On these pages, I wrote last week about the meeting by Michael “Mikey” L. Weinstein, Esq., Founder and President of Military Religious Freedom Foundation (“MRFF”), a decidedly anti-Christian group, with President Obama Pentagon appointees on April 23, 2013, to develop court-martial procedures to punish Christians in the military (including chaplains) who express or share their faith with others. Mr. Weinstein is the author of several anti-Christian books and named as one of the “100 Most Influential People in U.S. Defense” by Defense News in December 2012, where he outranked General David Petraeus. Mr. Weinstein has stated that U.S. troops who proselytize are guilty of sedition and treason and should be punished – by the hundreds if necessary – to stave off what he called a “tidal wave of fundamentalists.” Mr. Weinstein observed, “Someone needs to be punished for this. Until the Air Force or Army or Navy or Marine Corps punishes a member of the military for unconstitutional religious proselytizing and oppression, we will never have the ability to stop this horrible, horrendous, dehumanizing behavior.” The Pentagon tried to spin this as the only meeting between Pentagon officials and Mr. Weinstein.
However, while this meeting was depicted as the first meeting between Mr. Weinstein and Pentagon brass, The New York Times (“NYT”) reported on March 1, 2009, in a story entitled “Questions Raised Anew About Religion in Military,” (available here: http://www.nytimes.com/2009/03/01/washington/01church.html?pagewanted=all&_r=1& ), that Mr. Weinstein first met with four-star general and Air Force chief of staff, Norton A. Schwartz, in February 2009, mere weeks after President Obama’s inauguration. This was the first time that Mr. Weinstein and MRFF had an official meeting with a member of the Joint Chiefs of Staff. During President Bush’s presidency, Mr. Weinstein’s MRFF sued the Defense Department as part of his anti-Christian crusade, so President Obama political appointees and the sycophantic generals at the Pentagon knew exactly who Mr. Weinstein was, and what he wanted to do, when General Schwartz met with him in 2009. The NYT story gives a laundry list of Weinstein and MRFF’s grievances against the Defense Department during the Bush administration, including a “ceremony that began and ended with a Christian prayer…the appearance of uniformed officers at religious events, [and] displays of crucifixes at military chapels…” For their average NYT readers, the story indicated that “Christian prayers” are prayers that are offered “in Jesus’ name.” (You sure didn’t need to explain that to readers in either Dallas or South Carolina.) In any event, while the Bush Defense Department fought Mr. Weinstein and MRFF in court, President Obama and Secretary Hagel welcomed him again on Apr. 23, 2013, to discuss how to stop seditious and treasonous Christian evangelization (oops, I meant Christian proselytization) within the military, a distinction that may seem to be without a difference.
However, as a public service to our nation’s military personnel, Mere Comments offers to clarify the difference between Christian evangelism (which is still permitted speech and conduct) and proselytization (which is now prohibited speech and conduct). Thus, military personnel are legally permitted to say, “Have you made the wonderful discovery of receiving Jesus Christ as your personal Lord and Savior?” and “Have you ever considered the claims of Jesus Christ on your life?” However, military personnel are not permitted to say, “Hey Soldier, your life is all messed up! You had better get right with Jesus Christ, Who loves you and has a wonderful plan for your life?” Further soldiers will no longer be permitted to say, “Hey, Soldier, you want to come to the base chapel with me this coming Sunday morning?” Notice the clear and distinct difference between the two sets of statements: prohibited statements use the term, “Hey, Soldier,” but permitted statements do not. Clear, right?