“No matter how big the lie; repeat it often enough and the masses will regard it as the truth.” – Winston Churchill
Last week, a coterie of proud, prejudiced, Christian fundamentalists met with officials of the Department of Defense, specifically the U.S. Air Force, at the Pentagon.
The undignified and truly ignoble goal of this meeting? The sowing of confusion within the ranks of our military leadership and the subversion of the United States Constitution.
This gang of lying zealots came to huff and puff over a “war on Christians” supposedly taking place within the U.S. military. SPOILER ALERT: absolutely NO such war exists, period!
Cheered on by the conjured voices protesting this phony “war,” this gang of fundamentalist Christian religious predators came loaded for bear with two petitions carrying a total of 220,000 signatures. The true purpose of these inveterate religious extremists was to lobby the top brass to officially give free rein to the Christian fundamentalist vultures within our United States armed forces to coercively preach and proselytize to their otherwise helpless subordinates within the American military.
Oh, and did I mention that they also want to offset the historic gains of the repeal of Don’t Ask, Don’t Tell (DADT) by granting homophobes the full right – enshrined and protected by law – to bully and dehumanize these very same defenseless subordinates or fellow servicemembers for their gender identity and/or sexual orientation?
Section 529 of the National Defense Authorization Act (NDAA) for Fiscal Year 2014 will do precisely that. Oh, but don’t take my word for it. According to Bishop James Magness, Bishop Suffragan of the Federal Ministries of the Episcopal Church in Washington D.C.:
“…this proposal will in effect trounce the actual religious liberties of those who rightly should have access to freedom from an established religion in the public square. Those military members present at a military ceremony are often required by duty to be present and therefore may not have the ability to get up and leave. These military members will have to listen to the chaplains offend them — and they will have no recourse.”
The real kicker, my friends, is that this campaign of fundamentalist Christian extremism, fueled by hatred and fear, is being carried out under the flagrantly false flag of “religious liberty.”
What these fraudulent whiners are bellowing about is the loss of their prior existing fundamentalist Christian privilege in the face of withering Constitutional civil rights activism that has demanded the end of these hideous and illicit offenses within the ranks of our military. The Military Religious Freedom Foundation (MRFF), the organization of which I’m Founder and President, has spearheaded this campaign, hence the sour grapes. It is precisely this that led Decision magazine, a publication of the Billy Graham Evangelistic Association, to decry me in their July/August 2013 cover story as not only “perhaps the nation’s most fervent anti-witnessing activist,” but no, get this: they also ran a full sidebar feature on me entitled “ONE OF THE MOST DANGEROUS MEN IN AMERICA”. This was all featured under the dramatic heading, “THE WAR ON GOD’S WORD.”
In a brazenly bizarre and transparent homage to the Military Religious Freedom Foundation, the vanguard of this push to legalize fundamentalist Christian proselytizing predation and tyranny have assembled under the perverse umbrella of the “Restore Military Religious Freedom Coalition” (RMRF). Indeed, most of the so-called “offenses” against their inverted and distorted conception of “religious freedom” consist of those all-too-frequent episodes whereby we’ve managed to successfully beat back their cowardly attempts to destroy and dangerously delimit our actual liberties (not to be confused with “license to kill”-style “liberties” tailor-made for “Modern-day Torquemadas”).
Helming this delegation of so-called “Christian leaders” was Lt. Gen. Jerry Boykin (ret.), Executive Vice President of the Family Research Council (FRC). Mister “No Mosques in America” Boykin exemplifies precisely the type of “religious liberty” RMRF stands for. After all, this is a quintessential and unapologetic racist, a man who’s been virtually canonized by his vast fundamentalist/dominionist constituency for his blood-soaked incitements to “holy war” against all Muslims everywhere, the likes of which haven’t been witnessed since the equally blood-drenched medieval Crusades. Dark Ages thy pathetic avatar be Boykin the Bigot.
Tailing Lt. Gen. Boykin was another renowned bigot, Col. Ron Crews (ret.), the head of Chaplain Alliance for Religious Liberty (CARL). Crews is an overgrown poster-child of the “homophobia industry “and a “prize Chicken Little” from among the retired chaplaincy. Following the landmark repeals of DADT and the Defense of Marriage Act (DOMA), Henny Penny Crews raised a deafening din of “the Sky is falling” squawking to the effect that there would be a vast exodus of servicemembers from the various branches as a result of the Obama administration turning the U.S. military into a “social experiment” (read: “Big Gay Boot Camp”). Of course absolutely no such “exodus” occurred, with chaplains instead giving a “common, positive verdict about repeal.”
Conservative radio host Sandy Rios also attended the meeting. Rios, a frequent Fox News contributor and member of the hate-engorged American Family Association (AFA), recently linked LGBT love to the monstrous Ariel Castro’s decade-long spree of torment afflicted upon three helpless young women in Ohio held in torturous captivity. Rios also ludicrously compared the teaching of respect for sex and gender minorities to the espousal of using crack-cocaine, and fingered gay-inclusive school curricula for a decline in student performance. When she’s not espousing her base, evil, and vile hatred of gays, she’s advocating anti-Muslim extremism of the most pernicious kind.
True heroes of “liberty” and constitutional “rights,” indeed. Recall, however, that the Southern Poverty Law Center has characterized the FRC and AFA as not only domestic hate groups, but the “chief purveyors of lies about LGBT people” that result in trauma, hate crimes, and a tragic epidemic of teen suicides. Click here to read the hideous declamations of these organizations in their own words.
Yet now these well-funded exemplars of monstrous duplicity are disingenuously posing as champions of religious pluralism, tolerance, and civil liberties? Unlimited and galling hypocrisy at best – enormous national security threat at worst.
The enemies of our (remaining) constitutional protections and civil liberties thrive on lies, misinformation, and outright disinformation to advance their anti-democratic and fundamentalist Christian, religious extremist agendas. Such has certainly been our experience here at MRFF. By salting the “information battlefield” with false innuendoes, red herrings, and blatant untruths designed to appeal to diehard and disgusting prejudices, these professional religious bigots have managed to hoodwink all-too-many Americans into believing that President Obama’s Defense Department is waging some tooth-and-nail battle against all good Christians, especially those who faithfully serve in our U.S. military.
Søren Kierkegaard once opined, “There are two ways to be fooled. One is to believe what isn’t true. The other is to refuse to believe what is true.”
Is there REALLY any persecution of Christians in the U.S. military? Such cartoonish and cretinesque fantasy couldn’t be farther from the truth.
However, the fact that some docile and supine Americans are buying into this universally false fairy tale should be of significant alarm to those of us who don’t want to see the adoption of a militarist Christian dominionist gospel as our nation’s official state religion.
If and when that day ever comes, it will be the last day of freedom for our American democratic republic.
The Military Religious Freedom Foundation is up against well-funded extremist religious organizations. Your donations allow us to continue our fight in the courts and in the media to fight for separation of church and state in the U.S. military. Please make a fully tax-deductible donation today at helpbuildthewall.org.
Michael L. “Mikey” Weinstein, Esq. is founder and president of the five-time Nobel Peace Prize-nominated Military Religious Freedom Foundation (MRFF) and an honor graduate of the Air Force Academy. He served as a White House counsel in the Reagan Administration and as the Committee Management Officer of the “Iran-Contra” Investigation. He is also the former General Counsel to H. Ross Perot and Perot Systems Corporation. Mikey is an honor graduate of the U.S. Air Force Academy and a former J.A.G. in the U.S. Air Force. His two sons, daughter-in-law, son-in law, and brother-in-law are also graduates of USAFA. In December 2012, Mikey was named one of the 100 Most Influential People in U.S. Defense by Defense News. He is the author of “With God On Our Side” (2006, St. Martin’s Press) and “No Snowflake in an Avalanche” (2012, Vireo).