ED BRAYTON – JD vs Mikey Weinstein in a Steel Cage Death Match

Published On: March 9, 2010|Categories: News|0 Comments|

Accessibility Notice

This post was created on the previous version of the MRFF website, and may not be fully accessible to users of assistive technology. If you need help accessing this content, please reach out via email.

Our old pal JD the Christian fighter pilot is attacking Mikey Weinstein again, as he likes to do as often as possible — one wonders when he finds time to fly — and one of his latest attacks is good for a few laughs. Mikey had an interview with The Advocate supporting the revocation of the Don’t Ask Don’t Tell policy and JD went all Maverick and Goose on him for it.

Comicly, Weinstein, who has been taken to task for his displays of Constitutional ignorance, again displays his lack of knowledge with regard to the ongoing controversy. The Advocate asked him…twice…what power the President had to repeal the policy on homosexuals in the military. Twice, the former White House counsel talked vaguely about executive orders without explaining how an executive order can overturn a law passed by Congress (Title 10, Subtitle A, Part II, Chapter 37, § 654). (Answer: it can’t.)

Comically, JD doesn’t know how to spell comically. And even more comically, JD links to a law that doesn’t actually say anything at all about not asking or not telling. That’s because the DADT policy actually came about not because of the law passed by Congress that he links to but by a Defense Department Directive issued by President Clinton.

The law passed by Congress only restated that homosexuality is grounds for dismissal from the military. Clinton then issued a directive saying, in essence, that while this is all fine and good, the military was no longer going to actively investigate who might or might not be homosexual and would no longer be asking about it, but would only act against a gay soldier if the evidence is given to them either by the soldier himself or by someone else.

So the question is, could Obama go even further than this with a Defense Department Directive or an executive order? The answer: Maybe. He might well have the authority to take Clinton’s policy a step further and order the military to presume that one of the exemptions in the law would apply to every soldier unless it can be shown otherwise.

For example, the statute passed by Congress offers several exceptions to the policy of throwing a soldier out of the military for being gay. One of them says this:

under the particular circumstances of the case, the member’s continued presence in the armed forces is consistent with the interests of the armed forces in proper discipline, good order, and morale

Obama might well be able to issue a directive saying that the JAG office should presume that the presence of a gay soldier is consistent with the interests of the armed services unless it can be plainly shown otherwise. Would this be consistent with the divided powers given to Congress and the President in the constitution? Again, maybe.

This is really untested waters and it would be up to the courts to decide — if someone had the standing to file a suit, which they almost certainly do not (Congress cannot file suit against the president for not enforcing a law, only a citizen whose rights are violated by such non-enforcement can). The point is that, contrary to JD’s claims, DADT was established by presidential decree in the first place, not by Congressional statute. And what Obama could or could not do in this regard is very much an open question.

I will give JD some credit for a valid criticism, however, on another matter. He quotes the following from Mikey’s interview and criticizes Mikey for his “tendency to make up his own definitions of religious groups-and then to assign people to them as he saw fit.”

We’ve got this fanatical religiosity in fundamental Christianity…It’s called dominionist Christianity…If you [had] your nostrils assaulted with the stench of 10,000 rotting swine, that’s what these people smell like…They’re virulently homophobic, virulently misogynistic, virulently anti-Semitic and Islamophobic.

They also have a desire to subordinate what they view has flawed man’s law, which is the US Constitution…They are called premillennial, dispensational, reconstructionist, dominionist, evangelical, fundamentalist Christians.

And on this, I’m afraid JD is at least partially correct. This is little more than a list of buzzwords that do not necessarily belong together. Premillenialists are never reconstructionists; reconstructionists (a subset of dominionists) are always postmillenialist. Likewise, dispensationalists are always premillenialist and never reconstructionist. Reconstructionists think dispensationalism is heresy.

Premillenialist and postmillenialist extremists do, in most cases, share a basic misogyny and homophobia. Anti-Semitism tends to be found in particular subsets of both, though it’s more likely to be found among the postmils than the premils (who at least have to pretend to like Israel because it is a key to their end times eschatology, something that is not true for postmils).

The point is that there are lots of divisions among the religious right, lots of disagreements on things that are not minor. And it’s important not to paint with too broad a brush. And yes, this is something that my friend Mikey has a regrettable tendency to do when he lets loose the rhetorical hounds.

Then there’s this:

Weinstein has long said his plan to influence the military is to “litigate and agitate.” It is not to dialogue nor debate; it is simply to coerce everyone else to accept his demands.

Actually, Mikey has had plenty of dialogue with the Pentagon about very real problems with coercive Christian proselytizing in the military. Sometimes that dialogue has worked and gotten problems fixed; sometimes it hasn’t. And when it hasn’t, sometimes legal action may be required. And when someone’s rights are being violated, coercion to prevent them from doing so via a court order is absolutely legitimate.

For some reason, despite thousands and thousands of complaints to MRFF, mostly from Christians, about religious coercion and violations of religious freedom rights in the military, JD continues to insist that everything is just fine and that Mikey and MRFF are inventing a problem that doesn’t exist. I suspect that’s because he thinks such things are a feature, not a bug.

Make a Donation

Recent Posts

  • June 24, 2022 | 1 comment
  • June 24, 2022 | 7 comments
  • June 23, 2022 | No comments
  • June 23, 2022 | No comments
  • June 23, 2022 | 2 comments

Share This Story

Leave A Comment