For years Michael “Mikey” Weinstein has had the friendly ear of the media. His comments have often gone unchallenged and his credibility — including his motivations and background — have been ignored. The recent dust-up over his meeting at the Pentagon has undone that, thanks in part to Weinstein’s consistent “over the top” behavior. The Get Religion blog, which frequently covers issues of the media and religion, notes that Weinstein is
a player in this story….and some greater journalistic scrutiny of [his] rhetoric…is in order.
That scrutiny seems to be happening. Last week the focus was on military policies; this week, Michael Weinstein himself has been hammered from all corners for his history of vitriol and hate — and virtually every article uses his own words to drive home the point, with little need to elaborate. The question remaining is, again, why he merited a meeting with senior military leaders.
The Colorado Springs Gazette — hometown paper to the US Air Force Academy — reprinted an editorial from the Washington Examiner questioning the “strange alliance” the Air Force has with Weinstein:
Weinstein is founder of the one-man nonprofit band known as the Military Religious Freedom Foundation.
The MRFF pays him a quarter of a million dollars a year for chasing cameras to preach his special brand of vitriol and bile about Christians…
Why on earth would the U.S. military seek counsel about religious freedom of expression issues from an individual who routinely screams such unbalanced rhetoric?
FoxNews cited Rep. Doug Lamborn (R-CO), Rep. Doug Collins (R-GA), LtGen (Ret) Jerry Boykin and ACLJ lead Jay Sekulow all in the same article. Weinstein was called out for his infantile and outlandish behavior, while amazement was expressed the Defense Department gave Weinstein an audience:
Lamborn [is] seeking assurances from the [DoD] that the religious freedoms of service members are protected. He also wants to know who the Pentagon has been consulting with on revisions to religious freedom regulations…
“It appalls me to hear the military of the freest nation in the world has labeled people of faith as religious extremists and continues this hostile attitude even after offering a half-hearted, public apology,” said Rep. Doug Collins (R-GA).
“The fact that the U.S. Air Force is consulting with Mr. Weinstein and possibly allowing him to shape policies relative to religious freedom is of great concern to Christians across the nation,” wrote Lt. Gen. (Ret.) Jerry Boykin in a letter to Secretary of Defense Chuck Hagel.
Jay Sekulow, chief counsel of the American Center for Law and Justice said Weinstein’s beliefs and statements are not only offensive, “but clearly represent the vehement intolerance that our military should reject.”
“To use him as an adviser in crafting policy for religious tolerance is absurd,” Sekulow said. “Without question, he’s among the world’s worst candidates to advise Pentagon officials on religious matters. This extremist has no business advising the Pentagon on any matters – much less the critically important need to protect the religious freedom of our men and women serving in the military.”
In another side note, it seems a few of Michael Weinstein’s acolytes feel the tide of public opinion is against him so much they’ve decided to played their strongest card: Michael Weinstein is Jewish, therefore disagreeing with him is anti-Semitic.