Tomas de Torquemada in the US Armed Forces

About a month ago, I joined the advisory board of the Military Religious Freedom Foundation (MRFF) to replace Glen Doherty, a former Navy SEAL and member of the board who had recently been killed in the Benghazi incident. I was a reluctant recruit, knowing as I did the importance of spiritual solace amid the horrors of battle.

“Why,” I asked myself, “should we meddle with something so important?”

When the MRFF’s director, Mikey Weinstein, allowed me to by Supreme Savings” href=”http://www.mcclatchydc.com/2013/05/10/190907/tomas-de-torquemada-in-the-us.html”>Christian prayer breakfasts, constantly derided for being non-Christian, or simply pressured to “get right with Jesus,” this persecution often came with the outright or tacit blessing of the military leadership. Indeed, it often emanated from that leadership. It happened in military units in combat zones, at service academies, on ships at sea, on military installations, virtually everywhere the military operated.

In the midst of this persecution, the MRFF became quickly known and sought out by soldiers, airmen, Marines, sailors, coastguardsmen, and the civilians who worked with them – sought out because it was the only source of comfort, support and often relief from the persecution.

The MRFF protected the identity, unit affiliation and other information of every client; yet it also acted to right the wrong, often to force the leadership to recognize the problem and do something about it, without endangering the client’s career or even life.

That’s why I joined the advisory board, to do whatever I could to help stop this persecution, this violation of the law and the U.S. Constitution.

I’ve been to the Bethesda-Walter Reed Medical Complex and seen what a dozen years of war has done to some of our best troops. I’ve followed the statistics on the unprecedented number of military suicides – suicides that

I’ve read Sarah Blum’s book, “Women Under Fire,” and I’ve watched Kirby Dick’s film, “The Invisible War.” Both vividly document that sexual assault is ripping the heart out of our military.

Now, we have a breed of fundamentalist Christians trying to proselytize our armed forces into hell.

Perhaps worse, we have news media, members of Congress, research councils and a host of what I can only call radical fundamentalist organizations – American Taliban? – who constantly support them, urge them on, and demonize organizations like the MRFF.

Next, we will have the construction of fundamentalist Christian madrassas all across this great land.

I recall a cartoon from my younger days called Pogo. The main character, Pogo, was an opossum and his abode was the Okefenokee Swamp. This cartoon ‘possum dispensed from time to time some pretty fair wisdom (of course it was the cartoonist, Walt Kelly, who was dispensing the wisdom).

One day, staring into the dark recesses of his swamp covered with the detritus of modern civilization, Pogo said something like this to his companion, Porkypine: “Yep, son, we have met the enemy and he is us.”

In that respect, mixing the Inquisition with our warriors is as dangerous as “us” gets. Mikey Weinstein and the MRFF’s sole mission is to fight the Torquemada in our midst.