Mikey Weinstein’s MRFF Uses Fake Quotes. Chris Rodda Doesn’t Seem to Mind.
Christine “Chris” Rodda, the longsuffering and underpaid MRFF research assistant of Michael “Mikey” Weinstein, once fancied herself a historian. For a short while, she almost achieved internet fame in her “debunking” of those who tried to use allegedly historic quotes from allegedly famous people to promote their case of, in Rodda’s words, Christian nationalism or some such conspiracy.
The lengths to which she would go were impressive — literally, thousands of words to refute single quotations, in some cases.
Yet, it appears Rodda is willing to let her own group get away with a little bit of that same “fake news.”
John Compere, who tries to remind everyone he is a retired BGen and “disabled American veteran (Vietnam)”, also likes to use quotes, presumably because he thinks it makes his attacks on liberty sound more legitimate — particularly if they come from heroes of conservativism and Christians. He particularly likes Ronald Reagan (previously discussed), whom he rips out of context to make an anti-MRFF quote sound like Reagan would have been pals with Mikey.
Rodda apparently hasn’t schooled Compere there, as he continues to use the quote.
Compere also likes this quote from George Washington (here, for example):
“It has been suggested that [the military chaplaincy] has a tendency to introduce religious disputes into the Army, which above all things should be avoided, and in many instances would compel men to a mode of Worship which they do not profess.”- First Commander-in-Chief George Washington
This quote should raise flags for two reasons. First, the US military celebrates George Washington as the source of the military chaplaincy, with a date two years prior to the letter Compere cites. (Indeed, Army Regulation 165-1 notes the creation of the chaplaincy by the Continental Congress two years prior to Compere’s apparent claim that Washington opposed it.) Why would Washington establish the chaplaincy only to criticize its existence two years later?
Second, one should always be suspicious of [brackets] in a quote, particularly when those brackets claim to explain the primary subject of the quote.
Compere isn’t being truthful. Here’s the actual quote, in context, with paragraph breaks and bolding added [Compere’s citation underlined]:
I shall order a return to be made of the chaplains in service, which shall be transmitted, as soon as it is obtained. At present, as the regiments are greatly dispersed, part in one place and part in another, and accurate states of them have not been made, it will not be in my power to forward it immediately.
I shall here take occasion to mention, that I communicated the Resolution appointing a brigade-chaplain in the place of all others to the several brigadiers. They are all of opinion that it will be impossible for them to discharge the duty; that many inconveniences and much dissatisfaction will be the result, and that no establishment appears so good in this instance as the old one.
Among many other weighty objections to the measure, it has been suggested, that it has a tendency to introduce religious disputes into the army, which above all things should be avoided, and in many instances would compel men to a mode of worship which they do not profess.
The old establishment gives every regiment an opportunity of having a chaplain of their own religious sentiments, is founded on a plan of a more generous toleration, and the choice of the chaplains to officiate, has been generally in the regiments. Supposing one chaplain could do the duties of a brigade, (which supposition however is inadmissible when we view things in practice) that being composed of four or five, perhaps in some instances, six regiments, there might be so many different modes of worship.
The “it” that Compere replaces with “the military chaplaincy” was actually the idea of changing the chaplain system by appointing higher-level regimental, rather than lower-level brigade, chaplains.
In 1777, George Washington was telling the Continental Congress that it was a bad idea to change the unit level of chaplains. The Regimental chaplains would have too many people under them and be unable to support their unique spiritual needs. Washington had vetted the idea with the brigades, and they supported the idea of brigade chaplains who would mirror the belief systems of their units. It was they who opposed regimental chaplains on the basis that the regimental chaplains could not share the unique faith constructs of all the many brigades under them. In other words, it would impede religious liberty to appoint chaplains at the regiment rather than at the brigades, where chaplains currently served who had similar beliefs as their units. Note, too, that this wasn’t even Washington’s conclusion: he said it was the brigade’s opinion.
That quote does not say George Washington thought the military chaplaincy introduced religious disputes or compelled people to worship in a way they did not want, yet that is precisely what the MRFF’s Compere claims when he wrongly makes “the military chaplaincy” the subject of that quote.
And yet, Chris Rodda remains silent — despite the fact she’s used this quote herself.
Apparently, fake quotes are only bad if your ideological opponent uses them.
And John Compere, retired BGen, disabled American veteran (Vietnam), and MRFF board member, apparently has such weak arguments he has to use “fake quotes” to add credibility to his claims.
Kind of pathetic, when you think about it, but it also makes sense.