Mikey Weinstein Melts Down over Space Force Bible

The National Cathedral published a photograph of the “blessing of a Bible” to be used for swearing-in within the new Space Force. The ceremony was featured in the Washington Post. Pictured were Rev. Randolph Hollerith, the dean of the Washington National Cathedral, the Rev. Carl Wright of the Episcopal Church, and US Air Force Chief of Chaplains Chaplain (MajGen) Steven Schaick:

The gift they gave Chaplain Schaick was a King James Bible donated by The Museum of the Bible, which is in Washington, D.C., a few miles from the National Cathedral.

“Accept this Bible which we dedicate here today for the United States Space Force,” intones the Rev. Randolph Hollerith, dean of the National Cathedral, “that all may so diligently search your holy word and find in it the wisdom that leads to peace and salvation, through Jesus Christ our Lord, amen.”

This was all too much for Michael “Mikey” Weinstein, who issued a “full-throated” response: 

The MRFF condemns, in as full-throated a manner as is humanly possible, the shocking and repulsive display of only the most vile, exclusivist, fundamentalist Christian supremacy, dominance, triumphalism and exceptionalism which occurred at yesterday’s ‘blessing’…of a sectarian Christian bible [sic]…

MRFF noted with additional disgust and disdain the willing and all-too visible participation of a senior USAF officer, in formal uniform, during the travesty of this sectarian ceremony which tragically validates the villainy of unadulterated Christian privilege at [the] DoD…

For the record, military commanders are NOT ever “sworn in” to their positions let alone with the usage [sic] of a Christian bible [sic] or other book of faith…

After the long list of adjectives, that last sentence is where Mikey Weinstein’s irony and stupidity collide. He’s right — almost. Most military officers are not “sworn in”, though that’s what it might look like to those who are unfamiliar. Military officers do take an “oath of office” — technically only once, though it tends to be repeated out of tradition at each promotion in rank. They do not use a Bible (or any other text) during the oath of office.

However, the Joint Chiefs of Staff are sworn in, and they have used a Bible for decades, by choice, when they do so.

In the photo below, Gen Omar Bradley was sworn in as the first Chairman of the Joint Chiefs of Staff in 1949 — with his hand on a Bible:

In 2019, Gen Mark Milley was sworn in as the 20th Chairman, and he recited the same oath as every other officer at their promotion (with his hand on a Bible), except he said “having been appointed the Chairman of the Joint Chiefs of Staff…” rather than his rank.

Gen David Goldfein — who is reportedly Jewish, not Christian — did the same thing in 2016:

The National Cathedral captioned and tweeted the photo, and their mistake was understandable. The Joint Chiefs do use the Bible to swear in, and the Bible is intended for the new Space Force Chief of Staff; military officers on the whole do not. Knowing that the National Cathedral was mistaken, why did Weinstein issue such a scathing, “full-throated” attack? Publicity, naturally.

Note, too, that Mikey Weinstein alliteratively says a Chaplain’s participation in the ceremony “validates the villainy” of Christian privilege — yet military chaplains participate in and preside over religious ceremonies of all kinds — and all faiths — throughout the world every day, even in uniform. There was nothing unique about Chaplain Schaick’s presence; Weinstein is attacking the very existence of the chaplaincy.

In other news, US military chaplains have “blessed” a great many things in the services — and Weinstein hasn’t seemed to mind to date. Just recently, Mikey Weinstein did not complain when military commanders participated in and endorsed religious rituals in Japan. Then again, we know those ceremonies weren’t Christian — and it’s only Christians with whom Weinstein takes issue.

Whether Gen Jay Raymond uses a Bible — or not — at his swearing-in neither picks Weinstein’s pocket nor breaks his leg. Tolerance, pluralism, and inclusivity have never been Mikey’s strong suits, however. It is Weinstein, not the US military, whose behavior and bigotry are an affront to the core human liberty — protected by the US Constitution — of religious freedom.

Update: Now covered at FoxNews, where

Mike Berry, chief of staff to First Liberty Institute, told Fox News Weinstein’s “constitutional arguments are almost worse than the Star Wars prequels.”

Weinstein’s “full-throated” protest was also covered at Military.com, and the Military Times.