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To the Far Right Christian Hater...You Can…
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To the Far Right Christian Hater...You Can Be a Good Speller or a Hater,…

by Bonnie Weinstein

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My son is in the Canadian Military. He is also an atheist. I had never considered that that fact would matter. After all, isn’t the purpose of the Military, at least ostensibly, to protect liberty and doesn’t that include freedom from as well as freedom of religion? One would think that if anyone should enjoy these freedoms, it would be the men and women who are willing to risk their lives for little pay to protect them. So when I saw this book on Netgalley, I thought it might give me some insight even though it is about the US Military.

Author Bonnie Weinstein and her husband Michael founded the Military Religious Freedom Foundation (MRFF) in 2005 and since then, the Foundation has been nominated six times for the Nobel Peace Prize. However, as Ms Weinstein writes

‘…it has taken an extreme amount of intestinal fortitude to stay the course. We fight against those who, at worse, seem hell-bent on dismantling our Constitution, and at best, seem to have little idea of what they are talking about.’

The book, itself, is a very quick read divided between letters from some of the people who object to the Foundation and a list of some of the important successes it has achieved.

The letters are divided into categories and go from bad to worse . Many of the writers seem to aim their vitriol at Jewish people in general, believing, based solely on their name, that somehow the Weinsteins are motivated by a Jewish anti-Christian bias despite the work of the MRFF in aid of soldiers of all faiths or none including Muslims, atheists, and both Protestants and Catholics who do not share the same beliefs as the far right Christians and do not enjoy being a captive audience to the proselytizing of both fellow enlisted men and officers. The anti-semitism, Islamaphobia, racism, and gay bashing of these letters are, to say the least, shocking especially as it is all coming from self-avowed Christians.

The worst letters are from the far right Christians who believe that the United States is a Christian nation and that the purpose of the Military is to bring their (ie far-right Dominionist) Christian values to the ‘lost’ nations and peoples of the world even at the end of a gun. If these letters are examples of how they want the world to look, it is truly a terrifying place. Here is an excerpt from one of the nicer and better written letters and, trust me, I am not being sarcastic when I say that:

‘…real Americans are lovers of Jesus Christ…Real Americans are not jews and real Americans know how the muslums have to be eliminated and real Americans know that the faggots deserve no safe and respect and especially not in the army of America.’

Apparently, Real Americans also won’t be tied to the tyranny of spell check or rules of grammar. By the time I finished reading these letters, I literally felt ill – I wanted to take a shower and wash my eyes and brain out. I found myself thinking (and hoping) that the writers of these letters must suffer from a mental illness and that they make up only a tiny fraction of the American population. Nothing, judging from these letters, is too vile, too beyond the pale in the fight to protect the rights of these so-called Christians to force their brand onto those who don’t share their beliefs.

Clearly, this book is not for everyone. The Religious Right will obviously hate it and those outside Military families may not see its value although, given the influence the religious Right has gained in the political arena I would suggest otherwise. I am not sure I can say I enjoyed reading this book but I’m glad I did. For those of us with relatives in the Military who hold different religious views than those of the Right-wing Evangelists, this makes for a very interesting and eye-opening read but, if you decide to read it, I hope you have a strong stomach. ( )
1 vote lostinalibrary | Oct 27, 2014 |
As hard as it was to read in places, it’s important to read and understand. It offers an unflinching examination of a subset of American fundamentalism, created by a segment of our society that is whiter, more conservative and a lot angrier than the rest of America. For some people the future of their faith and of the nation are in danger, threatened by secular forces controlled by Satan himself. This existential threat to Christian supremacy justifies the most offensive, vulgar and cruel letters I’ve ever read. Think I’m overstating it? Read the book.
...
I will spare you, dear reader, actual excerpts from the book. Instead I will summarize almost every letter: The MRFF hates America, Weinstein is a dirty Jew who deserves to be raped / murdered / skull-fucked, some truly awful sexual filth directed at Bonnie, fuck-shit-fuck, cocksucker, and Jesus is Lord. Frankly, I’m downplaying it a lot. Bonnie adds commentary and worked with an artist to create some fun illustrations to give the book structure, and the letters get worse as toward the end of a book, reflecting real life. As the MRFF has racked up success pushing back against the creation of a Christian army — also outlined at the very end of the book — the letters the MRFF receives have gotten angrier and meaner.

The saving grace of the book is Bonnie’s charm and humor as she annotates the entries, making light when she can and rhetorically rolling her eyes throughout. She manages grace while the vilest insults are hurled at her personally, her children and her husband. I was most surprised by the strong anti-Semitism exposed throughout almost all the letters. Bonnie said she could have written an entire book just on this one issue.
added by jimroberts | editSalon, Edwin Lyngar (Dec 1, 2014)
 
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Official hate mail, threats, and criticism from the archives of the six-time Nobel Peace Prize-nominated Military Religious Freedom Foundation.

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