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Mikey Weinstein in Seattle, February 16th, 2008 - Elf M. Sternberg
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Mikey Weinstein in Seattle, February 16th, 2008

Mikey Weinstein
Last night, I went to listen to Mikey Weinstein, head of the Military Religious Freedom Foundation, an organization aligned with Americans United For Separation of Church and State. Weinstein is head plaintiff in a court case which seeks to prove that there is a pervasive and pernicious pattern of proselytising within the U.S. Military. His basic premise is that even though the Premillenialists, Dominionists, and Reconstructionists make up only 12% of the population, they make up a higher percentage of soldiers because they're encouraged to join the military where existing organizations teach them to be "soldiers for Christ" first.

Some of the examples Weinstein claimed to have documented include:
  • A Lieutenant in Iraq telling his troops after one was killed by an IED that the death was the fault of "the unsaved among us," because they threaten unit cohesion
  • Assignments with the highest likelihood of combat fatalities going to soldiers who refuse to fall in-line with the evangelical leadership
  • A sergeant (who was later busted, and reported in the media) who was passing out "When Americans are killed they go to Heaven with Jesus, but when Iraqis are killed they go to Hell" Chick-style tracts on the streets of Baghdad
  • The Air Force's official policy is that it "reserves the right to evangelize the unchurched." (Quote from the Air Force head of Chaplaincy, Sep 17, 2005 NYT "Religion" column)
  • The same Chaplain gives a "voluntary" church service in which he orders those present to "get in the face of your fellow soldiers who are not here and make them bow their knees before Christ"
  • The "Crusaders," an F-16 wing, operated over Iraq airspace for a year before anyone complained about their name or their flight patch: a crusader's cross, helm, and sword, with three stars they admit is for the Trinity
  • A Pentagon-sponsored officer's organization with the stated purpose of "creating a military empowered by the holy spirit"
That's just what I can remember; the list of examples he had went on and on and on. It was terrifying; if even one-tenth of what he says is true, our nuclear arsenal is more or less in the hands of the people who really do believe that Jesus needs just a little more help to make it back to Earth.

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Current Mood: scared scared
Current Music: Threshold, Hollow

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jordan179 From: jordan179 Date: February 18th, 2008 05:57 am (UTC) (Link)
It was terrifying; if even one-tenth of what he says is true, our nuclear arsenal is more or less in the hands of the people who really do believe that Jesus needs just a little more help to make it back to Earth.

Well, actually the examples you gave are all of junior officers or NCO's. Hopefully, the general and senior officers aren't this looney. But some of these could cause problems: dissension in the ranks, or (in the case of the Jack Chick fan) bad PR among our allies.
valarltd From: valarltd Date: February 18th, 2008 07:01 am (UTC) (Link)
http://www.yuricareport.com/Dominionism/InfiltratingTheUSMilitaryGenBoykinsWarriors.html

It's some of the senior staff as well.

http://www.scholarsandrogues.com/category/dominionism/ has any number of articles that should make for uneasy rest.
ideaphile From: ideaphile Date: February 18th, 2008 08:43 am (UTC) (Link)

That's all crap

None of those examples show the slightest trace of any organizational bias. They're all just individual issues and not very significant at that.

The truth is that the Air Force is full of all kinds of people. When I was in, the only faith that was particularly prominent was Mormonism because Mormons tend to be more dedicated and self-disciplined and earn promotions more rapidly, but even they were a small fraction of the force, and the notion that Mormons had any inappropriate influence over non-Mormons was laughable. Literally; we used to joke about it.

Because there are multiple faiths represented in the service and none has a majority, there are natural checks and balances that effectively prevent any one faith from pushing its particular agenda. Pretty much everyone approves of these structural controls, and USAF itself equips every base with an office full of people whose only job is to keep everyone from discriminating against anyone else for any reason.

The crap you say this guy is spreading sounds like a bad Hollywood movie plot.

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mouser From: mouser Date: February 18th, 2008 01:20 pm (UTC) (Link)

Re: That's all crap

I'll agree to everything said but...

The only Mormon I knew during my time in the Air Force (ten years) made a big deal about being faithful, following all the guidelines, etc. Then had to get married because she got drunk, got pregnant, then used that as a excuse to get out of service.

gromm From: gromm Date: February 18th, 2008 09:01 am (UTC) (Link)
A Lieutenant in Iraq telling his troops after one was killed by an IED that the death was the fault of "the unsaved among us," because they threaten unit cohesion

Oh, but he was right. He might not be able to pull his head from his ass and realize that by "the unsaved", that really means non-muslim infidel invaders, but he hit the nail right on the head. Too bad that counts for ah, everyone in the unit.
_candide_ From: _candide_ Date: February 18th, 2008 05:57 pm (UTC) (Link)
Well, Elf, maybe what we really need is to promote some discussion within the ranks of the military, especially on bases where the attitudes you describe are prevalent.

Specifically, I mean discussions about which denomination has the real divinely-inspired, as-deemed-by-tha-Lord-correct, interpretation of scriptures.



Because we all know that, inevitably, the Dominionists, Reconstructionist, and their ilk will start getting holier-than-thou with each other. And start attacking each other. Then we sit back and watch the blood flow.

Because at this point, some sectarian violence, some religion-spurred bloodshed, is probably the only thing that will remind the US why freedom of religion and separation of church and state is such a good idea.
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