USAFA, Cadets for Christ Victims of Weinstein’s Hypocrisy

Chris Rodda, research assistant for Michael Weinstein’s Military Religious Freedom Foundation, recently guest-posted the MRFF’s latest salvo against “Cadets for Christ,” an Air Force Academy Christian cadet group Weinstein wants banned.  The self-described Research Director can’t even get basic facts correct.

The MRFF apparently has copies of emails sent from Don and Anna Warrick asking the recipients to send letters of support for Cadets for Christ to the Chaplains at USAFA.  The USAFA Chaplains had indicated they had received letters both supporting and criticizing the group.  Rodda summarizes

The nine letters opposing the ministry were not solicited, but presumably just sent by people who had read about what Cadets for Christ had done to the Baas family. The thirty-five in support of the ministry, on the other hand, were solicited by Don Warrick in an October 31 email…

Note Rodda gives a benefit of the doubt to those supporting her position, but adamantly declares the letters of support were a direct result of an October 31 email.

She’s wrong, as less than five minutes of “research” demonstrates.

In an article dated October 7th, more than three weeks before Rodda’s ‘incriminating’ email, Pam Zubeck of the Colorado Springs Independent said this:

Academy chaplains have received nine complaints and 10 letters of appreciation about Cadets for Christ…all within the past six weeks.

Rodda attempts to characterize the support for Cadets for Christ as an organized and forced campaign, when the support for the group outnumbered the detractors long before she excitedly learned of the CfC email.  Rodda protests further:

the Air Force Academy has apparently decided to base its decision on whether or not to take proper action regarding Cadets for Christ on a “vote”…

No one said any such thing, nor does Rodda provide any evidence to support her accusation (as is her common practice).  In fact, Rodda carefully omitted an important detail that may actually reveal upon what basis the Academy could take “proper action:”

Last week, Lauren’s mother Jean Baas said USAFA head chaplain Col. Robert Bruno asked her to provide evidence of unconstitutional proselytizing…

The Academy is being accused of wrongdoing.  When asked for actionable evidence, no one provides any.  Now (after the fact), these letters are said to be “proof” of “proselytizing,” though its unclear how letters addressed to a Chaplain could be converting anyone.

One of MRFF’s supporting allies, the left-leaning California Council of Churches, continued the group’s practice of making unsupported accusations:

We are writing in protest of the preferential treatment being given by the Air Force Academy to Cadets for Christ…While we pass no judgement [sic] on belief, we are called to pass most critical judgement [sic] on actions…

Yet they never provide evidence of preferential treatment, nor do they cite impermissible actions.  The only actions cited to date have been the voluntary decision by an adult member of the military to exercise her religious freedom and participate in a particular belief system.

Neither Rodda nor the CCC say why that former cadet, now an Air Force officer, should have been denied her religious freedom, except that they disagree with the beliefs of the group.

Weinstein, true to character, is now seething:

MRFF founder and president Mikey Weinstein called the USAFA’s move “a new level of deception and malfeasance.”

“They’re using tabulated numbers to convince our clients that there is no problem,” Weinstein said…

The great irony is that Weinstein is criticizing his own methods.  His entire organization is predicated on “agitation,” citing complaints from within to support his pleas for funds to fight “in the courts and in the media.”  His assaults against the military regularly threaten to ‘take this to CNN.’  His own press releases repeatedly emphasize the number of undefined “clients” his organization has, or how many “anonymous” complainants he represents.  Weinstein knows numbers matter; he’s simply seeing his own medicine at work: public relations.

Weinstein is also a master solicitor himself.  In 2007 Weinstein was so desperate for a plaintiff to be a vehicle for his lawsuit that he put out an ad.  His website contains a plea for people to “be on the lookout” for awards he can be given (the MRFF will provide the necessary data, of course) explicitly so his organization can garner publicity…and money:

MRFF and Mikey Weinstein…are honored to receive any nomination or award, as they not only help to spread MRFF’s vital message, but also help with efforts to raise critically-needed funding.

Please be on the lookout for any awards that MRFF could be nominated for, whether they’re national awards or specific to a local region or city. Once you inform us of the award’s existence, if you desire to nominate MRFF or Mikey, we can provide any information or materials that you may require.

Weinstein also repetitively hypes the “nominations” the MRFF has received for the Nobel Peace Prize.  Those eligible to make such nominations are varied, but they include college level Philosophy instructors — among whom Weinstein has counted allies — and former recipients of the award — one of whom is on Weinstein’s own board.  With Weinstein on the hunt for awards, publicity, and money, and with direct access to eligible nominators, it should be no great shock his organization has been nominated — or that he repeatedly cites those nominations in his fundraising appeals and news releases.

In short, the most recent criticisms of Cadets for Christ raise no new issues.  Weinstein, Rodda, and company have complained of the content of a religious group’s beliefs, but have cited no favoritism, improper conduct, or impermissible “proselytizing.”  These unsubstantiated complaints against the beliefs of a group are from the same organization who claims their

continuing mission [is] fostering a climate of absolute religious freedom and acceptance throughout our armed forces.

“Absolute,” except when its religious freedom for, or acceptance of, Christianity.

In this instance, Weinstein has apparently made another bid to stay in the press, meeting his primary goals of publicity and fundraising…at the cost of the religious freedom he claims to defend.


  • A quick ctrl-f for the word “Sheep” turns up no mention here. Why not mention that sordid, and extremely valid facet of the story, i.e. the CFC is working to destroy women and remove skilled fighters from our nation’s armed forces. That last sounds like treason to me.

  • So you support the denigration of women and their characterisation as “sheep”, subject to their “shepherd”? You support the active brainwashing of female cadets to make them abandon careers as pilots?
    “God and Country”?
    God, poor country.

  • I have updated my post that […] has quoted here to add the words “Most of” before the words “the thirty-five letters,” and posted the following comments on the blog that my post was originally posted on.


    OK, I just read self-described* Air Force officer […] (a.k.a. JD) post on his “Christian Fighter Pilot” blog, and this is his problem with the numbers: It was reported in a Colorado paper on October 7 that some of the letters about Cadets for Christ were sent to the Academy prior to Don Warrick’s October 31 email. So, some of the thirty-five weren’t a direct result of that one particular email. But this wasn’t the Warrick’s first email. As I said in my post, this story has been going on for the better part of the year, and heated up over the summer. I have other emails that the Warricks sent out, like the one that I said in my post is from mid-October. I don’t have an exact date for that one because it was forwarded to me without the header, but it was sent out sometime between September 28 (the date of MRFF’s first letter to the Sec. of Defense mentioning Cadets for Christ) and October 19 (the date someone sent it to me). Not that it changes the fact that Cadets for Christ has been soliciting these letters or really makes a difference exactly when every letter was received, but if this post hasn’t been published on Huffington Post yet (I submitted it last night), I’ll go and reword that sentence. If it’s already up on HuffPost I’m just going to leave it and let JD pat himself on the back for finding an inconsequential discrepancy that he thinks he can use to dismiss the entire story.

    *JD apparently thinks it’s oh-so-clever to always describe me in various ways that indicate that he doesn’t consider my job at MRFF to be a real job. In the first paragraph of his blog post today, I’m referred to as Mikey’s “research assistant” and “self-described Research Director.” My actual title is “Senior Research Director.” It even says so on my business cards. Personally, I would prefer “Minister of Information,” but I didn’t get to pick the title of my position.


    OK, I caught my post before it was published on HuffPost, and changed “The thirty-five” to “Most of the thirty-five,” both there and here. Thank you SO much, JD, for alerting me to this critical error that could have made … well … absolutely no difference in my post.

    Edited by Admin

  • While your concession is noted, the above discussion highlights the fact your actions are part of a trend. You and your organization routinely make accusations without any proof or reasonable basis, and in fact have continued to do so even in the face of evidence to the contrary — even by your own admission. Your organization and its representatives have consistently made accusations that were demonstrably false, as this was.

    You are so emotionally invested in advancing your cause your organization has played loose with the truth, time and again.

    In this case, there was contrary evidence and you conceded, but all you’ve done is highlight your own lack of credibility.

    If you can’t be trusted to communicate honestly when facts are readily available, why should anyone believe you when you make conclusive accusations (as above), or cite anonymous (or no) sources — as you most often do?

    As part of the MRFF, you’ve just proven the hyperbolic, unsubstantiated accusations of the MRFF can’t be taken at face value, and in fact should be viewed incredulously, because they’re likely wrong or misrepresented.

  • No.. you are right, she missed the word “most”. That makes them far less reliable than someone who quotes the Liar Tony Perkins, or who says that Christians have a clear moral line.

  • And of course, you NEVER cite anonymous sources. You just cite people who cite anonymous sources.

  • Donalbain,

    If you read what was actually written, the critique wasn’t “citing anonymous sources.” The critique was credibility. She didn’t “miss” the word “most.” She left it out because she failed to do a few minutes of elementary research; she then made an (incorrect) assumption, and she conveyed her assumption as unqualified fact. This poor research and presentation of incorrect or unsubstantiated “facts” is, as noted, a common theme for the MRFF.

    Had there not been another news article, no one would have known that Rodda had no basis in fact for her characterization of the letters supporting the group. Yet everyone took her at her word.

    Credibility is key to the MRFF cause. For example, Rodda just accused the USAFA Chaplain of “complicity,” but said

    Col. Bruno’s complicity in this is one of the things that I’m most disgusted by. (I’m not sure if I’m allowed to publicly give the details of exactly what has transpired regarding this aspect of things just yet, so I’ll have to leave it at that for now.)

    Such innuendo and fabricated intrigue is commonplace from the MRFF. If Rodda can’t be trusted to convey publicly available information without twising it to support her position, why should anyone now believe her accusation against the Chaplain that he was “complicit?”

  • Chaplains can’t make a value judgment on what constitutes a “cult” and what doesn’t. If someone’s religious practices are legal and not prejudicial to good order and discipline, then the chaplains will accommodate that person’s requests for accommodation. That applies equally whether someone’s Christian, Hindu, Pagan, etc.

    The core issue here is a religious schism between two parents and their daughter. The parents have chosen to drag the Air Force Academy into this dispute — unjustly, in my opinion.

  • Isn’t the issue the claim that there is an organisation on the base that is trying to persaude cadets to leave the military? If that claim is correct, I would say there is a major problem..

  • Don,

    Want to give a dumb pilot some more details on the claim there is a base organization that is persuading cadets to leave? I haven’t seen any information to back your statement.

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