Weinstein Reveals Vendetta in Demanding Removal of “Cross”
Michael Weinstein is truly the gift that keeps on giving. His latest attempt at infamy is to say that a red cross appearing on a military hospital’s emblem
violate[s] the constitutional requirement for separation of church and state and should be removed.
Apparently Weinstein has missed the long, international history of the cross in military medical use, as well as the US military’s equivalent treatment of Islam and Judaism that would allegedly “violate…separation of church and state,” pictured below.
Weinstein also objects to the emblem’s motto “pro deo et humanitate” or “for God and humanity,” despite the military’s description of the phrase as pre-dating Christianity.
The maroon cross, emblem of mercy, service and physical care, stands for the Medical Activity. The base of the cross is pointed or “fitche”, a heraldic term, which had its origin in the spike attached to the foot of the cross, carried by pilgrims during the Middle Ages. The spike was struck into the ground, fixing the cross in an upright position to mark the location selected for encampment.
Weinstein said this explanation was
a reference to the Crusades and could embolden U.S. enemies who want to portray the war on terror as a Christian war on Islam.
“This continues to add more fodder to the argument that we are Crusaders,” Weinstein said. “It’s exactly what fundamentalist Muslims want.”
The entire episode is an example of poor research, hypersensitive selective outrage, and ignorance.
First, Weinstein picked the wrong unit about which to complain. The Evans Army Community Hospital is not a combat support unit; it is an obscure building in Colorado. The only reason anyone outside of Fort Carson knows about an “offensive” emblem is because Weinstein announced it. Why does Weinstein think “fundamentalist Muslims” would be upset by a building on the outskirts of Colorado Springs? If a military building in Colorado Springs was going to “add fodder” to Weinstein’s argument, it would seem the blatantly Christian Air Force Academy chapel, with its 50 foot tall cross, would be far more offensive.
The emblem was the wrong one for another reason: there are other units with far more “interesting” symbology. After all, the cross is ubiquitous in military medical units, owing to the fact that the cross, along with the crescent and “crystal,” are internationally recognized symbols of medical care. As a result, Army units have a veritable plethora of crosses in their emblems, including the Lorraine and Maltese crosses, which may also have the fitche. Units also use the phrase “God heals him” and “I shall conquer by the cross” on their emblems, referring to their medical mission. One emblem is in the shape of a Spanish mission. In less than five minutes of research Weinstein could have had a far more interesting — if no more legitimate — emblem over which to complain.
Second, Weinstein finds offense at what he says is a “crusader” (ie, Christian) reference, despite a contrary Army explanation, yet ignores symbols from other religions — at least one of which the Army specifically describes for what it is.
The Army has mosques in its official emblems and patches (and admits they are mosques in the official description):
as well as Stars of David:
America’s terrorist adversaries hate the United States for all it represents. Yet they hate Israel even more. Why does Weinstein not claim these emblems ‘endanger American lives?’
The Army also has emblems with the Taj Mahal, Pegasus, Griffin, Pallas (the Greek god of war), centaurs, dragons, a Japanese Torii (from a Shinto shrine), gauntlets, a Jewish shofar (at least it looks like one, which is Weinstein’s only criterion), a crescent moon, Michael the Archangel, and even the Buddhist Dharmachakra.
Despite the wide variety of imagery in the US military, Weinstein has never said anything but Christian ones were unConstitutional. He never demanded the neutralization of other symbols, despite the equivalent likelihood they would imply an “unConstitutional” endorsement of Hinduism, Islam, Judaism, Greek mythology, or Buddhism.
For a man who claims to be driven by “religious freedom,” why does he single out Christianity for restriction, yet ignore all others? The answer is simple. On his own website Weinstein says he created his organization in order to
directly battle the evangelical, fundamentalist religious right.
The words “religious freedom” don’t even appear on the page; they are extraneous, and a politically correct framing of his true agenda, which is to “battle” Christians.
For those that may wonder, yes, Weinstein and his assistant Chris Rodda use this site for research. Yes, they may complain about the other elements of Christianity listed here, about which they were apparently unaware. The point isn’t to hide public symbology from their attempt at a heckler’s veto; it is to highlight their lunacy.
There is nothing wrong with any of the symbology on US military emblems. Neither the Constitution nor US law forbid association — no matter how slight or incorrectly perceived — between the US military and an image that might be perceptible as religious in origin or content. There are literally hundreds, if not thousands, of official and unofficial patches and unit emblems with similar symbology; these patches are worn — with pride — by hundreds of thousands of American servicemembers, of every faith and no faith. They represent a long and honorable American military heritage, not a subversive one. That Weinstein thinks some form of symbology someone might think was somehow related to religion is prohibited does not make it so. Weinstein’s feeling of Constitutional “offense” is unfounded — and as a lawyer, he likely knows it.
The US military no more endorses Christianity than it does the Pink Panther. Its unit emblems and patches no more give the impression of crusade than they do the impression of pillage and rape. It does not endorse Boeing nor Lockheed Martin. To assert any such thing is to depart from reality.
Weinstein believes — apparently sincerely, even if not sanely — that Christians are trying to take over the country. These “Christian” unit emblems and markers dating to World War I and earlier, then, are all part of some interwoven, century-long Christian conspiracy to take over America. One of these secret symbols may yet be the smoking gun proving the MRFF’s stated belief in an American “shadow government” led by James Dobson and Dick Cheney. It’s like a bizarro MRFF version of Nicolas Cage’s National Treasure, except the goal is to undermine the Constitution, not protect it, and it is Weinstein who drove the expensive cars instead of Riley (who, in this B-movie production, is apparently played by a woman).
Weinstein is simply trolling the military for a cause, banking on a hypersensitivity to Christianity to further his personal political vendetta. To the general public, he may present a “shocking” allegation. To those who do a few minutes of research, his complaint over a red cross on a medical emblem simply presents the picture of a fool.