Tuesday, October 6, 2009

Religious Nuts Pray For Lightning

A former military lawyer who worked in the Reagan administration is filing an unusual lawsuit Mikey Weinstein, who has aroused the ire of religious extremists in his capacity as head of the Military Religious Freedom Foundation has sued Gordon Klingenschmitt and and Jim Ammerman, the founder of the Dallas-based Chaplaincy of Full Gospel Churches for a series of public prayers that call for Weinstein's untimely demise. The Dallas News reports as follows.

"Mikey Weinstein, founder of the Military Religious Freedom Foundation, said he wants Gordon Klingenschmitt, a former U.S. Navy chaplain, to "stop asking Jesus to plunder my fields ... seize my assets, kill me and my family then wipe away our descendants for 10 generations."

The suit also asks the court to stop the defendants – Klingenschmitt and Jim Ammerman, the founder of the Dallas-based Chaplaincy of Full Gospel Churches – from "encouraging, soliciting, directing, abetting or attempting to induce others to engage in similar conduct."

The US military has a long tradition of maintaining religious and political neutrality, with its chaplains limited to personal pastoral counseling. In the military, with its chain of command and duties of following orders, safeguards need to be followed to avoid coercive situations involving religion. This has been the scope of Mikey Weinstein's organisation. When a conservative Republican from a military family expresses concern about church state separation issues in the military, it is wise to look into it. Harpers magazine did a full length feature on the atmosphere in the military in Iraq and elsewhere that aroused the concern of Mr. Weinstein The provocative title "Jesus Killed Mohammed" is explained in the following excerpt from the article.

He found his lieutenant, John D. DeGiulio, with a couple of sergeants. They were snickering like schoolboys. They had commissioned the Special Forces interpreter, an Iraqi from Texas, to paint a legend across their Bradley’s armor, in giant red Arabic script.

“What’s it mean?” asked Humphrey.

“Jesus killed Mohammed,” one of the men told him. The soldiers guffawed. JESUS KILLED MOHAMMED was about to cruise into the Iraqi night.

The Bradley, a tracked “tank killer” armed with a cannon and missiles—to most eyes, indistinguishable from a tank itself—rolled out. The Iraqi interpreter took to the roof, bullhorn in hand. The sun was setting. Humphrey heard the keen of the call to prayer, then the crackle of the bullhorn with the interpreter answering—in Arabic, then in English for the troops, insulting the prophet. Humphrey’s men loved it. “They were young guys, you know?” says Humphrey. “They were scared.” A Special Forces officer stood next to the interpreter—“a big, tall, blond, grinning type,” says Humphrey.

“Jesus kill Mohammed!” chanted the interpreter. “Jesus kill Mohammed!”

A head emerged from a window to answer, somebody fired on the roof, and the Special Forces man directed a response from an MK-19 grenade launcher. “Boom,” remembers Humphrey. The head and the window and the wall around it disappeared."

I shudder to think about retaliation against Iraqi Christians that might have been sparked by such idiocy.

Although no one disputes the fact that one may according to law pray for whatever comes to mind, Weinstein is concerned that the prayers for his untimely demise crossed the line into calls for violence such as, according to the Dallas News article "death threats, had a swastika emblazoned on their home in New Mexico, animal carcasses left on their doorstep and feces thrown at the house."

Weinstein is understandably concerned about an escalation in acts of lawlessness against him and his family.

Years ago, I heard a joke about a priest and a nun playing golf. The priest had a weakness for profanity. Every time he missed the ball, he would shout "Oh hell I missed!"

The nun suffered in silence. After a few holes she indignantly told the priest, "If you say that one more time, I'm going to pray that you get struck down by a bolt of lightning.

At the next hole, the priest could not contain himself. "Oh hell I missed! " he hissed.

The nun started to pray. And as she did so, the sky darkened. Rain started to fall as thunder rumbled in the distance and lightening flickered across the darkened golf course. Suddenly, a bolt of lightning shot out from the heavens. Inches away from the priest, it veered off and hit the nun. And then a voice boomed out from heaven.

"Oh hell I missed !!"

Why did this joke flash through my mind when I read about this lawsuit? In civilian life, all too many people are being force fed atheism and hatred for religion. The military presents different challenges in the context of a different culture. Mikey Weinstein is fighting the good fight. I will be praying for his success. I know what his opponents are praying for. Let G-d and the courts sort it all out


1 comment:

Daniel Greenfield said...

I think you might want to look into Mikey Weinstein's politics a bit more first. He keeps citing the Reagan thing, but his friends fall more into the line of Joe Wilson.