In the bizarro world of the Christian right, Christianity is under siege everywhere, including the military. The reality is that those in the military, who feel that they are under siege from proselytizing evangelical Christians, are pushing back which, of course, generates that sense of victimization in which right wing Christians revel. As Fox News specializes in persecuted Christians, as does Fox's Todd Starnes, it wasn't surprising to see Fox & Friends pick up on his recent report that the head of the Military Religious Freedom Foundation told Pentagon officials that troops who proselytize should be punished, a comment that provoked immediate outrage from Tony Perkins, head of the "hate group" Family Research Council. So who better to get the word out, on yesterday's Fox & Friends than FRC Exec.VP, retired general Jerry Boykin who thinks Sharia is a threat to America and marriage equality is the same as bestiality and pedophilia.
The opening chyron set the agitprop: "Raid on Religion, Will Christianity Be Wiped Out of the Military." Steve Doocy proclaimed "Practice Christianity and you will be court martialed. (Love that hyperbole!) He continued, "that could be the law of the land thanks to a religious tolerance [oh, nooooo] group that claims Christian evangelists are predators." (Mikey Weinstein also said the practice is unconstitutional because of official religious neutrality cited in an Air Force manual). Doocy noted that the Family Research Council is "up in arms."
He welcomed Boykin who, in March, said that women shouldn't serve in combat because God made men the protectors of women. Doocy explained that the Pentagon is trying to be religiously tolerant but they're "meeting with this outfit, the Military Religious Freedom Foundation" which Boykin "has a problem with." Boykin accused the group of being not only atheist but "viscerally anti-Christian." (Really, then why did Catholic and mainstream Protestant soldiers complain to the MRFF about a training session that ended as a Christian prayer service?) He accused the MRFF and the Southern Poverty Law Center, a group reviled by "Christians" because they have designated virulently homophobic Christian groups as "hate groups," of trying to eradicate Christianity from the military.
The agitprop chyrons were relentless: "Losing Their Religion, Proposal Would Court Martial Religious Act" and "Fighting Against Faith, Group Looks to Limit Religion in Military," "Religious Freedoms Under Fire, Measure Could Discourage Military Enlistment."
Boykin claimed that those being "threatened" are fighting for religious freedom. Doocy said "sure." He expressed disgust that the Pentagon would speak with the MRFF. After Doocy claimed that the MRFF wants to court martial those who proselytize, Boykin defended the practice by defining it as living and speaking about your faith and asserted there is no "coercion." The chyron hit the propaganda sweet spot: "War On Christianity, Atheist Group Targets Religion in Military." As Doocy nodded in agreement, Boykin asserted that this persecution will hurt recruitment because it sends a signal that Christian soldiers will "have to check their faith at the door." After Doocy read a statement from the Pentagon which cited that proselytization is not permitted, Boykin claimed that they are "confused" because what they think is proselytization isn't coercion but "free exercise of our faith." Doocy said "that's right."
The MRFF has numerous, well documented examples of evangelical pressure on non-evangelical members of the military as well as evangelical Christian bias in training course content. And despite being allegedly anti-Christian, 96% of those who complain are Christians. It was so bad in the Air Force that a top officer issued a memorandum that prohibited proselytization. Weinstein is merely reminding the Pentagon to enforce the rules which prohibit evangelizing; but for the church of the perpetually outraged, that violates their freedom of religion. And Fox is there to provide them a pulpit from which to preach their nonsense!
I encourage Jabba Ailes to hire 100% moronic Christian fundamentalists for the FNC Circus of Christian Crazies.