Chris Rodda, MRFF Attack Military Chaplains — For Being Christian

Executive Summary: In their personal complaints about military chaplains, Mikey Weinstein and his MRFF clearly demonstrate their antagonism toward religious beliefs — particularly, Christian beliefs — they don’t like. This again supports the position that correspondence from the MRFF should be viewed with the skeptical eye that such complaints are motivated by an intolerant and discriminatory viewpoint inconsistent with the military’s support of diversity and religious freedom.

roddaprofChris Rodda, the research assistant for Michael “Mikey” Weinstein’s MRFF, is nothing if not predictable. Yesterday she posted an extraordinarily long essay railing against US military chaplains, largely centered around Mikey Weinstein’s attack on chaplains and endorsers at the end of July, an attack that was roundly rebutted by the ACLJ.  (While it’s not worth the read, Rodda’s novella can be found here.)

However, part way through Rodda digressed from her presumed thesis, as she often does, to personally attack another Air Force officer unrelated to that event: Chaplain Sonny Hernandez.

Rodda revealed the MRFF has for months been harassing Air Force Chief of Chaplains (MajGen) Dondi Costin, complaining about Chaplain Hernandez. The MRFF has claimed [emphasis added] 

  • Chaplain Hernandez’s views are so extreme that…“he would deduce that I was lost and going to hell…”
  • Hernandez “has displayed a firm belief that all [chaplains] that do not fit into his idea of the ‘true mission’…are going to hell.”
  • “Hernandez…espous[es] his dangerous views that a military [chaplain’s] primary focus must be ‘the mission field’…Such a thought by any US Military Chaplain of any branch is wrong, if not outright dangerous.”
  • “What [Hernandez] is espousing publicly is repugnant…”

Chris Rodda and Mikey Weinstein are pestering Chaplain Costin to take action against Chaplain Hernandez because they do not like what he thinks. They do not like his views.

Rodda and Weinstein do not like the chaplain’s beliefs.

The MRFF — a group that collects charitable donations to defend “religious freedom” — is demanding the US military take action against a chaplain because they do not like his religion.

While many who are similarly anti-Christian will certainly continue to support the MRFF, can anyone who truly believes in religious freedom honestly continue to back such bigotry?

If such hatred and calls for restricting liberty of thought and belief don’t disqualify Mikey Weinstein and Chris Rodda from speaking on religion and religious liberty in the US military, it’s unclear what else would.

Besides her general attack on religious liberty, Rodda also ignorantly attacked Chaplain Hernandez’s encouragement to a “Gospel-centered man” who wants to be a chaplain, with Rodda calling the male reference him “opposing equality for women.” She apparently didn’t realize she had simultaneously indicted not only a substantial number of Christian chaplains, but also every single Catholic and Muslim US military chaplain, whose religious faiths do not endorse females to the military chaplaincy. Didn’t think that through there, did you, champ?

And therein lies an important point:  If the MRFF were to be successful in convincing the US military to pick and choose which religious beliefs should be allowed, what’s to say they’d stop with Christian ones?  Constitutional and legal protections of religious liberty protect everyone.  Undermine them to target one disfavored religious view, though, and they’ll ultimately protect no one.

And note, too, that this isn’t limited to chaplains.  There are hundreds of thousands of Christians in the US military — many of whom share the religious faith of Chaplain Hernandez and other chaplains like him.  What of their religious liberty?  How would the military’s support for diversity and tolerance be affected if the “diverse” religious views of such a large number of troops were no longer “tolerated”?

It is disturbing to know that an activist group has been attempting to influence military leadership over the religious beliefs of its troops.  If there’s encouragement in Rodda’s verbose bombast, however, it is her admission that Chaplain Costin hasn’t responded to the MRFF’s incessant nagging. Presumably, Chaplain Costin sees the hatred and religious discrimination Mikey Weinstein and his group are advocating — and realizes doing what they want would be against military regulations and the spirit, if not the letter, of the US Constitution.

The only remaining thing that would be helpful for senior military leaders to do is proactively remind their subordinate staffs of the same thing. Sometimes, the knowledge that “the Boss” is getting hate mail from Mikey Weinstein about one of your officers can be enough to inspire a well-meaning leader to take action to try to “relieve” the conflict, even at the cost of what right looks like.

Having the Boss weigh in and tell his subordinate chain that they needn’t be motivated by a desire to placate Weinstein, but rather by a desire to protect the religious liberty of their troops, could go a long way to making sure everyone in the chain does the right thing, and for the right reasons.

Also referenced at the Christian Post.