The continued religious right support for Donald Trump can only be described as bewildering, in the face of the almost daily outrages from this White House. For instance, a recent NPR/PBS Newshour/Marist poll found that a whopping 75 percent of white evangelicals approve of Trump’s performance. It makes one wonder–are the nation’s so-called moral guardians are willing to mail in their supposed moral standards because Trump is giving them what they want on social issues?
Judging by a recent report in The Washington Post, the answer appears to be a resounding yes. To a (wo)man, the 50 evangelicals interviewed in battleground states openly admit that Trump is a boor and a bully. But they don’t mind, because they see him as standing up for them after years of being bullied by those librul elites.
That suggestion is news to Mikey Weinstein, an attorney and retired Air Force judge advocate who leads the Military Religious Freedom Foundation. For 14 years, the MRFF has worked to combat fundamentalist-tinged religious intimidation in the military. Most recently, he pitched in to help several veterans who feel that the Dallas VA Medical Center is promoting Christianity to the exclusion of other religions.
That hasn’t sat too well with a number of fundies. For instance, back in 2012, religious right pseudo-historian David Barton once sarcastically called Weinstein “the Secretary of the Air Force” for the many times he’s called out his former Air Force colleagues. Weinstein fell down laughing at this suggestion.
But much of what Weinstein and his wife Bonnie have had to deal with isn’t such a laughing manner. Over the years, the Weinsteins have been carpet-bombed with all manner of hate mail and threats. That’s not exactly what you’d expect from people who are supposedly being oppressed and bullied.
Earlier this week, Bonnie rolled out a catalog of some of the most vicious emails and snail mails the MRFF has received over the years, “When Christians Break Bad.” This is actually the second time Bonnie has rolled out a sample of hate mail; the first, “To the Far Right Christian Hater…You Can Be a Good Speller or a Hater, But You Can’t Be Both,” came out in 2014. However, Bonnie notes that over the years, she and her husband have received “enough material to fill three books.”
One of the milder samples comes from someone who was not too pleased that the MRFF called out the First Infantry Division for inviting Jerry Boykin, perhaps the nation’s most infamous “warrior for Jesus,” to its “Victory Week” celebration at Fort Riley, Kansas. Partly due to the MRFF’s efforts, Boykin was disinvited from the gathering. To hear the writer talk, Weinstein and his band of “atheist supremacists” had forced a “weak willed leader” to back down. However, the writer warned, “your actions will ultimately be dealt with on the Day of Judgement.”
I know what you’re thinking–how can an email laden with this much hellfire and brimstone be “mild”? Well, many of the emails and snail mails contain anti-Semitic bile directed at Mikey, misogynistic bile directed at Bonnie, and all manner of graphic threats. One “loving” Christian even sent the MRFF a message that is so graphic and so threatening that publisher Rare Bird Books refused to allow it to be reproduced in the book. Yep, so much for being oppressed and bullied.
Far from being a band of “atheist supremacists,” 96 percent of the MRFF’s clients are Christians. That’s not as surprising as it may seem. After all, Weinstein is fighting against a backdoor attempt to erode the First Amendment and Article Six rights of our men and women in uniform. This attack on religious freedom isn’t just oppressive to non-Christians. It’s oppressive to Christians who have the weird idea that coexisting with other faiths is part of what makes America great.
Anyone who reviews the hate mail that the MRFF receives will be convinced that any talk about Christians being “oppressed” in this country is just another alternative fact. But don’t take my word for it. See for yourself. Check it out on Amazon or Rare Bird Books. It’s also available on Kindle.
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