Weinstein Recycles Material to Sell Book on Religious Freedom

Michael Weinstein took a pay cut in 2010, so it looks like he felt the need to write a book to try to make up the difference.  He wrote an “op-ed” printed on the Washington Post website, though it was characterized by a fairly solid theme:  No new material, except for hawking Weinstein’s book.

It was refreshing, in some respects, to see Weinstein eschew the subtlety of some of his supporters and just come right out and say he and his “religious freedom” group are targeting Christians: 

The [US] military ranks have been inundated by dangerous, fundamentalist, evangelical Christian fanaticism.

…a Christian Fundamentalist tsunami which has sowed division and bigotry.

He did tweak the descriptor just one time, but only in reference to the US Air Force Academy (quotation marks original):

the prevailing “dominion” fundamentalist Christian supremacy at the academy.

More interesting, however, were the examples he chose to use as his support for “military-imposed religious predation.”   The vast majority were old news, begging the question of why he would bother to bring them up — especially if they’ve been reviewed (both by the military and the media) and are generally considered closed.  For example,

Disabled Navy veterans being aggressively and involuntarily proselytized in VA hospitals while hooked up to heart monitoring devices.

That description neatly fits the story of Akiva David Miller, a volunteer for the MRFF, from a complaint he lodged in 2005.  Weinstein neglects to mention that particular complaint was resolved, according to Miller.  Of course, Weinstein did use the plural, so perhaps there’s another Navy veteran with the same story, though there hasn’t been one publicly.

Air Force pilots being stripped of their wings for failing to adhere to mandatory Christian prayers.

That seems to be a reference to David Horn, who claims he was FEB’d (brought before a flying evaluation board) and “stripped of [his] wings” for a newspaper column he wrote critical of military prayers.  (For the record, FEBs only evaluate…flying.)  That was before 2008.  Again, Weinstein uses the plural, though there are no other public stories to that effect.

Army and Marine recruits being savagely beaten for refusing to renounce their minority faith and converting to Christianity.

It’s difficult to know to what Weinstein is referring here.  Weinstein did represent a Jewish Army basic trainee in 2008, but there was no indication conversion had anything to do with his assault.

He may also refer to David Winters, a Marine from a Jewish family whom Michael Weinstein says was forced to convert to Christianity in basic training — though local news reports indicated Winters was actually interested in Islam.  Winters returned home and killed his father.  Again, Weinstein referred to multiple “spiritual rape” victims.

The Air Force being caught infusing its official nuclear missile launch officer training with “End Times” Armageddon biblical citations and accompanying justifications.

That’s Weinstein’s gross mischaracterization of the ethics class he found out about last year — but which has been occurring for on the order of 20 years.

Almost 1 million rifle scopes branded with New Testament biblical citation.

That’s just asinine.  The scopes were created by the manufacturer; their serial numbers, where the “secret codes” were found, were a Trijicon tradition and had nothing to do with surreptitious military motivations.  Note Weinstein carefully tells the story to fit his agenda when he uses the redundant “New Testament biblical citation,” which, while sounding more “Christian,” is actually inaccurate, since the scopes also had Old Testament references on them.

Perhaps that was an innocent error, though.  Among other overused literary devices, Weinstein has an affinity for “old sayings.”  There’s one that applies to Weinstein:

Never attribute to malice that which is adequately explained by stupidity.

The simple fact remains if there really was irrefutable evidence of “religious predation” in the US military, as Weinstein claims, he would be winning.  Instead, he’s “#winning” — like watching NASCAR for the wrecks, Weinstein is watched more for “the crazy” than any agreement with his cause.  Weinstein has lost all four of the lawsuits he’s filed trying to assert what he now says in the Washington Post (and his book, presumably).  Then, after his lawsuits failed to survive the motion to dismiss, he apparently had such confidence in his clients’ cases he promptly dropped them: Having benefited from the shock publicity of the initial lawsuit, he left his pawns — members of the US military — flapping in the proverbial breeze.

Of course, to Weinstein the lack of actual facts to defend his accusations is just further support for his conspiracy theories that Christians are trying to take over the US military — and then the world — apparently to institute a second Holocaust

If he’s going to vent crazy, he might as well write it down and try to make some money from it, too.  Wonder if his book comes with a tinfoil hat insert.

Much of the Op-Ed was verbatim text from his prior poetic soliloquies, demonstrating how little new material he chose to write.  Actually, to be fair, he did change a few words:  he toned down “rape” with “molestation,” and he pulled the word “vagina,” leaving “female” to stand on its own this time.  Wonder if that was at the insistence of the Post, or if even he appreciated the ridiculous use of those words.

As an aside, despite claiming he is David to the Air Force Goliath, Weinstein seems to claim a fair number of high ranking allies in the US Air Force — particularly within the faculty at the US Air Force Academy.  That makes this comment on his Op Ed particularly interesting:

There’s no way to prove this comment is actually from an officer, of course, but all of Weinstein’s “sources” are anonymous, as well.

No story about Weinsteinian Persecution would be complete without a lawyer’s intervention, however.  It turns out a local Albuquerque bookstore declined to host a book-signing for Weinstein.  Weinstein’s lawyers served them with a letter “threatening legal action.”  That apparently did the trick, and the bookstore reversed their original decision.  If at first you don’t succeed, have your lawyer write a threatening letter…

One of the reasons the bookstore declined?  They sold “zero copies” of Weinstein’s last book.