Moderator's note: The following article is posted only for informational purposes.
|Airmen and soldiers take a moment to pray": U.S. Air Force photo by Staff Sgt. Scott Campbell |
September 9, 2012
Not God’s Army: The Front Lines of the Fight Against Proselytizing in the U.S. Military
A conversation with the Military Religious Freedom Foundation’s Mikey Weinstein
By Candace Chellew-Hodge
Candace Chellew-Hodge is the founder/editor of Whosoever: An Online Magazine for GLBT Christians and currently serves as the pastor of Jubilee! Circle in Columbia, S.C. She is also the author of Bulletproof Faith: A Spiritual Survival Guide for Gay and Lesbian Christians (Jossey-Bass, 2008)
Since this interview took place RD has learned that one member of the armed forces, having been the object of persistent harassment from a military superior in their direct chain of command for their religious afﬁliation, has attempted suicide. In the coming weeks, this MRFF client faces an ofﬁcial military proceeding. Due to the sensitive nature of the situation all identifying information has been omitted. –Eds.
Last month, right before his retirement, Chief of Staff of the Air Force, Gen. Norton Schwartz issued new rules regarding proselytizing among the troops. The document instructs commanders to “avoid the actual or apparent use of their position to promote their personal religious beliefs to their subordinates or to extend preferential treatment for any religion.”
Although the new order is backed up by military law, Mikey Weinstein, founder of and force behind the Military Religious Freedom Foundation (MRFF), remains skeptical:
It was a transparent and likely guilt-ridden concession by Schwartz, yet it was both too little and too late. With Schwartz’s butt-covering, last second, ‘midnight drive-by’ delivery of AFI 1-1, we have no alternative left but to look to the new USAF Chief of Staff, Gen. Mark A. Welsh III, to show the all-too-rare backbone once required of all top leaders within the U.S. Military.
Weinstein, whose work with the MRFF was nominated this year for the Nobel Peace Prize, has been fighting for religious freedom within the military since 2005, when his son Curtis, an Air Force Academy cadet, confided to his father that he’d been struggling. As Weinstein recounts in his most recent book, Curtis told his father: “I’m going to beat the shit out of the next guy who calls me a ‘fucking Jew.’ I’m going to beat the shit out of the next guy who accuses me, or our people, of killing Christ.”
Continued at: http://www.religiondispatches.org/archive/atheologies/6364/not_god%27s_army%3A_the_front_lines_of_the_fight_against_proselytizing_in_the_u.s._military