Michael Weinstein Endorses Homophobic Website in Rant

Michael Weinstein, who runs his self-styled Military Religious Freedom Foundation “charity,” recently endorsed a “horrendously homophobic” website — at least, according to his own standards.

Last week, Weinstein complained that the US Air Force Academy had linked to a website called JewFAQ.  The page it linked to was benign, and did exactly what the USAFA page intended, explaining the religious holiday in question.  On other pages, however, the website had the gall to describe teachings from the Talmud.  Though this might have shocked Weinstein — a self-described “Jewish agnostic” — most normal readers were not likely surprised to read Jewish beliefs on a Jewish website.

Weinstein and his acolytes took particular umbrage with one reference, however.  Quoth Weinstein: 

[The website] includes a speciously hideous comparison of the originating cause of homosexuality to that of kleptomania. This disgrace is an open slap in the face to all lesbian, gay, and bisexual USAFA cadets, faculty, and staff.

In fact, the website actually says

I have seen some modern Orthodox sources suggest that if homosexuality is truly something hardwired in the brain, as most gay activists suggest, then a man who acts upon that desire is not morally responsible for his actions, but I am not sure how wide-spread that opinion is. In any case, it is not quite as liberal a position as some would have you believe: essentially, it is equivalent to saying that a kleptomaniac would not be held morally responsible for stealing.

Weinstein’s disciples then piled on with anonymous emails:

Saying that I am like a “kleptomaniac” because I am gay is so low that it does not deserve a reply by caring people. Thak [sic] you and the MRFF for taking up this fight…

What would Weinstein have had USAFA do differently?  Near the beginning of his diatribe, he said [emphasis added]

USAFA uses horrendously homophobic uncredentialed website to reference Jewish holidays, alongside usage of the reputable and well-known About.com to reference Christian holidays.

In an attempt to frame the incident as Christian favoritism, Weinstein endorsed About.com as “reputable and well-known,” implying Christians were treated “better” because their link went to a good website.  But guess what About.com says in its “Ask the Rabbi” section on the Jewish perspective on homosexuality?

There may be a predisposition toward homosexuality for some, but there exist many such predispositions…Imagine a “kleptomaniac” who could only find fulfillment by stealing from other people. How would society respond? Although we’d be sympathetic and concerned for the individual, we still would not be able to tolerate behavior that’s destructive to society. This behavior is wrong and, with effort controllable.

So, Weinstein’s MRFF did exactly what he claimed USAFA did — in fact, he did worse, as he actually endorsed the website that linked to something he said was “speciously hideous” and an “open slap in the face” to homosexuals.  Granted, it might not be his fault:  it wouldn’t be the first time the MRFF put its foot in Weinstein’s mouth at the hands of his research assistant, Chris Rodda.  Weinstein’s affront also comes despite having his own “Director of LGBT Affairs” in Edith Disler — a long-time MRFF advocate and retired Air Force Lieutenant Colonel who last taught at the Air Force Academy — though she was removed from teaching after her cadets complained she invited homosexuals to address her English class.

It seems Weinstein can’t hold himself to the same standard he demands of others, not that this is a surprise.

Notably, whether intentionally or not, Weinstein’s complaint supports his greater vendetta against religious freedom in the US military.  In essence, Weinstein is trying to lay the foundation for the US military to judge religious beliefs in opposition to homosexuality as inconsistent with “good order and discipline.”  While it has yet to do so, this is not the first time Weinstein has tried to get the US military to officially disavow — or even punish — statements of religious belief by US military members with regard to homosexuality.

For now, the simple fact remains that traditional religious beliefs in Judaism, Christianity, and Islam disagree with the social normalizing of homosexuality.  If Weinstein gets his way, those who have those religious beliefs would be restricted from expressing those beliefs — or, more dramatically, Weinstein would have them drummed out of the military merely for holding those beliefs.  He has been woefully unsuccessful so far, but should the military blink and take action against a servicemember for their religious beliefs, he will have his springboard for future fundraising…er, activism.

Quite the goal for a “religious freedom” advocate, no?  To their credit, the PDF file remains present on the USAFA website, for the time being, and hasn’t been withdrawn or altered merely because Weinstein threw a tantrum.

It is also notable, of course, that Weinstein went over Gen Gould’s head, directly to the General in charge of the entire US Air Force.  It seems Weinstein thinks Gen Welsh will be more receptive than Gen Gould — which might be understandable, given the fact USAFA already did this dance several years ago, and long ago stopped playing to Weinstein’s fiddle.

Still, given the amount of complaining Weinstein and his advocates do directly to the Chief, it would seem Weinstein thinks Gen Welsh has nothing on his plate more important than corresponding with him — in this case, over a hyperlink in an obscure distribution in a single unit.  Given the state of the military, the government, and the world right now, that seems unlikely.