July 6th 2013

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Articles from this issue:

COVER STORY: The legacy of Nelson Mandela

NATIONAL AFFAIRS: Last-minute law change a threat to religious freedom

WESTERN AUSTRALIA: Bid to suppress free speech at WA parliament

OPINION: How 'tolerance' is used to curb our freedoms

CANBERRA OBSERVED: Labor in worse shape today than in 1975

EDITORIAL: Behind the Rudd, Gillard stand-off

ECONOMIC AFFAIRS: Small business -- too big to ignore

OPINION: Moderate Islam the antidote to Islamism

FOREIGN AFFAIRS: Taiwan, Philippines fishing spat muddies SE Asian waters

SCHOOLS: Christianity airbrushed from Labor's civics curriculum

UNITED STATES: Persecution of Christians in the US military

LIFE ISSUES: Legal loophole threat to Irish pro-life consensus

HISTORY: How evil triumphs with our apathy and complacency

OPINION: The pros and cons of types of punishment

OPINION: Ministry for Men's Interests needed

CINEMA: Zombie tales reveal our innermost fears

BOOK REVIEW Rediscovering the idea of civilised liberty

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Persecution of Christians in the US military

by Hal G.P. Colebatch

News Weekly, July 6, 2013

Political correctness, with what appears to be the support of the Obama administration, seems to be running wild in the Pentagon and the US military.

Specially favoured treatment appears to be being given to the violently anti-Christian organisation, the Military Religious Freedom Foundation, run by an ex-Air Force legal officer, Michael L. “Mikey” Weinstein.

The Pentagon — or at least sections within its labyrinthine structure — instead of telling the MRFF to mind its own business, is seeking the MRFF’s advice and giving it every encouragement. Weinstein is reported to be receiving an income of US$250,000 a year, though the source of this is unclear.

The offending picture, "Blessed are the Peacemakers",

by Ron DiCianni, a multiple award-winning

American Christian artist and illustrator. 

Among the MRFF’s “triumphs” are contacting the Pentagon to have a religious-themed painting removed from the dining room at the Mountain Home Air Force Base near Boise, Idaho.

The painting depicts a modern-day American police officer standing in front of a medieval Crusader, carrying a glittering sword and a St George’s banner. At the foot of the picture, in large letters, is the word “Integrity” and a reference to Matthew 5:9 which says, “Blessed are the peace-makers for they will be called children of God.”

Weinstein, president of the MRFF, issued a media release boasting that his influence in the US military is so powerful that the painting was removed within less than an hour of his lodging his complaint.

A notable feature of the MRFF’s anti-Christian crusade is its eagerness not to debate with opponents in a civil manner, but to accuse them of being “mouth-frothing fanatics” and employ similar vile stereotyping.

Weinstein has actually demanded punishment for service personnel engaged in what he calls “religious propaganda”. There is no indication of where any definition of religious propaganda is to stop, and it could be taken as meaning that the mere discussion or expression of religious beliefs in private conversations ought to be prohibited.

This seems in direct conflict with the armed forces’ own institution, the United States Corps of Chaplains.

Weinstein has claimed: “Whether it’s case law, state or federal, or any of the Department of Defense instructions, regulations, or directives, there is no time that they can be restricted from proselytising.

“That is unpatriotic, it’s un-American, it’s inhuman, it’s a crime, and in the military if it happens, it violates the oath that everyone in the military takes — not to the New Testament, or the Torah, or to the Koran, but to the United States Constitution. It should be punished vigorously, aggressively, and very visibly” (Washington Times, May 30, 2013).

Writing in the far-Left Huffington Post, Weinstein claimed with typical bile and vitriol: “Today, we face incredibly well-funded gangs of fundamentalist Christian monsters who terrorize their fellow Americans by forcing their weaponised and twisted version of Christianity upon their helpless subordinates in our nation’s armed forces” (Huffington Post, April 16, 2013).

Why is the Pentagon apparently taking this peddling of extremist, unbalanced and fantastic abuse seriously?

Weinstein was reported to have met with Pentagon brass on April 23 to discuss an Air Force regulation, “Air Force Culture, Air Force Standards”. Weinstein told the Washington Post that several generals would be present. This is despite the fact Weinstein has no official standing and is now simply a private citizen.

Mikey Weinstein.

He told Fox News: “Until the Air Force or Army or Navy or Marine Corps punishes a member of the military for unconstitutional religious proselytising and oppression, we will never have the ability to stop this horrible, horrendous, dehumanising behaviour.” He has also described proselytising by members of the military as “spiritual rape” and torture (Fox News Radio, April 30, 2013).

Times have changed. In World War II, C.S. Lewis was employed to give talks on Christianity to the Royal Air Force. After Pearl Harbour, President F.D. Roosevelt concluded his message to Congress, on declaring war on Japan, with the words, “So help us, God!” General Eisenhower told the Allied troops on the eve of the D-Day landings: “And let us all beseech the blessings of Almighty God upon this great and noble undertaking.”

Worse still, he referred to the liberation of Europe from Nazism as “a great Crusade”. No doubt Mr Weinstein would have been on the phone pretty quickly had he been there when that was said.

The United States remains overwhelmingly a country of religious believers, but has never fought a religious war. In fact, during the past two centuries, religious proselytising within the military of the English-speaking countries has never been a problem.

There is in fact a very strong argument that Christian soldiers tend to be more humane.

The 20th century provided ample evidence that it was the armed forces of the anti-Christian totalitarian powers which committed atrocities as a matter of course. It was Christians in the Wehrmacht and the White Rose circle who attempted to resist Hitler.

The MRFF’s website contains crude blasphemies, which, had they been directed at any religion other than Christianity, could have led to prosecution as hate speech — or perhaps, in some cases, even more emphatic gestures of disapproval.

Probably in a reaction to the MRFF’s activities, the House Armed Services Committee recently passed an amendment to the National Defense Authorization Act, that would protect Christians and members of other faiths.

Meanwhile, President Obama, possibly reflecting the MRFF’s influence, has threatened to veto a bill designed to protect military members’ religious free-speech rights. His opposition tends to confirm fears that his administration plans to target Christians who discuss their faith.

It has also been suggested that the Pentagon has been working with Weinstein to craft a policy under which Christians serving in the armed forces, who were caught discussing their faith, would face court-martial.

Hal G.P. Colebatch, PhD, is a Perth author and lawyer.



Michael L. Weinstein, “Fundamentalist Christian monsters: Papa’s got a brand new bag”, Huffington Post, April 16, 2013.
URL: www.huffingtonpost.com/michael-l-weinstein/fundamentalist-christian-_b_3072651.html

Todd Starnes, “Pentagon: religious proselytizing is not permitted”, Fox News Radio, April 30, 2013.
URL: http://radio.foxnews.com/toddstarnes/top-stories/pentagon-religious-proselytizing-is-not-permitted.html

Joseph Cotto, “Asking Mikey Weinstein: Is America really a ‘Christian nation’?”, Washington Times, May 30, 2013.
URL: http://communities.washingtontimes.com/neighborhood/conscience-realist/2013/may/30/asking-mikey-weinstein-america-really-christian-na/

Gary Randall, “Military surrenders to atheists at Mountain Home Air Force Base”, Faith and Freedom Foundation and Network blog, June 6, 2013.
URL: http://blog.faithandfreedom.us/2013/06/military-surrenders-to-atheists-at.html

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