Mikey Weinstein of the Military Religious Freedom Foundation is at it again, this time coming down on the US Marine Corps’ plan to include “spiritual fitness” as a component of professional military education.
Weinstein said he received over 120 calls and emails from current and Marine veterans about new leadership curriculum which includes a section of leadership training devoted to personal faith, personal values, and moral decision-making; something Weinstein says has his constituents distraught.
Over a decade old, Weinstein’s MRFF uses tactics of cease-and-desist letters and lawsuits to stop what its members perceive as an unconstitutional promotion of religion in the military. The organization has engaged in countless lawsuits, particularly with the US Air Force, and have achieved everything from ending ceremonies and getting Bibles removed from military displays.
Chaplain of the Marine Corps Rear Admiral Brent Scott said that spiritual fitness conversations would not focus on any particular religion and would address the needs of non-religious troops as well. However, Weinstein said any sort of mandatory spiritual training is a violation of religious liberties, and that any sort of evaluation or test to gauge spiritual fitness would contradict the Constitution.
“This is nothing more than a Trojan Horse for fundamentalist Christians to proselytize to a captive audience,” Weinstein said. “The moment we saw that, we reached out to our litigation team.”
Weinstein takes issue with statements Scott has said in the past, including a statement that implies that Marines need to look to a higher power.
“If all you have to do is look within yourself, that runs kind of bankrupt over a period of time,” Scott told Military.com. “Marines face mortality, life, and death, and that’s when those faith issues start to come up.”
Weinstein says that this quote was “the straw that broke the camel’s back,” and that “Congress did not authorize the Marine Corps to teach theology.”
Scott has declined to comment, saying that the military will handle the matter through official channels.
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