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
Before the Mountain West Conference championship game this past weekend, US Air Force Academy cadet football players defied the invective and threats of Michael “Mikey” Weinstein — and prayed in the end zone. As captured on video by NBC San Diego:
Mikey Weinstein’s criticism has been called petty even by his supporters, yet he is claiming these cadets taking a knee in the end zone prior to the game violates Air Force instructions, the US Constitution, and the law: Read more
A Navy article describes how retired Chaplain (Rear Adm) Harold Robinson, now of the Jewish Welfare Board’s Jewish Chaplains Council, personally presented the USS George Washington with a new, handmade Torah for its Jewish community: Read more
Update: The Arizona Daily Independent published a letter from retired Command Chief Master Sergeant Chuck Wooten, in which he rebuts Weinstein, saying
To boil this entire issue down to its lowest form, [Wilkerson] and the MRFF are nothing more than predictable liberals. They make a living by fabricating controversy where none exists (think Al Sharpton). They hide behind massively loquacious pieces of hate-filled diatribe which ultimately means nothing. A by-product of their incessant squawking is a colossal waste of tax dollars when a branch of the military or court has to divert attention from its mission to swat these gnats aside.
It must be exhausting for [Wilkerson] and the MRFF to fight a fictitious foe only to have their butt handed to them in defeat.
Retired US Army Colonel Lawrence Wilkerson is most famous for having been the Chief of Staff to retired General Colin Powell when he was Secretary of State from 2002 to 2005. Wilkerson’s most recent role has been as voice for Michael “Mikey” Weinstein’s Military Religious Freedom Foundation, which has a long history of calling for restrictions on Christians in the US military.
After the recent hullabaloo over Mikey Weinstein’s demand for Major General Craig Olson’s court-martial, Wilkerson wrote a piece at the Huffington Post which was entitled “The ‘Taliban’ in Our Midst.”
The article began with a wide-ranging indictment of religion in the military:
Military officers who wear their religion on their sleeve are a danger to our country at any time, but especially after the terrorists attacks of September 11, 2001.
Wilkerson probably doesn’t realize he just called every US military chaplain, many US military Jews, and even the rare US military Sikh a “danger” to the United States of America. The rest of his article focuses solely on Christians: Read more
We think — and the Constitution and Supreme Court caselaw supports us — that the right of the men and women in our armed forces to their personal choice, the right to their personal belief, the right to their religious or non-religious preference, cannot be abrogated by the government, by their superior officers, or by the Pentagon.
That sounds like a statement most could agree with — and those words come from MRFF board member Mike Farrell in their annual end-of-year fundraising letter.
Regrettably, the actions of Farrell’s boss, Michael “Mikey” Weinstein, contradict his noble words. Contrary to Farrell’s gilded semantics, Weinstein has attacked the personal faiths of Christian chaplains and troops — even going so far as to attack Christian chapel services — in what can only be described as an attempt to deny “the men and women in our armed forces” their religious liberties through the force of government.
More tellingly, Weinstein — a Read more
Michael Weinstein’s Military Religious Freedom Foundation has a history of claiming only the “right kind” of Christians deserve religious liberty in the US military. In 2011, the MRFF demanded the US Air Force Academy rescind a speaking invitation given to someone who “does not represent true Christianity” [emphasis added]. For that same event, Weinstein was personally outraged the invitation was given to the wrong kind of Christian. In another scenario, Chris Rodda readily admitted the MRFF opposed the religious beliefs of Christians, not any action or conduct on their part.
The MRFF just recently refined their definition of “acceptable”
religious Christian belief.
Lawrence Wilkerson is a retired Army Colonel and recent addition to the MRFF. He also joined Michael Weinstein at his much ballyhooed Pentagon meeting last month. Wilkerson recently published a tirade against “so-called” Christians who are the target of the MRFF’s wrath:
Another perniciously destructive anomaly threatened good order and discipline in the ranks. And this one came from so-called Christians.
I write “so-called” simply because these people do not believe in the Christ of the Scriptures; they believe in some human-crafted, almost demonic Read more