The Consequences of Legalizing "G.I. Jesus Tourette's Syndrome"
I've often wondered as to precisely how many of the scores upon scores of imbecilic, fundamentalist Christian members of the United States Congress have ever served even one nanosecond in the operational ranks of the United States armed forces, not counting service as a military chaplain or physician. The answer is very, very few. And oh how it shows. And oh how these fundamentalist Christian predators are trying mightily to rip asunder and destroy the most essential, bedrock foundation of how our military operates. How? They are crudely attempting to make the unbridled proselytizing of the weaponized version of the Gospel of Jesus Christ literally boundless and without sanction within our Army, Navy, Marines and Air Force.
How best to describe it? Tourette's Syndrome is a serious and tragic disease. It is terribly debilitating. Thus, metaphorically, let's call it the unconstitutional legalization of "G.I. Jesus Tourette's Syndrome."
Let us examine its catastrophic consequences.
My friends, it is bare knuckles good order, morale, and discipline which stirs the essential drink of our national defense. It forms the down and dirty muscle, sinew, and crucial tissue of all effective military organizations. In combat and in protracted military operations, this critical triumvirate is a make-or-break factor of absolute, sine qua non importance. It is incontrovertibly of a magnitude of necessity equal to that of combat weaponry and supplies. One needn’t recall the innumerable classic historical examples absolutely validating this principle of armed conflict such as the Battle of Thermopylae, the American War of Independence, or Dien Bien Phu. Indeed, the fierce resilience of our opponents in Afghanistan stands as an all too lucid testament to the importance of the seemingly immaterial within the all too physical battlefield.
However, the U.S. military is now deeply mired in a complex web of crises attacking its good order, morale, and discipline. Sexual assaults against our heroic women in uniform have reached pandemic proportions. Weeks ago, USAF Lt. Col. Jay Folds, deputy commander of operations for the 91st Missile Wing at Minot Air Force Base, North Dakota, protested to his officers about the “rot” that permeates their ranks. In a shocking example of the extent of this rot, 17 nuclear missile launch officers were summarily removed from duty for incompetence.
As stomach-turning as these examples are, the fiercest danger for our servicemembers looms ahead. This danger is not a “jihad” of exotic, international origin. Quite on the contrary, it is a homegrown Holy War emanating from belligerent fundamentalist Christian bigots in government who delight in fancying themselves as the prodigiously proselytizing foot-soldiers of a modern-day “Crusade.” The latest vicious whirlwind imperiling our servicemembers, and consequently our national security, comes in a two-pronged effort to implant “Religious Freedom” amendments in the 2014 National Defense Authorization Act (NDAA). Besides eviscerating good order, morale, and discipline among our own U.S. troops, it also enrages our Islamic allies and immeasurably emboldens our Islamic enemies, providing the latter with an undeserved and immense propaganda bonanza. Bottom line: these reckless and seditious actions of sectarian bigotry by fundamentalist Christian religious extremists in Congress will immeasurably enhance the likelihood of our troops being maimed and killed in combat in Southwest Asia and all over the world. If only any of these legislative "carpetbaggers for Christ" gave a damn.
One of these attempts is a laughably absurd and breathtakingly idiotic amendment by Congressman Tim Huelskamp (R-KS) which takes direct aim at and specifically attempts to “rebuke,” well, me. This world-class cretin in the U.S. House of Representatives has cobbled together a 25-point, bulleted list of wretchedly out-of-context quotes which pathetically attempts to “expose, and possibly deter, future meetings between Pentagon officials” and, ahem, myself. Seriously, Timmy boy, get a grip. I like to call this one the “We’re Scared of Mikey Weinstein Amendment” - and it was actually passed by voice vote by the entire U.S. House of Representatives late last Thursday, June 13, 2013. What a sad collection of pitiable clowns. I am reminded of that great quote from Albert Einstein: "Only two things are infinite: the universe and human stupidity. And I'm not sure about the universe."
The other amendment, introduced and championed by yet another Constitutional derelict, Rep. John Fleming (R-LA), is far more troubling. Section 530 of the NDAA promises to hand over a colossal government-issued blank check to those within the United States military who seek to exploit and misuse their rank and uniform for their own parochial and brazenly unconstitutional Christian supremacist purposes. Section 530 would allow every bigoted slimeball within the American armed forces – the homophobes, Islamophobes, anti-Semites, misogynists, anti-Constitutionalists, fundamentalist/dominionist Christians, and/or all of the above – to be given absolute free rein to slither out of their stinking closets of putrid prejudice and spout their twisted, Christian-jihad poison. There would be one - and only one - genuine condition to this carte blanche feeding frenzy of "faith-based" racism, bigotry and prejudice. Ready to be shocked? That sole condition would be that justifications for this hatemongering exist on alleged theological or religious grounds of the one doing the abusing! There would be essentially NO time, place, or manner restrictions on military members proselytizing their subordinates for their Lord and Savior Jesus Christ. Thus, the aforementioned allusion to "G.I. Jesus Tourette's Syndrome." And thus, the roadmap to unspeakable chaos and bloodshed is assuredly writ large by the approving hand of the United States Congress. Spiritual rape run amok and unchecked by fundamentalist Christian legislative fiat? Once again I think of the Einstein quote.
Fleming, stating his support for this hideous amendment, said that “troubling reports indicate that the military may be focused only on protecting beliefs of service members and not the exercise or expression of those beliefs. My amendment is necessary to ensure that men and women of faith will not be discriminated against in the Armed Forces, and will be free to exercise their religious beliefs.”
Fleming himself is a proud and pedantic ignoramus who last year incurred a literal tsunami of well-deserved international mockery after expressing loud dismay about news of a supposed “$8 billion [Planned Parenthood] Abortionplex.” The source of this “big scoop”? Well-known satirical website, The Onion. Indeed, the “troubling reports” he refers to in his Section 530 press release are absolute malarkey that only a gullible dimwit like the brain-cell-challenged Fleming and his fellow House morons would believe: half-truths, untruths, lies, and distortions flowing steadily from the mendacious, fundamentalist Christian gutter press.
Singling me out on the floor of the Congress just last month in May (Click here to view the video), Fleming also stated: “Weinstein has spent nine years at war -- those are his words -- at war with evangelical Christians who he says are committing ‘spiritual rape’ against the U.S. military... Mr. Weinstein exploits freedom of speech to name call and to label Christians as the ‘Christian taliban’ and ‘al Qaeda,’ but he seeks to shut down the religious freedom of expression of service members in the process.”
Note Fleming’s tellingly disparaging phraseology regarding the “exploitation” of freedom of speech, that sacrosanct First Amendment right. As far as his bristling over “name-calling” is concerned, I can simply respond that “if the shoe fits, wear it!” Or, in the case of the plethora of the disgusting ilk of fundamentalist Christian Congressional legislators, "if the shoe factory fits, wear every shoe it produces." An old maxim asserts that "civilization is a constant race between education and catastrophe." Legislative nincompoops like Fleming, Huelskamp, and their fellow nauseating "Congressional Prayer Caucus" village idiots are ensuring that catastrophe will win that race.
Indeed, this latest fundamentalist Christian push has resulted directly from the ceaseless and aggressive defense of church-state separation that we, at the Military Religious Freedom Foundation (MRFF), have tenaciously waged for the better part of a decade now. These fundamentalist extremist theocrats have been whipping themselves up into an especially mouth-frothing, rabid state ever since the Washington Post reported that I, as Founder and President of MRFF, along with esteemed MRFF board member and former ambassador Joseph C. Wilson IV, and equally esteemed MRFF advisory board member, retired Army Col. Larry Wilkerson, Colin Powell's former chief of staff, attended an important meeting at the Pentagon on April 23, 2013. This meeting focused on the imperative of visibly enforcing the hallowed Constitutional barrier separating church and state. Sworn oaths to the United States Constitution, DoD regulations, directives, and instructions -- which are observed more in their breach than in their compliance -- create a metastasizing cancer which is far worse than if those foundational laws had never been on the books in the first place.
As is typically the case for these surpassingly faux-pious cowards, their response was the predictable defensive feint - a transparently false, offensive assault disguised as a defensive maneuver. The ink had barely dried on the Washington Post report about the MRFF Pentagon meeting before the ignoble echo chamber of Christian fundamentalist extremism had reached a deafening state regarding the Obama Administration's alleged appointment of myself, Mikey Weinstein, as some sort of official “religious advisor to the Pentagon.” Breitbart.com’s Ken Klukowski, a supposed “religious liberty” expert for the vile, hate group-designated Family Research Council (FRC), and Todd Starnes of Fox News Radio, another pedestrian, Christian supremacist agitator, amplified this bald-faced, utterly absurd lie. MRFF Senior Research Director Chris Rodda explained this vast Christian Fundamentalist campaign well.
This cascading campaign of lies has led to the cartoonish vaudevillian construction of the living caricature known as “anti-Christian activist Mikey Weinstein.” That moniker is a reckless and blatant LIE given, among many other facts, that I and MRFF have the universal support of many well-known Christian persons of faith including, but not limited to, the prestigious Interfaith Alliance's leader, the Rev. Dr. C. Welton Gaddy. Further, our MRFF client base, currently fast approaching 33,500 U.S. marines, sailors, soldiers, airmen, cadets, midshipmen, coastguardsmen, and veterans, is 96% Protestant and Roman Catholic. The vast majority of our staff, supporters, and donors are also practicing Christians. If Section 530 were to ever become law, our nation better get accustomed to the nightmarish prospect of a free-range, proselytizing “007 license to kill” being handed over to these same sickening religious bigots.
Indeed, some unlikely allies share this grim outlook; thankfully, the White House is rebutting Fleming’s false claims and has correctly threatened to veto the amended NDAA:
The Administration strongly objects to section 530, which would require the Armed Forces to accommodate, except in cases of military necessity, “actions and speech” reflecting the “conscience, moral principles, or religious beliefs of the member.” By limiting the discretion of commanders to address potentially problematic speech and actions within their units, this provision would have a significant adverse effect on good order, discipline, morale, and mission accomplishment.
This bold statement of Constitutional support comes as a huge and welcome surprise to myself and fellow church-state separation advocates. We had heretofore long grown accustomed to disgraceful complacency from the Keystone Cops of Capitol Hill and the occupants of 1600 Pennsylvania Avenue.
But our work is not done. Far, far from it. Taking a page from Rahm Emanuel’s Machiavellian “never let a serious crisis go to waste” formulation, these profane, fundamentalist/dominionist Christian, die-hard enemies of the U.S. Constitution are also despicable political opportunists. They are clearly using the fast-developing NSA scandal to sneak exceptionally destructive amendments into the 2014 NDAA. They are arrogantly confident that their nefarious and wholly unconstitutional legislative legerdemain will escape the attention of the American people. And you know it's not a bad bet. Today, all too many Americans are ruthlessly docile and supine on matters of exceptionally vital magnitude that necessitate our intellectual engagement and ardent activism. Instead, our fellow citizens ravenously gorge themselves on a fatal diet of American Idol, Duck Dynasty, and NASCAR. Cry havoc! Whither are we bound as a nation, as a people, and as a republic?
There are two paramount fronts in this bloodbath of a battle royale to maintain the separation of church and state: within the United States armed forces and within civilian government. We at MRFF will continuously challenge those predatory fundamentalist Christian extremists ("dominionists" - please Google it) who seek to gain command and control of the most vital apparatus of our beloved secular democracy. I speak of this nation's military, an organization with unsurpassed lethality and, especially, its attendant and fearsome nuclear, conventional, laser-guided, and drone arsenal. The boding evil of fundamentalist Christian "Holy Warriors" in U.S. battle uniforms calls on every American citizen to wake the hell up! We have no choice but to respond with the utmost awareness, interminable vigilance, and maximum resistance to those rabid villains in our embattled Congress who comprise nothing less than the fundamentalist Christian version of the accursed Taliban.
These repulsive legislative / religious predators mask blinding hatred and exclusivist Christian, religious supremacy and sectarianism in an odious subterfuge of tortured “religious freedom.” Hearken to the clarion call to fight this base and wicked tyranny. All Americans have a critical responsibility of citizenship to stand up now with boldness and alacrity against these Congressional insurrectionists who would otherwise merrily unleash the horrors of fundamentalist Christian predation and spiritual assault upon our honored military.
Help me try, my brothers and sisters. Help me and MRFF stop them dead in their legislative tracks of shame.
The Military Religious Freedom Foundation is up against well-funded extremist religious organizations. Your donations allow us to continue our fight in the courts and in the media to fight for separation of church and state in the U.S. military. Please make a fully tax-deductible donation today athelpbuildthewall.org.
Michael L. "Mikey" Weinstein, Esq. is founder and president of the five-time Nobel Peace Prize-nominatedMilitary Religious Freedom Foundation(MRFF). He served as a White House counsel in the Reagan Administration and as the Committee Management Officer of the "Iran-Contra" Investigation. He is also the former General Counsel to H. Ross Perot and Perot Systems Corporation. Mikey is an honor graduate of the U.S. Air Force Academy and a former J.A.G. in the U.S. Air Force. His two sons, daughter-in-law, son-in law, and brother-in-law are also graduates of USAFA. In December 2012, Mikey was named one of the 100 Most Influential People in U.S. Defense by Defense News. He is the author of "With God On Our Side"(2006, St. Martin's Press) and"No Snowflake in an Avalanche"(2012, Vireo).