Dark Christianity
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May 2008
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dogemperor [userpic]
"These People Should Be Court-Martialed"


Mickey Weinstein, a former USAF officer and founder of the Military Religious Freedom Foundation has an interview with Salon Magazine about the "Christian Embassy" embedded in the Pentagon. He is not happy, and we should not be happy either:

We have a systemic problem. You sound like you're too young to remember Robert Redford in "Three Days of the Condor," but the premise of that movie was that there was a CIA within the CIA. We have a virulently dominionist, fundamentalist evangelical Christian element within the Pentagon. [emphasis mine] They would prefer this to be the "Pentecostalgon," not the Pentagon. That's what they would prefer. They're trying to turn the Pentagon into a frickin' faith-based initiative, and that is not what our military is about.

These are the people who, when I talk to senior members of the military at the flag-level rank -- I don't know if you're familiar with what that means, that means admiral or general -- that have looked at me and said, "Come on, Mikey, what's your problem? We have the cure to cancer. If you had the cure to cancer, wouldn't you want to spread the word?" They don't realize when they say it, they don't have the mental wherewithal to understand that to a person who isn't an evangelical Christian, you're calling our faith a cancer.

[Interviewer] What's wrong with this video?

I'm trying to think where to start. It is absolutely violative of a mountain of Department of Defense internal regulations, guidelines, core values, instructions, making it very clear that members of the military can not endorse any one particular political position, partisan religious view, they can't hold up a tube of toothpaste like Colgate and push it. Irrespective of that, it's also blatantly violative of the Establishment Clause of the First Amendment of the Bill of Rights, and at least as important it's violative of Clause 3, Article 6 of the Constitution -- you don't even have to get into the Bill of Rights -- which states that we will never have a religion test for any position in the federal government, which was brilliantly prescient of our Founding Fathers.

This, to me, constitutes as much of a national security threat to this country as al-Qaida. In fact, the video itself, to me, would be the No. 1 recruiting tool that I would expect bin Laden, the followers of Abu Musab al-Zarqawi, although he's dead, Ayman al Zawahiri, Hezbollah with Sheik Hassan Nasrallah, Hamas, the al-Aqsa Martyrs' Brigades, to get angry young Islamic men and women in Iran, Syria and Lebanon to join the insurrection and jihadi terrorist activities. This would be a perfect accelerant to create even further conflagration.

Now, I was a JAG [judge advocate general, the lawyers who act as prosecutors and defense attorneys within the military] in the Air Force. I spent three and a half years as a lawyer for President Ronald Reagan in the West Wing, I've been Ross Perot's general counsel. I know the religious right would love to vilify me as a tree-hugging Northern California Sierra Club membership chardonnay-sipping liberal -- not that there'd be anything wrong with that, to wax Seinfeldian -- but I'm not. I'm a Republican. And my family has a very, very long and distinguished military history. We have three consecutive generations of military academy graduates, and my youngest son, who's at the Air Force Academy now, he's a senior, what's called a first classman, is the sixth member of my family to attend the academy. We have 115 years of combined active-duty military service to this country in my immediate family from every combat engagement from World War I to the current one, and this is a pernicious torturing of what our military is supposed to be about.

Of course, I realize people have religious rights. We only have about 2,200 chaplains in each of the military branches; every base has multiple chapels, and these people can pray all they want to themselves, like kids in school can pray to themselves, but when you're in the military, and you're coming in like that one person, Catton, whom I knew when I was a kid at the [Air Force] Academy, and he goes, "I share my faith, that's who I am, and let me tell you right now, the hierarchy as an old-fashioned American is that your first duty is to the Lord, second to your family and your third is to your country." That is the exact opposite of what is taught, and for anyone who understands anything about the military, it is always the country first. When you're told, "Troopers, we're going to go take that hill," you can't stop, fall to your knees and see what your particular version of Moses, Vishnu, Satan, Jesus, Mohammed, Allah, whatever they're going to say, and then quickly make a cellphone call to your family. So it is beyond-the-pale egregious, it is a national security threat every bit as bad as al-Qaida, and these people should be court-martialed.

Go read the whole article. A day pass will be required, but it will be worth the extra few minutes. Mr. Weinstein hits the nail right on the head- these are flag-level officers who are involved in this, not your enlisted or lower officers. He is right to claim that this is every bit as bad and threatening as al-Qaida, if not more so, because the rot and the threat is from within our armed forces, and at the highest levels.

I have been talking about this infiltration of aggressive dominionist evangelicals into the military for years. I saw it first hand when I was enlisted. It has been ignored so far, but I hope that the exposure by both the Washington Post, NPR, and the Military Freedom Foundation finally exposes these people and removes them from power. Otherwise, when our military turns upon our government and establishes a theocratic government via a military coup, we won't have anyone to blame but ourselves.