Mikey Weinstein Demands Court Martial over John Piper Coronavirus Book
A chaplain in Korea and an Army officer in Germany are the latest to bear the wrath of Michael “Mikey” Weinstein’s vendetta against Christians in the US military.
In South Korea, Chaplain (Colonel) Moon Kim is the Garrison Chaplain for Camp Humphreys. According to Weinstein, Chaplain Kim sent his subordinate chaplains a digital copy of John Piper’s “Coronavirus and Christ,” which, according to Weinstein, is “gross malfeasance” worthy of punishment:
MRFF demands that Army Chaplain (Colonel) Kim be officially, swiftly, aggressively, and visibly investigated and disciplined in punishment for his deplorable actions described above.
Weinstein has explicitly demanded Chaplain Kim be court-martialed, though for what “crime” he does not say.
Weinstein told CP outright that he is calling for Kim to be subject to general court-martial
Most of Weinstein missive, which drips with disdain for the Christian faith, takes issue with Christian theology he doesn’t like — though at times he (or his researcher, Chris Rodda) didn’t seem to know what he was talking about. For example, they noted:
The book…singles out, among other things, “the sin of homosexual intercourse” as deserving “due penalty.”
Actually, Mikey, the Bible makes the reference to “due penalty.” (And “singles out among other things” an oxymoron.) You’ll have to take that one up with the Big Guy.
Weinstein also went after the theology of Piper himself, noting, for example, that he opposes the ordination of women — which, Weinstein failed to mention, is the same theological tenet held by many US troops (including Muslims and Catholics).
In the end, though, the content of the book is irrelevant. Mikey doesn’t like that. Got it. That’s meaningless. However, Weinstein then says it was improper for Kim to distribute it, claiming he’s pushing an ideology. Kim’s actual intent should be easy to see by reading the email in which he sent the book.
Oddly, Weinstein never mentions it. Clearly, if it contained even remote evidence of coercion, Weinstein would have vaunted the email as proof Chaplain Kim was trying to force his subordinates into a specific ideology. Yet Weinstein didn’t mention it.
Fortunately for us, when Weinstein shopped the story to the media, the Christian Post asked to see the actual email [emphasis added]:
A copy of Kim’s email that contained the PDF sent to the chaplains was reviewed by CP. In the body of the email, Kim wrote to fellow chaplains that he wanted to share the short booklet with them.
“This book has helped me refocus my sacred calling to my savior Jesus Christ to finish strong,” Kim wrote. “Hopefully this small booklet would help you and your Soldiers, their Families and others who you serve.”
Realize this is an email from a chaplain to chaplains. He’s sending a resource to his chaplains, in the “hope” it will help them and help them serve. It’s not only within the ‘four walls of the church,’ it is strictly within the religious staff of those who serve the church. You can’t get much more compartmentalized than that.
In other words, the email that Weinstein decided not to print supports the perspective that Chaplain Kim was doing his job. His subordinate chaplains minister to a great many US troops of varying beliefs. It is certain that some and likely that many align with the ideology of John Piper. To distribute the book as a resource for his chaplains is no different than a chaplain dropping a box full of texts from Islam or Buddhism off on their desks. There is nothing wrong with a Garrison chaplain providing resources to his subordinate chaplains so they can, if they so choose, use them to minister to their subordinates.
Therein lies a key missing metric: If this was so egregious, why didn’t all of the chaplains complain? If even one appreciated the book or saw it as a resource for the troops they serve, why deprive them of that just because Mikey Weinstein is offended?
According to Weinstein, Kim sent the book to 35 chaplains. Clearly, someone in that email chain is an acolyte for Mikey Weinstein, or he’d never have known it happened. After all, of those 35 US Army chaplains, Mikey said:
A number of Christian military Chaplains from the U.S. Army, U.S. Navy, and U.S. Air Force have asked the MRFF to represent them…
A vague “number” of chaplains from three different services when three dozen Army chaplains were supposedly at issue? Weinstein has “a number” of those chaplains on his volunteer staff. He can publicize this entire “scandal” without a single complaint from Camp Humphreys. Weinstein normally cites numbers and positions for legitimacy. Here, it seems as if zero of the subordinate chaplains actually complained; if they did, Weinstein failed to mention it, and it’s not likely something he would have failed to promote.
If you go to a Garrison chaplain’s office on an Army post – or a Wing chaplain’s office on an Air Force base – you’ll likely find a display stand of self-help, suicide prevention, and religious material from a wide variety of faith systems outside their door. There will probably be a table outside with religious texts and books of various faiths, and inside the chaplain will probably have boxes of unopened donated materials (including more coffee than should be legal). To be fair, most of those resources will probably be Christian, or at least claim to be so. Given that chaplains serve a population that is largely Christian, that’s not surprising. The important point, however, is that the chaplain’s office is a source of all kinds of materials, and those materials are distributed to lower level chaplains for their use and the use of the troops they serve.
Mikey Weinstein doesn’t like John Piper’s theology. That’s nice. No one cares.
Mikey Weinstein wants to deny US troops who share John Piper’s ideology the same religious resources, exercise, and freedom granted to all other US troops. That’s not nice. And, unlike Weinstein, people do care about human liberties and the US Constitution [emphasis added]:
Mike Berry, general counsel for the First Liberty Institute, an organization that defends the First Amendment rights of military members, told CP that Kim was within his rights to send the email.
“The MRFF is not only going overboard, it is showing its true colors by asking the Pentagon to punish a chaplain for engaging in constitutionally protected activity,” Berry said. “Congress has recently and repeatedly taken actions to protect chaplains to share their religious beliefs.”
“The Constitution and federal law protect chaplains (and service members) who share their religious beliefs,” he added. “Our brave service members should be offended that Mikey Weinstein thinks they are so delicate and frail that they are incapable of hearing something with which they might disagree. Quite the contrary, the vast majority of service members with whom I served, whether senior or subordinate, were smart enough to decide for themselves.”
Berry said that First Liberty Institute would be happy to provide Kim with a free legal representation if he is subject to disciplinary action.
“First Liberty has won numerous cases similar to this before, and I’m very confident we would win this one too,” Berry stressed.
This “scandal” doesn’t even rise to the level of being a tempest in a teapot. It’s just Mikey Weinstein complaining about a US military officer doing his job. Chaplain Kim did nothing more than provide a resource to his subordinate chaplains for them and those they serve — something he is supposed to do. To excoriate a chaplain for such an act is the height of stupidity — or bigotry.
Weinstein was most affected by the content of Piper’s book and the tenets of Piper’s beliefs. Weinstein’s issue wasn’t with discrimination, coercion, mistreatment, or any other act of ill. His issue was with a theology he didn’t like. Unlike Weinstein, the US military doesn’t get to pick the religious tenets of its troops that it will support or quash.
Clearly, Weinstein’s goal is to inhibit religious freedom in the US military – at least, the religious freedom of Christians in the US military.
And that, Mikey, is “deplorable.”