He compared the act of proselytizing to rape.
“It is a version of being spiritually raped and you are being spiritually raped by fundamentalist Christian religious predators,” he told Fox News.
He said there is a time and a place for those in uniform to share their faith – but he took issues with fundamentalism that he says is causing widespread problems in the military.
“When those people are in uniform and they believe there is no time, place or manner in which they can be restricted from proselytizing, they are creating tyranny, oppression, degradation, humiliation and horrible, horrible pain upon members of the military,” he said.
Perkins said the military regulations have “Weinstein’s fingerprints all over it.”
“It threatens to treat service members caught witnessing as enemies of the state,” he said, referring to a Washington Post article highlighting Weinstein’s meeting with Pentagon officials. “Non-compliance, the Pentagon suggests, even from ordained chaplains could result in court-martialing on a case-by-case basis.”
The Pentagon confirmed to Fox News that Christian evangelism is against regulations.
“Religious proselytization is not permitted within the Department of Defense, LCDR Nate Christensen said in a written statement. He declined to say if any chaplains or service members had been prosecuted for such an offense.
“Court martials and non-judicial punishments are decided on a case-by-case basis and it would be inappropriate to speculate on the outcome in specific cases,” he said.
Ron Crews, the executive director of the Chaplain Alliance for Religious Liberty, warns that the Air Force policy would “significantly impact the religious liberties of Air Force personnel.”
“Saying that a service member cannot speak of his faith is like telling a service member he cannot talk about his spouse or children,” Crews said. “I do not think the Air Force wants to ban personnel from protected religious speech, and I certainly hope that it is willing to listen to the numerous individuals and groups who protect military religious liberty without demonizing service members.”
In an interview with the Washington Post, Weinstein called proselytizing a “national security threat.”
“And what the Pentagon needs to understand is that it is sedition and treason,” he told the newspaper. “It should be punished.”
Perkins said it was troubling the Obama Administration would place so much trust in someone like Weinstein.
"Unfortunately, it appears our military is on a forced march away from the very freedoms they are sworn to protect,” he said. “This language from Weinstein that Christians who share their faith or offer comfort to others from their faith in Jesus Christ is "sedition and treason" is a treasonous statement in and of itself.”
But Weinstein said they count thousands of Protestants among their ranks – and said they are simply going after fundamentalists.
“As soon as we find a fundamentalist Muslim, atheist, Jewish person or anybody else, we will be happy to fight them – but so far they have been few and far between,” he said.
Lt. Gen. (Ret.) Jerry Boykin, an executive vice president with the Family Research Council, told Fox News that he’s deeply concerned by what he call a pattern of attacks on Christianity within the military.
“Mickey Weinstein has a very visceral hated of Christianity and those who are Christians,” he said. “He’d like to see it eliminated from the military entirely.”
If the Air Force policy is implemented, Boykin said Christians who speak of their faith “could now be prosecuted as enemies of the state.”
“This has the potential to destroy military recruiting across the services as Americans realize that their faith will be suppressed by joining the military,” Boykin said.
In the meantime, Weinstein and his group said they will continue to push for the Pentagon to fully implement its ban on proselytizing.
“There is a time, place and manner in which proselytizing is not only allowed, but it’s something we support among our Christian clients,” Weinstein said. “However, you can’t scream fire in a crowded theater and you can’t scream Jesus in a crowded theater at certain times, places, and in certain manners.”
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