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Mikey (Michael) Weinstein is the undisputed leader of the national movement to restore the obliterated wall separating church and state in the US Military. Hailing from a long line of distinguished US servicemen Mikey has served as a military attorney in the Air force, legal counsel in the White House and General Counsel to Texas billionaire and two-time Presidential candidate H. Ross Perot. He then focused his attention on the nonprofit foundation he founded to directly battle the evangelical religious right; The Military Religious Freedom Foundation. A frequent commentator on TV and radio networks, Mikey was named one of the 50 most influential Jews in America by the Forward. He also has received nomination for the JFK’s Profile in Courage Award and received the Buzzflash Wings of Justice Award.
He authored: “With God On Our Side”, an expose on the systemic problem of religous intolerance throughout the US armed forces by the Evangelicals who revile him as “The Most Dangerous Man In America” and “The Field General of the Godless Armies of Satan”
by this author:
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Holocaust Jokes And Anti-Semitism At The US Air Force Academy
Walid Shoebat`s threat and my response
USA Air Force Academy: Failure of Intelligence to Support the Troops
Jews should not engage in alliances with Hagee`s Christians United for Israel
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WEA launches huge campaign to `persuade` Jews to accept Jesus (ADL condemns move)
Jewish families settle lawsuit against school district that sponsored religion
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Post-Holocaust and Anti-Semitism
John McCain, the End Times and Israel
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April 10, 2007 Lonestar Iconclast Interview With Michael L. Weinstein,
ALBUQUERQUE, N.M. — If you ever find Michael L. “Mikey” Weinstein pissed off, it could be for only a handful of reasons.
But the one thing that really gets his goat is when people using the institutions of government attempt to impose a religious world view on the general population.
That kind of abuse of the U.S. Constitution doesn’t sit well with this former assistant general counsel to President Ronald Reagan.
In fact, after he discovered the religious abuse inflicted on his cadet sons at his alma mater, the United States Air Force Academy, Weinstein fought back using any legal means available to him.
So committed is he in his mission to protect religious freedom of men and women serving in the U.S. armed forces, he quit his post as formerly General Counsel for H. Ross Perot and Perot Systems Corporation.
Since last March, he has devoted his full time with the Military Religious Freedom Foundation (MRFF), a grassroots organization he founded a year ago.
In his fight, Weinstein has employed his skills and experience as a Judge Advocate General (JAG) in the United States Air Force and the Air Force’s first Chief of Telecommunications and Information Systems Procurement Law.
His new book “With God on Our Side: One Man’s War Against an Evangelical Coup in America’s Military,” co-authored by Davin Seay and published last October by St. Martin’s Press, he describes his battles against illegal evangelization inside the Air Force Academy.
“It’s a war. It’s a fight,” said Weinstein in a telephone interview. “Elliot Spitzer, the new governor of New York, makes a statement that you can’t change the world by whispering. Well, my book is meant to be a primal scream.”
It’s a fight, though, that he is not fighting alone. Serving on the foundation’s advisory board are big names in the American politics and military circles, such as Richard T. Schlosberg III, the former CEO/publisher of The Denver Post and the Los Angeles Times; Gen. Robert T. Herres, former first Vice Chairman of the Joint Chiefs of Staff; Richard Lamm, former three-term Governor of Colorado; and Joseph Wilson III, U.S. Ambassador.
The Iconoclast’s Nathan Diebenow recently spoke with Weinstein about the rise of the Religious Right in the U.S. military, the on-going smear campaign against him and his family, and the importance of the separation of church and state.
Here is that interview:
ICONOCLAST: I see a lot of parallels between what has happened to the Air Force Academy and my own Lutheran denomination. In the 1970s, my denomination’s academic theological institution split. The conservatives wanted it their way pretty bad, so there was a walk-out, and a lot of the professors went to form their own “liberal” theological institutions. It seems like that kind of phenomenon went across the board in other Christian denominations in the 1970s.
MICHAEL L. WEINSTEIN: Yes, it did. It’s interesting that you’d say that because I speak all over the country constantly in front of evangelical audiences and Jewish audiences and Rotary Clubs and universities and corporations. I tell people that the real fork in the road occurred fairly early in the 70s with the military, and that was the end of the draft in 1972.
When we had the draft, we were pulling people into the military involuntarily from all parts of the country including “blue states.” Now with the draft over, we’ve been predominately pulling mostly from parts of the country that are “red states” where they merge patriotism with this fervent aspect of religiosity that connected to the evangelicals.
When you had people that you were drafting in, you already had a bunch of pissed off people. Not necessarily a spoonful of sugar would make the Jesus go down. Then it really started to manifest itself in the late 70s/early 80s in the military. It’s been going for a long time.
I’ve been in this fight for 39 months now, and I come to you today with this interview with the gun-smoke on my face. I am a man at war, but I’m not at war with Christianity or even evangelical Christianity. There is a long subset with a long technical name of evangelical Christianity. I promise I’ll only say it one time in this interview. They’re actually called “premillenial dispensational reconstructionist dominionist evangelical fundamentalist Christians.”
They are about 12.6 percent of the American population. They basically believe they have an inalienable right to push what I view is the weaponized Gospel of Jesus Christ 24/7 irrespective of any “man’s laws” like the Constitution or the case law that construes it.
ICONOCLAST: And they really take advantage of the volunteer aspect of the recruitment of both Christianity and the U.S. military.
WEINSTEIN: Very much so. When you’re a young Marine, sailor, soldier, airman coming into the military, whether as a junior officer or a midshipman at Annapolis or a cadet at the Air Force Academy or West Point, or you’re going through basic training just on the first level of enlisted personnel with the Marine corps, Army, Navy or Air Force — it’s a terrifying experience.
I went through it. I can tell you that when your immediate military superior makes its clear that the fastest way from zero to hero is to accept a particular biblical world view; you’re going to do it. It’s going to be really hard not to.
ICONOCLAST: When you were working in the Reagan White House, did you not feel or see any of these Christian fundamentalists start to take hold of the White House and the Republican Party? Were you savvy to that at the time?
WEINSTEIN: The famous author James Carroll who wrote the big New York Times bestseller back in 2001 called “Constantine’s Sword” said that we live our lives forward but we understand our lives backwards. I look back now on my time in the West Wing and I can clearly see the start of this.
I mean, it just wasn’t maniacs like Oliver North and others, but back then, the big idea was to get a SWHO — a senior White House official — with an ear to the president that would be adopting this biblical world view. That goal has been accomplished because now they have this idiot in the White House. Whether he actually believes this or says he believes it, it doesn’t matter because the effect is that he is also commander-in-chief of the technologically most lethal organization ever created by human kind — which is our honorable and noble military.
Imagine the shock — as I say in the book — that where was America? Where were most Americans on Tuesday, July 12, 2005, when that statement was made on the front page of the New York Times — a paper most reviled by the Pentagon — that the Air Force reserves its right to evangelize anyone it determines to be unchurched?
Most Americans believe that it’s a great amount of personal initiative when they hear that some guy spent three chilly nights on an air mattress at Circuit City to make sure they get their Playstation 3. Now that’s something. When they hear that the Pentagon is now a Pentecostal-gon, and that the Bush White House has turned our noble and honorable military into a faith-based initiative, I’m not even sure they fully understand what that means.
But if we lose the wall separating church and state or, if you will, supernatural and natural, in this tremendously technologically lethal organization, nothing else is going to matter. It doesn’t matter how the Cowboys do. It doesn’t matter if they teach intelligent design vs. evolution in Kansas. It’s not going to matter if we lose the U.S. military.
This is not Al Gore and “An Inconvenient Truth” where we say that we’re at a tipping point for global warming. We’ve tipped in the Marine Corps, Navy, Army, and Air Force. The question is, are we so far gone that we can’t get back again? It just started at the Air Force Academy. The book focuses on the Academy.
If you can remember two numbers, it would be great. The first number is 737 and the second number is 1,132. We now have 737 military installations that the Pentagon acknowledges. I think it’s actually closer to 1,000. That’s 737 military installations as we garrison the globe, scattered now in 132 countries around the world.
On every one of them, we have an Officers Christian Fellowship for the officers and a Christian Military Fellowship for the enlisted, and those organizations have a tri-partite goal. They are unabashed about it. This is a goal that people who belong to it — members of the military view as tremendously subordinates the “man’s laws” — the Constitution — to these goals.
The first goal is that they want to see a spiritually transformed U.S. military. Secondly, they want Ambassadors for Christ in uniform. Lastly, they are empowered by the Holy Spirit.
Again, the Religious Right is very fond of trying to put names on me: “godless, secular leftist:” “Satan’s lawyer;” about 10 months ago, I don’t know how much they paid their public relations people, but they came up with “field general of the godless armies of Satan.”
WEINSTEIN: I know it’s ridiculous. On Sundays, they’ve been throwing my photo up on the jumbotrons in their sanctuaries mostly in the southeast, mostly in “red states.” Underneath my picture they put down “field general of the godless armies of Satan.”
There are enough nuts out there that actually believe this. I’ve tried to make this worthwhile. I go to McDonalds, and I order a couple of hamburgers, a Diet Coke, and some fries. They charge me $5.61, and I tell them I’m the “field general of the godless armies of Satan,” but they still make me pay. It doesn’t even seem to work.
WEINSTEIN: It’s really fucking ridiculous. You bring up a good point about the 70s. In 1970, we only had 10 mega-evangelical churches in the whole country. The mega-evangelical church is described as 2,000 or more members. Now since 9/11, with this monkey in the White House, we’ve had a new mega-evangelical church in America open up every 48 hours.
Now, that is certainly their constitutional right to do that. The Religious Right loves to argue that I’m taking their warm, cuddly evangelical Jesus teddy bear away. I’m not. The Military Religious Freedom Foundation we founded and my fight aren’t a complex meal. We’re hamburger.
We’re simply saying that there are so many times and places it is okay to witness and evangelize even in the military with its thousands of chapels and thousands of chaplains. I can’t shake a stick at all of them, but there will always be a few times, you can’t do it, and you know the U.S. military is going to be under our constitution and our case law at least as constrained as a shift manager would be at Starbucks or McDonalds or Wendy’s or Walgreen’s.
You know, if you want to see a Fortune 1,000 CEO brought to his or her knees, have the most junior employee in that company raise their hand and say, “Stop! I’m getting my lawyer. I’m being evangelized during my work day.” I mean, that’s a killer lawsuit. Speaking as a litigator, that’s a violation of Title VII of the U.S. code, and it’s a killer.
In the military, in the same context, it’s a trillion times worse because it’s not just your shift manager at KFC. This person is your military superior. In the military, screwing somebody other than your spouse — adultery — is still punishable as a felony. I’ve tried and defended those cases. In the military, if your military superior orders you to go to the base dentist at 4 p.m., and you don’t go, that is a felony.
In the military, honorable sailors, soldiers, marines, and airmen necessarily give up many of their constitutional rights in order to serve the higher goal of the preservation of good order and discipline which is what you have to have in the military unit so the American military can effectively preserve the full panoply of constitutional rights for the rest of us.
If you’re in the military and you’re even gently evangelized during the work day, the duty day and the duty night, by your military superior, saying “get out of my face, sir or ma’am” is simply not an option for you.
Now I have a lot of family in Texas. I got a very interesting call three days ago from my nephew, a 10th grader in Houston. He had to go to the post office to get a passport for a trip overseas. When he called me up, he was all lather. He said, “Uncle Mikey, we’ve got to do something. I was at the post office waiting in a long line, and this teenage comes up to me about my age, and he starts witnessing to me the Gospel of Jesus Christ.”
So I said, “What did you do?” He said, “I moved seats. I said I didn’t want to talk about it.” The guy kept following my nephew around preaching to him, and so finally my nephew told me, “I looked him in the face and said, ‘Shut the fuck up and get the fuck away from me.’ And the guy left me alone.”
He said, “Uncle Mikey, I want to sue him or do something. What can I do?” And I said, “You can do nothing. Welcome to American democracy! That’s what we call a level playing field. That guy talking to you has no control over any constitutional aspect to your life. If you go to the Texas State Fair, if you go to a mall, or if you go to the post office, you are fair game to be evangelized, and I would totally support that kid’s right to do that. That’s democracy, and I think as Kierkegaard said, ‘Anxiety is the dizziness of freedom.’ That’s great!”
But I said, “Imagine if the person doing that to you was your military superior, completely utterly controlling your life. Even your boss at The Office — the comedy show on TV — that’s a very different situation, and that’s one that’s constitutionally protected.”
If you close your eyes, and you think about human history, you can feel this in our DNA. Whenever a radicalized version of the Gospel of Jesus Christ has engaged “the machinery of the state,” which is the term our Supreme Court uses here in America, whenever that has happened over the last 2,000 years — we have seen this train leave the station over and over and over and over and over again. It always goes to one town. It goes to Slaughterville because we don’t end up with little river and streams and creeks — no, we end up with oceans and oceans of blood.
All we’re saying is that you cannot involuntarily, against somebody’s will during the duty day and duty night in the U.S. military, force the Gospel of Jesus Christ upon them. The people I’m fighting are the Christian Taliban, and as far as I’m concerned and the legions that I lead, and I lead many, they are much a national security threat internally to America as that which is presented externally by al-Qaeda.
ICONOCLAST: On that note concerning your family, I find it interesting that before your book mentions your son Curtis was blasted for his Jewish-ness, it recalls the rape and physical abuse of female cadets in a previous scandal. Could it be said that your son’s spiritual life was “raped” at that point?
WEINSTEIN: Yeah, I think it was chapter six in my book about the story of the mother Cecilia Peasley. She contacted me about her daughter at the Academy who is actually a friend of my son’s — Alicia Peasley. You mentioned the Lutheran denomination. Well, they’re Lutherans living in Michigan. They are a Bible-believing, devout farm family.
They sent their daughter to the Air Force Academy, and shortly after she gets there, within a few months, she’s crying on the phone, “Mom and Dad, you’re not going to join me in paradise. You’re not going to be in heaven, and neither are my sisters because you’re not really true Christians.”
And it was the mother Cecilia who penned that phrase that she felt that her daughter had been “spiritually raped.”
Now let me tell you something. I don’t know if you know it or not. I’m embarrassed about to even discuss this with a journalist, but the most common joke at my school the Air Force Academy in 2004-2005 was, “Why do Jews make the best magicians?” Do you know that one?
ICONOCLAST: Actually, no, I don’t.
WEINSTEIN: Jews apparently make the best magicians because don’t you know, they can walk into a red brick building and come out the smoke stack in a puff of smoke.
WEINSTEIN: Candidates were being told that the Holocaust was just cumupins for the execution of Jesus Christ. Look, the people we’re fighting, these dominative Christians, they make it very clear. They have four essential indicators when you know they are in your presence. Any one of them will indicate it, but it’s kind of like walking into a ditch on a hot New Mexico
July afternoon and having your nostrils filled the stench of the rotting corpses of 10,000 swine.
The first stench you smell is homophobia. The second would be misogynism — you know, women should be involved in buying food, preparing food, serving food, cleaning up after meals and having babies. That’s it. The third is virulent anti-Semitism, and the last is subordination of the U.S. Constitution, which they view as “man’s law,” to this higher version of this weaponized Gospel of Jesus Christ, which of course is: “God’s law.”
You know, I carried a lot of guilt for striking that officer about the fact that apparently the Academy struck this unspoken bargain with me: “We won’t say anything about you striking the officer if you don’t say anything about what happened to you and the assaults and the notes, etc.”
But that’s why I’m a guy born without a temper. I can pretend to have one, but when Curtis told me that he was being called a “fucking Jew” and being accused along with the Jewish people of total complicity in the execution of Jesus Christ at numerous places and numerous situations at the Air Force Academy — well, that’s fucking war! That ain’t going to happen.
I’ll tell you something. I think I mention this in the book: I had senior people in the military who initially tried to ward me off, saying “C’mon, Mikey, why are you doing this? You’re a good Republican. You’re a huge supporter. You’ve been successful in business and in government. Why are you fighting this? After all, if you had the cure for cancer, wouldn’t you want to give it to our noble troops?”
They don’t even think that when they say that they’re calling my religious faith — Judaism — a cancer! I swear to God, these are admirals and generals and political appointees of President Bush in the Pentagon looking at me saying, “Jack Benny, Dr. Seuss, Gandhi, Einstein, and little Anne Frank are all going to burn eternally in the fires of hell because they refused to accept the Gospel, and we have to make sure that we can save all of our troops so that doesn’t happen.” Ann Coulter once said we need to go out and assassinate the heads of state abroad and convert all their countries to Christianity.
So what I said to them in response is, “Make sure you understand — mark me, so you understand what I’m about to say. I would give my last drop of blood and my last breath and I would commend my three children in the Air Force. You know, my daughter-in-law is Christian. She’s married to my son. They are both 2004 graduates from the Air Force Academy where George Bush gave the commencement address. And my youngest son who graduates — God willing — next month from the Air Force Academy — he’ll be the sixth member of my family to go there.
I would commend all of them like myself to give their last drop of blood and their last breath to defend the view that says little Anne Frank is spending eternity burning in hell. If they want to believe that that little girl who walked into the hermetically sealed gas chambers at Bergen-Belsen and had the Nazis’ Zyklon B gas turn her little 13-year-old body into a blue and purple polka-dotted corpse which was then shoved into the oven — I would give my last drop of blood to support that view because that’s their right.
(slaps table) But I will not do that if my government tells us who are the children of the greater God and who are the children of the lesser God because I’ve been there, done that. Train leaves the station all the time. Goes to Slaughterville. And if you don’t want to live in a country where we have separation of supernatural and natural, then I recommend everyone to consider going to Saudi Arabia or to Kim Jong-Il’s North Korea because in this country, we do have that separation.
It’s not just what they call the myth. The dominionist Christians call the myth of the First Amendment — those 16 golden words: Congress shall make no law respecting the establishment of religion or prohibiting the free exercise thereof. Forget the Bill of Rights and First Amendment. Just go to the body of the Constitution. Our Founding Fathers were so brilliant. They were so prescient that in Clause III Article XI they say an actual statement that says we will never have a religion test for any position in the federal government.
When James Dobson from Focus on the Family two weeks ago says that Sen. Fred Thompson, who is running for president, is not really a Christian because thereby implying that you’ve got to be a Christian to run for office — or when Jerry Faldwell or Pat Robertson come out with eight million bumper stickers saying, “Vote Christian,” you tell me how that isn’t insubordination, sedition, or treason.
WEINSTEIN: As far as I’m concerned, Faldwell, Robertson, and Dobson — they’re all guilty of treason because in their minds, you’ve got to be not just a Christian, but their type of Christian.
We’ve had just a little bit over 4,000 members of the U.S. military come to us on fire as tormentees as a result of the victims being, if you will, spiritually raped by people higher up in their chain of command forcing this dominative evangelical Christian doctrine down their throats, or else.
Here’s the big sea change: roughly 95 to 96 percent of those coming to us are Christians. Three-fourths would be traditional Protestants, Lutherans, Presbyterians, Methodists, Episcopalians, Assemblies of God, even Baptists. One fourth of that 95-96 percent is Roman Catholic. The other four percent are Jewish, Buddhist, Hindu, Jan, Wiccan, Agnostic, Atheist, Shinto, Native American, etc.
Basically this is dominionist evangelical Christians versus non-evangelical Christians and they are essentially preying and praying on these non-evangelical Christians in just sheer numbers.
Imagine having a multiple star general order his staff to put together a PowerPoint presentation showing the direct parallel between the Book of Revelation and all of our movements in what is referred to by the Pentagon as the AOR which is Area of Responsibility. That is the acronym the Pentagon uses to describe Iraq and Afghanistan. A direct parallel between the Book of Revelation and all of our movements, Tikrit, Mosel, Anbar province, Baghdad, Saudi Arabia, Sadr City in the northwest part of Baghdad.
This was stopped, but the general had 75,000 people in his command, and nuclear weapons. What happens when you have a four-star general to force the distribution of a flyer supporting a religious class hosted at a dominionist evangelical church right outside the base? Look, I can’t make this stuff up. The title of the class — I hope your Lone Star Iconoclast seat belt is on — was “Jesus versus Mohammad: An examination of the life of both prophets and why Jesus is superior to all.”
ICONOCLAST: Check, please!
WEINSTEIN: How many times have we heard that from Osama bin Ladin, the resurgent Taliban, and the jihadists who refer to us as “American crusaders” and imperialists?
I don’t know any way to make it easier for them to recruit than to have the Air Force’s officials policy to reserve its right to evangelize anyone, but our Foundation found an a combat F-16 squadron called — and again I’m not kidding — the 523rd Attack F-16 Squadron Crusaders.
There’s more. Their official squadron patch, which is on their F-16s and their flight suits, shows a giant crusaders 11th century helmet on the right; on the left side is a crusaders broad sword, and in the middle is a giant crucifix. The helmet is surrounded by three yellow stars in the shape of a cross representing the Trinity.
Now, you live in Texas. You know there’s a little bit of a rivalry between Texas and the University of Oklahoma. I put it to you how counter-intuitive and stupid it would be for the coach of Oklahoma three days before the Red River Shootout — because that game is always played in Texas — he calls the mothers of the Texas football players whores? You think that might upset the balance and might motivate the University of Texas football team to want to beat the shit out of Oklahoma just a little bit more?
ICONOCLAST: Yeah, I think Dallas would be erased from the map at that point.
WEINSTEIN: Imagine we’re calling ourselves “crusaders.” We are stating we are evangelizing anything that moves. Can we possibly do anything that makes it easier for angry young Islamic men and women in Jordan, Egypt, Syria, Lebanon, to want to come to join the jihadists?
Do we want to fight these people? Of course, we do, but do we have to embolden them? But do we have to make it more likely they kill my children who are in the military? I don’t see George Bush’s twins in the military? I see Sen. Jim Webb’s sons over there. How many members of Congress have children over there? I want to know before you start making fun of Cindy Sheehan for being this crazy nut. Her son Casey is dead. I have a son Casey.
When Rush Limbaugh ripped into me a couple of months ago for 15 minutes claiming I was a pacifist and aiding and abedding al-Qaeda, my lawyers got on the phone right away and said, “If you want to talk about Mikey, he’s on the phone.” But he was too much of a pussy to take it.
Ted Haggard, who by the way gives a whole new meaning to the phrase “Satan get thee behind me” — I fought him for a long time in Colorado Springs before he imploded. You know what happened to him three months ago.
What I’m saying is that all we’re doing is strengthening the resolve as with that metaphor there of the Texas football team except they don’t have IEDs; they don’t have shoulder launch missiles and they aren’t prepared to blow themselves up to defeat the people in Norman, Oklahoma.
We are absolutely making it clear that the people we are fighting the Middle East, when they hear about bringing American democracy to their land, they hear American Christianity. Just like in many parts of Georgia, South Carolina, Alabama, Mississippi — the Civil War ended last Tuesday or hasn’t ended, well, that’s how the nine crusades are viewed on the other side.
Let me tell you a little about the combat zone. I have people over there contacting me telling me that those troops that are refusing to be evangelized are being assigned very deftly to those fire squads that have a higher likelihood of going into the most dangerous combats where there’s a known higher concentration of insurrectionists and jihadists, where there are expected higher concentrations of IEDs.
There’s also a lot of downtime in the combat zone. One of the favorite things our troops love to do in their downtime is to go to their unit’s DVD library to check out movies. But many of the commanders now are censoring the DVD libraries — not at all but at a lot of these bases — so that only movies remain with strong Christian content. I mean, it’s hard for them to get Harry Potter or Lord of the Rings.
Many of the battle staff meetings are being conducted by the commanders, starting out with overtly evangelical prayers. I had a captain that confronted a full colonel about that. The colonel grabbed his uniform and said, “Captain, you better get this down right now, boy! We’re here to spread American democracy and the Gospel of our Lord Jesus Christ!”
You know, it was George Orwell who stated, “When you’re facing universal deceit, speaking the truth can be a revolutionary act.” But I put it to you; we don’t train our young men and women in the military to be revolutionary. To preserve good order and discipline, they are supposed to salute smartly. It’s very hard to be a revolutionary and to do this.
I think back to a very famous statement made by the very first American to win the Nobel Prize in literature. His name was Sinclair Lewis. He wrote a book called “It Can’t Happen Here” where he’s talking about fascism in 1935. He went to Nazi Germany for a few months in 1939 right before the war started, and he came back to America. Of course, he was a big celebrity. We had finally, finally had an American who had won a Nobel Prize in literature.
The press asked him, “What did you see over there? What was it like?” He said, “Let me tell you something. I’ve seen fascism up close and personal. I’ve seen it. Not if but when it comes to America, fascism will be wrapped in the American flag carrying a cross.”
Maybe 14 or 15 years later, in the midst of the Cold War, Gen. Douglas McArthur, of all people, made a statement that symbology is very important to the American fighting forces and that the two most important symbols are the cross and the flag because they teach the American fighting forces how to live and teach the American fighting forces how to die.
The problem is that these dominionist Christians — and you know the one’s I’m talking about — are completely infatuated with the “end times” philosophy. They think the end is very, very close, and they have complete certitude as to what’s going to happen. The bottom line with this is that there are very basic aspects of human nature. One of them, I’ve learned this in the last four years: certitude in the afterlife is completely incompatible with tolerance and respect in this life. That’s all there is to it.
ICONOCLAST: Talking about certitude of this week, I understand that reports out of Russia say that the U.S. is gearing up to invade/bomb Iran on Good Friday. Do you give any weight to that? If so, what’s behind that?
WEINSTEIN: I have hundreds of moles that are in the Department of Defense. Some of them are in the very senior level. Some of them are in the junior level. Some are mid-range. Almost as a theme, they are telling me that we are not in the AOR. We are not in the area of responsibility — Iraq and Afghanistan — for any geo-political reason including oil, even this surge that Bush ordered.
This is all about bringing about the realization in the Book of Revelation. That’s what it is. It’s all about trying to make that happen faster. Now, what we are doing over there serves as an accelerant or a lubricant for this to occur. I completely believe it.
Look at my background. I’m a Republican. I spent over three years in the West Wing of the Reagan White House. I was H. Ross Perot’s general counsel. I just left his employment of April 30 so I could be doing this literally on a complete full-time basis.
I’ve done all the TV shows and radio shows. We’ve been everywhere, and I’m coming out in a new movie right now based on that book I told you about “Constantine’s Sword.” I have evangelicals saying to me, “Mikey, what are you fighting us for? We love you Jews in Israel.”
And my response to that is what my wife refers to as the “First Thanksgiving Theory,” which is that yeah, they love the Jews and Israel to the same extent that the pilgrims love the turkey the night before the first Thanksgiving. This is all about fattening the herd. If you read Revelations, it’s a great five-part passion play.
The Jewish people disappear in part four, of course, because no Jews get to go to heaven. They are either forcibly converted or go into the lake of fire.
I’m also sick of this. God dammit, I’m a fucking American! I don’t wake up each day with Israel on my mouth. I’m an American. I happen to be an American of Jewish faith and Jewish culture which I hold very high and I love. Of course, I feel a bond with Israel, not the least of which they are our strongest ally in a very difficult part of the world.
But I don’t have my orders coming to me from Tel Aviv or Jerusalem, and yet when I got into a fire-fight with Ted Haggard, you know what he did?
WEINSTEIN: He admitted this on a radio show we were on. He contacted (Israeli Prime Minister) Ariel Sharon a couple of weeks before Sharon went into a coma with his stroke, and basically said, “Look, if Mikey Weinstein says we’re being heavy handed over here, then if that’s the case and you guys believe it, then we’re going to have to pull our support, unless somebody can reign Mikey in.”
I guess Sharon contacted somebody and they reached out to me. I can confirm that it happened. You talk about international green and black mail. That’s un-fucking- believable! It just really is — that he would reach out to the Israeli prime minister to muzzle me? Fuck you, Ted!
WEINSTEIN: Now I know why that guy set himself on fire in front of Robert McNamara’s office at the Pentagon during the Vietnam War. I know what it takes to wake up America — to get them out of their March Madness stupor. You know, I’m a big college football fan. I’m a big sports fan, too, but I’ve left my lucrative job working for a billionaire Ross Perot who is my father’s closest friend at Annapolis. They were classmates in the class of ‘53. I’ve known Ross my whole life.
I couldn’t continue doing my career as a lawyer and businessman when I know this has happened. I mean, we were at a fundraiser recently a few weeks ago in Hollywood. You probably know the actor Ed Asner, Lou Grant, Mary Tyler Moore, and all that. Remember him?
WEINSTEIN: He’s a huge supporter of ours. He gave me a bear hug after I had given a speech, and he reminded me of the fact that there was the TV show that was on ABC or CBS in the late ‘60s for about three years. It was a Quinn Martin production. He was the same guy that did the FBI and the Fugitive. It was my favorite genre, which is science fiction. It was kind of hokey.
It dealt with that there was this one guy — the actor’s name was Roy Thinnes — who was aware of the fact that an alien invasion had happened on the planet earth. The aliens took human form, but they had a little trouble replicating the little finger of the left hand, so that’s how he was able to identify them. So he spent three years in primetime on ABC running around trying to do two things on the show.
Ed was actually on the show. He plays the father of Barbara Hershey. He remembers this and pointed it out to me that the lead character did two things on every show. He was fighting the aliens and trying to get the rest of America and the world to know that they were here. Well, that’s me!
WEINSTEIN: That’s me! Like I said, this is the Christian Taliban. For this fight, my family and I get three or four very grotesque death threats a week. I had a group of who I presume are dominionist Christian women who have become like friends to me now. I pick up the phone and they sing the following chant: “Mikey Weinstein / bullet in the head / praise the Lord / he’s finally dead.”
ICONOCLAST: (laughs) Wow!
WEINSTEIN: Sometimes they vary it. I had one where we were in San Antonio for a week two weeks ago at a wedding. It was something about being dead in the Riverwalk. My wife is being constantly told that they are going to blow her head off and cover her in her own blood. They have her license plate number. There is a nick in the windshield of her car they say they know about. We’ve since changed the windshield. We’ve had feces and beer bottles thrown at the house. We’ve had our tires slashed.
I was invited to Kansas for a number of personal appearances and book signings and speeches. I met the wonderful governor of Kansas, Kathleen Sebelius. I got her total support. I gave a big speech at the University of Kansas, and one of the local senior Episcopal clerics came out to support me after my speech, and then the only Episcopal church in Topeka — St. David’s — which is this guy’s church — five hours after he came out one evening supporting me, they burned his church down. The synagogue I was supposed to speak at that night was hit with spray-painted anti-Semitic graffiti and a bunch of other stuff.
I tell these people to pack a picnic lunch and stand in line. I’m not going to stop. My foundation can be found at <www.militaryreligiousfreedom.org>. We’re a charity, and our job is to kick ass, take names, lay down a withering field of fire, and leave sunken chest wounds on these people.
Let me give you in their own words what they are trying to do. This won’t surprise you, but this is from Randall Terry, the head of Operation Rescue, recently made this statement at a dominionist evangelical convention to a rousing, standing ovation:
“I want you to just have a wave of intolerance wash over you. I want a wave of hatred wash over you because, yes, hate is good. Our goal as a fundamentalist Christian nation — we have a biblical duty. We are called by Jesus, our Lord, to conquer this country America. We do not want equal time and we do not want pluralism.”
Here’s another one from D. James Kennedy. You see him every night on TV, the Trinity Broadcasting Network. He’s got the huge Coral Ridge ministry in Fort Lauderdale. Again to a gigantic convention of dominionist Christians, he said:
“Our job is to reclaim all of America for Christ whatever the cost. We are to exercise godly dominion and influence over our neighborhoods, our schools, our government, our literature and arts, our sports arenas, our entertainment media, our news media, our scientific endeavors in every aspect of institutions of human society on planet earth.
“Make no mistake. We are an emerging Christian Right leadership, and we intend to Christianize all aspects of American life from the halls of government to the libraries to the movies to the recording studios to the playing fields and locker rooms of professional, collegiate, and amateur sports from the U.S. military to Sponge Bob Square Pants.”
You know, we’re in a war, and again, most of America doesn’t feel this war in Iraq. You know that. You live in Texas. You don’t feel like there’s a war going on. This isn’t World War II, and yet in World War II, we were able to defeat monsters like Hitler, Mussolini and Tojo without becoming Hitler, Mussolini, and Tojo.
So do we have to become the Christian Taliban? Do we have to become Ayman al-Zawahiri … and Osama bin Ladin to defeat them? Because that has apparently happened with this imperialist presidency of this complete moron Bush from your town who has committed felony after felony against democracy.
The true blood libel crime against humanity that I blame these dominionist Christians for and their lick-spittle supplicant Bush is that they’ve taken that most American of concepts which is our tolerance for diversity which is woven in the very fabric of Americana. It’s what makes us strong. I mean, E Pluribus Unum — From Many Comes One. That is such an American concept.
Out of the mouths of the Bush administration and these dominionist Christians, they have taken that beautiful three word concept — tolerance for diversity — and they’ve raped it, tortured it, bludgeoned it, and assaulted it, so it comes out of their mouths as intolerance for those of us in the majority. That is a blood libel and a crime against humanity.
ICONOCLAST: Like you said, within the military’s hierarchical structure, it’s difficult to reform it from the inside. How then does one bring about real reform of this system?
WEINSTEIN: We’re about to come out with guidelines on this point along with a new grievance procedure because it’s all broken in the military. I mean, how do you go about fixing something that internally itself doesn’t want to be fixed?
Look, there are lots of good groups out there to protect civil rights — the Southern Poverty Law Center, People of the American Way, Americans United for the Separation of Church and State, the Anti-Defamation League, the American Civil Liberties Union.
They are all viewed, of course, as monsters by the Religious Right because they are actually standing up for our constitutional rights, but our foundation — The Military Religious Freedom Foundation — is the only group that focuses with laser precision where all the bombs, the tanks, the rifles, the bullets, and the nukes are, which is again our honorable U.S. military.
It’s not going to matter if we can’t have constitutional equanimity. All we’re asking for is what our Supreme Court has stated over and over and over and over again. Writing for the majority in the “10 Commandments” case in Kentucky, Justice David Sutter said, “Look, make no mistake about it. This is our guiding principal for our Supreme Court and our government. In the United States we must ensure neutrality between religion and religion and even the concept of religion to religion.” We have 29 million atheists in this country, so what is so hard to understand?
Yes, I know there is the dynamic tension between free exercise and establishment, but our point is that in the U.S. military, your right to freely exercise your religion are going to be subordinated to the higher goal of preserving morale, good order, and discipline — which his why a Jewish guy 20 years ago sued Casper Weinberger, the Secretary of Defense, for the right to wear a yarmulke on duty and the court came back and said, “No, you can’t do that.
Wearing a yarmulke is going to mess up good order and discipline.” I completely agree with that decision.
Like I said before, it’s necessary for members of the military to have their Constitutional rights limited to preserve good order and discipline to protect the full panoply of all the rest of us. That’s where we are. I don’t care about their threats. I’ve never been able to get into double figures of the number of days without getting a very grotesque death threat.
The opinions and views articulated by the author do not necessarily reflect those of Israel e News.
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