Religious liberty groups have grave concerns after they learned the Pentagon is vetting its guide on religious tolerance with a group that compared Christian evangelism to “rape” and advocated that military personnel who proselytize should be court martialed.
The Military Religious Freedom Foundation is calling on the Air Force to enforce a regulation that they believe calls for the court martial of any service member caught proselytizing.
President Mikey Weinstein and others from his organization met privately with Pentagon officials on April 23. He said U.S. troops who proselytize are guilty of sedition and treason and should be punished – by the hundreds if necessary – to stave off what he called a “tidal wave of fundamentalists.”
“Someone needs to be punished for this,” Weinstein told Fox News. “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.”
Tony Perkins, president of the Family Research Council, told Fox News he was stunned that the Pentagon would be taking counsel and advice from the Military Religious Freedom Foundation.
“Why would military leadership be meeting with one of the most rabid atheists in America to discuss religious freedom in the military,” Perkins said. “That’s like consulting with China on how to improve human rights.”
The FRC has launched a petition drive urging Defense Sec. Chuck Hagel to protect the religious freedom of troops “and not to proceed with the purge of religion within the ranks called for by anti-Christian activists.”
Pentagon officials met with Weinstein and his group to discuss a policy called “Air Force Culture, Air Force Standards,” published on Aug. 7, 2012.
Section 2.11 requires “government neutrality regarding religion.”
“Leaders at all levels must balance constitutional protections for an individual’s free exercise of religion or other personal beliefs and the constitutional prohibition against governmental establishment of religion,” the regulation states.
Military leaders were admonished not to use their position to “promote their personal religious beliefs to their subordinates or to extend preferential treatment for any religion.”
Weinstein said it’s time for the Air Force to enforce the regulation – with zeal.
“If a member of the military is proselytizing in a manner that violates the law, well then of course they can be prosecuted,” he said. “We would love to see hundreds of prosecutions to stop this outrage of fundamentalist religious persecution.”