Michael Weinstein | Q&A | Indy Week
Pin It

Michael Weinstein 

On evangelicals in the military

click to enlarge Michael Weinstein
  • Michael Weinstein

U.S. Air Force veteran Michael Weinstein says the American military is being undermined from within by fundamentalist Christians who are coercing soldiers into their brand of faith. A Republican who worked for President Ronald Reagan before becoming general counsel to Texas billionaire and presidential candidate Ross Perot, Weinstein is foremost a military man. His recent book, With God on Our Side: One Man's War Against an Evangelical Coup in America's Military, presents what he sees as a grave threat to the nation's security.

How many people have contacted your group, the Military Religious Freedom Foundation, with stories of being proselytized to by military commanders?

We've had just under 5,000 members of the U.S. Army, Marine Corps, Navy and Air Force. Of the troops who have come to us, including some civilians and veterans, roughly 96 percent of them are Christians themselves. The remaining 4 percent are the minority faiths, Jews, Hindus, Sikhs or atheists.

What sorts of stories do they tell you?

An army private from Fort Bragg contacted me when he was going through basic training. When he signed up, they asked him his religious denomination and he said Christian, but they identified him as not being fundamentalist enough Christian, and they punished him by putting 'none' on his dog tags. When he got to Afghanistan, the commander said that the blessings of the Lord Jesus would not be on the unit unless everyone were evangelical, and since he would not convert, this 20-year-old private would be responsible for the deaths and injuries the unit might suffer.

In another case, we caught a three-star general who ordered his staff to put together a PowerPoint presentation demonstrating the direct parallel between the Book of Revelation and all of our combat movements in Tikrit, Mosul, Fallujah, Sadr City and farther east in Afghanistan. We were able to stop it after it got to 2,500 troops.

What group inside the military is doing this?

What we're fighting here is a subset of evangelical Christianity that goes by a long name: pre-millennial dispensational reconstructionist dominionist fundamentalist evangelical Christianity. There's an organization for officers called the Officers Christian Fellowship, and for the enlisted folks called the Christian Military Fellowship. The first goal is a 'spiritually transformed' U.S. military. The second goal is [to be] ambassadors for Christ in uniform—by the way, if you check the last 2,000 years, that hasn't worked out too well. Thirdly, [they are] empowered by the Holy Spirit.

In the private sector this would last about three seconds. It would be a killer lawsuit under Title 7 of the U.S. Code. Those serving in the military have to give up many constitutional rights. 'Get the hell out of my face, sir or ma'am' is not an option for you if you're being even gently evangelized. Because they're second-class citizens by design, they're very vulnerable, and the military knows this.

When people come to you with these complaints, what do you do?

Our job is to kick ass and to take names. We lay down a withering field of fire and leave chest wounds on those who would bring constitutional darkness to our military. I usually call commanders and tell them that we're here and we're going public. But making phone calls and doing interviews is at best weed whacking; that keeps them at bay for only a short time. The best thing we can do is to go into federal court, which we will do in a few days with a massive federal lawsuit directly confronting this.

We are not trying to take anyone's religious faith away; we are simply saying you can't use the machinery of the state, the awesome power of our military, to force religion on your subordinates up and down the chain of command. Must we become the Christian Taliban to defeat this Taliban and Al Qaeda?

For more information, visit www.militaryreligiousfreedom.org.

Comments (9)

Showing 1-9 of 9

Add a comment

 
Subscribe to this thread:
Showing 1-9 of 9

Add a comment

INDY Week publishes all kinds of comments, but we don't publish everything.

  • Comments that are not contributing to the conversation will be removed.
  • Comments that include ad hominem attacks will also be removed.
  • Please do not copy and paste the full text of a press release.

Permitted HTML:
  • To create paragraphs in your comment, type <p> at the start of a paragraph and </p> at the end of each paragraph.
  • To create bold text, type <b>bolded text</b> (please note the closing tag, </b>).
  • To create italicized text, type <i>italicized text</i> (please note the closing tag, </i>).
  • Proper web addresses will automatically become links.

Latest in Q&A

  • WikiLeaks and the right to know

    We spoke with UNC Associate Professor of Journalism Lois Boynton, a fellow at the University's Parr Center for Ethics, about WikiLeaks
    • Dec 22, 2010
  • Scott Horton

    Scott Horton

    Torture, not suicide, may have killed Guantánamo prisoners.
    • Apr 7, 2010
  • Gerald Grant on Wake's school success

    Gerald Grant on Wake's school success

    It was the 1976 decision by Raleigh and Wake County to merge and then establish the policy that every school would be racially balanced that made Raleigh the "hope" of other American cities.
    • May 20, 2009
  • More »


Twitter Activity

Most Recent Comments

i was wanting to know if diebetes or omeprazole can cause a false reading for thc and are there any …

by rooster50 on Dr. Joycelyn Elders, former U.S. Surgeon General (Q&A)

Isn't the policy of UNC NOT to allow freedom of association repressive?As a white male can I be allowed to …

by ROBO14 on Riley Matheson, UNC's Youth for Western Civilization (Q&A)

To above: But what good is liberty without the material and social resources one needs in order to *exercise* that …

by drewk on Gerald Grant on Wake's school success (Q&A)

I was unimpressed by the yearly move of students from one school to another. That was unnecessary, to my untrained …

by debbilh on Gerald Grant on Wake's school success (Q&A)

I think what's astonishing is that Gerald Grant is clueless.

by ammcat on Gerald Grant on Wake's school success (Q&A)

Comments

i was wanting to know if diebetes or omeprazole can cause a false reading for thc and are there any …

by rooster50 on Dr. Joycelyn Elders, former U.S. Surgeon General (Q&A)

Isn't the policy of UNC NOT to allow freedom of association repressive?As a white male can I be allowed to …

by ROBO14 on Riley Matheson, UNC's Youth for Western Civilization (Q&A)

© 2016 Indy Week • 201 W. Main St., Suite 101, Durham, NC 27701 • phone 919-286-1972 • fax 919-286-4274
RSS Feeds | Powered by Foundation