TULSA WORLD – Tulsa Interfaith Alliance speaker Michael Weinstein draws crowd

Selected Article Excerpts:

  • The parking lot of All Souls Unitarian Church was abuzz before a controversial speaking event Saturday afternoon, but no protesters were in sight.As hundreds of audience members gathered for the Tulsa Interfaith Alliance awards reception, they joked about the line stretching from the church’s door, down the sidewalk and into the parking lot. Signs warning “high security event” and “absolutely no political literature” were posted and a Tulsa police officer stood watch.
  • Weinstein spoke following the alliance’s presentation of the Russell Bennett Faith and Courage Award to the Rev. Don Pittman, an ordained minister, professor and director of the interreligious understanding program at Phillips Theological Seminary. Pittman created an adult-learner life-enrichment program that features several faiths. Organizers of the event said previously that they were unprepared for the “leel of hatred” that has been directed against Weinstein.
  • At Saturday’s event, he referred to proselytizing by dominionist, or fundamentalist, Christians in the military as “the weaponized gospel of Jesus Christ” and deemed the perpetrators of the practice religious predators who are “raping the spiritual rights of someone beneath them.”Of fundamentalist chaplins, Weinstein said “if you don’t feel that you can do your job for everybody … fold your uniform and get the hell out of my military.” He began his 30-minute speech by poking fun at a Tulsa World article first posted online Friday.”I want to thank the Tulsa World for denoting me as a ‘controversial Jew’ yesterday, which is great because that’s the same category as Jesus and he did all right,” Weinstein said.
  • The reception was the most well attended of any of the alliance’s programs, Lawrence said. He said he felt Weinstein made it clear “he’s not coming for anybody’s religion” and that he’s taken on a battle “he’s being asked to fight” by more than 34,000 active duty members of the U.S. military who have sought the organization’s assistance. Protestant Christians and Roman Catholics constitute 96 percent of the foundation’s clients, Weinstein and Lawrence said.

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