MASH Star Pontificates on the Military Chaplaincy
Mike Farrell, better known as BJ Hunnicutt of M*A*S*H fame, apparently thinks his “service” with Father Mulcahy qualifies him to speak with authority on the US military chaplaincy. He authored a lengthy piece on the Huffington Post written in the style of Chris Rodda; that is, heavy on vague accusations and light on facts:
Today, a huge percentage of our military chaplains, according to thousands of aggrieved American servicemen and women, present themselves as fevered salesmen for a fundamentalist version of Christianity rather than as simple, caring souls with a willingness to listen and no attached quid pro quo. These religious hucksters see themselves as “government-paid missionaries” and the youth under their domain “as ripe as black bananas.”
Farrell fails to quantify or provide support for his “huge percentage,” and provides no source other than the vague anecdotes of Michael Weinstein’s MRFF “clients.” (Farrell, conveniently enough, is a member of Weinstein’s advisory board.) Farrell is also apparently blind to his own prejudice, calling people who hold beliefs with which he disagrees “hucksters.”
He authoritatively continues:
when evangelizing from a position of authority is used to inspire an aura of “rightness” around one belief system and “wrongness” around all others — and in a military situation to boot — it teeters dangerously on the precipice of fostering a cult…
Conveniently, Farrell cites no example of “evangelizing from a position of authority,” but the accusation is apparently all that matters. As Chris Rodda and Michael Weinstein often do, Farrell continues to say Americans are free to believe as they choose — while simultaneously implying there’s something wrong with ‘certain beliefs held by certain people.’ By implication, “something” must be done about “those people.”
Farrell continues his conspiracy theories to their illogical conclusion, and finally ends with an outright falsehood [emphasis added]:
But while…the Scientologists and their ilk do great harm, they don’t have the power to get the Pentagon to buy rifles with Biblical references on their sights, attach inappropriate, emotionally loaded names like “Crusader” to units, or to issue their religious documents with the official insignia of the U.S. Armed Forces imprinted on the cover and propaganda inside. They can’t order our servicemen and women to distribute their bibles to those of another faith in the country they’re occupying.
Our military leaders can, and they do.
Contrary to Farrell’s ridiculous assertion, no one used any “power” to buy Trijicon scopes because they had “code” Bible references on them. They were purchased because they were quality sights. Similarly, “crusader” imagery and iconography has been around since long before Farrell was a movie-star surgeon, without any connection to any religious beliefs.
Farrell’s vague accusation about “religious documents” seems unconnected to any reality. And no public evidence has ever indicated anyone was ordered to distribute Bibles.
Farrell’s accusation that “military leaders can, and…do” these things is inflammatory and patently false. It seems the MRFF board member was handed Weinstein’s talking points and regurgitated them, banking on his authority as a…TV surgeon?…to lend a weak “legitimacy” to his accusations. As with much of the pedantic vitriol that comes from Weinstein and Chris Rodda of the MRFF, you could replace the word “Christian” in Farrell’s incoherent diatribe with “aliens” and it would carry just as much weight.
Farrell does nothing more than repeat the position of the MRFF: Members of the US military are free to exercise their religion — but if they’re Christian, they’d better be the right kind of Christian.
Otherwise, Weinstein and his sycophants will wring their hands and portray those “wrong” Christians in the worst possible light, hoping those who don’t understand religious freedom — or support the US Constitution’s protection of it — will demand restrictions on beliefs with which they do not agree.
Weinstein has done it before. So long as it earns him attention and money, he’ll do it again.