Update: US Rep Steve Stockman (R-Tx) had this to say:
“Asking Mikey Weinstein to write policies on religious tolerance is like asking David Duke to plan an MLK celebration,” said Stockman. “His bizarre conspiracy theories and strident bigotry have no place in a sensible country.”
Michael “Mikey” Weinstein, of his self-founded “charity,” the Military Religious Freedom Foundation, struck a desperate tone recently as he tried to fend off the blowback from his ego-stroking announcement that he’d had a private meeting with senior military leaders about “religious issues.”
More than any recent event, his own boasting has caused people to take notice of his trail of vitriolic op-eds pronouncing Christians “monsters” or saying US military Christians are trying to institute what he calls “Plan B” — an American holocaust.
In other words, Weinstein’s “over the top” attacks on religious freedom are backfiring, and he’s back on his heels.
He and a few of his staff took to the internet to push back, claiming they have
friends — er, “clients” — who are Christian, therefore they can’t be an “anti-Christian” group. Some critics called the MRFF an “atheist group,” which might be understandable given two of his four failed lawsuits have featured atheist plaintiffs. To be fair, Weinstein claims to be a “Jewish agnostic,” not an atheist. Though, to be fair again, Weinstein has made a pretty good living labeling other people, regardless of what they really are, so it seems only fitting he is now receiving the same treatment. Remember, without any evidence whatsoever, Weinstein even went so far as to call Sarah Palin a
homophobic, virulently misogynistic, virulently anti-Semitic and Islamophobic…premillennial, dispensational, reconstructionist, dominionist, evangelical, fundamentalist Christian.
As it turns out, Sarah Palin weighed in on this particular controversy:
President Barack Obama had better clear this up today, right now. Surely he is just allowing his handlers to throw up this kind of ridiculous, amoral, un-American trial balloon. I call on Obama to address this immediately with the American public, clear it up, and renounce these reports as the nonsense they surely in God’s name must be.
– Sarah Palin
No, its not terribly likely Weinstein was “hired” by the military, as the Christian Post reported in one article. And while the MRFF has pushed back on that statement as well, no one has explained why Weinstein was there.
Why was one of the most outspoken critics of religious freedom given an audience at the Pentagon for any reason? More than one site notes Weinstein seethes — or “foams at the mouth” — with intolerance toward those whom he thinks practice the “wrong kind” of religion. Tony Perkins of the FRC rightly says
That’s like consulting with China on how to improve human rights.
There is no reasonable cause for the US military to be talking to Weinstein at all — though it seems like he has enough friends in the senior military ranks that he may have special access not available to “ordinary” American citizens.
Note that while Weinstein apparently had a private meeting with US military leaders about religion, there have been no reports that any religious group did so, even the religious groups who provide and endorse US military chaplains — meaning they have both a stake and standing in US military religious policy, something Weinstein lacks.
To be clear, Weinstein may not lose his financial support (he pays himself from the tax-deductible donations he’s sent), but the demographics of that source may change. While Weinstein is claiming he’s not “anti-Christian,” there are some people applauding him for going after Christians — even as “mischaracterized” in the news media. In other words, his extremist hatred toward religious freedom and Christianity is attracting other extremists who agree with him.
One commenter noted the Southern Poverty Law Center may soon have to add another “hate group” to its lists: the Military Religious Freedom Foundation.