MIKEY’S COLUMN (ALTERNET, TRUTHOUT) – Hot Air and the Stench of Brimstone

Selected Article Excerpts:

  • The Military Religious Freedom Foundation (MRFF), the civil rights organization that I founded and preside over, has lately been accused of holding exaggerated sway within the Pentagon. No doubt, our organization has managed to effect an ever-growing number of major changes with quite humble, yet very dear, resources at our disposal.
  • Recently, I’ve been grossly mischaracterized as some “grey eminence” sitting behind the scenes at the Department of Defense (DoD), some sinister overlord with an axe to grind against religion in general and Christianity in particular. As my blatantly cynical detractors would have it, whenever I nonchalantly set foot on the grounds of the Pentagon, top brass swarm about to deferentially “kiss the ring” as if I were Capo di tutti capi at DoD. This mirage couldn’t be farther from the truth; our fight entails a bloody, daily tooth-and-nail struggle with those same top DoD officials that we supposedly hold in spellbound thrall.
  • … ever more frequently now, we’re knocking “home runs” out of the ballpark. For example, MRFF pressure decisively put an end to the unconstitutional branding of Holman Bible Publishers’ “Military Bibles” with the insignia of the four branches of the U.S. Armed Forces — a veritable “Grand Slam” that was covered impeccably by journalist Kelley Vlahos. This monumental constitutional victory whipped our religious extremist opponents into an absolute frenzy…
  • [A Fox News] salvo was followed shortly after by a drive-by hit piece on MRFF from Glenn Beck’s hideous Utah-based web tabloid, The Blaze. The Blaze article was truly vile, framing the removal of insignia from Holman Military Bibles as an action that “will surely raise eyebrows among those who have traditionally appreciated the military’s often Christian undertones.”Often Christian? As my foundation has thoroughly documented, the U.S. Military is a veritable Petri dish for what can only be described as a metastasizing “Christian Taliban” of sorts, albeit a nuclear armed, apocalyptic-Dominionist variant capable of deploying the most modern arsenal devised in the history of humankind.
  • A so-called “Chaplain Alliance for Religious Liberty (CARL)” had its own novel take on the Military Bible issue, using it as a Trojan horse to disguise their relentless campaign against the basic human rights of the LGBT community. A recent article from this “alliance” of disgusting bigots was entitled “Bibles? Nah … ‘Gay pride’? Yep!” According to CARL, Congress has “forced a radical homosexual agenda on the military” through the repeal of Don’t Ask, Don’t Tell (DADT). Offering another indicator of how far our supposedly “Christian” military has drifted from its roots, CARL spokesman Col. Ron Crews (USA-Ret.), stated that “It just seems that every time Mikey Weinstein sends an e-mail over to the Pentagon that they just cater to his every whim…This one individual has that much influence in the Pentagon. They just cave in.”Crews also stated “MRFF must cease and desist their reckless assault on religious liberty. The Chaplain Alliance for Religious Liberty calls on Congress to investigate this frivolous threat and apparent discrimination against religious views by the DoD.”
  • Mere days later, 66 Republican members of Congress sent a letter to Secretary of Defense Leon Panetta with the spurious allegation that U.S. Air Force Chief of Staff Gen. Norton Schwartz was guilty of “imposing a stringent policy with regards to religion,” and that the USAF in general is guilty of creating “a culture that is hostile toward religion.” This was a reaction to the watershed memo Schwartz released last September underscoring the long-existing yet oft-ignored expectation that “chaplains, not commanders… notify Airmen of Chaplain Corps programs.”…Euphemistically, lawmakers accused the USAF of bowing to the pressure of “secular groups” like MRFF. Not so. The Schwartz memo was a wet-noodle, meek attempt at damage control issued amidst an especially frenetic period when the Air Force was, yet again, fully embroiled in severe controversy due to a string of breathtakingly embarrassing incidents.
  • Following the letter to Secretary Panetta, CARL once again attacked me, this time by means of the organization’s founder, Brig. Gen. Douglas Lee (USA-Ret.). Lee once again raised the claim that “I think [Mikey Weinstein] has way more influence in the Air Force than is necessary… Certainly when he has threatened suit, the Air Force seems to have jumped very quickly. His organization claims to be concerned about religious liberty, but I personally interpret their actions as trying to denigrate religious liberty rather than celebrate it. So, yes — he’s very much involved.”This rogue organization of retired activist chaplains operates under the deceptive title of an “Alliance for Religious Liberty.” Clearly they have tried to position themselves as the “anti-MRFF”, an unholy alliance devoted to squelching any form of religious freedom. These theocratic clerics have shown themselves to be wholly opposed to the U.S. Constitution and shockingly, 66 members of Congress have joined the crusade…

Click here to read article at Alternet

Click here to read article at Truthout

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    1 Comment

    1. Joseph Rosenstein

      The ONLY ‘sway’ on the Department of Defense the MRFF has had, has been an exclusively LEGAL one.

      If CARL and the 66 Republican members of Congress who signed the letter to Secretary Panetta can cite laws and regulations showing where MRFF has deviated from providing only l-e-g-a-l reasons behind the actions for which MRFF is demanding, there would clearly be no need for their having posited only ‘allegations’ and ‘citations of wishful thinking’.

      Shame of those 66 legislators for not following legal and judicial precedents and practice, as they have sworn to uphold, and shame on CARL for raising the straw man of an LGBT agenda to divert attention (their own as well as that of others) in matters entirely unrelated to that agenda.

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