Air Force General Roger Brady: Mikey Weinstein “Extreme”
Retired US Air Force General Roger Brady made some waves in 2005 when he led an investigation of the US Air Force Academy’s religious climate. Much to some activists’ dismay, the report said there were some issues and perceptions, but there was not a systemic or institutional religious problem at USAFA. (Gen Brady also famously criticized Airmen who contacted their congressmen — an explicitly protected form of communication within the military.)
General Brady was interviewed recently by Christianity Today on faith and the military in a Veterans’ Day article that led off noting the recent “controversy” surrounding Air Force BGen John Teichert — as initiated by “former Air Force Captain and activist attorney Mikey Weinstein“.
The interview was highlighted by the Baptist Joint Committee — a liberal leaning group — as having “both some troubling and some heartening perspectives and insights.” That seems accurate, as Gen Brady says thing both sides of the religious liberty debate will support and oppose. In fact, in just two sentences he managed to hit both sides of the fence [emphasis added]:
First, there have been instances of Christians who abused their position in promoting their faith…The second is that we are in an era where many people want safe zones, and some feel unsafe where people hold a view different from their own. It’s very easy to be offended and, so the thinking goes, if someone offends me, surely the system must do something about that.
Most entertaining, however, was this snippet:
[CT:] Opposing views have surfaced in the rhetoric and actions of Mikey Weinstein…and Air Force Reserve Chaplain Capt. Sonny Hernandez. Weinstein argues against most forms of religious expression in the military, while…Hernandez has posted a blog saying Christian service members who support religious liberty serve the Constitution “and not Christ.” What are your thoughts on these views?
[Brady:] These individuals you mention represent the extremes. I believe there is a reasonable middle ground.
The CT’s summary of Mikey Weinstein — he “argues against most forms of religious expression in the military” — is basically accurate, though it would be more accurate to say “most forms of Christian religious expression.” It’s likely even Weinstein would agree with that — it’s objectively what he does. He’s claimed, almost explicitly, that all Christian religious expression should be confined to the home or the four walls of the church (though he also attacks Christianity within the four walls of the church, as has been shown here many times).
And Gen Brady accurately describes Mikey Weinstein as an “extreme.” The truth hurts, doesn’t it, Mikey?
The inclusion of Hernandez in that comment is a bit awkward. First, while the question characterized Weinstein’s history over more than a decade of radical activism, Christianity Today quoted a single line in a single article with regard to Hernandez, and it wasn’t even a direct quote from Hernandez. Rather, CT quoted another media outlet that ripped a line wholly from its context. (In fact, the phrase in quotes had nothing to do with the paraphrased assertion.)
Second, the use of Hernandez also presents a false spectrum. Hernandez is not Weinstein’s foil. If Weinstein is to be taken at his word (a sketchy proposition at best) his true antagonist would be a military officer who believed he was free to use his power and military office to coercively convert his subordinates to Christianity. Weinstein’s bogeyman simply doesn’t exist. Such an officer is merely the windmill to Weinstein’s Don Quixote. Hernandez’s theological view of Christ and the Constitution is irrelevant to Weinstein’s extremist rhetoric.
Weinstein doesn’t like being labeled. He also doesn’t like people calling him “former Air Force Captain.” Thus, you can expect he’ll respond by throwing a tantrum and calling Gen Brady names — but what you won’t see is Mikey Weinstein make a substantive argument.
Make a note of that.
If Mikey Weinstein actually had a defensible position — if Mikey Weinstein actually had something of value to say — don’t you think he’d say it?