Mikey Weinstein Goes after Okinawa POW Bible. Again.
By now you’ve probably seen the reports saying Michael “Mikey” Weinstein filed a complaint (PDF, through his lawyer) about a Bible at a POW/MIA display at Okinawa, Japan. What these reports don’t seem to convey is this is just Mikey being Mikey. Every couple of months he makes these kinds of complaints; they hit a high point every now and then, fade into the background later, and maybe catch peoples’ attention again.
The POW/MIA display is a piggy bank for Weinstein. If his coffers get low, he can pull one of these from his files and try to get attention.
To prove the point, consider that the subject of this latest complaint at US Naval Hospital Okinawa is a POW/MIA table that is on permanent display. It’s been there for years. Nothing changed in the past week to suddenly cause 26 MRFF “clients” to now live in — quote — “mortal fear” because of this display. Yet, somehow, that’s what Mikey claims happened.
Sickeningly, Weinstein is even trying to (incorrectly) use veterans’ groups to buttress his accusation. The National League of POW/MIA Families defended the Bible:
“The Bible was always intended to be there,” said Stephensen, of Boise, Idaho. “The POWs held in Hanoi vehemently turned to God for comfort and safety and persistence…”
“I don’t see where the harm is,” Stephensen added. “If somebody’s going to take offense to it, they’re making a conscious effort to be offended.”
Recognizing the credibility and emotion associated with such a group, Weinstein tried in vain to gain his own, implying the American Legion agreed with him:
Asked about the POW/MIA group’s position, Weinstein said the American Legion does not require a Bible at its “Missing Man” displays.
That’s deflection — and it’s also repulsive.
This isn’t about anyone requiring a Bible at a POW/MIA display; this is about someone trying to require there not be a Bible at a display. The American Legion does not prohibit Bibles.
This tripe came from Chris Rodda two years ago, and her argument was as fallacious and worthless then as it is now.
There’s nothing new here. In fact, Weinstein has complained about POW/MIA displays on Okinawa before. In 2016, US Marine Col Brian Howlett — commander at Camp Hansen, one of the other Marine Corps camps on Okinawa — told Mikey Weinstein to pound sand. The Bible stayed. (Naval Hospital Okinawa is associated with Camp Butler.)
Mikey Weinstein has little to lose here. If his complaint hits the news, then it worked — and he gets publicity and maybe a few “donations.” If it doesn’t work, he loses nothing; he just tries again later.
But why does he keep trying? Despite the fact the Bible on the POW/MIA display has long been defended — even by the military itself — Weinstein occasionally finds a commander, office manager, or random person who will hide, cover, or replace the Bible with a blank book with the hope they’ll appease him. But such moral cowardice is blood in the water for Weinstein. You will never achieve “peace in our time” by giving a schoolyard bully what he wants.
Even the Naval Hospital Okinawa response — Rear Adm. Paul D. Pearigen is reportedly opening an “investigation” — arguably benefits Weinstein’s cause because it lends an air of unwarranted legitimacy to his complaint. After all, why is an “investigation” even necessary? And does each individual military installation really need to go through this charade? This should be settled policy for the entire Department of Defense.
If Naval Hospital Okinawa must conduct an “investigation” over the Bible at a POW/MIA display, it should conduct it upward, with a request to their superiors to state with clarity DoD policy on the matter.
Settle it. Then, Mikey Weinstein has nowhere to go. It ends.
Mikey Weinstein is, by his own admission, an agitator. He is a self-serving malcontent who will continue to make these complaints so long as he has the remotest chance of publicity — read: money for his personal paycheck. (It is almost ironic, as others have pointed out, that Weinstein is using freedoms protected by those being honored by the POW/MIA table in his attempt to denigrate it.)
The most effective way to stop these semi-annual complaints is to end the access to publicity. Give Mikey Weinstein the consistent, correct answer, and the media will bore of him: There is nothing wrong with a Bible on a POW/MIA memorial table. It doesn’t have to be there — the military’s view is neutral. But it would be wrong to prohibit it from being there.
If military installations can’t do that on their own, the DoD should do it for them. Then, rather than defending the honor of its veterans against a perennial malcontent, the US military can return to its actual mission of defending our Nation.