Tag Archives: military religious freedom foundation

Weinstein Challenges JROTC Text on Religious Grounds

The Jewish Daily Forward notes that Mr. Michael Weinstein is taking issue with a JROTC text which “questions the validity” of the current popular interpretation of the phrase “separation of church and state.”  Though religion is nowhere mentioned, he views this as an example of “evangelical Christianity’s creeping encroachment.”  As is typical for a Weinstein article, it includes his latest tally of reported death threats. More interesting is Weinstein’s announcement that he is about to embark on a new “far-reaching litigation strategy.”  He also has a new book in the works titled “Taking God to Court.”

Pre-millennial, Reconstructionist, Dominionist, Evangelical Christians

Several months ago, Mr. Michael Weinstein made some boisterous but virtually ignored comments about the reasons for his conflict with the Air Force.  During an interview with the Jewish News of Greater Phoenix Online (and repeated in his April 25th debate at the Air Force Academy), Weinstein said

I am not at war with Christianity or with evangelical Christians, but with a subset: postmillennial, reconstructionist, dominionist, evangelical Christianity.

(During the Academy debate, Weinstein said “pre-millennial,” rather than post, and added “dispensational” and “fundamentalist.”  In an email reply to a request for clarification, Mr. Weinstein indicated that pre-millennial was a “correction” to his previous descriptors.)  While dramatic, there have been few public responses.  Weinstein apparently enjoys a status as one of the few “religious” Americans who can call for the “defeat” of another religious sect and not be roundly criticized by the press and the public.  More recently, Weinstein made similar assertions when he said

We have a Christian Taliban within our US military, the Pentagon has become the penacostalgon and this administration has turned the Department of Defense into a faith based initiative…Dominionist Christians [are] praying and preying on non-Evangelical Christians.

Though his original lawsuit against the Air Force Academy was dismissed, Weinstein’s crusade continues.  He has already announced his intentions to file a new federal lawsuit to overcome the “technicality” that scuttled the first.  To understand why Weinstein acts as he does, it is interesting to analyze who he says he is “at war” with.  Read more

Weinstein/Sekulow Debate Results

According to local news reports, the debate between Weinstein and Sekulow at the Air Force Academy was “cordial.”  Presumably, both sides are working on their after-action reports, as none have yet been published.  According to the Fox report, Weinstein had demanded to speak at the Academy and the debate was the format the Academy agreed upon.  The only content yet known about the debate includes Weinstein’s assertion that Jewish servicemen not be allowed to wear a yarmulke, while Sekulow maintained they should.* Weinstein also made known his intentions to file another lawsuit against the Air Force, this one including plaintiffs that have standing.  The debate can be heard here.

*Neither Weinstein nor Sekulow were entirely correct about the yarmulke.  While Rabbi Goldman did lose his lawsuit in 1986 in which he sued to wear the yarmulke, the 1988 (updated in 2003) version of Department of Defense Instruction 1300.17 specifically allows the wearing of a yarmulke.  There are still “exceptions,” but the Jewish headgear is the only religious apparel specifically mentioned.

Weinstein’s Crusade, or Tilting at Windmills

Mr. Michael Weinstein has said his “fight is far from over” in his self-described war against evangelical Christianity in the military, despite the recent dismissal of his lawsuit against the Air Force Academy.  According to his blog, Weinstein believes that the suit was dismissed on a “technicality;” once that technicality is overcome, the suit will be renewed.  Judge James Parker dismissed the suit because it contained only “vague allegations” and no evidence of harm from people who lacked standing—because they weren’t cadets.  Weinstein was unfazed and said:

“Religious bias and the outrageous violations of the separation of church and state continue to spread rampantly throughout our military” and that the “military is full of evangelizing fundamentalists.”

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The Constitution and Military Christianity

Christian fighter pilots face a unique challenge in their roles as “government officials” and religious individuals.  The struggle is ongoing in large part because the American public is confused or misinformed about the correct relationship between religion and society.  Weak Christian responses to these public misperceptions have failed to reverse the resulting rise of secularism in America.

Misunderstandings of the proper role of religion in American society have 200 years of history behind them and center on a few simple words in the US Constitution:

Congress shall make no law respecting an establishment of religion, or prohibiting the free exercise thereof.

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