Mikey Weinstein Launches Annual Prayer Breakfast Fundraising
In what has become a predictable annual event, Michael “Mikey” Weinstein has again begun lodging his regular complaints about prayer breakfasts/luncheons being hosted on military bases or for military audiences around the country.
In January, Weinstein demanded Fort Jackson drop its invitation to Kenneth Copeland, because Mikey Weinstein disapproved of Copeland’s theology.
This month, Weinstein is demanding Whiteman AFB remove the commander’s “endorsement” from the wing’s annual prayer breakfast event announcement.
In the former example, the Army rightfully ignored Weinstein, and the event occurred as planned, despite Weinstein’s desperate pleas.
In the latter example, Weinstein is complaining about the proforma header “On behalf of Brig. Gen. John J. Nichols” that appeared at the top of the announcement, which appeared in the local base paper, the Whiteman Warrior.
Weinstein claims the presence of Gen Nichols’ name represents endorsement, when it actually represents protocol. The invited speaker for the event is the Air Force Chief of Chaplains (MajGen) Dondi Costin. Based on Chaplain Costin’s rank and status, the appropriate “host” for Chaplain Costin is, indeed, the wing commander — not the LtCol chaplain coordinating the event. That’s the way pomp and circumstance work in the Air Force, something former US Air Force Captain Mikey Weinstein seems to have forgotten (or never knew).
Regardless, the presence of Gen Nichols’ name and the formatting and protocol of the announcement do not create “unconstitutional personal endorsement…of [a] religious event,” as Weinstein alleges.
Besides, we’ve all been down this road before — a few times.
In February 2010, Tony Perkins was disinvited from an Air Force prayer breakfast at the Pentagon for what were described as political reasons. (He spoke in support of the law, ironically enough.)
Apparently seeing this as a new opportunity, Mikey Weinstein likewise began targeting prayer breakfast speakers. The first was Franklin Graham just a few months later. Graham was disinvited from the 2010 prayer breakfast at the Pentagon, as Weinstein demanded, because he had spoken the Christian theological view of Islam nine years earlier, in 2001. Rescinding Graham’s invite put the Army in the awkward position of banning a person they had defended in 2003 — over precisely the same criticisms during that year’s prayer breakfast.
In 2013, Weinstein objected to “proselytizing” by Admiral William Lee, but apparently no one even noticed.
In 2014, Weinstein objected to US Army participation in the National Day of Prayer event at the Capitol. The Army patted Weinstein on the head and sent him out to play.
In 2016, a similar complaint connected to Weinstein was made about a prayer breakfast announcement through command channels at Quantico. The Marines brushed it off, and the event went on as scheduled.
At a second event, however, Fort Riley suddenly canceled their prayer breakfast over a mysterious scheduling conflict when Mikey Weinstein complained about invited speaker retired LtGen William “Jerry” Boykin. (The decision by MajGen Wayne Grigsby to acquiesce to Weinstein is said to have contributed to the General’s own firing a few months later.)
In 2017, Weinstein again complained about a prayer breakfast announcement from a base commander — this time, filing an IG complaint. The speaker was, again, Chaplain Costin. Yet, again, the Air Force ignored Weinstein, and the event occurred without incident.
Looking at these issues over the years, it is patently obvious protecting religious freedom isn’t the issue for Weinstein. Weinstein has repeatedly complained about the religious beliefs of the speakers — the content of their theology is the basis for his demands. The very construct of his cries demands the violation of religious freedom, as it requires the US government to act against a private citizen based upon its assessment of their religious faith.
But that’s ok, because Mikey Weinstein doesn’t believe their faith deserves religious freedom. Mikey Weinstein is the one who gets to decide who has the MRFF-approved Right KindTM of beliefs worthy of protection in the United States of America.
Graham in 2010 may have been frag from Perkins, and given the fact Graham had previously spoken at Prayer Breakfasts, that seems likely. Boykin in 2016 may be an outlier, though Boykin admittedly has a large reputation. Apart from those two debatable “victories,” Weinstein has been fruitless over the past 8 years of complaints, yet he continues to make them…every year.
It seems Weinstein has a calendar reminder (or a Google alert for Chaplain Costin) reminding him not to defend religious liberty, but rather to make a fundraising effort each year — using the national prayer breakfast and the National Day of Prayer as his vehicle. Even so, on rare occasion Weinstein finds someone who is ignorant, naïve, or a sucker, and he actually gets what he asks for.
What other explanation could there be for a man who files recurring, frivolous complaints over the same issues year after year?
If it isn’t the money, someone might assume he has a hate-filled personal vendetta against Christianity.
You’ll notice, after all, Mikey Weinstein has never disparaged the non-Christians who have shared the stages with those Christians he’s complained about so much.