It’s one thing to disagree with another person’s ideology. It is quite another to participate in an event for the sole purpose of denying others access to that same support and religious liberty.
Advocates for the Military Religious Freedom Foundation recently bantered about attending a Strong Bonds marriage enrichment seminar not to strengthen their marriages, but solely to take surreptitious video of the illegal “indoctrination.” It seems they are openly attempting to gather “physical evidence” for Michael Weinstein’s “war” on religious liberty in the US military:
According to his Facebook account that’s US Soldier Daron Williams telling Army spouse Katie Aerumnous to ’record the prayer so you can file a complaint’ — about a voluntary event she would be choosing to attend — with the sole goal of denying future military couples that same opportunity.
To be clear, Strong Bonds is a chaplain-run program. While the program is not entirely religious, a majority of Americans still associate some degree of religiosity with marriage, so it is ridiculous to think military chaplains wouldn’t include religion as part of such a program. Strong Bonds has been widely attended and widely praised for the positive impact it has on military marriages and relationships.
Apparently, the MRFF doesn’t like it — because the chaplains may say something — gasp! — religious.
In case there are any questions, it is a voluntary program offered by the military. No one is forced to attend — though Chris Rodda’s allegation of “coercion by cookie” seems to be in play: Part of the MRFF critics’ complaint was that they wanted the expenses-paid weekend trip without the chaplain program that goes with it.
Most members of the military, even atheist ones, care not one whit what their fellow troops believe or do with those beliefs. These allies of Michael Weinstein’s MRFF, however, not only care, they want to do what they can to stop it. Note these Weinstein acolytes aren’t interested in organizing a “secular alternative” for themselves — they just want to stop what other troops and families are doing. (When one person dared to suggest their own event, she was shouted down.) The sole purpose of this MRFF group — made up of active US military and family members — is to negatively impact the lives of the troops and families in their own units.
If they can’t get a religion-free weekend marriage seminar (provided by the chaplains, of course), then they’re apparently motivated to keep the “religious” from getting theirs. Classy way to “support the troops,” ay?
The MRFF routinely accuses US troops (primarily Christians) of inappropriate conduct or mistreatment of their fellow servicemembers with different religious philosophies — though it rarely provides evidence, and when it does, the evidence is disputable. Here you have a group of Weinstein followers openly planning essentially that very thing.
As asinine as this conversation is, it is a fight that will eventually happen. Michael Weinstein has hitched his horse to the “homophobia” bandwagon. While the Defense of Marriage Act still stands (for now), these retreats are already generating complaints. At some point, there will be a kerfuffle over Strong Bonds or some other military marriage seminar and a homosexual couple (an example of which has already happened) and the public relations war will begin anew.
Because these MRFF “religious freedom” advocates don’t think it would be right to let fellow troops exercise their religious freedom. Is anyone really surprised?