David Barton Speaks at Military Prayer Breakfast, and Chris Rodda Doesn’t Notice
After Michael “Mikey” Weinstein recently decried the National Prayer Breakfasts at both Fort Jackson and Whiteman AFB, one might have thought US troops were stumbling over each other to beg for his help in the face of religious oppression and pancakes.
In actuality, National Prayer Breakfasts are happening at military facilities around the country — entirely without incident. Even the ones Weinstein complained about so boisterously occurred without so much as a ripple.
Why the disconnect? Aside from the obvious answer that Weinstein doesn’t always tell the truth, the simple fact is US service members aren’t coming to Weinstein in droves to complain about these events — or anything else, for that matter — despite Weinstein’s claims to the contrary.
Rather, Mikey Weinstein finds out about an event — even if just from a simple internet news alert — socializes it among his followers to create “complainants”, and then tries to ride the complaints about the event for publicity (and his personal benefit, of course).
In other words, the “complaints” are essentially manufactured. But for Mikey Weinstein’s involvement, the events would be a non-issue.
To wit, more than a week ago Joint Base Langley-Eustis hosted its National Prayer Breakfast, yet the MRFF said nothing (even as it simultaneously complained about Whiteman AFB’s event). If Mikey Weinstein had known about JBLE’s prayer breakfast, his cries of outrage would have made his claims about Kenneth Copeland at Fort Jackson look like fan mail.
The guest speaker was David Barton. Yes, that David Barton [emphasis added]:
David Barton, Wallbuilders organization founder and president and guest speaker for the breakfast, provided a detailed history of prayer and religion throughout the U.S. military since 1775.
“The military has always had a spiritual side to it from the very beginning,” said Barton. “We have about 400 years of military history and as you go through and look at that history, there’s a clear spiritual element.”
Barton provided examples of spirituality in the military, such as proclamations written by U.S. presidents George Washington and Abraham Lincoln; prayers spoken on national television from U.S. presidents during times of war; and bibles provided to service members serving overseas.
David Barton is a respected Christian sought as a speaker for his perspectives on faith and American history. While his invitation to speak likely seems benign to most people, to Chris Rodda — Mikey Weinstein’s research assistant — it’s a sign of the end of the world.
Chris Rodda has a special place in her heart for David Barton. She credits Barton for essentially inspiring her to be where she is today, as an initial story involving JROTC and Barton’s influence on school curriculum would ultimately introduce her to Mikey Weinstein. Hypocritically, Rodda decries Barton as a “pseudo-historian” — though she doesn’t have much of an academic pedigree herself, describing herself as a high school dropout who had a short stint in the Army (before DADT). She’s devoted entire written works and internet videos to Barton, and Rodda even crashed one of his speaking events to get film of her giving him one of her books.
Even more relevant: One of Mikey Weinstein’s complaints about Fort Jackson’s invitation to Kenneth Copeland last month was remarks about PTSD he made in 2013. When Copeland made those comments, there were two people on the TV screen.
Copeland’s guest? David Barton.
The MRFF’s historical invective toward David Barton pales in comparison to its recent attacks against Kenneth Copeland. So why didn’t Mikey Weinstein and Chris Rodda go after the Air Force, the chaplaincy, or the DoD with the fervor it did Copeland?
Most likely, they just didn’t know, because no one complained.
But why not? Doesn’t Mikey Weinstein claim to represent the persecuted masses in the military? It was David Barton, of all people, a near perfect foil to the MRFF — and yet no one was offended? No one crawled in fear to Mikey, distraught and in tears about Barton’s presence at Joint Base Langley-Eustis? How can this be?
Simple. That’s how it almost always is.
Mikey Weinstein insinuates that US troops are knocking down his door in their desperate need for rescue from religious persecution in the military, yet no one mentioned Chris Rodda’s nemesis popping in at a base near Washington DC — and not far from Chris Rodda herself, incidentally.
In point of fact, no one was beating down Weinstein’s door about Kenneth Copeland, either, nor did they do so for Chaplain Costin’s visit to Whiteman AFB — despite Mikey Weinstein’s claims to the contrary.
Mikey Weinstein’s “scandals” about military religious freedom are almost entirely of his own making. This has been highlighted before, as when MRFF members suddenly became anonymous MRFF clients, or when those already associated with the MRFF published — with Weinstein’s coaching — mournful pleas for help. In one case, something that wasn’t even a big deal suddenly became a scandal only after Weinstein found out about it. It didn’t bother the troops — it was a tool for Mikey.
There is no grassroots uprising in the military calling on Mikey Weinstein to save them. There’s just Mikey and a few oversensitive, easily offended acolytes who band together to find things to complain about. The fact their evil arch enemy David Barton could make a quiet and lauded visit to a military base without a scandal — just because Weinstein didn’t find out about it — proves the point. The source of a complaint would have been Mikey Weinstein (or Chris Rodda) — not the “officers, NCOs, and civilians, 72% of whom are Christians” Weinstein would claim to represent.
Collectively, it seems the goals of Mikey Weinstein, Chris Rodda, and the MRFF acolytes are to restrict the religious liberties of military Christians while raising money for Mikey Weinstein’s lavish paycheck. There’s little other reason to lodge such frivolous — and contrived — complaints.
When Chris Rodda reads this and finds out her good buddy David Barton was speaking at a military prayer breakfast last week — and her MRFF didn’t even know about it — it’s safe to say a few spittle-laden profanities will be flung at her computer screen. Not only did she miss her chance, his uncontroversial presence at the Prayer Breakfast highlighted the lack of true issues regarding military religious freedom.
It also highlighted Mikey Weinstein’s antagonistic role in the faux controversies he so often vaunts. (Of course, Weinstein once promised to “litigate and agitate.” Since he hasn’t litigated in years, apparently he is simply now an “agitator.”)
Whether you agree with Franklin Graham, Jerry Boykin, Tony Perkins, Kenneth Copeland, Chaplain Dondi Costin, David Barton, or any other speaker invited to a prayer breakfast is irrelevant. They are all able to exercise their faith — and to support the religious exercise of troops who share their faith — under the same protections provided by the US Constitution.
It is outstanding that David Barton was invited to JBLE, and that he was able to speak freely. His presence was an exemplar of military religious freedom in action.
That it irks Chris Rodda matters not.