In describing his efforts to root out what he insists is Christian proselytizing in the U.S. military, Air Force veteran Mikey Weinstein recalled a saying of Gov.-elect Eliot Spitzer’s: "You don’t change the world by whispering."
"My book is a scream to get the world to wake up to what is happening," he said of his book, "With God on Our Side: One Man’s War Against an Evangelical Coup in America’s Military."
To publicize the book, published seven weeks ago by St. Martinís Press, Weinstein, 51, has embarked on a nationwide speaking tour. A former counsel in the Reagan White House and general counsel to H. Ross Perot, Weinstein said he sued the U.S. government after his complaints resulted in the issuance of new guidelines (at the behest of Congress) that still allow the "spread of the gospel of Jesus Christ as long as it is done non-coercively and sensitively."
"It can never be done non-coercively and with sensitivity" in the military, he argued, adding that Evangelical Christian chaplains view Air Force cadets as "low-flying fruit."
"I have irrefutable proof of how … the highest levels of the Department of Defense" have torn down the wall separating church and state in the military, he said.
Last month, Weinstein said he arrived in Topeka, Kan., for several speaking engagements and learned that the synagogue at which he was to speak had been defaced with anti-Semitic graffiti. And while he was there and receiving the support of the local Episcopal priest, he was awakened with news that the priest’s church had been set ablaze by arsonists.
"It must have been 4:30 or 5 o’clock when the phone rang and I was told that St. David’s Episcopal Church was on fire," he said, adding that authorities said gasoline had been used as an accelerant to burn the building and cause $3 million in damage.
Although some in the community said the incidents were just a coincidence, Weinstein doubts it. He noted that he receives death threats (primarily by phone) every two or three days. One memorable call came from several women who, he said, chanted: "Mikey Weinstein bullet in the head, praise the Lord he’s finally dead."
He said he has started the Military Religious Freedom Foundation to monitor church-state violations in the military, and that he quit his job with the Department of Energy in September to devote full-time to this work.