In another setback for Michael Weinstein’s vitriolic assaults on religious freedom in the US military, the Department of Defense issued a clarifying statement (full text below) disavowing Weinstein’s characterizations and accusations.
It did so in a unique way, however:
Service members can share their faith (evangelize), but must not force unwanted, intrusive attempts to convert others of any faith or no faith to one’s beliefs (proselytization).
(The DoD statement would presumably override the one from the Air Force the day prior, saying troops couldn’t share their faith if it made others “uncomfortable.”)
It’s an awkward turn of semantics, since most dictionaries don’t define “proselytizing” as being “unwanted” or “intrusive” (its a neutral term “to convert”). Over the past few years, the term has been so often associated with “coercion” it has come to have a negative connotation. (Weinstein’s research assistant, Chris Rodda, actually agrees the Read more…