This has been a bad week for Jews, and I don’t mean the fact that those peaceful Palestinians, freed by the Israeli withdrawal to run their own country, and smack in the middle of a cease fire, have been shooting Kassam rockets into Israel. Nor am I thinking about Iran’s oft-repeated threat to destroy Israel (and are we surprised that the UN has no problem when one member nation threatens to destroy another?). I’m not even concerned with the fact that Olmert finally revealed the worst kept secret in the world, which is that Israel has the bomb (but, of course, has never used it or threatened to us it against her many genocidal enemies).
No, my problem is that this is the week when Jews with muddled and sometimes evil thinking have been in the news. It was bad enough to see the despicable Neturei Karta making kissy-faces with Ahmadinejad. (I don’t know if it is still available, but there was a nauseating picture here of Ahmadinejad and one of these mad Jews in a tight hug.)
Then, to add Jewish insult to Jewish injury, an organization headed by someone manifestly Jewish (or, at least, of Jewish ethnicity), comes charging out saying that the fact that there are Christians in the Pentagon is destroying America’s war effort, because it’s making the US look bad and some people feel uncomfortable:
Christian military officers who share their faith at work in the Pentagon pose a threat to national security, according to a group that advocates for religious neutrality in the military.
Public displays of faith by high-ranking military officers project an image of a Christian nation waging war on non-Christians, both inside and outside the United States, the Military Religious Freedom Foundation said Monday.
This created an “internal national security issue every bit as great as the one we’re fighting outwardly,” said the organization’s president, Mikey Weinstein.
“The jihadists, the insurrectionists, everybody from the head of Hamas, Hizballah, the Islamic Jihad, the al-Aqsa Martyrs Brigade, they see us as invading American imperialists and crusaders,” he told a news conference in Washington, D.C.
Weinstein, a graduate of the U.S. Air Force Academy who has been critical of proselytizing at the academy, called for an investigation into several officers who appeared in a promotional video for a Christian organization while in uniform.
In addition to creating a national security threat, Weinstein said, evangelistic efforts by Christian officers directed toward their colleagues or subordinates amounted to “coercion” and “fanatical unconstitutional religious persecution.”
I don’t know about you, but unless Mr. Weinstein can show that people are being coerced to convert to Christianity or that America’s entire military policy is being controlled by a small cabal of Christian crazies in the Pentagon — and there is no evidence of either — he ought to be ashamed of himself. (By the way, when I referred to muddled and evil thinkers in paragraph two, above, I was thinking of Weinstein as the muddled guy, and the Neturei Karta rabbis as the evil ones.)
The men and women who enter the military are people who have volunteered to put their lives at risk for the rest of us. They ought therefore to be allowed to practice their religion with at least the same freedom granted to any other American citizen under the Constitution.
As a minor, less exalted point, if people in the military who are not Evangelical Christians are unable to withstand a small degree of discomfort from rubbing elbows with people of a different faith or with people who are vocal (although not violent or coercive) in their faith, how the heck are these same tender flowers going to manage on a battlefield under fire? In other words, if you’re not tough enough to take some workplace discomfort, are you ARMY STRONG? And if you’re not Army Strong, should you even be in the Army?
My finally, slightly discursive, point stem from a discussion I heard on Dennis Prager. I think Prager was talking about secularism and the fact that American Christians, whose behavior has its roots in 1950s America, and not in some 16th Century fanaticism, are safe people. He rhetorically asked whether, if you were walking alone down a dark alley and met a group of men, you feel more comfortable if you knew these men were Christians coming from a prayer meeting, or if they were just about any other men coming from just about any other gathering? He felt, as I feel, that the Christian pray-ers were the best bet for any lone stranger in an alley, regardless of that stranger’s own race, ethnicity or religion.
(By the way, to those of you new to this blog, I am myself Jewish, so I’m taking potshots at my own people — although I wish the ones on the receiving end of my potshots weren’t my own people.)