“Freedom” Group Takes Threatening Stance Against Troops

Michael Weinstein’s Military Religious Freedom Foundation publicly prides itself on its self-proclaimed “defense of the Constitution,” but its recent response to a critic defies its own description.

A detractor emailed the MRFF defending the “christian concert coming to FT Bragg [sic],” previously discussed here.  The MRFF published the message, as it frequently does, and its response was telling.

Rick Baker, an MRFF “regional coordinator,” said 

Government is prohibited by the constitution [sic] from favoring, advancing or proselytizing any particular relgion [sic] over another or religion over non-religion.

Though somewhat simplified, that statement is generally correct.  However, in the very next sentence Baker said

Therefore the concert at Ft. Bragg is blatantly unconstitutional.

As is standard MRFF practice, Baker fails to support the incomprehensible and illogical jump with any facts, or even a superficial explanation.  Instead, Baker begins to mix metaphors and state inaccurate “facts” that have been explicitly countered by the Army:

Christians, led by a maverick Chaplain and enabled by unthinking commanders, have stolen the constitutionally guaranteed right to freedom of religion by co-opting Non-Christians and Non-believers rights to decline such a formation under peer and command pressure.

You and others of your persuasion have violated not only military and constitutional law but have placed your fellow soldiers in an uncompromising position.

No one has publicly complained of any kind of “pressure” to attend any event at Fort Bragg.  In fact, commanding general LtGen Frank Helmick has specifically said that was not the case.  Baker also fails to cite the source of his claim that there is a Constitutional protection from “peer pressure,” though thousands of adolescents around the country would likely love to know it.  Finally, Baker demonstrates a complete lack of understanding of the US Constitution when he accuses the critic — who identified himself as a servicemember — of “violat[ing]…constitutional law.” 

Notice, too, that the MRFF believes Christians are committing this ‘crime;’ they have dropped all of Weinstein’s previous pretense of being “at war” with only a “sect” of Christianity. 

Apparently because his position is so intellectually untenable, Baker stoops to threatening language to deter his critic, who had done nothing more than disagree with the opposition to the concert:

Since your letter appears to encourage unconstitutional activities, I am requesting that it be forwarded to the Secretary of Defense and the Justice Department for disposition.

Seriously?  A non-profit “charitable” organization’s response to someone who (peacefully and even politely) disagrees with their position is to refer the letter to the Justice Department?  The government’s “disposition” would probably be the “deleted items” folder of the “crazy conspiracy theories” file.  Baker evidently thinks freedoms protected by the Constitution apply only to those who agree with him.

Weinstein’s MRFF, an organization claiming to defend the Constitution, continues to display appalling Constitutional ignorance (as it has before).

Interestingly, the military’s fairly firm response to complaints over this and previous events — publicly defending the Constitutionality of the institution’s actions — may yet be a positive trend.  It seems the military is forcefully defending the virtues of its people and their rights under the Constitution, even if their exercise of those rights might not sit well with some groups.  That is an entirely defensible, and laudable, course of action.

Perhaps as a result of that “push back,” Weinstein’s “freedom” group apparently now feels the need to intimidate US troops to stifle their brazen opposition.