Obama administration: asleep on issue of religious coercion in the military?
08/25/2010 - 09:54
James Besser

One thing I don't get about the Obama administration: why isn't it using its authority to clean out the religious fanatics who have made big inroads in using the U.S. military as a coercive mission field for evangelical Christians?

This came to mind this week as the Military Religious Freedom Foundation, under the direction of the irrepressible Mikey Weinstein, publicized the case of soldiers at Fort Eustis in Virginia who were punished for refusing to attend a Christian rock concert.

This was part of the "Commanding General's Spiritual Fitness Concert Series"; apparently at Fort Eustis, spiritual fitness involves a specific religious faction.

“More than 80 soldiers were punished with 'lock down' when they chose not to attend this Christian concert,” the group reported; when they tried to file an official complaint, they were “pressured by Army anti-discrimination officials NOT to press charges.”

The Pentagon has announced an investigation – but we've heard that before.

I can understand why the last administration, with its close ties to Christian right leaders, didn't do much to end widespread religious coercion in the military. But the Obama administration? Is someone asleep at the White House and the Pentagon? Paging Mikey Weinstein: what's going on here?

view counter

Add comment

The content of this field is kept private and will not be shown publicly.

Comment Guidelines

The Jewish Week feels comments create a valuable conversation and wants to feature your thoughts on our website. To make everyone feel welcome, we won't publish comments that are profane, irrelevant, promotional or make personal attacks.


I agree the problem is escalating and very serious. I follow Mikey Weinsteins work , as well as Chris Hedges who, like him or not, is qualified to talk about this issue. On reading the best description so far, I'm just shocked to find out about the sect or cult. What came to mind is the secretive group, The Family. Their international junkets and input into the African country's capital punishment bill against homosexuals. Then there is Erik Prince and his death squads who are still a force. A website I recently found has decriptions of many of the radical right "groups", including several different Christian Zionists that were frightening until I read about the Christian-Reconstructionist-Dominion. It''s explained well, other searches varied in ways that questioned if there was any sense of organization among them. website is: publiceye.net *religious right>Reconstructionism I recomend it.
more lip service as though they were actually doing anything. pacify the initial onslaught and bury the rest. this administration needs to quit sleeping with the religious right. bush left and they joined. JUST LIKE OUR POLITICIANS, THE MILITARY NEEDS A MAJOR SHAKEUP AND ACTUALLY UPHOLD THE CONSTITUTION. AND QUIT SLEEPING WITH THIS ARMAGEDDON AGENDA.
I only wish Dan were right. In fact, such behavior has been going on at an accelerating rate for decades, leaving one to wonder why it is only just now breaking the surface and receiving media attention. Perhaps it is because each case is treated as though it were the only one, and then, a tempest in a teapot, at that. Time for the truth to come out. To learn more, visit militaryreligiousfreedom.org. As for me, I saw it first hand, inside the National Capitol Area. This isn't a problem of the boonies, but of the heart of the military.
I think it's unfair to blame the administration before we see if an investigation goes anywhere. This was one military commanding officer who oversteppped his authority and when it was brought to the attention of the administration and investigation was immediately started - no cover-up attempted. Let's wait and see where it goes...