On May 1, “May Day,” Fox News and Breitbart.com stirred up another round of fact-resistant internet hysteria. The demon-of-the-week was Mikey Weinstein of the Military Religious Freedoom Foundation. If the past is precedent, the voices of those trying to calm the storm will get lost in the flood of credulous, outraged, and increasingly false articles polluting the data stream. Lurking in the background of the story was the Family Research Council.
The kindling upon which Breitbart.com and Fox built this fire appears to have been an article in the Washington Post in which Weinstein is mentioned along with former embassador Joe Wilson and Larry Wilkerson, former chief of staff to Colin Powell.
The gist of that article was that there are a number of problems in the military that need to be addressed. Among them are sexual assault, misogyny , anti-semitism, Islamaphobia, and officers proselytizing those of lesser rank. The point that all three of these men made was that these problems are a threat to military cohesiveness, and some of them are violations of the law.
“This is a national security threat,” said Weinstein of all of these problems. “What is happening [aside from sexual assault] is spiritual rape. And what the Pentagon needs to understand is that it is sedition and treason. It should be punished.” The Washington Post piece was bound to be controversial. Anyone suggesting there are systemic problems is going to find some new enemies.
Then along came Todd Starnes and the Family Research Council. Posting first on the Fox News radio website, Starnes ignored the other speakers in the article, and all of the other problems raised. Instead, he called in Tony Perkins to suggest that the Pentagon was letting Weinstein set policy for court-martialing Christians. The FRC has started a petition to do something or other in outrage.
Bretibart.com took the Fox News story and ran with it, amplifying the outrage and deception. “The Pentagon has released a statement confirming that soldiers could be prosecuted for promoting their faith…” said the oft-deceptive website. Of course, nowhere did Breitbart mention the Pentagon was talking about officers proselytizing those of lesser rank.
Even the Fox News article quoted Weinstein as saying that there were times when military personnel should be free to share their faith. Breitbart didn’t bother.
But wait, there’s more. Starnes was not done. In the Christian Post, ever the source of inflated and false stories about the persecution of Christians, Starnes posted an editorial. “Religious Groups Fear Christian Purge From Military” said the headline. Why do they fear it? Because you misled them that they had reason to, Mr. Starnes.
With a story that starts out with so much deception, it can only get worse. The false claims have come to include that the military hired Weinstein to set policy on how Christians should be court-martialed for sharing their faith. Don’t take my word for it, read the articles yourself.
“It’s Here: Obama Begins Persecution of Christians” reads one blog headline this morning. The original Christian Post headline referred to the “Jewish activist” hired by the Pentagon to implement rules against Christians sharing their faith.
- Obama is Determined the United States Will Not be a Christian Nation
- Are You Now, Or Have You Even Been, a Christian?
- Pentagon Taps Anti-Christian Extremist for Religious Tolerance Policy
- Military Scours Ranks For Christian ‘Haters’
- Soldiers Could Face Court Martial for Discussing Faith, Says Pentagon
- Christian Court Marshalls?
This is how stories about these paranoids stories become something ‘everyone knows.’ Never mind that they are untrue.