"I went to Jerusalem to become acquainted (Gk. istoria) with Cephas" - Paul's words from Galatians 1:18.

I'd Rather Follow Patrick Henry than Mikey Weinstein

There is a remarkable woman who lives in Enid, Oklahoma named Christina Hopper. She is a wife, mother, and a former United States Air Force F-16 fighter pilot. She now instructs future fighter pilots. Her long list of accomplishments is impressive; an accomplished collegiate swimmer at the University of Texas, the first black female fighter pilot to see air combat for the United States Air Force, a highly decorated fighter pilot, and now one of the top triathletes in the nation. She's won the Good Housekeping Award for women leaders in government, invited to appear on Oprah, and has been nationally recognized for her leadership skills. Christina is a member of the church I pastor, and this week she found herself on the receiving end of a diatribe from the pen of Mikey Weinstein, the founder and president of the Military Religious Freedom Foundation.

It seems Mr. Mikey was offended  when he read an article last week from the Vance Air Force Base Public Affairs magazine that highlighted Christina and her recent accomplishments as a triathlete. The reporter made a statement about Christina that caused Mr. Mikey Weinstein heartburn. Here are the reporter's words about Christina, comparing her triathlete training to life:
"The triathlon courses are designed by others, but Christina's life's trail is directed by faith. Faith in God, faith in those she is close to and faith in the belief that life's spoils, whether they be triathlon finishes, flying or family, are blessings."
Faith in God.

These are three words that caused Mr. Weinstein offense. It seems Mikey Weinstein believes that no United States Air Force pilot should ever publicly voice faith in God, but instead, promote faith in the Constitution of the United States.

Worse, Mr. Weinstein, a lawyer, takes a decade old video from The Christian Broadcasting Network  and pulls a deceptive bait-and-switch in his article, acting as if the Vance Air Force Base Public Affairs Magazine promoted Christina's faith in Christ. Shame on you Mr. Weinstein. The Vance Air Force Base article never mentions Christina's faith in Christ. The Christian Broadcasting Company highlighted Christina's faith in Christ many years ago. Get your facts straight. But even if Vance Air Force Base had mentioned Christina's faith in Christ, I'd rather have a believer in historic Judeo-Christian principles in control of an F-16 in American fighter jet than an ISIS fanatic. No?

The Weinsteins of this world--those who wish to sanitize all mention of God from our United States military personnel--exhibit a weakness that our American forefathers never possessed. Listen to Patrick Henry's wisdom and notice how it is diametrically opposite of Mr. Mikey Weinstein's religious bigotry.
"If we wish to be free; if we mean to preserve inviolate those inestimable privileges for which we have been so long contending; if we mean not basely to abandon the noble struggle in which we have been so long engaged, and which we have pledged ourselves never to abandon until the glorious object of our contest shall be obtained — we must fight! I repeat it, sir, we must fight! An appeal to arms, and to the God of hosts, is all that is left us." Patrick Henry
Sorry, Mikey Weinstein. I'd rather follow Patrick Henry than you.

31 comments:

Christiane said...
This comment has been removed by the author.
Wade Burleson said...

Christiane,

Thanks for your comment. I was sad to see it removed. I did not know the background on Mikey Weinstein's son (or him for that matter), but your comment sparked an interest to find out more. I have little respect for bullies who call the Pentagon and try to get troops in trouble because of their faith in God. Mikey can be an atheist all he wants, but when he uses intimidation to shut people up, he needs to be stopped. He thanks he's obeying the supreme law of the land, but his ignorance of America's history is palpable.

Nancy said...

If Weinstein supports our US Constitution, it might be wise for him to recall that freedom of religion and freedom of speech are also included in our constitutional rights.

Chris Riley said...

Wade, you get all the cool church members!!! LOL.

It fascinates when I read the stories of people like Christina and Rick Husband. People who have served our country and honored God by their faith. Reminds me sometimes how much I miss the mark!!

jdrector@lakeviewbaptist.org said...

Wade:
As an old Army brat of a Korean war veteran, thanks for this post! BUT, it give me chills to also think of another great quote from Patrick Henry..."Give me liberty, or give me death!"
So tell me. Do you think someone of us may be soon rallying around that cry again in defense of freedoms that we once held dear and precious as they are taken away? We have brothers and sisters in Christ all around the world who die for their faith every day. Why should believers in America put ourselves in an "exempt group" from the defense our faith?
I appreciate your candor and wisdom for these days!
JD

Aussie John said...

Wade,

Whether he likes it or not Mr Weinstein has great faith. I assume he eats, so how does he know what he eats has not been tampered with. He probably travels on busy roads, but it takes a certain kind of faith to believe he will arrive at his destination. He obviously has great faith in his own opinion.

He's obviously angry at anyone who disagrees with his faith in his leap into ????.

Chris Rodda said...

And the theocratic Patrick Henry, who went on to try to tax all Virginians to support Christian ministers, was completely defeated by James Madison, and Thomas Jefferson's Bill for Establishing Religious Freedom was passed. So, yeah, Patrick Henry is a great example of someone who tried to impose his religion on everybody and LOST!!!

Marshalldoc said...

I'm always amazed at the duplicity and self-serving self-victimization of those who purport to be "Christians" (as though they're somehow different - i.e.; 'superior' to the 80% of Americans who also define themselves as 'Christian' but don't seem to feel the need to mandate a theocracy for self-actualization). It's also amazing how domionists [those who feel their concept of dog should be the defining concept for the entire world, despite the absence of any verifiable proof that any semblance of such an invisible superhero actually exists] are willing to entirely ignore the commandment to not 'bear false witness' while demanding that others toe their fundamentalist line. To wit: The crux of your 'essay' is that:

"Here are the reporter's words about Christina, comparing her triathlete training to life: "The triathlon courses are designed by others, but Christina's life's trail is directed by faith. Faith in God, faith in those she is close to and faith in the belief that life's spoils, whether they be triathlon finishes, flying or family, are blessings."

As though that was all that the article mentioned.

Omission (particularly intentionally devious omission) is, I suspect, a 'sin' in your worldview, yet you knowingly omitted this quote in the article:

"The overarching thing that defines all of my life is my relationship with God… It's what drives me and makes me passionate about life. The reason and the purpose behind everything I do is to glorify God and to make his name known. If that was removed from my life, I would feel that I have no purpose."

And, to gild the stinking lilly, your create a red herring about Mikey dredging up a quote from Hopper's past as though it's irrelevant to the current issue - which it isn't, and which was mentioned only in passing by Mikey (you've actually devoted more verbiage to it -73 words - than he did - 17 words), but hey, what's a few words when the object's character assassination, right?

Now, I fully understand that your commitment to a biblically governed nation supersedes any allegiance you might have to the Constitution - after all, where in your so-called ‘sacred text’ is the concept of ‘democracy’ ever mentioned except to be vilified as asserting man’s law over dog’s law as a sin? This is a common characteristic of all the ‘Abrahamic’ faiths which is why you have more in common with the fundamentalists of the Islamic State than with those adherents to western democratic traditions. Even the opening words of the Constitution “We the People of the United States…” are a complete rejection of your domionist worldview since, were it otherwise, it would begin “Hear oh Israel, the Lard You Dog…” (that’s the start of the 1st commandment, the penultimate statement of faith for Judeo-Christian believers, if you don’t recognize it). And that, as such, you don’t really give a flip about what is or isn’t legal under our Constitution (like proselytizing to those who cannot chose to ignore or resist) so you really don’t care that your essay is meaningless regarding the rights granted, and denied, under our Constitutional republic and write solely to appeal to those similarly motivated (or profoundly ignorant of our laws)… I get it.

So, Wade, why don’t you kindly stop pretending that you’re anything other than a dyed-in-the-wool domionist who demands the world believe, strictly, as you do and just say so rather than blow all this smoke about someone who recognizes your ilk for what you [all] are and has the cojones to tell you and the world? At least your Abrahamic faith co-believers in the Islamic State don’t violate the ‘false witness’ commandment. We know their agenda, it’s the same as yours, two sides of the same malevolent coin.



teddyrodo said...

Patrick Henry? R u sure? Have u even given a cursory read to the piece on ol' Pat in wikipedia?
teddy rodosovich
West Point 1964x

Christiane said...

Hi WADE,
thank you for responding, even though I withdrew my comment. I was coming from the viewpoint of someone who knows what happened to Mikey Weinstein's son and to other cadets who were exposed to similar treatment at the Air Force Academy.

Unless the readership of this blog knows the full story, my comment would not have had much meaning.

Sometimes, I think it's a question of who is bullying whom. And when a father steps in to support his boy, he may in time want for others to be spared the same treatment. Such was the motivation of Mikey Weinstein in my opinion, in the same sense that such is the case for the motivation of John Walsh, the difference being that no one can fault the direction of John Walsh's efforts, which are seen universally as honorable and praise-worthy.

I think I was commenting not knowing Mikey Weinstein's current direction, and you were posting not being familiar with the incidents involving prosylitization and harassment of Mikey Weinstein's son.
I think I was right to remove the original comment. And for the record, I can't ever see you as a 'dominionist'.
You have my respect, WADE, as an honorable person who follows Our Lord and works to help people who are troubled.

M Gray said...

I'm pretty sure Mikey Weinstein has no objection to Major Hopper's personal belief system, or even that she credits her god for her successes in life. And she has certainly found considerable success. I think Mikey objects to the delivery of her message, the military press, the military connection. She can believe ANYTHING, privately, but cannot suggest or create an appearance that the USAF or US Government indorses or advances her particular god or belief system. Perhaps the USAF publishers of the article at Vance AFB should be one the carpet here, and not Major Hopper.

Our US Government is a secular government. Period. End of story. Some may think the US Government should advance one religion or another, but that is wishful thinking, not reality. US Government employees may not advance any religion in the name of the government. If their behavior creates even the appearance of government-sanctioned religious advancement, then they misrepresent the government. They can believe anything they want to privately. Anything at all. The appearance of proselytizing for any religion, well, that's a constitutional problem.

"I'll fight for our country, but not for your god."

Ronald Thomas West said...

Patrick Henry is hardly the 'founder' you'd wish to quote relating to a Black woman - considering, when opposing the adoption of our USA's constitution, he'd stated to his fellow Virginians "They'll free your niggers!"

Said former fighter pilot should better consider the latter day Confederates she's consorting with, those pushing the anti-Weinstein/anti-Constitution agenda

Wade Burleson said...

Welcome to my little blog, all you Weinstein supporters. I support and affirm your right to disagree with me and denigrate freedom-loving Americans who serve their country, defend the Constitution, and believe in the Trinitarian God of the historic Christian faith.

When ISIS shows up on your doorstep to cut your head off for refusing to submit to Allah, maybe those who believe in the God of the Bible won't be as big of a threat to you are they are now.

Anonymous said...

Politics have entered the church, and adoration of the Constitution and the flag have replaced Christ and His Gospel.
On the other side of it, fascists politicians are working to force theology into our system of government.

Can open, worms everywhere.

"When ISIS shows up on your doorstep to cut your head off for refusing to submit to Allah, maybe those who believe in the God of the Bible won't be as big of a threat to you are they are now."

Faux News or are you a fan of Paul Begley?

Ray Bartlett said...

Regarding the Constitution and various articles of the Bill Of Rights - Military Officers do not have those rights! Freedom of Speech and Freedom of Religion are subservient to the military mission. Military officers are not free to say anything on their minds if it is detrimental to the mission. A military officer is not free to force their religion on those serving with or under them. A military officer is free to practice any religion they like; however, when it comes to endorsing a religion, or displaying religious articles or quotes in their workplace, or proselytizing - all these things are illegal, just as it would be for a Rastafarian in the military to smoke ganja.
As already commented above, Mikey/the MRFF is objecting to the paragraph about endorsing God. While appropriate for an article in a commercial magazine, it is not appropriate in an AFB magazine as attributed to a military officer. It doesn't matter if the God is Christian, Islamic, or Babylonian. It's all inappropriate in a U.S. Government sponsored magazine.

Christiane said...

"A military officer is not free to force their religion on those serving with or under them."

I think most Christian people would agree with this. I don't think a private testament of faith is wrong, of course, but those original incidents at the Air Force Academy were definitely abusive and deserved response. I think it is appropriate to make a clear distinction between those very abusive events and someone's private statement of faith that was published by a magazine.

We have serving military officers in my family who are Christian people. They would not think it was professional to force their religion on ANYONE, least of all those serving with or under them. The pressures of such an act would be horrendous to bear for those affected in a military setting, of course.

I would not put Christine Hopper in the category of someone who was forcing her faith on anyone. It would be wrong for Mikey Weinstein to accuse her of doing such a thing or even of implying such a thing if her private statement was inadvertantly published in a magazine that was not permitted to do this. If he has a problem with the magazine, that is one thing. She should not be personally targeted, no. She is an honorable serving officer who is owed our respect and our gratitude for her service.

The original incidents that set Mikey Weinstein in motion were horrible. He apparently remains very vigilant to prevent any recurance of those abuses. If he can do this without going over the top and accusing innocent persons of proselytism, then he is doing productive work. But targeting innocent people is not productive and, of course, deserves a response on their behalf.

M Gray said...

Mr. Burleson,

I think you have a serious disconnect, or misunderstanding, if you think Mikey Weinstein and his supporters are not, or do not include "freedom-loving Americans who serve their country, defend the Constitution, and believe in the Trinitarian God of the historic Christian faith." Mikey and his supporters are certainly "freedom-loving Americans who serve their country, [and] defend the Constitution." They might also believe in the religion you specified, but he will defend the right of military members to believe anything, and without coercion from a military superior. Most (some 95%) of Mikey's clients are Christians, sir, but perhaps not of your particular brand.

Mikey's argument is against those who believe the US Government or US military should advance some religion or other. In their, and perhaps your, zeal to serve their/your god, they/you righteously tread on 1) the rights of others to freely believe whatever religion they choose, and 2) on the secular foundation of the US Constitution.

Mikey's focus supports the military member who chooses to believe something other than what his/her higher ranking or chain-of-command superior intentionally, or not, thinks he/she should believe. He supports those who face the ISIS-like coercers of their own brand of god. Doesn't "ISIS-like coercer of their your brand of god" describe you, Mr. Burleson?

"I'll fight for our country, but not for your god."

Steve Miller said...

Thanks Wade for the great and accurate post. If our friends of Mr Weinstein and the MRFF would get their facts right we might be able to have good dialogue. This would require knowledge of the subject, candor, and good will. I do not see a track record of this with the MRFF. I see motivation of bitterness, rudeness, and a desire to denigrate Christians in the military.

All military personnel, officers and enlisted, have Constitutional rights; they take an oath to support and defend it against all enemies, foreign and domestic. To say otherwise is lacking in a proper understanding of the Constitution and the UCMJ. Military personnel are protected under the same federal law that protects civilians, the Religious Freedom Restoration Act.

The military and its senior leadership are growing weary of Mr Weinstein's demands. Bitterness is a meal best served cold.

Rick Baker said...

For centuries wars have been waged by those who sought religious dominance. The Crusades are a a good example of what extreme religious beliefs can do to a society.

Mr. Weinstein doe not seek to remove religion from the armed forces but rather only to prevent it from being foisted on armed forces members by those in positions of rank and power.

Religion should be shared among those of similar beliefs but never imposed on those who do not subscribe freely.

If not carefully practiced religion can become a most oppressive force.

David Morgan said...

I am in the military (Army). This statement - "when it comes to endorsing a religion, or displaying religious articles or quotes in their workplace... this is illegal" - this is absurd. It's patently false.

Eagle said...

I have spent years looking at atheism Wade in my faith crisis. I know about Mikey Weinstein and the challenges that were happening at the US Air Force Academy. There was indeed concern about proselytizing by the Navigators at the USAFA. The Air Force Captain who gave birth to a false accusation against me was involved in the Navigators as well. I went through hell all because of the pressure I resisted to stay out and away from a SGM church.

While I may disagree with Mikey Weinstein in this one case, in other ways I deeply sympathize. Evangelicals create many of their own problems, and they hurt a number of people in the process. I honestly wonder why I am not an atheist today given what an Air Force Captain did. But I do think Mikey Weinstein serves a purpose and I am concerned about proselytizing in the military. And again it was a Care Group Leader from Redeemer Arlington who taught me that personally.

Christiane said...

If Christians behave honorably in the military, I don't think ANYONE would have a concern. We know that Christians make mistakes in judgement and that these mistakes are sometimes harmful to other people. But once these Christians are alerted to the discomfort of others, I'm surprised that they would continue with behavior that was perceived as obnoxious and abusive . . . is it possible that some in that Navigators group were representing other interests???

There is a mystery here, and I would like to understand a lot more about the original trouble and the details that occurred because I think it may point to some agendas that we would not consider 'Christian' in how some young people were so poorly treated. I would hope that if I am right, the watchdogs out there STAY very vigilant. Something was not as it should be. Who was behind it? And why? Who funded them? Questions remain.

JD said...

Wade,

Well said, and welcome to the "war" Mikey Weinstein has declared on Christians. I see you've met his friends.

I, too, wrote about Christina/Thumper here.

I was impressed by how Aaron responded to Weinstein. I look forward to the reply.

Anonymous said...

The Religious Freedom Restoration Act 42 U.S. Code § 2000bb–4 - Establishment clause: Nothing in this chapter shall be construed to affect, interpret, or in any way address that portion of the First Amendment prohibiting laws respecting the establishment of religion (referred to in this section as the “Establishment Clause”). Granting government funding, benefits, or exemptions, to the extent permissible under the Establishment Clause, shall not constitute a violation of this chapter. As used in this section, the term “granting”, used with respect to government funding, benefits, or exemptions, does not include the denial of government funding, benefits, or exemptions.
The Religious Freedom Restoration Act 42 U.S. Code § 2000bb–3 – Applicability
(a) In general
This chapter applies to all Federal law, and the implementation of that law, whether statutory or otherwise, and whether adopted before or after November 16, 1993.
(b) Rule of construction
Federal statutory law adopted after November 16, 1993, is subject to this chapter unless such law explicitly excludes such application by reference to this chapter.
(c) Religious belief unaffected
Nothing in this chapter shall be construed to authorize any government to burden any religious belief.
This means that any law on religion prior to 1993 is still in effect.

The Supreme Court heard the Lemon v. Kurtzman case in 1971 and ruled in favor of the Establishment Clause. Subsequent to this decision, the Supreme Court has applied a three-pronged test to determine whether government action comports with the Establishment Clause, known as the Lemon Test:

Government action violates the Establishment Clause unless it:
1. Has a significant secular (i.e., non-religious) purpose,
2. Does not have the primary effect of advancing or inhibiting religion,
3. Does not foster excessive entanglement between government and religion.

Parker v. Levy, 417 U.S. 733, 1974

“This Court has long recognized that the military is, by necessity, a specialized society separate from civilian society... While the members of the military are not excluded from the protection granted by the First Amendment, the different character of the military community and of the military mission requires a different application of those protections. ... The fundamental necessity for obedience, and the consequent necessity for imposition of discipline, may render permissible within the military that which would be constitutionally impermissible outside it... Speech that is protected in the civil population may nonetheless undermine the effectiveness of response to command. If it does, it is constitutionally unprotected.”

You stated:

Worse, Mr. Weinstein, a Jewish lawyer, takes a decade old video from The Christian Broadcasting Network and pulls a deceptive bait-and-switch in his article, acting as if the Vance Air Force Base Public Affairs Magazine promoted Christina's faith in Christ. Shame on you Mr. Weinstein. The Vance Air Force Base article never mentions Christina's faith in Christ.

Christina DID mention God in the August 5th Vance Air Force Base article:

"The overarching thing that defines all of my life is my relationship with God," she said. "It's what drives me and makes me passionate about life. The reason and the purpose behind everything I do is to glorify God and to make his name known. If that was removed from my life, I would feel that I have no purpose."
http://www.vance.af.mil/news/story.asp?id=123455240

Jesus isn’t God?

Rex Ray said...

Wade,
I agree with your saying “When ISIS shows up on your doorstep to cut your head off for refusing to submit to Allah…”

As I’ve said before: “I believe it we had not stopped Hitler in Germany; we would have fought him in America. The same with Isis.”

Doug Evans said...

"A military officer is not free to force their religion on those serving with or under them."

True Mr. Weinstein, but a civilian is not free to force their religious views on a military officer.

ScottShaver said...

Wow:

"Weinsteins" of the world bring a whole new level of meaning to the term "cry babies".

Gordon said...

It is a law, universally acknowledged, that the legitimate needs of the military must take precedence over a soldier's civilian rights (see Parker v. Levy). This is the nature of the organisation they have voluntarily joined. Religious objectors in the Armed Forces have no right to be offended when, in the interests of the military mission and national security, an innocuous instruction is given regarding the freedom of individuals to express their religious beliefs, as Major Hopper has done in an unobtrusive manner.

Whiners should not be so quick to take offence and resist the ethos of the group. Nor should they engage in making frivolous and vexatious complaints by insisting on banning all forms of religious expression because they don't want to take the chance of being voluntarily persuaded.
A little bit of give-and-take is required when important decisions have to be taken for the good of the military and then national cause. "Paris is worth a Mass", said wise King Henry, first Protestant King of France.

Anonymous said...

For those who have never been MRFF'd, I have yet to see him protest the Wiccan worship at the academy or try to prevent them from sharing their beliefs.

Remaining anonymous this time to avoid being MRFF'd.

Christiane said...

There is a very fine tradition of military chaplaincy and one example is the account of the Four Chaplains: http://homeofheroes.com/brotherhood/chaplains.html

when I think of them, I know that they freely helped others to survive at the risk of their own lives, and that they eventually perished aboard the Dorchester, having given up their life-jackets to the boys who didn't have one and their places in any life-boat so that others might be rescued

there is NO report of any one of them 'proselytizing' or abusing anyone in the way that some of the young cadets at the United States Air Force Academy were made to endure . . .

there is a DIFFERENCE between the honorable service of military chaplains and the vicious treatment of some cadets at the USAFA, and that difference is important to remember

Yes, there is a place for the chaplaincy in the military, but it has never been one of abuse . . . those responsible for abusing the Air Force cadets were NOT honorable people

learning who they were, and what they did, we know that they are not among the brotherhood of men like the Four Chaplains, and their agenda was far from Christ-like

Ramesh said...

I am slowly catching up to Wade's podcasts and I found this interesting story/snippet on Mikey Weinstein at mark 58:40 of the wed eve podcast Chapter 2: Sojourners in a Strange Land - Emmanuel Enid. Definitely an interesting turn of events!