Military atheist activist goes after ROTC programs at Christian schools

The secular humanists are on the offensive again and this time it’s not the Freedom from Religion Foundation but the Military Religious Freedom Foundation (MRFF) and former U.S. Air Force Academy graduate, Mikey Weinstein. Weinstein now has an Army ROTC program in his sights.

Todd Starnes writing for Fox News asks, “Do Christian colleges have the right to require that ROTC officers [instructors] be followers of the Christian faith? That’s the crux of a controversy surrounding the ROTC program at Wheaton College, one of the nation’s most prominent Christian schools. The ROTC program at Wheaton College has a long and storied history that is steeped in the school’s Christian tradition. The Rolling Thunder Battalion was established in 1952. The college required all freshmen and sophomore male students to participate in ROTC until 1969.”

“The U.S. Army says they have launched a review of ROTC policies nationwide after the Military Religious Freedom Foundation raised concerns about an ROTC assignment listing for an assistant professor of military science at Wheaton.”

As a former ROTC instructor at Kansas State University and the 1993 U.S. Army ROTC “Instructor of the Year,” I believe I can weigh in on this matter. An ROTC instructor on ANY type of college campus is beholden to the standards and codes of behavior for that respective university as a member of its faculty. It is the right of the university to have criteria for its faculty, especially if it is a private institution. It is not establishing any formal religion but rather requiring that the qualities and character of the intended instructor are in keeping with that of the university.

Now, Wheaton College has been around for some years and has had an ROTC program as well — so this isn’t some new occurrence. As a matter of fact, Fox reports, “Wheaton said it’s been their preference from the beginning to have an officer who matches the religious identity of the school. “We have historically required that the lead professor of military science meet the same basic religious standards as the rest of our faculty, as this person is fully a member of our faculty and serves as the interface of the ROTC program with the rest of the Wheaton College academic program,” according to Wheaton spokesperson LaTonya Taylor. Other ROTC instructors are not required to meet the same standard, she said. However, they are expected to understand and respect Wheaton’s religious mission.”

And of course that instructor isn’t promoting religion, since the students attending Wheaton already comply with the faith belief and standards of the institution.

But for some reason, this again offends the declared radical atheist Weinstein. “While Wheaton is a private Christian college, and can impose a religious test on its own faculty members, it cannot impose that same religious test on the faculty members provided by the U.S. Army for its ROTC program, and the U.S. Army unequivocally cannot require a religious test for any ROTC assignment, regardless of the religious preference of the college at which that ROTC assignment exists,” MRFF founder Mikey Weinstein wrote in a letter sent in November to Secretary of the Army John McHugh.”

So if this has been an established practice previously and no one has complained, what’s so offensive to Weinstein? What if the person assigned to the ROTC program was a U.S. Army chaplain — who was a former combat arms officer? And if the Army as Weinstein suggested cannot proffer a “religious test,” then how does the Army accept and assign chaplains? And we all know Weinstein and the MRFF are behind the move to institute atheist chaplains into the military — not there’s a tricky one for you.

Fox says “Weinstein (who reminds me of Saul before his road to Damascus conversion moment making him the devoted Christian disciple and astute Gospel writer Paul) called Wheaton’s policy a blatant violation of the Constitution’s “no religious test” clause and demanded those involved be punished. “Given the magnitude of these breaches at Wheaton, any and all Army personnel found to be either directly or indirectly complicit in these egregious violations of constitutional and regulatory law must be swiftly, visibly and meaningfully punished,” Weinstein wrote in a letter to the Pentagon.”

Weinstein has previously stated that Christians in the U.S. military who profess their faith and “proselytize” are guilty of treason and sedition and should be court-martialed and imprisoned. I have to wonder if he’s related to Houston’s Mayor Annise Parker…

Todd Starnes, writing for Fox says, “That sounds fairly reasonable to me. A Christian college wants to hire Christian leaders. Who could possibly take offense at that – besides Mr. Weinstein?” I concur.

However, Weinstein fired off a letter to the Pentagon on Nov. 6th demanding an investigation. On Nov. 10 the Army confirmed they had launched a probe. “The Army is conducting a holistic review of the ROTC agreements and policies in effect to ensure compliance with Army regulations and policies,” spokesperson LTC Alayne Conway told Starnes in a written statement.

So from a policy and priority perspective let me analyze this. We have no idea about the status of U.S. Army SGT Bowe Bergdahl but the Army, which is undergoing severe cuts in its readiness, is going to drop everything to appease Weinstein and begin an investigative probe?

Ok, here is how Secretary of the Army West would have replied (and don’t laugh there’s already been one — Togo West), “Mr. Weinstein, thanks so very much for your letter. I have read it and my response is that your U.S. Army is busy maintaining our readiness to protect you and your right to free speech and the ability to say really dumb things. We will continue to protect that right and that includes the future leaders of our Army being developed at Wheaton College. Have a nice Army Strong day.”

If our military continues to entertain these social egalitarians, who are making much ado about nothing, then we shall indeed see the demise of one of the greatest fighting armies the world has ever known.

Starnes says “Wheaton spokesperson Taylor said the school will cooperate with the Army review. “We fully support the Army conducting whatever investigations it needs to ensure the appropriateness of the training received by ROTC cadets, and we do so with gratitude that any such examination will take place in the context of the US constitutional standards guaranteeing the free exercise of religion and preventing governmental establishment of religion,” Taylor said.”

“There is a call today for a Joshua, a Gideon, a David, as well as for an Elijah and a Paul. ROTC at Wheaton is the answer,” former Wheaton president V. Raymond Edman once declared.

There is nothing wrong from a policy perspective with that statement and the goal of the U.S. Army and Wheaton College in developing the next generation of fine upstanding Army leaders — but there is something amiss with Mikey Weinstein and those who find fault and cause where there truly is none.

In the ROTC assignment world, it was an unwritten rule that for HBCUs (Historically Black Colleges and Universities) the first preference was to select a black officer as head of the program — even more so, someone who was also a graduate of an HBCU. After Operation Desert Storm, I was told my next assignment would be ROTC instructor, possibly in Mississippi, but as it happened my wife Angela was a budding young professor at Kansas State. In any event, the reason for this guideline was to have ROTC instructors who could “identify” with the cadets and share a common background — same as what Wheaton is requesting. I’m quite sure Mr. Weinstein has no problem with agnostic liberal progressives being sought out on college campuses in certain departments of study.

42 COMMENTS

  1. The Army should have handled this the same way as the Judiciary. “We don’t deal in hypotheticals.” If Mr. Weinstein, or another atheistic officer, had been turned down for a position at Wheaton, based on the beliefs (or lack thereof), they would have a case. As it is, nobody has been hurt by the way things have been done, over the years, so the Army should have ignored the complaint.

    • The MRFF got involved because they got a complaint from an Army officer who was looking at his next assignments and saw that he was excluded from this one due to his religion. It’s not necessary for me to actually kick black people out of my restaurant before the government gets involved, putting up a “Whites Only” sign is sufficient cause.

      • It’s not that he is excluded from the assignment – the CPT is not qualified for the ROTC position based on the requirements made by the PRIVATE school, not based on requirements by the USArmy.

        On the list of 31 available assignments, 4 were ROTC instructors positions, and 1 is at a private christian school.

        The CPT should be happy he gets to preview available assignments and try to politic his orders to get to go somewhere he wants to go. The Army will sent him to an assignment that he is qualified for and he ain’t qualified for this one.

        Guess this Army CPT hasn’t learned yet it’s never a good idea to piss your career manager off by getting your panties twisted over stupid crap like this lol. Great way to never get a sweet assignment.

      • It’s got nothing to do with the number of options. The point is that it’s blatantly unconstitutional (Article VI paragraph 3) to limit a military officer’s assignment options based on his/her religion.

      • Maybe it is unconstitutional, but maybe in the ROTC agreements with private schools there is language in place that allows their requests to be made and met by the Army because the requirement is not originated within the Army.

        Guess we will find out if he wants to take it to the courts.

        I know it does not have anything to do with his options. I saw the list, there were a few places on there that weren’t bad gigs. Just saying did he really want this job to begin with or is he just bitching like a Captain can do sometimes LOL!

        Seoul was on the list – don’t know what the job was, but I loved it there. What was even better the Koreans loved me back 🙂

      • Seoul is a nice city. I spent a year up in Dongducheon which is not as nice and the Koreans there did not have a very great affection for us unless we were spending money. What did you do in Seoul?
        He’s definitely bitching but my guess is that he’s either Jewish or non-religious and felt like he was being restricted on the basis of something other than his ability to do the job effectively. Or maybe he’s from the Chicago area and thought it would be nice to have a posting close to home. I guess we’ll find out when/if they end up going to court.

      • 501st MI BDE one time, another time can’t really say, in civies most the time 😐

        Must have wanted to be in the area, why else would you want to be ROTC instructor? Just kidding, I could have never been one or a recruiter or a drill, would have killed somebody lol!

        Have the utmost respect for all of them, the teachers, recruiters and trainers. I only have that kind of patience about once a week lol.

      • ROTC seems like a pretty sweet gig really. You live in a college town, no deployments, plenty of time off. A lot of officers get MBAs while they’re assigned to ROTC I think so there must be plenty of time.

  2. According to the FFRF 2013 IRS Form 990, they wrote 938 letters similar to the complaint against Wheaton, resulting in 235 of those to acquiesce. So, 755 chose to ignore the letters with no negative consequence other the few taken to court. I understand this to be about a dozen cases per year that the FFRF can afford.

    Allen, if all of those that “like” you on Facebook would contribute $1, that total would be 5x the 2013 FFRF lawsuit expenditures. This group can be defeated. I encourage all organizations receiving a letter from Mr. Weinstein to ignore the letter. Do nothing, the odds are in your favor. 938 to 12.

    • Gary, why don’t you just go find your local copy of the US Constitution and burn it? You also apparently missed the fact that MRFF (and FFRF) receive their potential cases from people just like you and me out in the “real world” who go to these organizations with their observations and complaints. This isn’t about superiority in numbers and dollars – this is about protecting the integrity of this country’s freedom to pursue our own religion without the government intruding. It’s rather basic, wouldn’t you say?

  3. Mr. West, the answer to your question of whether or not he is related to the Mayor of Houston, the answer would be affirmative, they share the same father..”the father of lies, the devil.”

    • So just blow off the federal Constitution while you’re at it. I’m personally happy someone is willing to stick out his neck and protect our Constitution from the religious fringe who insist that their beliefs trump our founding fathers’ intent.

  4. Atheists are self-centered people and mistakenly try to make atheism relevant.
    Thank you, Col West for bringing this headache of theirs to light.

    • And religious people think they walk on water and look down on those of us who don’t share the enthusiasm for sky magic. And you wonder why less people are identifying as “religious” these days? You shouldn’t, with this kind of attitude.

  5. “So if this has been an established practice previously and no one has complained, what’s so offensive to Weinstein?”
    Everything that has ever been found to be unconstitutional was, at one point, something that nobody had ever complained about. You have to address the argument on it’s merits, not the fact that nobody minded until now.

    “Todd Starnes, writing for Fox says, “That sounds fairly reasonable to me. A Christian college wants to hire Christian leaders. Who could possibly take offense at that?”
    They’re not hiring them though. They would be well within their rights to do that. What they’re doing is asking the US Army to supply them with officers who are Christians exclusively. Look at it this way, a HBC would not be breaking any laws by hiring black faculty members exclusively (I’m not sure it’s a great idea but it’s not against the law) but if they told the US Army that their ROTC leaders “must be African American” then that would be a problem right? In the same way that UC Berkeley for example, couldn’t ask that all it’s ROTC instructors be registered Democrats and vegans.

    “So from a policy and priority perspective let me analyze this. We have no idea about the status of U.S. Army SGT Bowe Bergdahl but the Army, which is undergoing severe cuts in its readiness, is going to drop everything to appease Weinstein and begin an investigative probe?”

    Uh, no. They’re capable of doing multiple things at the same time. It’s a big army remember? Glad you’ll be bringing that policy analysis skill to your next wingnut welfare job though, Allen.

    • A little grumpy I see today Paul 🙂

      The Army will just find a better qualified person to fill the position – “probe” complete LOL!

      • You CANNOT base someone’s qualification for a government job on their religion. It says so right in the Constitution.
        Article VI Paragraph 3:
        “no religious test shall ever be required as a qualification to any office or public trust under the United States.”

      • The school is putting forward the religious test and the Army is looking to fill the position. It is a private school and so I think they are within their rights to set their own standards.

        If the Army puts him in the position, the school would object and reject him. The other outcome would be that there would be no ROTC program at the school which would be detrimental for the Army.

        Occasionally lines cross constitutionally. The Army wants and needs ROTC programs. Seems like it comes down to which part of the constitution is going to trump the other.

        Is it the right for the private school to request a christian faith instructor for their christian school or is it the right for the CPT to be given the position regardless of his faith or lack of faith, meaning that he did not meet all the qualifications set forth by the school – not set forth by the Army.

        If the school is denied then both the school and the Army lose.

        I like it when you’re grumpy 🙂

      • This is an ROTC unit at _______ college. ROTC is a government sponsored and managed source for its officers, across all branches. ROTC does not conform or blend to the needs of the educational institutions it happens to be at. Therefore, these schools don’t get a constitutional pass.

      • Yes, I know what ROTC is lol

        If the Army can’t meet the private school’s request they will either not have ROTC and both the school and the ARMY lose out or they will farm out the program and have the ROTC students go elsewhere and transfer credits in.

      • I think the point is that private schools of “whatever” persuasion should not be dictating to the US Army what religious affiliation a candidate happens to be. It’s not a matter of what the Army should do to bend Article VI Paragraph 3. If the priority at Wheaton College is to keep non-Christian professors off their campus (which is their prerogative in this instance) then they should close down their ROTC participation. What’s more important: protecting the integrity of the Constitution, or ceding to the needs of an individual campus with its own agenda?

    • DEOMI is staffed with ethnic personnel, HBU&Cs are staffed with AA, Military Chaplains are staffed with various religious faiths. If you chose to go to a Christian College, why would you be surprised with Christian leaders of ROTC? I am fairly sure that Berkeley doesn’t have ROTC on their campuses because they don’t believe in promoting war, or at least they were trying to ban the group. Why would an atheist ever seek out a chaplain? A chaplain works in a chapel where people go to pray to God. The term Atheist Chaplain is an oxymoron.
      The main mission of our military is to defend our borders from harm. They should not be in the business of appeasement of civilian groups trying to promote their own agendas.
      When you join the military, they explain their rules and regulations and have the service member sign a contract. Basic training is long enough for a person to chose to stay or get out if any of these policies go against the service member’s beliefs. ROTC is the same as going to basic except you get a free college education while training. The military, police, firefighters, clergy, and social work are all careers that only certain people chose because there are certain sacrifices required of them. No one is forcing anyone to join the military (no more draft) so if you don’t agree with them then don’t join.
      Paul, you can make your point without belittling the other person’s point of view. Sarcasm is used to be a smartass.

      • Why would you be “fairly sure” about something that takes 2 seconds to google and find out you’re wrong? Seriously if you can’t be bothered to fact check your own crap then don’t waste my time.
        “The main mission of our military is to defend our borders from harm. They should not be in the business of appeasement of civilian groups trying to promote their own agendas.”

        We are in complete agreement about this, so clearly the Army should tell the college that they will assign whatever officers they deem fit to their ROTC program and if the college doesn’t like it then they can go pound sand.

      • [[ and if the college doesn’t like it then they can go pound sand.]]

        LOL you moron! Wheaton will tell the Army to go pound sand and dump the ROTC. God and Christians seem to bother you lefty.

      • I’m done with you Andy. You haven’t contributed anything informative to a discussion ever as far as I can tell. You’re a blatant troll and not even a very creative one. Go waste someone else’s time you useless cun7.

      • I googled your name and found that your mind is as small as your dick. Also, that you are an arrogant, self-serving douchebag who trolls these websites to make yourself feel good about yourself by talking down to others who comment.

        As for the ROTC, instead of controlling the Christian leaders in a Christian Colleges, dismantle the whole program and let all potential officers go to OTS. Screw all the people who are able to receive a college education because of this program, and then serve their 6 years to fulfill their contract.

        As for your time being wasted, every minute you spend on a social media network is the definition of wasted time. Either you have too much time to waste or this never occurred to you. If people wanted to be productive they would be working instead of surfing the net.

      • I think you must have been looking at pictures of someone elses dick, my dear. Mine is magnificent but there are no pictures of it on the internet. Don’t get mad at me because you claimed something that only took seconds to prove false. You’re intellectually lazy and now you’re getting pissy because I called you on it.

      • This is what “pissy” sounds like: you are sexist, arrogant, lazy, and condescending. This was gleamed from your comments to everyone on this thread. Don’t ever “my dear” me or any other female when trying to persuade us of our misgivings. Why don’t you throw in “hysterical” while you are at it you jackass. I do not give a rat’s ass what you think of me or if you think I am “intellectually lazy” because calling someone a name doesn’t make it true. I try very hard not to insult people on their opinions because they are allowed to have them just the same as you or me. I only “stooped” to your level after reading all of your nasty comments to others on this thread. I thought maybe you would take a hint and take a more mature stance. Clearly and absolutely I was wrong. I am not “pissy” about you calling out my so called mistake, I am pissed off about your superior tone towards everyone. Now why don’t you take your “magnificent dick” and beat off! That’s what pissy sounds like so in the future you will know.

      • Lol, you made a comment about the size of my genitals and I’m the one who’s being sexist? I wasn’t trying to persuade you about anything, my dear. I was mocking you.

    • Whatsamatta lefty? Did West hit a nerve by bringing up your traitorous pal Bowe?
      Weinstein doesn’t like it, too damn bad. Or did you forget the military plays by their own set of rules and always has. Would you like to do away with the UCMJ too?

      • If you have not noticed, the UCMJ has been slowly changing to fit the needs of the few based on societal pressure. The leaders of the Armed Forces are yielding to special interest groups instead of taking care of their mission.

    • Another hard core lefty who wants to tell everyone what to do but yet hides all of their comments on their profile because everyone would immediately realize that they are talking with a T0LL House cookie !

      • Nah I just did that because some guy was following me all over disqus being a pain in the ass. You know the type I’m talking about, the ones who’d rather spew half-coherent insults rather than engage my actual arguments. By the way, what does the cookie thing even mean?

  6. Atheism is, quite simply, the religion of “Me”. As a 12 year veteran of the U.S military I can guaranfreakintee you that the “Me” mentality in the U.S. military, along with the breaking of tradition, only results in the breakdown of discipline and unnecessary deaths. Doubt that? Look around at society as a whole. Crime is rampant. The family unit is being dissolved. The UCMJ is being subverted to grant special consideration to a select few minority groups who insist on maintaining their own religious identities. Every fringe left-wing group is demanding, and being granted, special rights that trample on the rights of others. From the teaching of Islam under the guise of ‘history’ classes in high schools to the razing of Christian symbols of faith which are being replaced by Islamic, atheist and yes, even satanic, symbols of faith. But hey, that’s OK right? No outcry from the left on the beheadings and murders of women by their Muslim husbands right here in the United States. The left decries Christianity in government and public schools yet buckles under to Islam which is not only a religion but also a form of government rule. Imagine that…a religion that dictates how it’s followers will be ruled yet is accepted by progressives who denounce Chrsitianity. Weinstein is just another Obama appointed progressive who speaks out of both sides of his mouth while attempting to dismantle the traditions and values that made this country great and our military the finest in the world. It is a pogrom of Divide and Conquer. For once we lose sight of the traditions and beliefs of our founding fathers we will truly be lost as a Republic.

    • The idiocy of your rant is hardly worth a cogent reply, except to say that “Weinstein is just another Obama appointed progressive” is quite wrong. He leads a private foundation that has nothing to do with who is sitting in the White House. The rest of your gibberish is just that.

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