THE WASHINGTON POST – The Pentagon’s Pugnacious Critic on Religion Gets His Day in Congress

Selected Article Excerpts

  • It was one of several victories by Weinstein over the military about how religion will be handled in the ranks. His pugnacious style, vigorous public relations efforts and aggressive fund-raising have earned praise from some — but also made him a target for those who say he is capitalizing on political correctness to get rich and exaggerating problems.

    On Wednesday, Weinstein will get one of his largest stages yet: An appearance before the House Armed Services Committee’s subcommittee on military personnel. Weinstein, along with several other witnesses, will testify before Congress on the military’s current policy for religious accommodation, which requires Sikhs to seek a waiver from top service officials to wear their religion’s mandatory turbans and beards.
  • If they intend to try to shoot the messenger, to assassinate the messenger, I couldn’t care less about that,” Weinstein said Tuesday. “To me, this is about the U.S. Constitution. They will not assassinate the message, and the message is that tens of thousands of our brave members of the U.S. military are being persecuted by a version of Christianity, a twisted version, that is the closest thing to the American, Christian version of the Islamic Taliban.”

    Weinstein, who has not appeared before Congress previously, said the foundation will celebrate its 10th anniversary in about two weeks. It has grown to include nearly 40,000 members, 96 percent of whom are Christian, he said. The other 4 percent are from various faiths — there are even about 12 members who subscribe to Jedism, a religious movement based on the ideas in the “Star Wars” movie franchise.

  • If it’s contentious, it’s contentious,” Weinstein said of the hearing. “It’s not supposed to be UFC fight or a World Wrestling Entertainment event. It’s a congressional hearing. But, we’ll see how it goes.

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