Mikey Weinstein Attacks Air Force Christians for Their Faith
Michael “Mikey” Weinstein recently slammed Christian Air Force officers for the high crime of…being Christian.
His first target was US Air Force Reserve Major Christina “Thumper” Hopper. Hopper’s callsign recalls a few Air Force traditions, playing off both her name and her character. (Thumper was the name of the rabbit in Bambi (get it?), and she was also known for her faith — making her a “Bible thumper.”)
In an innocuous Air Force article about her participation in a triathlon, Thumper talked about how she “measure[d] herself”:
The overarching thing that defines all of my life is my relationship with God. It’s what drives me and makes me passionate about life. The reason and the purpose behind everything I do is to glorify God and to make his name known. If that was removed from my life, I would feel that I have no purpose.
Weinstein — who once said he would give his last drop of blood to defend others’ rights to their faiths, even if they were offensive — berated Thumper and belittled her beliefs:
“Everything”, Major Hopper? Seriously, “Thumper”? So let’s get this straight, Christina – you flew 50 combat missions in Iraq to “glorify God”?
Yes, “Mikey”, she did. Weinstein describes himself as a Jewish agnostic who prays, though he also claims some knowledge of the Christian faith. He appears to have missed the reference to “the chief end of man,” which begins “to glorify God…” Christians try to live their lives so that everything they do brings glory to God. For the Christian fighter pilot, this includes everything from combat missions to paperwork.
Besides disapproving of her faith, Weinstein also accuses Thumper of criminal conduct, accusing her of “pathetic proselytizing” and violating Air Force regulations — based entirely on those four sentences:
While Hopper can be accused of 1st-degree religious zealotry unbecoming of a military leader, the publication of this article also implicates the top brass at Vance in the commission of vile missionary-crusader propagandizing. Hello, yet another violation of Air Force Instruction 1-1, Section 2.12. The compelling governmental interest of ensuring optimal unit cohesion, military readiness good order, morale and discipline, health and safety is thrashed into bloody bits yet again by a proselytizing Air Force officer with the total support of her pathetically complicit chain of command…
Did you catch that? Weinstein said a military officer doing nothing more than mentioning her motivation by faith in a benign public affairs article on fitness endangered the “health and safety” of her unit — therefore, she must be stopped.
How’s that for religious freedom?
Weinstein doesn’t stop there, however. He segues somewhat awkwardly to attacking yet another Christian military officer for the high crime of…being a Christian.
Five years ago, then-Second Lieutenant Austin Krohn wrote an article for OCF called “Passion for Leadership.” Weinstein quotes Krohn saying:
“For me, zealotry almost always conjures up images of freedom fighters throughout history: the Jewish zealots who opposed Rome, the Scottish rebels who opposed Edward I under William Wallace, or our own revolutionaries who fought for the independence of America…
…if there is anything else the Lord has shown me, the battle to become a godly leader is one in which the victor is one of the most blessed in warfare.”
To which Weinstein haughtily retorted:
There you have it, folks: blessed are those who are the most victorious warfare killers. This [is] crusader holy warrior ideology…
Krohn’s article was so benign Weinstein had to manufacture an accusation through creative editing. The text removed in Weinstein’s ellipses gives great context:
A passionate leader is one who never ceases to fight for the men and women he leads. He never stops asking himself what he can do better–how he can improve both himself and those he leads. Many leaders miss this concept under the impression that they already know what they need to do. I believe that the Lord means for us to constantly pursue how to lead better–a battle where the objective is leadership itself.
And if there is anything else the Lord has shown me, the battle to become a godly leader is one in which the victor is one of the most blessed in warfare…
The “battle” to which Krohn referred was leadership, the explicit theme of his article. This passion for leadership is why Mikey Weinstein called Krohn and other military Christians
air crusaders…American holy warriors who are “bombing for Jesus” whilst under the dizzying spell of horrific religious extremist delusions. Further, their fundamentalist Christian, religious training camps and leadership, their “dominionist Christian madrassas” and “Jesus jihadis” so to speak, are key in the consolidation of this fanatical, swiftly growing mainstream presence of religious extremism in the U.S. armed forces.
Weinstein used Krohn’s article as a pull-quote, called it the “latest scandal,” and misattributed it, yet the article has been published for years and appears to have no bearing on current events. Except for an attempt at sensationalized shock value and his general distaste for military Christians, it’s unclear why Weinstein mentioned Krohn at all.
For Hopper, her situation is not unlike that of Chaplain Sonny Hernandez: It’s unclear what inspired Weinstein to dig into a benign local news article. (Though, as with Hernandez, Weinstein had family in the area until fairly recently.)
What did Thumper do wrong? What rule did Austin violate? What possible reason could there be for accusing these two Christian officers of being evidence
of the fundamentalist Christian coup that is unfolding across the United States military[?]
The root of their crime seems to be “serving while Christian” — an offense apparently equal to treason in Weinstein’s mind.
Weinstein’s nearly two thousand-word diatribe against Christians (whose length, disjointed points, and meandering theme seem to indicate it was actually drafted by Chris Rodda) who have the gall to publicly identify with their faith is actually a positive development.
First, it is only the most recent demonstrable evidence of Mikey Weinstein’s specific hatred toward Christianity and his “laser-like” focus on attacking Christians. Better than anyone’s, Weinstein’s own words articulately indict his claims he supports “religious freedom” by any definition. While he will still manage to raise money on the backs of Christian troops from like-minded acolytes, his public intellectual inconsistency will undermine any broader appeal.
Second, Weinstein — who was once jokingly referred to as the de facto Secretary of the Air Force due to his outsized influence and access to military leaders — has been relegated to the status of activist blogger. While there’s nothing wrong with blogging, for Weinstein it’s an indication of how far his star has fallen — not an insignificant issue for a man well-known for the size of his ego. It’s also a positive indication of how far the U.S. military has come in its strides to protect religious freedom from bigoted attacks. Gone is Weinstein’s “bat-signal” and direct line to the Chief of Staff of the Air Force, and gone is the inexplicable attention the mainstream press once gave to Weinstein’s prejudiced vitriol.
If the best Weinstein can muster is an uninspiring blog about military Christians saying they’re Christians — and making a few vitriolic accusations the military has ignored — then military religious freedom has prevailed.
Thumper and Austin, thanks for being an example to others in boldly living out your faith. Your service is an encouragement to other military Christians, fighter pilots, and those that want to be. And by the way, it’s fascinating that Mikey Weinstein was the tool God used to get your stories out in front of far more people than would otherwise have seen them.
Maybe Mikey will end up being a Paul after all.
So whether you eat or drink or whatever you do, do it all for the glory of God.
– 1 Corinthians 10:31
What is the chief End of Man?
Man’s chief End is to glorify God and enjoy Him forever.
– Westminster Shorter Catechism