Weinstein Decries “Religious Rape” in US Military
Katie Drummond writes an article for AOL News that is essentially a fluff piece on the advocacy of the Military Religious Freedom Foundation, as virtually every example in the article is an MRFF talking point.
The most recent “issue” is the participation of military base Chaplains with Focus on the Family, which has reportedly simulcast various resources, including its landmark Truth Project, to military bases. (Drummond calls FotF’s relationship with the military “lucrative,” without explaining the basis for her belief of financial involvement.) When explaining his opinion that these “voluntary” religious events aren’t really voluntary, Michael Weinstein said
“If someone doesn’t attend, even if they are Christian, they might be told they aren’t religious enough, and that this makes them dishonorable, not courageous, not good people,” Weinstein said. “And that’s not just an unfortunate situation. These people are being religiously raped.”
Like most of Weinstein’s statements on Christianity in the military, his criticisms are without merit. There are a variety of events put on by the military on a routine basis, including things like Hispanic American Heritage luncheons, various Chaplain’s programs, 5K races for fundraising, road marches in honor of Martin Luther King, Jr., and even support for sports events. The amount of “encouragement” from Chaplains or military leaders is the same for any type of event, whether it is a Christian Bible study or an Islamic celebration. They encourage those who want to attend or be involved to do so. It is not more insidious or conspiratorial than that.
Weinstein would have the public believe that the military treats Christian events in a unique manner, but public evidence easily disproves his accusation.
It is notable that Weinstein has used the “not Christian enough” accusation frequently over the past few years, as if to legitimize his cause with Christians. He often asserts that 96% of MRFF “clients” are Christians who are persecuted for not being “Christian enough;” however, in the past five years, he hasn’t made public a single actionable example. In fact, though 96% of the MRFF is “Christian,” Weinstein has filed (and lost) multiple lawsuits only on behalf of non-Christians. Despite the alleged prevalence of Christian complainants, he has never had a Christian plaintiff.
Despite Weinstein’s persecution complex, the US military is not out to produce Christians or a specific kind of Christian. The US military supports the religious free exercise of all of its troops, regardless of their faith–something that is routinely publicly demonstrated in nearly daily events. Weinstein intentionally ignores the military’s support for free exercise of any faith in a prejudicial and misleading attempt to portray Christianity as a favored cause.
Despite Weinstein’s inaccurate characterizations of religious freedom in the military, he still manages to garner attention with his sound bites, sensationalized though they are. He appears to have an insatiable desire for attention–something that is rarely a positive character trait. Ask the parents of any preschooler.