Marines and the MRFF

Posted: February 11, 2012 by ShortTimer in First Amendment, Marine Corps, Media, Religion, US Military

The Military Religious Freedom Foundation seems to be the ones screaming the most about Marine scout snipers using SS as their mark, which they co-opted from the old, bad guy SS that wore Hugo Boss uniforms.

So who is the MRFF?

At it’s head is Mikey Weinstein, an Air Force lawyer turned lawyer turned lawyer turned lawyer a couple more times turned founder of a nonprofit charitable organization he created “to directly battle the far-right militant radical evangelical religious fundamentalists: The Military Religious Freedom Foundation.”  He’s on a crusade to stop fundamentalist Christianity from it’s evil crusade to do something-er-ather, as noted below.  Hmm…

He’s also seems to be kind of an apologist for Islamic jihad.

In the wake of the Fort Hood shooting, Weinstein attracted attention once again to the possibility that a hostile environment dominated by “fundamentalist Christians” constantly trying to proselytize others played some role in contributing to the psychological pressure on Major Nidal Malik Hasan. Hasan himself reportedly had made claims that he had faced harassing insults related to his Arab ethnic background and Islamic faith.

Also:

Maj. Hasan, according to the New York Times, had allegedly been harassed by fellow soldiers because he was Muslim.

“It’s obviously too early to know what all the salient facts are,” Weinstein said. “But MRFF is the only subject matter expert on planet earth that can speak authoritatively with regard to the effects that religious persecution has on members of the US military, particularly those of minority faiths like Islam. It would absolutely strain credulity to presume that this clearly sick perpetrator’s actions had nothing at all to do with the fact that his faith may possibly have been Islamic.”

That last sentence is so lawyer-speak it’s hardly recognizable as a sentence.  Glad to know they’re the only subject matter experts on planet earth that can speak authoritatively to say that yes, the Christians persecuting him made him do it.*

*guarding clause, weasel words, some assembly required, batteries not included, past history does not indicate future performance, could be total nonsense, may not actually be caused by anything legalese legalese legalese

He’s also the guy that got holy books burned in Iraq and Afghanistan:

Armed with a hundred years of case law, he is most formidable in court. In 2004 MRFF was alerted by service members that chaplains embedded in combat units were handing out vernacular-language Bibles in Iraq and Afghanistan in violation of a Pentagon General Order that prohibits proselytizing of any kind. After MRFF took up the case, the Pentagon responded by confiscating and destroying isolated caches of Bibles, although according to MRFF such evangelizing continues in both countries.

From a few years back:

Military personnel threw away, and ultimately burned, confiscated Bibles that were printed in the two most common Afghan languages amid concern they would be used to try to convert Afghans, a Defense Department spokesman said Tuesday.

The unsolicited Bibles sent by a church in the United States were confiscated about a year ago at Bagram Air Base in Afghanistan because military rules forbid troops of any religion from proselytizing while deployed there, Lt. Col. Mark Wright said.

Well yes, because they execute people for apostasy.

MRFF is also a big supporter of atheists’ rights to worship nothing.  I guess making fun of atheists is easy, but if you want to have a religious service for something you don’t believe in, that’s sort of like teetotalers saying they want time for a kegger.  Or abstinent people committed to chastity throwing a swingers’ party.  Just makes no sense.

The MRFF plans more lawsuits in coming weeks, says Michael “Mikey” Weinstein, who founded the military watchdog group in 2005. The aim is “to show there is a pattern and practice of constitutionally impermissible promotions of religious beliefs within the Department of Defense.”

Of course, the religious belief is invariably hardcore Christian fundamentalism.  He’s also the guy that went after Trijicon:

In January 2010 Weinstein exposed a private contractor who was supplying rifle scopes to the Defense Department imprinted with coded references to Christ-related biblical verses. After ABC News did a report on the “Jesus rifles,” as Weinstein called them, the Defense Department ordered that the scopes be sanitized of any subliminal content.

Subliminal.

Srsly?   Unless you know exactly what you’re looking at and someone tells you, it’s as meaningless as the gibberish that the Esoteric Order of Dagon writes next to the NSN, which stands for N’gthel g’ylek N’rokk (Depth Beyond the Vastness), and the numbers are a non-Euclidian coordinate in space-time.

MRFF sounds sort of like the effect of someone whose free speech has been halted.  A very good comic book effect for Robin:

It’s also probably relevant for an organization that’s set out pretty much to target Christians and Christianity, muffling them and actually squelching free speech – quite Orwellian that they have so many things in their name that they oppose.  MRFF isn’t going out in an actual spirit of tolerance and moderation, toning down hard-core evangelicals, but in a “they are an army of zombie zealots who must be stopped!” kind of way.  Really – see  below.

Interesting that MRFF supports a non-existent wall that restricts free speech, going so far to use it for their fight for donations:

Here’s the whole letter, as if this dead horse needs it:

Gentleman,

The affectionate sentiments of esteem and approbation which you are so good as to express towards me, on behalf of the Danbury Baptist Association, give me the highest satisfaction. My duties dictate a faithful and zealous pursuit of the interests of my constituents, and in proportion as they are persuaded of my fidelity to those duties, the discharge of them becomes more and more pleasing.
Believing with you that religion is a matter which lies solely between man and his God, that he owes account to none other for his faith or his worship, that the legislative powers of government reach actions only, and not opinions, I contemplate with sovereign reverence that act of the whole American people which declared that their legislature should make no law respecting an establishment of religion, or prohibiting the free exercise thereof thus building a wall of separation between church and State. Adhering to this expression of the supreme will of the nation in behalf of the rights of conscience, I shall see with sincere satisfaction the progress of those sentiments which tend to restore to man all his natural rights, convinced he has no natural right in opposition to his social duties.
I reciprocate your kind prayers for the protection and blessing of the common Father and Creator of man, and tender you for yourselves and your religious association, assurances of my high respect and esteem.

Th. Jefferson

January 1, 1802

Individuals are choosing to exercise their religious beliefs.  There is no order coming from the Pentagon saying “you shall pray to Ba’al after colors”.  There is an active element trying to prevent the free exercise thereof.  Like it or not, the nation was founded on Judeo-Christian principles, and those faiths are predominantly represented in the more traditional elements of society – especially the military.  Seeking to destroy them helps no one in this nation or any allied nation.

The intro to his book “No Snowflake in an Avalanche: The Military Religious Freedom Foundation, Its Battle to Defend the Constitution, And One Family’s Courageous War Against Religious Extremism in High Places” starts off like this (via Amazon):

An army of zombie zealots prepared to fight and die in order to usher in the dispensational reign of Jesus Christ on earth?

This belies an astonishing lack of perspective, and seems to confuse an actual ideology with a perceived one.  Is he a traveler from some parallel universe where people actually believe Chick Tracts?

His other book has an equally interesting title: “With God on Our Side: One Man’s War Against An Evangelical Coup in America’s Military“.  Some of the other books MRFF endorses are also interesting titles.  Notably most of the authors are peacetime Air Force vets.

Interestingly, other Air Force folks have things to say about himInteresting how much he pays himself out of his “charity”.

MRFF Compensation to Michael Weinstein:

2005: Formed
2006: $116,330
2007: $0
2008: $252,485
2009: $296,232
2010: $218,201
2011: Not yet reported

That’s a fair sum for someone who does little more than publish diatribes filled with alliterative hyperbole against religious freedom in the US military.  It’s also notable that over the course of his “charity’s” existence, with the exception of the outlier in 2007, he’s taken an average of 47% of his charity’s revenue as his personal compensation.

In other words, nearly half of every dollar sent to his charity has gone directly to his paycheck.

Not a bad gig if you can get it.

Looks like Mikey’s a friend of unindicted co-conspirators who fund terrorism at CAIR:

The Council on American-Islamic Relations (CAIR) teamed up with the liberal veterans group VoteVets.org and with anti-Christian crusader Mikey Weinstein of the Military Religious Freedom Foundation to petition West Point to disinvite Lt. Gen. Jerry Boykin (USA-Ret.) from the February 8 event.

But he’s at least a proponent of self-defense, so he’s not just a staunch crusader in his fight to end the scourge of Christianity, and does have some redeeming virtues:

He retains a detail of security and explosives experts, and he has positioned firearms—from a twelve-gauge shotgun to semiautomatic handguns—throughout the house. (Amber, Weinstein’s 23-year-old daughter, sleeps with a .357 revolver by her bed.) The guard dogs have been trained to fend off intruders for at least eight seconds, which security consultants estimate is the minimum amount of time the Weinsteins would need to get to their guns.

Dunno where one gets the money to hire a detail of security and explosives experts, as those tend to be expensive contractors, even with his self-appointed salary.  His personal experiences with assholes at the USAF academy may have really scarred him, to the point he doesn’t see that the real bad guys are the ones flying planes into buildings, wearing shoe and underwear bombs, suicide bombing troops and citizens in foreign nations, and contributing to a new regime of oppression in the Middle East as a result of the last year’s unrest.  Oh well, he’s entitled to his overreacting opinion.  But it makes him sound like every other chicken little anti-Christian, anti-western, anti-US blame-America-firster, and certainly diminishes his own personal story – a story that by itself, would be pretty significant and noteworthy, and paints him in a respectable light.  But for every story by his supporters or himself about generations of military service and his own service and all that, once taking into account the rest of what he does, all it sounds like is a racist joke prefaced with: “I have a black friend, so it’s okay”.

But back to the Marines as his organization’s new target.  Perhaps the most notable thing is that the Marines up there, who don’t care, who live (or rather lived, since the picture was reportedly taken in 2010) with the threat of death every day, aren’t bad guys.  They just do not care what some former Air Force lawyer turned anti-Christian crusader back in the states has to say.  Nor do they care what anyone else has to say.  They live in a kill-or-be-killed world.

They are the very harsh type-A personalities you want in those jobs.  Would it help if somebody reins them in every so often?  Sure.  Those who aren’t familiar with the rather tight scout sniper culture will probably find it offensive.  Those who aren’t in that circle don’t understand that they don’t view it as a Nazi symbol, because they don’t care.  It looks badass, and they used it.  No one rending their garments and yelling back in the world is going to make a difference; and the Commandant and SgtMaj coming down on them will just reinforce that people don’t understand what they do. (Edit: Given that the SgtMaj used to be a scout sniper, I now doubt there will be as much grumbling in the sniper community.  His words will carry a lot of weight.)

If Carlos Hathcock (were he alive) to write them a letter and say “Devil dogs, don’t use the SS runes anymore.  There’s a reason we went to war with them, there’s a reason we had to stop them.  We as a nation defeated them, and we don’t need to be associated with that,” it would be over.

This is a better symbol.  Plus it will confuse the hell out of the Brits, who take it to mean the opposite – unless they do some research or have someone clue them in on how badass it really is.

Comments
  1. [...] understand is that people like zany lawyer Mikey Weinstein, who’s crusading against “an army of zombie zealots prepared to fight and die in order to usher in the dispensational reign of…” and whose mission in life is to be professionally butthurt, would go after them.  Or that a [...]

  2. [...] 2: Follow up post 2, follow up post 3, and follow up post 4. Rate this: Share [...]

  3. Jimbo Limbo says:

    Carlos H. with the white feather, that’s a hard symbol/sign to argue against. He wanted to be the hunted one, because HE was the final answer for those that would hunt him. He wanted no confusion about who was hunting them… the white feather. The white feather killed your people, don’t waste your efforts elsewhere. “Come and get me,” said Mr. Hathcock, and they could not a one of them do it. Confirmed 93, out in the jungle, crawling through the shi__… and those 93 all were confirmed by an acting party, an officer, other than the sniper’s spotter. He doubtless killed many many more. White feather? Classier than Nazi SS symbols… which are more appropriate for hate filled teens than trained marksmen.

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