I originally posted this in the Religion and Spirituality forum at the Unfiltered News Network
. I thought I would post this here, as theocracy is a danger that troubled our Founding Fathers.
One issue that has troubled me for a long time is the rise of militant religious fundamentalism. In this country, that form of fanaticism has taken the the form of Christian Dominionists. (See the article in my blog, Chicago Will
, "Why the Religious Right is Wrong!!")
Tikkun Magazine recently interviewed Mikey Weinstein, founder of the Military Religious Freedom Foundation
. Weinstein, who served in the Air Force as a Judge Advocate General and in the Reagan Administration. He is author of the new book, With God on Our Side: One Man’s War Against an Evangelical Coup in America’s Military.
Here is a link to the interview and some excepts. It is well worth reading, and some may be surprised by much of it. Let's say that on this issue, I am prepared to stand with liberal and conservative alike against those who would shred our Constitution and make America a theocracy.
An Evangelical Coup in America's Military
Tikkun's managing editor Dave Belden interviews Mikey Weinstein, president of the Military Religious Freedom Foundation, on the Evangelical coup in America's Military.
With God on Our Side: One Man’s War Against an Evangelical Coup in America’s Military.
Tikkun Online Exclusive
Michael L. “Mikey” Weinstein is Founder and President of the Military Religious Freedom Foundation. He was Assistant General Counsel in the Reagan White House and later served as General Counsel for H. Ross Perot. For ten years, he was a Judge Advocate General in the U.S. Air Force. Tikkun does not endorse the violent imagery Mr. Weinstein uses in his struggle, but presents this interview to highlight the courage of this man and his family in combating a major threat to the United States.
Tikkun (Dave Belden, managing editor): The title of your book is With God on Our Side: One Man’s War Against an Evangelical Coup in America’s Military. Coup is a very strong word.
Michael Weinstein: We are facing a national security threat in this country that is every bit as significant in magnitude, width and breadth internally as that presented externally by the now-resurgent Taliban and Al Qaeda. And it is the destruction of the U.S. constitutionally mandated wall separating church and state, in the technologically most lethal organization every created by humankind, which is our honorable and noble military. I’m here to report to you today that that wall is nothing but smoke and debris. We are facing an absolute fundamentalist Christianization—a Talibanization—of the U.S. Marine Corps, Army, Navy, and Air Force.
I’m aware of how it sounds. I know that the religious right would love it if I was a Northern California, Chardonnay sipping, tree hugging, bleeding heart Democrat, a Sierra Club Democrat. Not that there’s anything wrong with that. But I’m a Republican. My family has a very long history of military tradition—a little bit unusual, a little bit—for a Jewish American family. We have three consecutive generations of military academy graduates. My youngest son graduated a month ago from the Air Force Academy.
Tikkun: So he made it?
Weinstein: Yeah, he made it. And he’s the sixth member of my family to go there. I’m an honor graduate there. My daughter in law, who’s a Christian, went there. My older son, who’s Jewish, went there. My brother went there. My brother in law went there. My father graduated from the U.S. Naval Academy as a distinguished graduate. We have over 128 years of combined active duty, military service, in just my immediate family, and every major combat engagement this country’s been in since World War I until the current so-called global war on terror. My nephew just got back with a chest full of medals from Iraq, and he’ll probably be going back again.
I take no pleasure in having to attack, initially, my school, then my branch of service, and then eventually the entire DoD. But at this point our Pentagon has been turned into a Pentecostagon and our Department of Defense has been turned into a unconstitutional faith-based initiative.
Weinstein has also been nominated for the John F. Kennedy Profile in Courage Award
Here is a promotional video from the Military Religious Freedom Foundation. I believe that you will be shocked, angered, yet impressed by the voices raised on behalf of religious freedom and our Constitution.http://www.youtube.com/watch?v=17NkbM2AKkQ
You may also want to check this out from Max Blumenthal, who was on the Thom Hartmann program recently: Federal Funding for GOP S&M
. The White House Faith Based Initiative Project is funding Love Demonstrated Ministries, where a pastor and an employee were alleged to have dragged a young girl at an evangelical boot camp behind a truck. See UPDATE: S.A. pastor arrested on assault warrant
I believe what these dominionists are doing is not only an insult to the Constitution of the United States of America, but also to the tenets of Christianity. While I am a Reform Jew, I am familiar enough with the teachings of Christianity to say that I see little of the teachings i of a carpenter and travelling rabbi. I have known Christians, Jews, Muslims, Hindus, Buddhists, Wiccans, agnostics and atheists who were people of good character and only asked that you respect their rights as you would want respect for your own rights. They believe with our Founding Fathers that the only way one person can be secure in his rights is if others are secure in their rights as well.
Perhaps the theocrats and dominionists need to remember the words of the prophet Micah, form Chapter 6, verses 8-9. (I am using the New Jewish Publications Translation of the Tanakh (Hebrew Bible) ).
He has told you, O man, what is good, And what the Lord requires of you:
Only to do justice And to love goodness. And to walk modestly with your God; then will your name achieve wisdom!"
I do not believe that the dominionist have done any of these things, nor have they gained wisdom. They seem to seek power, confusing righteousness with self-righteousness. Indeed, they seem to be trying to shrink the Eternal into a small idol that resembles themselves. Sadly, they seem willing to use the word crusade, envisioning battles abroad and battles at home against Muslims, Jews, liberals, and other unbelievers. I fear for our country, as do many others.
Let those of all faiths and political philosophies who will stand for religious tolerance and our Constitution stand together in these dark times. There are those who would destroy the remarkable legacy of our Founding Fathers, for which so many have struggled, fought, and even died to defend. I say that we should stand as one for the remarkable heritage of this country, which while it has not always lived up to its promise, is still far better than the theocratic regime that the dominionists would seek to create.