A retired U.S. Army chaplain has noticed a wildly one-sided news story warning about "radical Christians" in the U.S. armed forces.
In a story headlined "Trump effect inspires radical Christians in military," Newsweek political writer Nina Burleigh describes an ominous scene unfolding in the armed forces: crazy Christian "fundamentalists" in uniform harassing non-believers in a fervent attempt to establish a theocracy.
Ron Crews of the Chaplain Alliance for Religious Liberty noticed that Burleigh's 1,300-word story relied exclusively on atheist attorney Mikey Weinstein and his Military Religious Freedom Foundation, relying on a claim he made years ago to bash the five-month Trump administration.
OneNewsNow has reported on Weinstein's repeated attempts – some successful, some not - to thwart religious expression in the armed forces.
Claiming that "Dominionists" are trying to turn America into a theocracy, Weinstein has infamously vowed to "leave sucking chest wounds" in his "war" against them.
"Of course I said those words. And proudly," Weinstein told a congressional hearing in 2014, when he was confronted about them by U.S. Rep. Randy Forbes.
A U.S. Air Force veteran, Weinstein has had his best luck with that military branch, bragging at times how quickly military commanders responded to his complaints.
Dominionism is a belief that the United States should be a theocratic government based on Christianity with Evangelicals in power.
Crews and his organization, meanwhile, claim they want chaplains and other service members to "freely exercise their God-given and constitutionally protected religious liberties without fear of reprisal," according to Chaplain Alliance website.
During eight years of the Obama administration, Crews says Weinstein and his organization have attempted to "root out any acknowledgement that our country was built on a Judeo-Christian foundation," hence the need for such a group.
Yet, to hear Weinstein tell it, the military is riddled with crazed evangelicals.
Relying on the atheist's vague account, Newsweek reports:
He says noncommissioned officers at one Air Force base reported that their superiors told them Trump would make it USAF policy that in order for “disbelieving Jews” to be allowed into the USAF or deemed fit for promotions, they would have to show via objectively established behavior that they were at least honestly “considering the truth of the Gospel of Jesus Christ.”
A second incident involves a Muslim naval officer who was "spit upon and cursed" at the commissary and accused of being a spy and a terrorist.
But the atheist attorney has been using that example since 2009, says Crews.
"Which, if I'm not mistaken, was a few years before Mr. Trump was elected president," Crews notes.
Weinstein, in fact, described that incident to left-wing website Rawstory.com in 2015 yet Crews says Newsweek included it in a story bashing Trump by Burleigh, an adjunct professor at Columbia School of Journalism.
Weinstein's claims and Newsweek's reliance on them were further picked apart by website Christian Fighter Pilot, which also recounted that Weinstein was using the Muslim-spat-on story for years.
The website also noticed that Burleigh seems to join Weinstein's claims in her story, writing that the U.S. military has been "seeded with radical Christian fundamentalists" who believe in a "Warrior Jesus" and want a "Kingdom of God" on Earth – claims made without any sources, the website points out.
Yet the article fails to report about a newsletter for an Air Force Reserve unit that included the story of an airman who travelled to Central America on a mission trip during Christmas. Weinstein attempted, unsuccessfully, to get that article removed due to its religious content.
"Over the past eight years," says Crews, "there have been many cases where it's been the evangelical Christians who have been targeted, not the other way around."
Christian Fighter Pilot summarized the story thus:
Nina Burleigh’s Newsweek article said nothing new. The 'award-winning” journalist simply recycled old accusations and put them in the same sentence as “because Donald Trump.”