Washington, D.C. – On this Sunday’s “State of Belief,” The Interfaith Alliance Foundation’s show on Air America Radio, Reverend Welton Gaddy examines the controversy over a promotional video for an evangelical Christian group filmed inside the Pentagon. Welton is joined by Michael “Mikey” Weinstein, president the Military Religious Freedom Foundation and author of With God on Our Side. The foundation has called on the Department of Defense to investigate whether military regulations about religious proselytizing were violated.
The evangelical organization, Christian Embassy, produced a ten minute video that features uniformed military officers praising the efforts of the Christian Embassy to spread their faith within the military. Much of the video was filmed inside the Pentagon, and the officers, including three colonels and four generals, appear in uniform. Nothing indicated that the views expressed by these officers on the video were their own and not the views of the DoD.
“When you have senior members of the United States military doing what they did… it absolutely violates the Constitution as well as several DoD regulations,” says Weinstein.
Last week, disgraced former Majority Leader Tom DeLay launched his political blog, and the first posting condemned the Military Religious Freedom Foundation for its opposition to the Christian Embassy video. Weinstein responds angrily to the criticism “Tom Delay is a disgrace to America, a disgrace to the Constitution, and he is a big coward. I would love to do three rounds with him in an HBO special,” he says.
Weinstein, a former White House lawyer in the Reagan administration, believes the implications of this incident go far beyond the First Amendment. “This video is the number one best recruiting tactic for al-Qaeda, Hamas, and Hezbollah,” he says. “It strengthens our enemies because it adds a religious dimension to our military operations.”
Also on the show: Dr. William Shulman, president of The Association of Holocaust Organizations, discussing the Holocaust denial conference in Iran; Jay Bakker, son of evangelist Jim Bakker and star of the new documentary series “One Punk under God;” and Sally Turner, religion reporter for The Independent in London, discussing the popularity of the Church of the Jedi Order in the U.K.
Interfaith Alliance celebrates religious freedom by championing individual rights, promoting policies that protect both religion and democracy, and uniting diverse voices to challenge extremism. Founded in 1994, Interfaith Alliance brings together members from 75 faith traditions as well as those without a faith tradition to protect faith and freedom. For more information visit www.interfaithalliance.org.