Military General Cautioned to Avoid Attending Chapel
Michael “Mikey” Weinstein and his acolytes within the MRFF have long claimed that military officers should not be allowed to even introduce themselves as Christians, claiming that if subordinates had the slightest inkling the officers had religious beliefs, they could “coerce” their subordinates into the faith.
The claim is ridiculous on several levels, not the least of which is the MRFF’s contention that all military subordinates are sycophants.
Further, as noted in Christian Fighter Pilot is not an Oxymoron, the lengths to which a superior would have to go to “hide” his religious faith to meet Weinstein’s demands would be extreme:
How protected [from exposure to an officer’s religion] did I need to be? If I saw my Jewish commander walk out of a Sabbath service, I could be just as uncomfortable as if he’d announced it from his position of authority. Does that mean my commander should not be allowed to attend religious services to protect me from discomfort? Even if he was prevented from attending religious services, I could still find out that he had a religious belief by a variety of other means. To foster a religiously tolerant atmosphere, should my commander be required to have no religious beliefs? If so, wouldn’t military policy then favor those with no religion over those [with]?
As ridiculous as that sounds, it seems at least one General officer was told precisely that. From Skip Ash of the ACLJ:
I spoke about a year ago with a senior general officer who informed me that his predecessor in office had recommended that the incoming General avoid attending chapel services, because his attending chapel could be viewed by an impressionable subordinate as implicitly conveying to him the message that he, too, should attend chapel and, hence, could be considered “coercive.”
Ash astutely notes there are two sides to that coin:
The outgoing officer apparently didn’t consider that that argument cuts both ways—that it was equally as likely that an impressionable subordinate could view the general’s avoidance of chapel as something he was being expected to do and, therefore, “coercive.”
Logically, if one thing a General does could “coerce” his subordinates, then the opposite would be equally likely to do so — including not attending chapel.
The accusation is ridiculous on its face.
Ash explains from whence it came [emphasis added]:
This growing timidity about exercising one’s Constitutional rights is an outgrowth of the increasing militancy of anti-religious groups in this country which couch their fundamental hostility and opposition to religious expression by those in uniform in lofty phrases like “separation of church and state” and “the need to maintain good order and discipline.”
What they are really seeking to do is to chip away relentlessly at the hard-won free exercise and free speech rights all Americans enjoy, including those in uniform. In truth, they really stand for freedom FROM religion.
The goal of Mikey Weinstein and those like him isn’t religious freedom. Those who would tell US troops they must hide their faith not only contravene US military regulations, but also the very protections of the US Constitution.
Weinstein has a personal vendetta against Christianity, and his incessant attacks — what he describes as a “war” — aim to deny religious liberty to those with whom he disagrees.
Can a senior military officer attend chapel? Absolutely. Not only can members of the military attend church — even when their subordinates may seem them do so — the military would probably benefit if more did.