For Immediate Release
December 15, 2006
Contact: William Blake
(202) 639-6370, ext. 113
Evangelical Recruiting Video Violates Constitution
Watchdog Group Says Video Will Help Terrorism
Washington, D.C. - On this Sunday's "State of Belief," The Interfaith Alliance Foundation's show on Air America Radio, Reverend Welton Gaddy examines the controversy over a promotional video for an evangelical Christian group filmed inside the Pentagon. Welton is joined by Michael "Mikey" Weinstein, president the Military Religious Freedom Foundation and author of With God on Our Side. The foundation has called on the Department of Defense to investigate whether military regulations about religious proselytizing were violated.
The evangelical organization, Christian Embassy, produced a ten minute video that features uniformed military officers praising the efforts of the Christian Embassy to spread their faith within the military. Much of the video was filmed inside the Pentagon, and the officers, including three colonels and four generals, appear in uniform. Nothing indicated that the views expressed by these officers on the video were their own and not the views of the DoD.
"When you have senior members of the United States military doing what they did... it absolutely violates the Constitution as well as several DoD regulations," says Weinstein.
Last week, disgraced former Majority Leader Tom DeLay launched his political blog, and the first posting condemned the Military Religious Freedom Foundation for its opposition to the Christian Embassy video. Weinstein responds angrily to the criticism "Tom Delay is a disgrace to America, a disgrace to the Constitution, and he is a big coward. I would love to do three rounds with him in an HBO special," he says.
Weinstein, a former White House lawyer in the Reagan administration, believes the implications of this incident go far beyond the First Amendment. "This video is the number one best recruiting tactic for al-Qaeda, Hamas, and Hezbollah," he says. "It strengthens our enemies because it adds a religious dimension to our military operations."
Also on the show: Dr. William Shulman, president of The Association of Holocaust Organizations, discussing the Holocaust denial conference in Iran; Jay Bakker, son of evangelist Jim Bakker and star of the new documentary series "One Punk under God;" and Sally Turner, religion reporter for The Independent in London, discussing the popularity of the Church of the Jedi Order in the U.K.
State of Belief explores the intersection of religion with politics, culture, media, and activism. Through interviews with newsmakers and celebrities, reports from the field, and his own commentary, Welton shows how religion and radical freedom are best friends and how the religious right is wrong - wrong for America and bad for religion.
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The Interfaith Alliance (TIA) is a nonpartisan, grassroots organization dedicated to promoting the positive and healing role of religion in the life of the nation and challenging those who manipulate religion to promote a narrow, divisive agenda. With more than 185,000 members drawn from more than 75 faith traditions and 75 local activist groups throughout America, TIA promotes compassion, civility and mutual respect for human dignity in our increasingly diverse society. - www.interfaithalliance.org