A military activist who called for the removal of “all homophobic military chaplains” from the U.S. armed forces faced-off this week against a former chaplain who runs an organization that defends religious liberty during a heated episode of The Church Boys podcast.
Mikey Weinstein, president of the Military Religious Freedom Foundation, a First Amendment group, and Dr. Ron Crews, executive director of the Chaplain Alliance for Religious Liberty, an organization that protects chaplains’ religious liberties, fiercely debated the issue during a more than 45-minute exchange, with Weinstein doubling down and with Crews alleging that the activist wants to restrict biblical perspectives.
Weinstein, for his part, argued that certain expressions of viewpoints on marriage cannot and should not be tolerated in the armed forces.
"If we have chaplains that believe that they must get on the pulpit and make it very clear to their fellow soldiers, sailors marines and airmen that anyone who is [lesbian, gay and soon to be transgender] is a pervert ... well that is something that we simply cannot allow," he said. "Because it eviscerates the compelling governmental interest of maximizing ... unit cohesion, good order morale and disciple."
Listen to the heated exchange below:
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Weinstein had a message for those who do not agree with gay marriage rights: "Hold your tongue, change your attitude or either voluntarily or involuntarily be mustered out."
While the military activist said that one is absolutely free to hold personal theological views, he maintained that it becomes problematic when chaplains issue what he called "anti-LBGT marching orders" or a "call to action." Crews, though, hit back hard at that contention.
"I believe that Mikey misunderstands who chaplains are and what they do," he said, defending faith leaders' rights to preach their views. "They are there to make sure that military personnel are able to exercise their religious liberties while they're waring their uniforms."
Weinstein proceeded to share an example that he felt crossed the line.
"One was a former chaplain of the year at the U.S. Air Force who exhorted his congregation that anyone who didn't accept their particular biblical worldview of the gospel of Jesus Christ was a sinner," Weinstein said. "[And] he said, 'When you leave my congregation today you go out and find these people. You get in these faces and you tell them tonight they will burn eternally in the fires of hell unless they get down on their knees and change.'"
The activist said that this sort of decree is "obviously wrong," but Crews pushed back, noting that the general theological sentiment embedded in the chaplains claims is "orthodox doctrine, not only for evangelicals, but for Roman Catholics [as well]."
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"It's un-American, its unconstitutional and illegal and we'll go to court — we'll go to war over that," Weinstein snapped back.
Read more about Weinstein's views on gay marriage and the chaplaincy here.