In the aftermath of the Supreme Court’s decision to redefine marriage in all 50 states, the Pentagon is now being urged to “cleanse itself” of chaplains who refuse to support same-sex marriage.
Activist Mikey Weinstein, president of the Military Religious Freedom Foundation, is demanding the U.S. military conduct a purge of chaplains who holds to the traditional teaching of homosexuality and marriage espoused by the first commander in chief, George Washington.
Weinstein claims chaplains who are “maintaining the state of antagonism between their religion and the sexual/gender identities of service members” have no business serving in the military.
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“Nobody is arguing that these losers don’t have a right to their religious beliefs,” wrote Weinstein in an op-ed.
“At this stage, the only honorable thing that these losers can do is to fold up their uniforms, turn in their papers, and get the hell out of the American military chaplaincy. If they are unwilling or too cowardly to do so, then the Department of Defense must expeditiously cleanse itself of the intolerant filth that insists on lingering in the ranks of our armed forces.”
While Weinstein frequently calls for the court-martialing of military members who attempt to share their faith with others, he is now calling for an entire class of chaplains to be fired regardless of whether their beliefs affect their job performance or not.
Brig. Gen. Doug Lee, now chairman of the executive committee for the Chaplain Alliance for Religious Liberty, said Weinstein’s views are extreme, showing a lack of understanding of a chaplain’s mission.
“His comments are so vitriolic and dividing that they are hardly worth responding to. He seems to feel the need to push his conspiracy theory about certain chaplains in the military,” Lee told WND. “In addition, I don’t think he understands that the job of chaplain exists in a pluralistic military so that people have religious support, and to do away with a certain group of chaplains in its entirety is just ridiculous.
“It’s like he never learned a thing in law school about the Constitution and about why chaplains exist.”
Lee contends one cannot say chaplains have no right to oppose homosexuality based on the teachings of their faith while also supporting their right to stand by other tenets, such as refusing to marry those outside of their faith.
“A chaplain cannot do something against his faith tenet such as marrying someone who has different religious beliefs if that is a tenet of their faith. They cannot be asked to do it, and they cannot be required to do it.”
Lee told WND that those who think a chaplain must affirm or support the beliefs of everyone who comes for counseling or teaching misunderstand the purpose of chaplains.
“The job of a chaplain is to provide religious support or perform religious support. The ‘provide’ part is to help a person find someone who can meet the individual’s spiritual needs. For example, I would not prepare a Passover meal for a Jewish service member, but I will direct them to a rabbi who can address that area. But when I do perform religious support, whether it be to teach, preach or counsel, I do so from my faith perspective.”
For his part, Weinstein said he’s looking forward to ending the conservative influence in the military.
“What will become of their once-ironclad dominance of fundamentalist Christian privilege within the Department of Defense?” said Weinstein.
Lee insists chaplains don’t use their pulpit and position to call on service members to disobey orders regarding the treatment of “gay” service members.
“For the vast majority of chaplains in the military, their faith groups believe that homosexuality is a sin and so they believe marriage is between a man and a woman as Christians have believed for thousands of years,” Lee explained to WND. “But the chaplains are saying that if someone comes to them for counseling with the homosexual partner they won’t ignore that person’s concerns, instead they will refer them to someone who can help with their specific needs because that’s part of providing religious support.”
WND reported how the military tried to silence opposition to repeal of the Revolutionary War ban on homosexuals serving in the military during a lame-duck session of Congress, after tea-party voters gave Republicans control of the House of Representatives in 2010.
In 2013, soldiers were given a training brief stating evangelical Christians were the No. 1 extremist threat to America, ahead of groups such as the Muslim Brotherhood, Ku Klux Klan, Nation of Islam, al-Qaida and Hamas.
Catholicism and ultra-orthodox Judaism were also on the list of religious extremist organizations.
As WND reported, Larry Wilkerson, former chief of staff to Colin Powell, told the Washington Post in 2013 the biggest problems faced by the military were sexual assault and what he described as proselytizing by Christians.
Wilkerson’s comments were made to Sally Quinn in an interview that also featured former ambassador Joe Wilson and Weinstein as they were on their way to a meeting at the Pentagon.
Wilson told Quinn that if a chaplain would proselytize, it would be a workplace violation. Weinstein went even further and said it was a “national security threat” and amounted to “spiritual rape.” He said the chaplain’s role is to minister to spiritual needs.
Weinstein said military leaders need to understand “there is systematic misogyny, anti-Semitism and Islamophobia in the military.”
“What the Pentagon needs to understand is that it is sedition and treason. It should be punished.”
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