Theocons at the Pentagon; Exclusive Video!
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Thu Dec 14, 2006 at 04:12:31 AM EST
[ ed: promoted from the diaries. see here for details on a Sunday radio show about the scandal ] There is a controversy brewing over a video that shows senior military officers in uniform promoting their religion inside the Pentagon. In the last few years, starting with the appointment of General Weida as Commandant of Cadets and in cooperation with James Dobson and Ted Haggard (until his outing last month) who leveraged the proximity of their headquarters to the US Air Force Academy, the theocons have  transformed life at this key institution by fostering a climate of religious intolerance. Here and here.

Now we have evidence that some of the tactics they developed at the Air Force Academy are being applied to the Pentagon itself.

This Shockwave Productions YouTube exclusive collects scenes from the original posted at the Christian Embassy website. The scenes included show officers in uniform and high ranking civilians inside the Pentagon promoting their religion. Most of the cut scenes had testimonials from civilians including; ex-Congressmen Tom Delay, Greshm Barrett, J.D. Hayworth and John Carter (all Republicans), presidential appointees in Washington and, incongruously, foreign ambassadors or their relatives.  

The original is 12 minutes long and was available at the Christian Embassy website here it was taken down when the controversy erupted only to be inserted again with a disclaimer and finally taken down permanently : "Out of respect for those we serve, we have removed the promotional video from our website until further notice."

You see, there is a bit of a problem here; you are not supposed to proselytize in uniform while you perform your normal duties.

I hope you paid attention to General Catton's comment about how he introduces himself and to Colonel Benson's take on what is needed for the GWOT, right out of General Boykin's playbook.  General Catton seems to have survived a previous incident where he used an official email account to request campaign contributions for a Republican congressional candidate in Colorado Springs.

Contrast all this with the email received by Mikey Weinstein's son.  A bit of background first. Mikey has been fighting a David v. Goliath fight, hopefully not a Don Quixote v. Windmills type, against religious intolerance at the Air Force Academy.  He is the founder of the Military Religious Freedom Foundation.  His recently published book;  "With God on Our Side: One Man's War Against an Evangelical Coup in America's Military"  tells the gripping story of the religious persecution he and his two sons (also graduates, now serving as Air Force Officers) suffered while they were cadets because they were Jews.

When Casey Weinstein and his wife Amanda (also an Academy graduate) requested permission to appear in an upcoming documentary (Constantine's Sword) based on the book, they received this official email

From: Lebling Keith CIV SAF/PAN []
Sent: Friday, July 28, 2006 4:01 PM
Cc: Weinstein, Casey M 1Lt USAF 88 CS/SCMM; Weinstein, Amanda 1Lt
AFRL/VACA; Michele, Adrianne A Capt USAF 88 ABW/PA; Bentley
Jennifer Civ SAF/PAM
Subject: Documentary Film Production

Dear Mr. Solomon,
I have spoken with 1st Lt. Casey Weinstein and with our media desk here in the Pentagon. The Weinsteins are willing to participate in your documentary. They may appear on camera for this documentary, but as they will be speaking for themselves, as private citizens, not for the Air Force, they cannot appear in uniform. Because they'll be on their own time and not on orders, they will not require an Air Force public affairs escort or other authorization. Please feel free to give me a call/email if you have any questions or concerns.

Best regards,

Keith V. Lebling, GS-13, DAF
Marketing & Branding Branch
Outreach Division, USAF Public Affairs
1690 Air Force Pentagon
Washington, DC 20330-1690
703-693-9096; DSN 223-9096

Can you see the double standard?

These people obviously see no problem talking about their religion in an environment where rank is everything.  As you can see; with fundie Commander in Chief and VP, with Generals like Weida, Catton and Boykin being promoted in spite of all the controversies surrounding them due to their religious and political activities, with James Dobson and Ted Haggard asking for payback since the 2004 win in Ohio the assault on the separation of church and military (part of the state) by the religious right goes on unabated and the theocons are on a rampage.

Also posted at My Left Wing.

The Christian Embassy poses a much bigger danger than promoting religion while in uniform.  If you watch the video you will see that this organization is in contact with high ranking officers, congessmen, senators, presidential appointees and...wait for it...agents and representatives of foreign governments.  This alone should force the DoD to order ALL contact with the Christian Embassy severed indefinitely.  Anytime an organization has intimate contact with high ranking members of our government and foreign governments with no oversight that organization poses an unacceptable national security risk.  Furthermore, Christian Embassy should have all of its members thoroughly investigated to determine if any espionage has taken place.  Does this sound a little paranoid?  Not at all.  One look at the AIPAC should remind anybody of the dangers groups like this can pose to national security.

by Ross Raymond on Fri Dec 15, 2006 at 06:23:27 PM EST
On the surface they just seem misguided.  But when you dig a little they become quite dangerous.  Mikey Weinstein has received multiple death threats recently.

by Shockwave on Fri Dec 15, 2006 at 08:52:19 PM EST

Forgive me if these links have been posted elsewhere, but it seems the connections are important in the context of this post.

First, it is interesting that the Pentagon Chaplain Office links to the Christian Embassy site. Does this imply that CE is a legitimate part of the federal chaplaincy? Is it a marketing maneuver? Have chaplains been "privatized" along with other functions of the government? To judge from the latter site, they've got you covered wherever you are: capitol hill, the diplomatic community, even if you're a presidential appointee - not just in the Pentagon.

Second, is everyone aware that Christian Embassy is an arm of the right wing mega-operation, Campus Crusade for Christ? They've been doing this since 1975?

Separation of church and state? RIP.

Now that the new congress is threatening to ramp up oversight, perhaps we should ask them to look into this.

by Psyche on Sat Dec 16, 2006 at 05:34:47 PM EST

Thanks for mentioning them. The Christian Embassy Pentagon video scandal just surfaces an effort that's been ongoing for decades.

by Bruce Wilson on Sat Dec 16, 2006 at 11:24:08 PM EST

Mikey Weinstein was interviewed last week in Salon Magazine - I was too busy at work to post about this, but what he said (and he's a former JAG officer) is chilling: the people who appeared in that film and who support and promote this "Christian Embassy" in the Pentagon and at the flag ranks should be courtmartialed.

Their participation and promotion of this group is in direct violation of their oaths to support and defend the Constitution of the United States. One officer said that God, his family, and then the US were his priorities.

I ran into this "God First, orders second" attitude when I served in the USAF. There were people in charge of the communications facilities who felt that they should do what God and the Bible told them, not what their commanders said. And if God told them to do something to launch a nuclear holocaust, they would do it. Yes, they actually told me that.

Sleep well tonight: your military wants to bring about the Rapture.

by Lorie Johnson on Sun Dec 17, 2006 at 09:30:27 PM EST

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