Army Chief of Chaplains
Tuesday, April 21, 2009
By Chris Rodda
On the heels of the recent story about Army Chief of Chaplains Maj. Gen. Douglas Carver ignorantly issuing a proclamation for a day of fasting for the Army on the first day of Passover, the Military Religious Freedom Foundation (MRFF) began receiving complaints about Maj. Gen. Carver's endorsement and promotion of an organization called American Defenders of Freedom (ADOF). MRFF receives countless complaints and reports about our military's senior officers endorsing and facilitating the missions and activities of various para-church groups and evangelical organizations that clearly violate both military regulations and the Constitution these officers took an oath to uphold, but this one is just extra special.
ADOF is an evangelical Christian ministry that evangelizes and proselytizes military personnel by using the military's chaplain corps to distribute prayer coins by the tens of thousands sporting the official U.S. military branch emblems -- three out of the four branch emblems, that is. The Navy coin had to be redesigned last year because then Secretary of the Navy Donald C. Winter, who stepped down last month after staying on through the Obama transition, denied ADOF permission to use the Navy emblem on this evangelizing tool. According to the ADOF's January 2008 newsletter, Secretary Winter's respect for the constitutional and military prohibitions on this government promotion of religion was the work of Satan:
"The Navy Prayer Reminder Coin was completely re-designed (an improvement) because the Secretary of the Navy would not give permission to use the official Navy seal on the Navy Prayer Reminder Coin – Satan is always at work."
Sophisticated (aka Liberal) Jew Hating
Friday, April 24, 2009
By Valerie Tarico
"you f*****g piece of shit jew and your stinking jew woman and inbred jew childrun and jew-lover traiter daughterinlaw deserve to torture die you filth jew liberil america hating jesus hating basterd Lord willing none of us will have to wait long america is too good for dirty jew scum of your family and your commie foundasion" - anonymous email, April 21, 2009
Mikey Weinstein is President and Founder of the Military Religious Freedom Foundation. A Jew, a former Reagan Whitehouse attorney and an honors graduate of the Air Force Academy in Colorado Springs, he spends his days fighting back against what has been called an "Evangelical coup" in the U.S. Military. (See Jesus Killed Mohammed 5/09.) Mikey writes letters, makes phone calls, lobbies and, when all else fails, files lawsuits on behalf of religious minorities and mainline Christians who are being subjected to relentless proselytizing from fundamentalist officers and peers. One routine part of the reaction is letters like the one above.
MRFF and AU Write Letter
Thursday, April 23, 2009
By Ed Brayton
Everyone's favorite loopy ex-chaplain, Gordon Klingenschmitt, is back in the news again. My friends at the Military Religious Freedom Foundation and Americans United have written a joint letter to the Chief of Naval Operations complaining that Klingenschmitt is still using his military status and uniform to promote political causes, which is exactly why he was punished by the Navy in the first place. The full text of the letter below the fold:
Air America Live
with Jack Rice - Interview with Jeff Sharlet
Thursday, April 23, 2009
Click the green button above to listen to this
17min 16sec interview with Jeff Sharlet, the author
of the recent MRFF-related Harper's Magazine article
Jeff Sharlet is the author of
The Secret Fundamentalism
the Heart of American Power"
CLICK HERE FOR MORE INFO
AND TO PURCHASE
"[Sharlet] has managed to infiltrate the most influential and secretive fundamentalist network in America, and ground his reporting in the most astute and original explanation of fundamentalism I’ve
ever read. . . . Indispensable."
- Hanna Rosin,
former religion reporter
for the Washington Post
Our featured military base newspaper for this week is the Barstow Log, the base newspaper of the Marine Corps Logistics Base Barstow, California. This paper is being featured not just for a single article, but because it is hands down the most habitual violator of all the base newspapers we've looked at when it comes to promoting Christianity. MRFF received its first complaint about this paper several years ago, when a four part series of articles proclaimed, using a plethora of historical lies, that America is a Christian nation, and we've been watching it ever since. In spite of several changes in the chaplain writing the paper's "Chaplain's Corner" column over the years, the column's clear evangelical Christian purpose has remained consistent, and Barstow's current Base Chaplain, Lt. Allen Presser, is keeping the evangelizing up with writings like this one from an article in the paper's April 16, 2009 issue titled "The Perfect Friend."
"The Lord truly believed in us enough to put action behind His belief in our potential for us. We now have the chance to turn away from our own vices and obtain the power to become the children of God through repentance for the forgiveness of sins through true believing. No, the Lord did not pay the price for our sins so that we could continue in them, but provided a way out to help. “He who believes in the Son has eternal life; but he who does not obey the Son will not see life, but the wrath of God abides on
him” (John 3:36).
"Further, “And He [Jesus] said to them, “Thus it is written, that the Christ would suffer and rise again from the dead the third day, and that repentance for forgiveness of sins would be proclaimed in His name to all the nations, beginning from Jerusalem” (Luke 24:46, 47). If the Lord Jesus Christ believed in our potential enough to put actions behind His belief in us by dying for us on the cross and shedding His blood for the forgiveness of our sins, then should not we also believe in Him enough to make Him the Lord of our hearts and lives and put actions behind our belief in Him by living for Him and seeking Him daily with our whole hearts? Let’s set our hope and course in life on the Lord Jesus Christ, Who is the Author and finisher of our faith (Hebrews 12:1-3), and like Abraham, be a friend of God (James 2:23)."
To read other "Chaplain's Corner" columns from this paper, visit the Barstow Log archive at http://www.bam.usmc.mil/LOGS.html
Killing for Jesus in the
United States military:
is it a healthy development?
Sunday, April 19, 2009
(from "Markham's Behavioral Health")
In the May, 2009 issue of Harper's Magazine, the lead article is Jesus Killed Mohammed: The Crusade for a Christian Military" by Jeff Sharlet which describes the rise of evangelical fundamentalist Christians in the officer ranks of the Armed Services and the havoc this plays not only on the esprit de corps of the troops but in the way that war is pursued by the United States in the foreign lands that it occupies and is stationed in.
Towards the end of the article Sharlet writes:
"Today, fundamentalism, based as it is on a vigorous assertion of narrow and exclusive claims to truth, can no longer justify common cause with secularism. In it principal battle, the front lines are not Iraq or Afghanistan but right here, where evangelical militants must wage spiritual war against their own countryman."
April 21, 2009
Dear Mr. Weinstein and MRFF,
I just finished reading the new May edition of the amazing new Harper's cover story by Jeff Sharlet entitled "Jesus Killed Mohammed" and was utterly astounded and shaken to my core by what I read. I know I won't be able to sleep it's upset me so much. What's happening in our military is much, much worse than I thought. I don't know how anyone can say there's only one God and only one way to worship. How can anyone be that brainwashed to be so conceited, arrogant and narrow-minded? Not the mainline, moderate Christians like me, my husband and my family and my church living here in our midwest "Red" state. I think a lot of the fundamentalist Christians are "damaged goods" (weak people) who are followers, have major issues in their lives and are looking for a way to pull themselves back together without falling apart. "Evangelical Jesus" is the perfect answer for them, and they have a lot of people in their "support" network. It makes them feel like they're important and part of something bigger than themselves. Instead of being a little nothing, they're suddenly somebody with an important mission and part of the "team". Fundamentalist Christianity is all just a religion based on fear and people who blindly follow and can't think for themselves.
The Jesus that our family believes in loves everyone as long as they are good people. It doesn't matter what religious affiliation they have, just that they are kind, caring, compassionate people who are law abiding and help out others. These fundamentalist evangelicals are missing an important element, and it's not tolerance. I hate the word "tolerance", which to me means you have to tolerate something distasteful. Rather they are missing the character trait of acceptance of others with different beliefs. We can all learn so much from each other if we stop being afraid of beliefs that are different from ours. In America, no one has the right to tell another person what to believe or how to worship, especially your military commander. Religion is a very private matter that belongs in your heart and the home and your place of worship, not at your place of employment and certainly not in the military "workplace".
So many Americans are just asleep at the wheel and don't realize how bad the situation is, and we're in real trouble here. Mr. Weinstein, you're one of the few people gutsy enough to put yourself and the Military Religious Freedom Foundation out there and try to get the American people to wake up before it's too late. You remind me of Harry Markopolos who tried to warn the SEC about Bernie Madoff 10 years ago, and no one listened.
Unfortunately history repeats itself. This whole thing with the military being inundated by fundamentalist Christianity is eerily like Hitler's rise to power. Even though he said what he was going to do, people didn't believe him and thought he was crazy. By the time they realized the power he had achieved, it was too late and millions of people died because they didn't take him seriously. What's to stop these zealots in our military from just going out one day and blowing away anyone on American soil who they consider a "demon" or a non-believer in their chosen form of far right Christianity? These "people" who can't think for themselves will just blindly do whatever their Commanding Officer tells them to do and will be praised for their deplorable actions. I have a daughter and son in Jr. ROTC at our local high school and I'm now very worried about their desire to join the U.S. armed forces after graduation. If they encounter these horrors detailed in the Harpers story I will have them call you or my spouse and I will immediately call you. It seems it won't be "if" but "when" they do and I am scared. How do you and your family handle this fear?
My sister and I have actually been talking for a few years about an "escape plan" for our families. Although we are Christians from a Republican family we don't want to end up like the 6 million Jewish people in Europe who didn't have a chance.
Mr. Weinstein, please be extra, extra careful. I read with shock what Mr. Sharlet wrote about the constant threats you and your family endure. I wish you would wear a bullet proof vest.
With love and much admiration and appreciation for all you and your Foundation are doing,
(name, city and state withheld)
April 17, 2009
You might also want to learn about a courageous, white South African Jewish woman named Helen Suzman, who died this past January at the age of 90. For over three decades she was the only member of the South African House of Assembly (parliament) who stood against the Afrikaner white minority ruling establishment who created and maintained the racist policy of apartheid; she represented a predominantly Jewish neighborhood in Johannesburg until her retirement from 1951 to 1989 for the Progressive Party.
For her efforts in support of racial justice, she was vilified by white Afrikaners, often in anti-Semitic terms, and for being a "liberal," which was detested in much the same sense as conservatives do today here in America, by the white South African minority ruling class eager to defend its ill-gotten special privileges, supported by a fundamentalist Dutch Reformed Church which taught Afrikaner whites for decades there was a scriptural basis for the egregiously unjust system infamously known as apartheid in South Africa.
Fortunately, Mrs. Suzman had the last laugh; apartheid finally ended in 1994, and she outlived the oppressive system she so valiantly fought against by nearly 15 years.
Unfortunately for neighboring Zimbabwe, things have turned out tragically. When the former Rhodesian Prime Minister Ian Smith complained to interim British governor Lord Christopher Soames that Robert Mugabe's so-called Patriotic Front was using violence and intimidation against the white minority and blacks opposed to Mugabe (Zimbabwe's current president), who won tainted elections held under the 1979 Lancaster House agreement, Lord Soames was quoted as saying: "I'm afraid that the principles and standards you and I were brought up to believe in, are no longer part of this world."
And so it is with the sectarian Christian fundamentalist takeover in the military which you are fighting against. You may be, like Mrs. Suzman in apartheid-era South Africa, a "voice crying out in the wilderness," but maybe someday, when politicians are no longer afraid to take on what Senator John McCain once called the "agents of intolerance" that are still deeply entrenched in both military and civilian life, there will be victory in this fight.
As I learned in my recent visits to Georgia this year, right and justice can still win out; it did for Leo Frank after 70 years with his posthumous pardon in 1986 and historical marker dedicated this year where he was lynched in Marietta.
Don't give up! Google or Yahoo Helen Suzman's name, and her example will inspire you to continue the fight against the "ill-gotten special privileges" of the Religious Right.
April 18, 2009
I just found out about your organization and was delighted. I just spent about two years overseas with access to AFN. I cringed every time a "god" commercial came on. I was appalled that my government would spend money producing commercials supporting any religion, but especially supporting just Christianity and then forcing those of us serving our country overseas to have to watch them if we want to watch programming from home.
I'm not military and don't work for DOD, I work for State; so your organization doesn't represent me. But I really hope that you are taking on this issue.
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