it is imagination of an incredibly ugly tinge: he is casting himself as a mafia boss, neither more, nor less. And if by any chance it should happen to be true, then, like any other mafia boss, he needs to be taken down and sent to jail. That a man should brag of such power of the armed forces – the armed forces! – of a land supposedly ruled by laws and not by men is beneath intolerable.

    • Bill S

      To me, Mikey is just someone who knows that all religions are wrong and the one that calls itself right and all the other religions wrong has to be taken out. That is fundamental Christianity. They are a menace to everyone including Catholics. They are just as wrong as the others but at the same time adamant that it be their way or the highway.

      • Fabio Paolo Barbieri

        So you are satisfied that some bastard with no legal title at all can order the US armed forces around? Grow up.

        • hamiltonr

          Fabio, I agree with your sentiment, but please be careful with language.

        • Bill S

          It’s ok. No offense taken. I personally think this Mikey is an egomaniac. But he must be standing on solid ground from a legal standpoint.

  • Fabio Paolo Barbieri

    I tried to share this on Facebook. It turns out it has a broken link.

    • hamiltonr

      Fabio, would you try it again? All the links seem to be working now. Things have been wonky here at Patheos since we changed servers a week ago. That may have been the problem.

      • Fabio Paolo Barbieri

        A friend of mine has, on my indication.

      • Fabio Paolo Barbieri

        Done.

  • AshleyWB

    The MRFF gets more complaints about religious discrimination from Catholics than from any other single group. Sadly, the military has a significant problem with fundamentalist Christians who believe they have the right to impose their religious opinions on everyone else, whether it was mainliners, Jews, atheists, or Catholics. I ran into this all the time when my spouse was in the military and when I was a military contractor. Most civilians live in denial of this problem, but somebody has to step up and fight it.

    • http://abb3w.livejournal.com/ abb3w

      It seems worth emphasizing; Weinstein’s purple prose is not in reference to all Christians, but of a subset, who tend to be little more tolerant of Catholicism than atheism. (You might look up what Jim Ammerman of the Chaplaincy of Full Gospel Churches has said about Catholicism, for example.)

      • FW Ken

        I really don’t care what some chaplain says about Catholicism. I don’t care what co-workers or platoon members say. Dealing with obnoxious people is part of growing up, and it sounds like some of my fellow Catholics need to grow up. It would also help for them to know their faith and be able to answer fundamentalists. But gee, they might find that the fundies are human beings, become friends with them, and have to give up their pity-baby aggrieved victim status.

        That assumes we are talking about peers and non-authoritative figures. Obviously, non-job related factors should not intrude on the job.

        • http://abb3w.livejournal.com/ abb3w

          Such anti-Catholic attitudes would appear very likely to impede such chaplain’s ability to be effective when Catholic troops who come to them for spiritual guidance and solace while deployed in the field. So, while you may not care, a Catholic soldier who has one of the more bigoted among the fundamentalists as a Chaplain is likely to care a heck of a lot.

          Which, together with Catholics being the single most common denomination among soldiers, is likely one reason behind the MRFF’s reports that they field more complaints from Catholics than Atheists.

          • hamiltonr

            It’s … interesting … to see atheists who bash Catholics on other blogs jump in here to “defend” us. :-)

            • http://abb3w.livejournal.com/ abb3w

              That interest seems likely symptomatic of not understanding the actual underlying position.

              Also, while you seem to be implying that I bash Catholics on other blogs, I’m not sure what in particular you have in mind. I’ve certainly bashed you elsewhere, but bashed you personally with your Catholicism being almost entirely incidental to my reasons for disparagement; the criticisms could have applied to a “Public Protestant”, “Public Muslim”, or even “Public Communist” blog just as well, had you instead been running one of those. Most of my discussion of Catholicism and Catholics in general (here and elsewhere) involves presenting sociological data from the GSS, Pew Forum surveys, and so on. That’s often on forums where people are bashing Catholics, and I seldom bother to make major efforts to counter that bashing, but I seldom do so myself.

              Bashing Scientologists is another matter….

              • hamiltonr

                I wasn’t aware you bash me all that much. Interesting, but not important.

                I don’t normally look at atheist blogs, since from what I’ve seen they are mostly one continuous hate-filled rant after another, all aimed at Christians. They’re hate-mongers, plain and simple.

                However, I did check one blog a few days ago because of something that had happened internally here on Patheos. The particular post in question had a particularly nasty train of comments from people who appeared to be competing to see who could say the most degrading and insulting things about Christians. There you were in the midst of it. And yes, you did take a jibe at me, mostly because I don’t allow every single comment you try to put here. Most of them, yes. But not all.

                I also read your personal blog from time to time, but I guess I missed the Rebecca bashing.

                Bash away, if it makes you feel good. I don’t care.

                However, my original point still stands. it is disingenuous for atheists who hate all religion and who consistently attack Catholics — the particular blog post where I saw your comment was aimed at Catholics in particular — to come on here and try to stop us from supporting other Christians who are being bashed by trying to appeal to our denominational loyalties.

                I believe the phrase that applies is “divide and conquer.”


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