As the COVID-19/coronavirus pandemic increasingly restricted personal interaction, US military chaplains did what many of their civilian counterparts were doing and increased their “virtual” presence through online chapel services and videos. Chaplains who could no longer interact with their troops on the PT field, in the barracks, or in the halls — like Chaplain (Maj) Brian Minietta — found other ways to do so, including using their units’ Facebook pages.
Michael “Mikey” Weinstein did not like this, claiming that the presence of chaplains’ video messages on unit Facebook pages constituted command endorsement of the message and coercion of subordinates to those beliefs. According to Weinstein acolyte Lawrence Wilkerson, whose primary claim to fame is being the former Chief of Staff to Colin Powell, these military chaplains were actually violating the US Constitution.
While laughable on its face, it would seem the US Army Chaplain Corps ultimately agreed. It provided guidance (PDF) to its chaplains on May 26th in which it instructed chaplains to keep “specific religious” messages off unit Facebook pages:
General encouragement can be placed on a unit webpage, but specific religious support content should be on a dedicated UMT, RSO, or Chapel webpage.
In fact, as the MRFF gleefully noted, the Chaplain guidance went Read more
It would seem US Army Chaplain (Maj) George Tyger looks to play a continuing role in the intersection of sexuality, politics, and religious freedom in the US military. In 2014 he derided religious accommodations for beliefs he disliked as “separate but equal.” While demanding tolerance, he demonstrated none, an interestingly common trait among some Unitarian Universalists.
In 2016 he put an LGBT “safe zone” sign on his office — which clearly communicated his opposition to mainstream Christian beliefs regarding sexuality and marriage, making his office an “unsafe zone” for other troops he served.
Now, it seems, Tyger is leading a minor insurgency. On the Facebook page for the Modern Military Association of America — a group formed from a merger of multiple homosexual advocacy groups — Chaplain Tyger spoke up to announce he moderates a “secret” Facebook group of Read more
Despite claiming to represent more than 40,000 “clients,” Michael “Mikey” Weinstein has apparently been unable to sustain a donor base to the “charity” that funds his paycheck and is the vehicle that allows him to attack military religious freedom.
Weinstein’s public Facebook profile has been hammered in recent days by comments from those who disagree with his attacks on religious liberty and Christianity. A few MRFF acolytes were apparently surprised by the sudden influx of “trolls” and have tried to defend against these criticisms by asking why those critics are bothering to visit a page they don’t like.
It turns out those critics aren’t visiting Weinstein’s page. Mikey Weinstein is paying to visit them.
It seems Mikey Weinstein has been paying Facebook to Read more
In a post thick with irony, Michael “Mikey” Weinstein took to the internet last week to decry the “extremist” Franklin Graham who “personally targeted” him. The context was Weinstein’s attack on the pre-game prayers by US Air Force Academy cadets, which Weinstein has called “putrid” and illegal. When Graham responded, Weinstein said [emphasis added]:
Well-funded Christian fundamentalist organizations are using social media to attack MRFF!…
Extremist Christian preacher Franklin Graham personally targeted me and our Military Religious Freedom Foundation, asking followers to support and encourage actions meant to undermine our Constitutional rights.
(Said the well-funded anti-Christian organization that uses social media to attack others…) What Read more
As noted at FoxNews, a Colorado Springs-based US servicemember posted her opinion on Facebook — and has been threatened by her commander as a result:
The soldier, who is an evangelical Christian, said she returned home from church on Sunday and was watching a documentary about a minister who endorsed homosexuality…
Her Facebook message read:
“A lot ticked off, now to all my gay friends you know I care about you so don’t think otherwise. I’m watching this documentary and this gay guy went to a church and the Pastor was telling him that he needs to embrace his way and know that it is not a sin. Ok umm wow, dude it is. I’m sick of people making Gods word what it’s not. Yes God loves you as a person but He hates the sin. Tired of hearing about Pastors being ok with homosexuality.”
She was reportedly told to
either remove the post or face a reduction in rank and pay.
There is contradictory information about whether she is an Airman or a Soldier, which may be just as well, as she wasn’t seeking to make a public statement and actually asked Fox to pull the article, which it did for a short time. She appears to have substantial Read more
The US Army has released an updated Social Media Handbook, though it largely focused on official military media actions. Notably, an accompanying article seemed to align Army policy with previously released Air Force guidance:
Soldiers must maintain their professionalism at all times, even on their off time, said Sweetnam.
They are subject to the Uniform Code of Military Justice and could face corrective or disciplinary action if Read more
Two Air Force JAGs, Major Ken Artz and 1Lt Peter Smyczek wrote a fascinating article that supported General Mark Welsh’s assertion that the accepted culture is part of the sexual assault problem in the military. Entitled “Sexual Assaults in the Military: Porn is Part of the Problem,” their piece began with a simple statement [emphasis added]:
If our military is to lower its rate of sex crimes, it must limit its members’ consumption of pornography and educate them about its risks.
The JAGs point out that the Air Force must address the underlying behaviors that lead to sexual assault — not merely attack the Read more
In the middle of the ongoing discussion about US military troops and their use of social media comes an interesting piece at the Marine Corps Times, where former military JAGs make the case that the Marines may not be able to police troops’ use of certain websites, despite their implication they may try to do so.
The impetus behind the discussion are generally certain Facebook pages that were denigrating toward female Marines. Said General James Amos, Commandant of the Marine Corps:
In a May 29 letter to Rep. Jackie Speier, D-Calif., Gen. Jim Amos denounced Facebook pages and other social media Read more