CNN airs segment on Christian Embassy video
CNN - Paula Zahn Now program focuses on Christian Embassy Video
Mikey Weinstein debates Christocrat Rev. John MacArthur
CNN Report by host John King and correspondent Kathleen Koch,December 22, 2006
Introducing the segment (which can be viewed at the left) John King said: "Our top story in religion tonight is growing outrage over an evangelical Christian group's promotional video. Much of it was shot at the Pentagon and features top military brass in uniform. A watchdog group is demanding an investigation, saying military regulations forbid promoting any cause, including religious ones."
During the opening "set-up" preceding the debate, reporter Kathleen Koch notes that "CNN requested interviews with all of the officers who appear in the video. But our request was denied because the Pentagon inspector general is now investigating whether any rules have been broken."
Koch also interviews Rabbi Marvin Bash, a chaplain at Fort Belvoir in the Washington DC area. Referring to the officer in the Christian Embassy video who says "we are the aroma of Christ," Bash said: "We -- we are the aroma of Jesus Christ. I wonder who he is speaking for when he says we. If he is speaking for all of the people at the Pentagon, that's offensive. That's wrong."
During the debate part of the segment, John MacArthur, the pastor, repeats variations on this basic theme: "I don't think there is any downside to this whatsoever. I think being a Christian makes a man a better soldier. He understands humility, he understands sacrifice, he understands giving up his life for somebody else. He understands honesty, integrity. I think that makes a man a better soldier. "
Weinstein repeatedly returned to the issue of church-state separation: "With all due respect to Dr. MacArthur, I don't know what planet he is from. He doesn't think there is any implications here? He thinks there's an unalienable (ph) right to pursue one particular Biblical world view of the gospel of Jesus Christ, irrespective of any -- of any constraints whatsoever? I mean, if that's what he feels, that there's no separation of church and state, I mean, I think he ought to go to Saudi Arabia or Kim Jong Il's North Korea."
Transcript of the CNN segment
Click here for the transcript. Note that you'll need to scroll down toward the end for the Christian Embassy Video segment.
Chris Hedges reports
Chris Hedges: Americaís Holy Warriors
By Chris Hedges, Truthdig, Dec 31, 2006
The drive by the Christian right to take control of military chaplaincies, which now sees radical Christians holding roughly 50 percent of chaplaincy appointments in the armed services and service academies, is part of a much larger effort to politicize the military and law enforcement. This effort signals the final and perhaps most deadly stage in the long campaign by the radical Christian right to dismantle Americaís open society and build a theocratic state. A successful politicization of the military would signal the end of our democracy. Continue.
Rush Limbaugh attacks protest of video
When Mikey Weinstein and leaders of the Military Religious Freedom Foundation he chairs, held a news conference calling attention to the Christian Embassy video, talk show host Rush Limbaugh savaged Weinstein. "Public displays of faith by high-ranking military officers project an image of a Christian nation waging war on non-Christians, both inside and outside the United States," Limbaugh declared, putting words into Weinstein's mouth. From there, his rant devolved to a diatribe against Islam. (See below)
Immediately after the broadcast, Weinstein's representatives contacted the Limbaugh program, offering to go on the program to debate. According to Weinstein, Limbaugh did not show any interest in that offer. Weinstein then wrote Limbaugh an open letter (immediately below).
An Open Letter to Rush Limbaugh:
In Defense of the Military Religious Freedom Foundation
by Mikey Weinstein, Military Religious Freedom Foundation, December 22, 2006
Satanís Lawyer. Un-American. Anti-religion. Pacifist. Anti-Christ. Liberal. The Field General of the Godless Armies of Satan. The Most Dangerous Man in America.
Iíve been called many names since I began my battle to uphold the religious freedoms of the noble men and women in our armed forces. Iím impressed with the creativity of my adversaries and frankly flattered that so much time has been invested in coining these denigrating titles.
Itís rare that I take time to call attention to these criticisms, sticks and stones may break my bones but, you know the rest; however, Rush, you who kindly called both me and Military Religious Freedom Foundation members liberal pacifists, also asked an important question of me on your radio program last week.
ďWho in the world are you, Mikey, to say that our military has to ban religious activity in the Pentagon because it might offend the enemy?Ē
Well, Rush, exactly who do I have to be and who are you to openly trample on our Constitutional rights? Continue reading this PDF file.
Radio talk host's anti-Muslim rant
Rush Limbaugh program transcript, December 13, 2006
RUSH LIMBAUGH: Here's another example, ladies and gentlemen. From the Cybercast News Service: "Pentagon Evangelism Called 'National Security Threat.' Christian military officers who share their faith at work in the Pentagon pose a threat to national security, according to a group that advocates for religious neutrality in the military." Yeah. Religious neutrality in the military. That's why we have to build separate religious facilities for Muslim soldiers, religious neutrality. Who are these people? Well, stand by. I'll tell you. "Public displays of faith by high-ranking military officers project an image of a Christian nation waging war on non-Christians, both inside and outside the United States, the Military Religious Freedom Foundation said Monday."
Now, who the hell are they? And why does anybody care? How does the Military Religious Freedom Foundation get any news coverage? They're just a bunch of liberals, once again attacking the institution of the US military. The organization's president is a guy actually named Mikey Weinstein.
He said this created an "internal national security issue every bit as great as the one we're fighting outwardly." Listen to this quote. "'The jihadists, the insurrectionists, everybody from the head of Hamas, Hezbollah, Islamic Jihad, the al-Aqsa martyrs brigades, they see us as invading American imperialists and crusaders,' Mikey Weinstein told a news conference in Washington, DC. Weinstein is a graduate of the US Air Force Academy who has been critical of proselytizing at the academy, called for an investigation of several officers who appeared in a promotional video for a Christian organization while in uniform."
Let me just ask you this question. Go at this a different way. How many of you identify right off the bat what is inherently wrong about this whole complaint? You know, here's the thing, Mikey. And by the way, I'm not calling him Mikey -- that's the name that's in the story, M-i-k-e-y. Let me just tell you, Mikey, and all the other pacifists like you out there, I personally don't give a rat's rear end what Hamas or Hezbollah or the Islamic Jihad or the al-Aqsa Martyr Brigades see in the United States military. I don't care whether they like the US military or not. The goal of our military is not to make our enemies like us. I can't believe I'm even having to point this out. The goal of our military is to kill these people before they kill us, Mikey, and our allies.
Now, Mikey, here's a news flash for you, pal. I don't like Hamas. I don't like Hezbollah. I don't like Islamic Jihad. I don't like the al-Aqsa Martyr Brigades, I don't like Al-Qaeda. I don't like any Islamofascist. I don't like them! Why isn't their responsibility, Mikey, to convert me into someone who likes them? Why is the burden on us, Mikey, to make our enemies love us, particularly our military? Our militaries are not emissaries of anything but death and broken stuff. I don't like these people, Mikey. You know what? I see them as invading, murdering, uncompromising heathens. I see them as the enemy. Mikey, instead of calling a press conference in Washington, DC, why don't you take your group over there and go meet with Hamas and Hezbollah and the Islamic Jihad, and the al-Aqsa Martyr Brigades, and anybody from Al-Qaeda you can find, and why don't you convince them that they have to give up their religion in their armies so that we will like them more? Who in the world are you, Mikey, to go on this press conference tour and say that our military has to ban religious activity in the Pentagon because it might offend the enemy?
Would you like to go over and try this on the enemy? Go over there and meet with Hassan Nasrallah. Say, "Hassan, we want to promote world peace here. If you would just drop your religion, get rid of the turban, it scares Americans. They think you're trying to take over the world with your militant Islamic beliefs. Get your religion out of it, Hassan." And then tell that to Hamas. And go tell it to bin Laden and al-Zawahiri. No, not going to doing that, we're going to tell it to the United States, the good guys. We're going to punish the United States because there are Christian religious people in the Pentagon.
Continuing news and comment
A Christian Embassy campaign at the Pentagon tests constitutional boundaries.
Editorial, Washington Post, January 6, 2007
Noting that the Christian Embassy has removed from its website its promotional video featuring senior Pentagon officials, the Post advises: "it would be wise to consider not only whether the video and the Christian Embassy's other activities comply with the letter of Pentagon rules but also with the spirit of the Constitution its personnel are sworn to protect." Click here.