Yesterday the American Center for Law and Justice’s David French wrote a scathing (and accurate) critique of Michael Weinstein’s Military Religious Freedom Foundation (though it never mentions Weinstein by name). The piece is entitled “The Campaign Against the Cross is Not About “Freedom,”” and its genesis is the current controversy over the cross at a memorial on Camp Pendleton.
French minces no words:
The Military Religious Freedom Foundation (MRFF) is perhaps the most deceptively-named organization in the United States. Its tone is hysterical (it actually calls those who complain about religious influence “spiritual rape victims/tormentees”) and its methods Orwellian.
French also noted an example of the MRFF’s practice of publishing letters from those who claim to be active servicemembers, with their names redacted. Chris Rodda published a letter from a Marine senior NCO that French called “incredibly profane and unprofessional.” The redacted writer even said would probably be “kicked out” of the military if he “said these same things to [his] superiors.”
(Both French and the SNCO may be correct. The self-described “devout Lutheran” senior NCO said Jesus was his “personal Lord and Savior.” He then said those who erected the cross were “f—ing pathetic Marines.” As if to remove any doubt, he repeated in all caps: “F— those Marines who did that! F— THEM TO HELL!”)
After noting the MRFF’s “abysmal” record of lawsuits, French notes the MRFF never actually argues its points. Though a former JAG, Weinstein isn’t even able to articulate a defense of his positions, nor is his research assistant Chris Rodda. The reason is simple: They’re only after shock value and attention.
The MRFF is a group that virtually defines the term “radical.” Comparing viewing a religious symbol or hearing a religious message to “rape” isn’t rational dialogue. It isn’t an argument. It’s an attempt to demagogue and bully commanders – who are rightfully focused on warfighting and not on the Establishment Clause – into satisfying the loudest, angriest voice.
To which there is a response:
We can counter that voice with our own speech, with arguments based on law, reason, and truth.
The voices speaking truth in opposition to Weinstein’s MRFF have actually been effective in undermining his attacks on religious freedom in the military, much to his chagrin. Of course, that may mean he has to up the ante in his ‘loud’ and ‘angry’ methods of “litigation and agitation.”
When he does, the calm voices of “law, reason, and truth” will remain long after the echo of his bluster fades away.
As an aside, think Weinstein will threaten to sue the ACLJ for its criticisms, as he is so often wont to do? Since the ACLJ is a group of lawyers, and not an innocent unrepresented soccer mom, he may pass on his normal intimidation tactic this time.