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.


  • You misspelled “Hunnicutt.”

  • Farrell served in the US Marine Corps in the 1950s.

  • JD says:

    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.”

    What Farrell and MRFF are working to eliminate in the armed forces is not the right kind of Christian but the wrong kind of Christian. MRFF’s entire campaign against religious hegemony stems from the actions of the growing militant sect of Christianity known as “Dominion Christians.”

    This group and a number of support organizations are trying to convert non-Christians
    in the military and upgrade existing Christians to a higher level of obedience and deference to Dominionists.

    The military is currently plagued with a number of these Christian Dominionists, some in positions of responsibility and command. Command centered and coercive Christian proselytizing has become commonplace as is confirmed by the over 29,000 complaints MRFF has received from our young men and women in the armed forces.

    In league with these Dominionists are Christian religious organizations such as the Officer’s Christian Fellowship that claims that they are helping to make military members “Government paid missionaries for Jesus Christ.” Others, like Campus Crusade for Christ military mission produce vast amounts of Christian dominated propaganda and seelk to draw military members to services, bible studies and other Christian activities.

    It is not Farrell and MRFF trying to gut the military of practicing Christians but rather to purge the destructive and illegal Christan Dominionsts who abrogate the US Constitution every day. Please report any incidents of coercive Christian activities in the armed forces to MRFF.

  • @Richard

    What Farrell and MRFF are working to eliminate in the armed forces is not the right kind of Christian but the wrong kind of Christian…

    Its refreshing to see an MRFF volunteer publicly state Weinstein’s personal vendetta.

    As you clearly state, Michael Weinstein has made it his purpose in life to decide who the “right” Christians are and who the “wrong” Christians are — and then attempt to influence the US government to restrict which ones get to serve while the others are “eliminated” from the US military.

    In what twisted universe could someone possibly consider that a good thing? Can’t you remember the last time a government decided it needed to single out those who held certain religious beliefs?

    It’s obvious why Weinstein does it. For you, it seems your prejudice against Christianity has blinded you to the concepts of the American Constitution and human liberty — and history.

  • @JD
    I can assure you, JD, that I am not blinded to the concepts of the American Constitution or that of human liberty, nor do I or MRFF decide who is a wrong or right Christian. Ye shall know them by their fruits. By their acts, Dominion Christians identify themselves.

    It was not I or those of my ilk that tortured women and children during the inquisitions. It was not me but the Christian Conquistadors who committed genocide against North and South American indigenous natives. It was not of my doing that thousands of Carribean natives were raped and enslaved by Christians led by Christopher Columbus. I had nothing to do with the Christian Pogroms against Jews in Russia where thousands of Jews were raped and killed by Russian Christians. I was not involved in the 5 great Christian Crusades against Islam in which millions were mutilated and killed. I had no knowledge of Christian Fascists who conspired to kill over 6 million Jews and countless others in the Holocaust. All of these “Christians” were the wrong Christians just as you, JD are a “wrong” Christian.”

    We will ferret out the “wrong Christians,” not by our standards but by those universal standards by which all human beings must survive.

    The tyranny of Dominion Christianity will be defeated just as all religious hegemony in the past has been addressed and has been dealt with.

  • Looks like JD corrected his spelling error. (He had originally spelled Hunnicutt as “Honeycut.”)