Mikey Weinstein, Chris Rodda Attack Church Services. Again.
Michael “Mikey” Weinstein and his research assistant, Christine “Chris” Rodda have long claimed they fight for “religious freedom” in the military. The name of their charity, after all, is the Military “Religious Freedom” Foundation. They’ve also said in the past that they’re not opposed to Christians’ free exercise. Weinstein himself even once said he’d “give [his] last drop of blood” to support Christians’ rights to their beliefs.
Except, it seems they’re not telling the truth.
Weinstein has repeatedly criticized and attacked the content of military chapel services — and even civilian church services. He’s attacked Christian baptisms — a core tenet of the faith — as “propaganda” for the enemy that endangered the lives of US troops.
All of those MRFF targets are examples of voluntary gatherings of Christians who are doing nothing more than exercising their faith together.
Earlier this month, the MRFF and Rodda — a former Soldier herself — decided to go after baptisms again:
Fort Jackson, the Army’s largest basic training base, has a baptism machine, and his name is Chaplain (CPT) Chris Rice. According to the Baptist Press, Chaplain Rice has baptized an astounding 519 basic trainees since February 24, and, according to Fort Jackson’s Public Affairs Instagram, a whopping 170 of these were on a single day.
So far, despite Rodda’s mocking tone, she hasn’t said that there’s anything wrong with that. But then she implies there must be:
According to the Fort Jackson Instagram post, the 170 basic trainees lined up to be baptized after a hike. That must have been some hike! But seriously, are we really supposed to believe that 170 trainees all simultaneously found Jesus on the same day without some heavy duty proselytizing or coercion?
“Some hike”? For a researcher, Rodda isn’t trying very hard. The trainees of the 2nd Battalion, 60th Infantry Regiment had just finished The Forge, a grueling 96-hour capstone evaluation exercise. Further, Rodda leaves out an immense amount of context. The troops didn’t just ‘find Jesus’ during The Forge. Chaplain Rice’s ministry has been with them throughout their training:
On his first Sunday, they had just under 500 soldiers, but Rice knew that was well under the number they could reach with the service.
“We really wanted to change the dynamics of the service to better fit our audience, where they’re at in life and what they’re currently experiencing now, and what they’re going through,” Rice said.
Now, attendance has more than doubled with 1,100 recently coming to the service.
With a congregation of more than 1,000 at a major training facility, and with nearly 1,000 troops in each battalion, is it really so hard to believe a small fraction of them would want to be baptized, and that they would do so after their culminating training event?
Apparently it is for Rodda — who seems convinced there must have been coercion of some sort. Because who would want to publicly profess their Christianity, right?
Even if it is hard to believe, who cares? No one has complained, and the MRFF never acts without a complaint, right Chris?
Note that Rodda never once mentions a single Soldier complaining of being coercively forced underwater and half-drowned by a wild-eyed young Chaplain.
Nothing Rodda demeaned was illegal, unconstitutional, or otherwise against any military policy. In fact, it is the very picture of religious exercise and liberty within the US military.
And yet, because it was Christians, Chris Rodda managed to find evil in it.
In contrast to Rodda’s cynicism, the Fort Jackson Facebook post on the baptism had nearly 700 comments — almost exclusively positive.
Rodda has done little more than confirm that she and her MRFF don’t like Christians in the military. A large group gets baptized — and her mere disbelief is the reason she assumes those troops are such weak-willed cowards that they must have been forced to get baptized (while thousands of their peers were strong enough to resist, apparently).
Last time, Rodda complained Christians were illegally enticing vulnerable troops with pizza and soda in what she dubbed “conversion by temptation“. If it was that easy, Christian missionaries would have been packing Pizza Hut instead of Bibles all these years. (Oddly, Rodda doesn’t seem to mind the growing atheist “congregation” in San Antonio, which “entices” deprived trainees with movie trailers and video game news, among other things.)
Next time Chris Rodda and Mikey Weinstein’s MRFF claim Christians are trying to seize the US military’s nuclear arsenal to bring on the Rapture (yes, he’s actually said that), consider what constitutes “evidence” in their world: apparently, Chris Rodda’s feelings.
To summarize: Mikey Weinstein’s self-described civil liberties group “opposes” a military chaplain helping US troops exercise their faith.
Must have been a slow news day for Weinstein to so clearly put his bigotry and animus toward Christians so clearly on public display.