[Secular Student Union] FW: Brunch at our house with Mikey
Weinstein, Nobel Peace Prize nominee (fwd)
ekorsmo at u.washington.edu
ekorsmo at u.washington.edu
Wed Nov 11 18:01:15 PST 2009
Valerie Tarico, who spoke to us in October about outreach and fundraising, has invited our members to a brunch event she's hosting. Details are below: note the need to RSVP (also note that, while this event is a fundraiser, she has room for 5-10 students to attend at no charge).
Hi All -
As you know, one of the issues I track is the way that evangelical
Christianity has become aggressive about recruiting "soldiers for Christ" on
military bases-things like evangelicals systematically replacing "Type O"
chaplains, Passion of the Christ being advertised on lunch hall plates,
officers pressuring their juniors to go to church, orthodox Jews being
harassed out of the academies, and so on. I'm sure there were many factors
that lead to yesterday's tragedy in which a Muslim soldier decompensated
into suicidal and murderous rage. But as information emerges it is painful
to infer what it must be like to be a Muslim in the military at this point.
Mikey Weinstein, founder of the Military Religious Freedom Foundation is
leading the pushback against what has become a hostile environment for even
many mainline Christians. Mikey is a fiercely smart, utterly uncensored
former Reagan administration attorney and graduate of the Air Force Academy.
He is an intense, overstated force of nature, who now, finally with the
change of administrations is getting audiences in D.C. Recently he was
nominated for a Nobel Peace Prize for his efforts to decrease the Holy War
aspect of our involvement in the Middle East. (For a fascinating,
frightening window into this, see Jesus Killed Mohammed
<http://www.harpers.org/archive/2009/05/0082488> , in Harpers, April 09)
I will be hosting Mikey for a fundraiser brunch on Sunday November 22 at
10:30 and would love to have you join us if you are interested.
When: Sun Nov 22 10:30 am
Where: Val & Brian's House, 1220 10th Ave E (Capitol Hill) Seattle
Rsvp: vt at valerietarico.com
Hasan and the proselytization factor
Tuesday, November 10, 2009
By Mikey Weinstein
President and Founder, Military Religious Freedom Foundation
As we turn our collective eyes to the tragedies of Fort Hood this week, we
mourn the men and women who offered themselves up to serve our country
overseas, only to make the ultimate sacrifice in a senseless act of violence
But the shootings at Fort Hood should be an important wake up call to the
continuing religious intolerance that has been allowed to blatantly and
systemically manifest in our nation's armed forces. Too often, honorable men
and women who have joined our military are comprehensively denigrated and
made to feel worthless because, although they wear the same uniform, they do
not pray in the "approved" church or to the "correct" God or to no God at
Let me be clear, there is absolutely no excuse for the alleged actions of
Nidal Malik Hasan. What he did is reprehensible, and goes against everything
the American military stands for.
But we must realize that the alleged mistreatment Hasan received in the
American military almost certainly played a key role in his disaffection.
Reliable reports indicate that fellow soldiers gave him a diaper to wear on
his head, mocking Islamic headdresses. His car was keyed by an Iraq veteran
because he had an "Allah is Love" bumper sticker, and others suggested he
should ride a camel instead.
Unfortunately, Hasan's alleged mistreatment is not uncommon. Muslims, Jews
and other religious minorities in the armed forces are regularly made sport
of and subjected to taunts and derisions, and face repeated proselytizing
from their fundamentalist Christian peers and superiors. They are made to
feel subhuman because they do not pray in Jesus' name. Amazingly, the same
merciless scorn and shame is levied upon non-fundamentalist Christian
military members because they are judged by their superiors as not being
This problem has been horrifically exacerbated as military and political
leaders have painted the wars in Iraq and Afghanistan as conflicts between
Christianity and Islam. It is a blood libel assessment that paints all
Muslims as terrorists, and suggests that no followers of Islam can be loyal
Americans, not even the brave soldiers by their side. This vile mentality
feeds unbridled fear, bigotry and bloodlust.
The <http://www.helpbuildthewall.org/homepage.html> Military Religious
Freedom Foundation (MRFF) has 18 active cases at Fort Hood involving
soldiers who allege they have been subjected to non-stop fundamentalist
Christian proselytization. In fact, Fort Hood is one of the worst of the
nearly 1,000 U.S. military installations around the world when it comes to
the proselytizing of both non-fundamentalist Christian and non-Christian
soldiers. Even elementary school students, the children of soldiers, on the
base have been subjected to repeated proselytizing.
Both Congress and the Pentagon have largely turned a blind eye to or been
explicitly complicit in this expanding internal national security threat.
MRFF has over 15,000 cases world wide which more than testify to the
veracity of the existence of this dangerous, growing plague.
It is illegal and immoral for non-fundamentalist Christian and non-Christian
service members to be treated differently than their colleagues. And it is
particularly incumbent on our military leaders to set standards that protect
religious minorities and ensure their equal treatment in accordance with the
solemn oaths they all swore to support and defend the United States
Constitution. Pentagon policies should explicitly forbid prayer in Jesus'
name at mandatory formations on military bases, and all military men and
women should be allowed to choose when, where and if to participate in
These policies must be fortified with education for our soldiers that
teaches religious tolerance and respect. The scope of this education must
incorporate both those our servicemen and women will encounter overseas and
the men and women who have their backs. All members of the military must see
their colleagues as Americans and brothers and sisters in arms first and
foremost, and not allow personal religious and cultural differences to get
in the way of shared goals.
As we investigate the brutal, inexcusable murders at Fort Hood, we are
compelled to assiduously examine how Muslim members of the armed services
are treated. All armed forces members deserve to be treated fairly and with
respect. When a military member is told by his or her superiors that they
lack courage, intelligence, honor, trust, character and integrity because of
their chosen religious faith (or no faith), that is no different then
telling someone that they are "stupid" because of the color of their skin.
America is better than that.
Mikey Weinstein is President and Founder of the
<http://www.helpbuildthewall.org/homepage.html> Military Religious Freedom
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