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National Editorial: Religious freedom is threatened by a politically correct Pentagon

The Pentagon

Political correctness appears to be running amuck in the Pentagon. How else to explain the decision by somebody in the military bureaucracy to ask Mikey Weinstein for advice on religious expression by those in the ranks who happen to be Catholic or evangelical Christians. Weinstein is founder of the one-man nonprofit band known as the Military Religious Freedom Foundation. The MRFF pays him a quarter of a million dollars a year for chasing cameras to preach his special brand of vitriol and bile about Christians.

Recently on Huffington Post, for example, Weinstein apocalyptically called for the suppression of all religious speech that might remotely be characterized as proselytizing because "today, we face incredibly well-funded gangs of fundamentalist Christian monsters who terrorize their fellow Americans by forcing their weaponized and twisted version of Christianity upon their helpless subordinates in our nation's armed forces."

He also told Fox News recently that "until the Air Force or Army or Navy or Marine Corps punishes a member of the military for unconstitutional religious proselytizing and oppression, we will never have the ability to stop this horrible, horrendous, dehumanizing behavior." He described an individual's sharing of his or her religious faith with other members of the military as "spiritual rape."

Aside from being a bald-faced misrepresentation of the facts, why on earth would the U.S. military seek counsel about religious freedom of expression issues from an individual who routinely screams such unbalanced rhetoric? Pentagon officials reportedly met with Weinstein on April 23 to discuss an Air Force regulation promulgated in 2012 titled "Air Force Culture, Air Force Standards." Washington Post columnist Sally Quinn said she was told by Weinstein and several of his cohorts before the meeting that several generals would be present for the discussion. Quinn further reported that the meeting concluded with an Air Force general saying a forthcoming publication on enforcement of the regulation would "be a panacea to all religious issues."

These developments come hard on the heels of news that an Army Reserve training session in Pennsylvania on equal employment opportunities included a slide presentation created by somebody outside the military. One of the slides was titled "Religious Extremism," which grouped evangelical and Catholics Christians, Mormons, Jews and Muslims with al Qaeda, the Ku Klux Klan, among others.

The Army subsequently disavowed the slide, of course, but it is worrisome that it wasn't rejected before being used, since its creator clearly was either totally ignorant of the beliefs of all of the groups listed or intended to malign the legitimate religious faiths by mixing them with terrorists. The inability to distinguish between believers and bomb-throwers is a fruit of unrestrained political correctness. Tragedies like the Fort Hood deaths can be the result.

Those who don't know the difference between a person of faith and a person willing to strap on a suicide belt to kill innocents isn't likely to recognize when constitutional rights are being violated. This reality makes such political correctness a threat to everybody in the military no matter their faith or lack thereof.