Religious Intolerance and the Temple of Doom
“What a vivid imagination.”
Harrison Ford delivers one of my favorite lines to Mola Ram in Indiana Jones and the Temple of Doom. This line has been running through my head a lot lately, and it’s always triggered by the same event: the Military Religious Freedom Foundation’s characterization of evangelical Christians.
The latest surge of religious intolerance against Christians in the military comes in the form of an attack on the National Day of Prayer. The Military Religious Freedom Foundation, despite the pious ring to their name, seems to have a few bad habits they can’t seem to kick:
- Forgetting that the Free Exercise Clause applies to evangelical Christians
- Confusing evangelical Christians with gutless terrorists
- Confusing themselves with unbiased defenders of religious freedom
Huffington Post writer Shadee Ashtari quotes MRFF founder and President Mikey Weinstein in an article titled Army Stands Behind ‘Searingly Sectarian’ Prayer Event Despite Outcry Over Evangelical Ties
““The National Day of Prayer Task Force is to the National Day of Prayer as what a National Football League al Qaeda chapter would be to the National Football League.”
I would like to give Mr. Weinstein the benefit of the doubt; surely he doesn’t believe Christians who share their faith are like terrorists. However, his record of vitriol against evangelical Christians makes that difficult.
The Blaze contributor Billy Hallowell quotes founder of the American Center for Law and Justice Jay Sekulow on Mr. Weinsteins view of Christians:
“He and his organization have a troubling track record of bringing baseless lawsuits that embrace the kind of intolerance that our U.S. military should reject. . . .Mikey Weinstein has a long track record of using pejorative language to describe Christians – including words and phrases like ‘monsters,’ ‘pitiable unconstitutional carpetbaggers,’ ‘bigots,’ ‘stuck pigs, ‘evil,’ ‘hate groups,’ and ‘die-hard enemies of the Constitution.'”2
Oddly, these are the kind of people he claims make up a large part of his organization. These are the kind of people that are supposedly begging him to act on their behalf. In other words, he claims that Christians are repeatedly asking for Christians in the military to stop living out their Christian faith.
Since all the plaintiffs are anonymous, we can’t test this claim using the scientific method. Fortunately, we don’t need to — it doesn’t even pass the stink check.
Suddenly I am reminded of the Chinese General and war philosopher Sun Tzu and his emphasis on using military deception to win his battles. Maybe I’m not the only student of Sun Tzu.
Service members may now request to wear beards, turbans, headscarves, yarmulkes, Wiccan tattoos and piercings. These clothing and grooming requirements are forms of religious expression.
Christians don’t have clothing requirements, but we do have requirements. We are supposed to pray in accordance with our faith. In fact, we are encouraged to pray without ceasing. But now, praying under the wrong circumstances in the military can get you into trouble.
Will Mr. Weinstein now come to the defense of military Christians who are disqualified for military service because of intolerance of their form of religious expression?
I suppose anything is possible. The wonderful thing about a vivid imagination is it’s ability to rapidly change course.
Mola Ram betrayed Shiva and was ripped apart by reptiles. He failed to see the damage left in the wake of his vainglorious pursuit of power. Others can’t stop making waves long enough to see the distorted reflection they cast upon the world.
They are too busy in their temples sacrificing truth to appease their god of tolerance. Portraying the light of the world and the salt of the earth as dangerous anti-Constitutionalists takes more than a vivid imagination–it takes a sordid one.
Will you let your rights be lowered into a pit of doom? Do you know your rights of religious expression? Or are the MRFF’s scare tactics keeping you shackled in your cage?
1Shadee Ashtari, “Army Stands Behind ‘Searingly Sectarian’ Prayer Event Despite Outcry Over Evangelical Ties,” Huffington Post, 21 April 2014,
2Billy Hallowell, “Is the U.S. Military Really Planning to Court-Martial Christian Soldiers Who Proselytize? TheBlaze Explores the Stunning Allegations,” The Blaze, 8 May 2013, http://www.theblaze.com/stories/2013/05/08/is-the-u-s-military-really-planning-to-court-martial-christian-soldiers-who-proselytize-theblaze-explores-the-stunning-allegations/
Photo Credit: J. P. Eaton, PD-USGOV-INTERIOR-USGS, http://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/File:Eruption_1954_Kilauea_Volcano.jpg
About Jason B. Ladd
Jason is an author, speaker, Marine, and father of seven. He has flown the F/A-18 Hornet as a Marine Aviation Weapons and Tactics Squadron 1 (MAWTS-1) Instructor Pilot and the F-16 as an Instructor Pilot. His award-winning book One of the Few: A Marine Fighter Pilot’s Reconnaissance of the Christian Worldview has been optioned for film adaptation. He is represented by Julie Gwinn of The Seymour Agency.