Mikey Weinstein on MSNBC’s “Countdown with Keith Olbermann”

MRFF Founder and President Mikey Weinstein discusses the shockingly unconstitutional mandatory U.S. Army “Comprehensive Soldier Fitness” survey with blatant “spiritual fitness” component.

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    4 Comments

    1. R. Jones

      Well spoken Mr. Weinstein. Once again I agree with you on nearly all of your points. I would like to point out one possible error for you to consider, as this may help your organization in the future.

      You stated that the MRFF is 96% Christian, which is a statistic that I am sure you believe is accurate. Given the prevailing cultural climate in the U.S. that condemns agnosticism and atheism, it is possible that a very large percentage of the MRFF’s “Christians” are rather “closet atheists”. I am not suggesting that your organization boasts atheism rates greater than 70%, such as the National Academy of Sciences, but I do feel that the number must at least surpass the ~14% percent of North Americans in general who declare themselves atheists or agnostics.

      I speculate that whenever you defend not only the religious minorities such as Jews and Muslims suffering discrimination at the Air Force Academy, but also openly extend your defense to atheists and agnostics that your membership will grow with your financial contributions.

    2. admin

      Hi there! Thank you for taking the time to comment here. MRFF clients are in fact 96% Christian. It is a statistic that we keep a close eye on because we often receive criticism that MRFF is anti-Christian. We aren’t. MRFF isn’t for or against any religion. Our clients come from every religious background imaginable and represent the full spectrum of beliefs from fundamentalist Christian to Buddhism, and yes, to atheism. Many of our highest profile clients have been atheists, and we are proud to support their fight. For more information on MRFF’s work with atheists and agnostics, please feel free to contact us.

    3. K Barton

      Good job, Mikey. I’ve been an enthusiastic supporter of MRFF for years. As soon as I heard of their work, I mailed in a check.
      I think the most dangerous thing in the world has always been a military that believes it has been ordained by God to wage a war, or to police the planet. Consider the Thirty Years War and add nuclear weapons, or even B52 bombers.
      The (pseudo)patriotic fundamentalism, which is subverting the American military (and subverting the US Constitution) for an occult theological agenda, is one of the most pernicious influences on the planet today. The most effective strategy to thwart this fundamentalist agenda, which is both grandiose and implausible, is to maintain religious diversity in the military, including people who have no religious inclination at all.
      However, the requisite diversity of religious perspective which is needed in the military to reduce catastrophic errors of judgment has nothing to do with mere diversity of denominations or simple multi-culturalism. What is needed is the ability to question, to doubt, and to think critically – from multiple theological and philosophical perspectives – about the operations of the military itself.
      The particular questions that the GAT*** poses to (and imposes on) people in the military are carefully crafted to generate exactly the kind of religious uniformity that could most readily advance the fundamentalist agenda – and to remove people who are resistant to this agenda. As far as the fundamentalist agenda is concerned, it matters not a whit whether a particular officer is Roman Catholic, Methodist, Jewish, or even “religious.” What matters is that they lack the theological capacity and critical resources to question authority or to resist the premises of extreme nationalism and florid fundamentalism.
      Hence the 5 questions in the GAT are cleverly designed to generate a theological cul de sac that leads an unsuspecting recruit down the primrose path to religious conformity. And it does so without involving any overtly theological questions that would impinge on religious belief or practice. How does it do this?
      The first two questions are vague and difficult to deny. It is easy enough to affirm spirituality and meaning as long as these terms have no specific definitions – or only very vague definitions. And it sounds good to say, “Yeah, I’m spiritual and life is good. It’s worthwhile to be alive.” What could be harmful about this basic affirmation?
      And in a globalized world, it’s hard to deny all life is interconnected. In fact, a lot of this interconnection is mediated by the military, with hundreds of US military bases spread around the world. So this proposition is pretty irrefutable as well. That takes care of the first three questions. It’s a slam-dunk. No Trinitarian controversies, no Halachic subtleties, just vague generalities that are not worth denying.
      The problem arises in the fourth question, because it creates a false analogy with the second question. “My life has lasting meaning” becomes a general statement that now applies to “The job I am doing in the military.” If someone uncritically accepts the first premise, the solipsistic temptation is to assume that “meaning” is something that applies – or should apply – to every facet of one’s life.
      The momentum of this deductive reasoning tends to deflect critical analysis of the military. The operative questions should be, “Does the goal of the military reflect my values, the values of my religion, or my highest values?” And “does it do so in each particular situation, campaign, and order.” Moreover, “does it reflect the Constitution, which I have sworn to honor and uphold?” Instead the deductive process, as generated by these five GAT questions, suggest that being in the military is part and parcel of having a life with meaning.
      The insidious effects of the GAT questions is not that they transform someone into a “true believer” in whatever the Pentagon proposes. The insidious effect is that they are designed to identify – and to remove or penalize – recruits who are dissatisfied or hesitant with giving credence to vague generalities and sloppy analogies. The GAT process identifies – and removes or penalizes – recruits who believe that words have actual meanings, and that affirmation should be reserved to statements with definable terms. It identifies – and removes or penalizes – recruits who have the capacity to think critically, both about military strategy and about theological propositions. Instead, these question favor – and selects for – recruits who are suggestible and susceptible to simplistic and vague explanations and to crass theologies. And in this way, it insidiously serves the agenda of nationalistic fundamentalism.
      God help us.

      *** The GAT (Global Assessment Tool) assess the level of affirmation regarding “spiritual” assertions:
      1) I am a spiritual person.
      2) My life has lasting meaning.
      3) I believe that in some way, my life is closely connected to all humanity and all the world.
      4) The job I am doing in the military has lasting meaning.
      5) I believe there is a purpose for my life.

    4. Rationalist

      Pity the man who rages at God because of perceived injustices from His hand. He gave you life, ears to hear with and breath in your lungs – and yet you rage because you cannot tolerate the fact that He requires obedience and morality from His creation. You look at creation and deny the Creator, all the while knowing deep in your conscience that He exists and that all of creation testifies to that fact. Pity you who have no hope and yet feel the need to foster that hopelessness in the hearts of others. Regardless of whether you hate Him or deny Him, He loves you – yes, even YOU !

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