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.