Weinstein and the Court Martial of Maj Nidal Hasan
Michael Weinstein and his Military Religious Freedom Foundation have been repeatedly called out over the past few weeks for displaying an odious double standard: Weinstein has demanded various military Christians be court-martialed, accusing them of using their positions of power to proselytize and coercing subordinates based on their religion. He has failed to make any similar call against accused Fort Hood gunman Maj. Nidal Malik Hasan, even though Hasan has been accused of doing exactly the same things.
However, Michael Weinstein has finally asked, “Should Hasan be court-martialed?” Oddly, he never answers his own question.
To his credit, Weinstein does make a (qualified) statement that Hasan should have been court-martialed. That would be the most serious, if parsed, statement Weinstein has made against a person not of the Christian faith in the military. However, Weinstein’s credit is subsequently diminished when the “charges” he levels against Hasan are not the standard MRFF invective:
If it is proven true that Hasan was advocating for Muslims to be excused from combat operations and other U.S. military service, then he should have been aggressively and immediately court-martialed.
Actually, Hasan’s alleged desire was that Muslims be excused from combat against other Muslims. While misguided and wrong on many levels, such a request would hardly be grounds for court-martial; in fact, no mere belief is grounds for court-martial. (One would think the founder of a “religious freedom” organization would oppose, not promote, prosecution for a belief.)
Hasan’s request would more likely take the form of an unsuccessful application for Conscientious Objector status; no reasonable person would demand such a request should have a punitive result. Other military members have objected to the ongoing wars–including two at Fort Hood, one for religious reasons–but they were not court-martialed for their beliefs–they were court-martialed for their actions.
(This also appears to be the first time Weinstein has said someone should have been court-martialed if the allegations were true. In other circumstances with Christians, he has simply assumed that they were.) Unlike his treatement of Christians, Weinstein didn’t accuse Hasan of “spiritual rape” of his medical patients, nor did he did call Hasan’s actions “treason.”
Again, Hasan has been accused of proselytizing his patients from his position as a medical provider and belittling their addictions as “unholy.” About these accusations, which would normally earn MRFF vitriol, Weinstein says…nothing.
While it initially appeared the MRFF would equally apply its principles, regardless of religious belief, Weinstein ultimately passed on the opportunity to make the same accusations against a Muslim that he has against Christians.
One internet commenter may have found the explanation. In a spirited defense of the MRFF, they said:
[Weinstein] and the MRFF foundation [sic] are morally and ethically consistent in their defense of all who are persecuted in the US military for being a member of a religious minority. (emphasis added)
Since Christians are not a minority religion, that may explain Weinstein’s reluctance to defend the religious freedom of US soldiers with a Christian faith. It may also explain Weinstein’s treatment of Christianity as a bogeyman.
True to that form, Weinstein still managed to identify the “true” culprit in the Fort Hood massacre:
It is quite possible that our military personnel did not see the inherent conflict and breach of duty in Hasan’s alleged overtly religious words and actions because…fundamentalist Christian military and civilian officials and organizations…boundlessly proselytize on armed forces installations around the world, [making] this extremely intolerant version of Christian religious observance an inherent requirement for the well being and advancement of subordinate military personnel. (emphasis added)
Of course, the assertion that the military didn’t see Hasan’s extremist behavior (because of Christians) contradicts Weinstein’s previous accusation that his superiors would have been attuned to such behavior (because they were Christians). Apparently, no matter what happened, it was because of Christians.
In fact, to date, Weinstein has said that
- A “key role” in Hasan’s “disaffection” was harassment…by Christians.
- Hasan’s superiors would have been “sympathetic” to reports against him because…they were Christians.
- Hasan’s peers did not “see” Hasan’s extremist views because they were surrounded by…military Christians.
As if more evidence was necessary, Weinstein’s accusations following the Fort Hood massacre seem to remove any doubt that he believes some vast Christian conspiracy is responsible for the military’s ills.
One wonders what other creative ways he’ll concoct with which to make Christianity the enemy in this situation (even as he continues to “defend” Islam).
Anybody know the religion of the dealer who sold Hasan his gun?