Advertisement
Stuff

The Insane Hate Mail Collected by an Organization Fighting for Separation of Church and State in the Military

Bonnie Weinstein of the Military Religious Freedom Foundation put the venom she's received into a book.

by Peter Lawrence Kane
Dec 11 2014, 3:41pm

Screenshot via The Military Religious Freedom Foundation on Y​ouTube

Filthy liberal kikes! Your abortion on demand queer rights and camel jockey agenda is now destroyed. The only Savior for the world has triumphed. Jesus is the commander of U.S. troops again! Burn in hell you Judases!

saw you in our texas paper today crapping on our savior His nation of America and those of us who follow Him, jewboy.

I hope all your kids turn out gay as hell, take it in the ass, and get aids and die!!!!! Die Fag

The above is a tiny smattering of the hate mail that pours into the inbox of the ​Military Religious Freedom Foundation (MRFF), an advocacy group dedicated to protecting the religious rights of non-Christians serving in the US military and making sure they aren't coerced into being involved in religious activities they don't want to be a part of. In practice, this means getting into a lot of arguments with a lot of conservative Christians.

Bonnie Weinstein, the MRFF's development director, has collected some of the greatest hits (so to speak) that have been directed at her and her husband Mikey, the group's founder and president. Her ​new book collates the grammatically-challenged abuse into several chapters, with some annotated commentary thrown in. It's a fairly short read, but you're likely to be squirming on the couch by the time you get through it, especially when you see that many of these failures to grasp the separation of church and state are dated 2014. 

Bonnie and I spoke about the MRFF's mission, the precautions her family has taken to ensure their safety, and why so many self-described Christians think love means telling people, "I pray to Jesus that you heart will explode and bleed out gushing through your pointy jew nose." This conversation has been condensed and lightly edited.

VICE: Could you tell me a little about what MRFF does?
Bonnie Weinstein: We're a military group that goes after unlawful Christian proselytizing in America's military. 

Just to clear up any ambiguity, your organization is explicitly pro-military. It's not an antiwar organization. You're not protesting against the military in any way.
Absolutely not. We're pro-military, we're pro-religion, and we're pro-no-religions. What's happening is that there's a proselytizing conflict going on in America's military today that is exceedingly dangerous.

Is there a particular branch of the armed forces that's the number-once source?
No, it's pretty evenly distributed, although we have come across lots of opposition at the Air Force Academy. So a lot of our stories come out from there, because we're not able to work with them internally and can't fix the problems.

That's in Colorado Springs, which is an evangelical hotbed that's home to Focus on the Family, and probably other groups.
Exactly.

The collection you published is just a tiny fragment—the greatest hits, so to speak, although that might be putting too much of a positive spin on it.
We get ten of those a week, basically. Ten of the really bad ones. I went through thousands of them and came across the best of the worst, but I'm not at all selective, aside from putting them into different chapters. I could have written the entire book on anti-Semitism.

I'm struck by how a lot of these people view the US military not merely as an agent of the Lord's work, for bombing Muslims, but that they're specifically seeking it as a dominion for evangelizing. They want to make sure it's Christianized.
They have completely hijacked the idea of patriotism and of standing behind the flag to mean that you're a Christian patriot standing behind the Christian flag of a Christian nation.

Why do you think that's so important to these people?
I think they have a lot of misinformation and they don't take the time to check, because the information they're hearing checks all their boxes. It's either white supremacy, or misogyny, anti-gay, anti-black. It fits perfectly into their way of thinking.

How much have you actually feared for your personal safety?
My dog is a security dog that is with me all the time. Each time I speak, I have security there. You're always looking over your shoulder these days. I usually travel under a pseudonym.

Do you notice if these letters tend to peak around the holidays? Or is it just a general torrent of hate all year long?
Oh yeah, this is all year long. If anything, it peaks when we've had more exposure than normal and we've done something positive for people in the military. In 2011, there was something about proselytizing going on in gift boxes that were being sent out to children. We stopped that, because they were being given out by a military command organization on a base. So we got horrible letters about that one, how we're stealing Christmas from children.

Did you write this book to shake it off, or to draw attention to the fact that you're under siege?
​The latter, absolutely. To expose these people. So many people go around and have a wonderful Christmas and a wonderful holiday, and they don't think about and/or they don't know about this subterranean culture, and it's important that they know. What's going on in the name of the Christianity, in the name of this benevolent Lord that has supposedly taught love and kindness. I know it's shocking, but it needs to be out there.

Is there one that stands out as the most intense? Do you have a least favorite?
The one that hoped Mikey would have a heart attack while driving a car near our house and kill as many live things as he could, that one was especially creative. 

Follow Peter Lawrence Kane on Tw​itter.