These examples could be multiplied a hundredfold, all of which would undermine Weinstein’s implied position that evangelical Protestants within the ranks are fomenting religious war via psychological operations involving such nefarious Christian symbolism. Crosses have been part and parcel of American military units’ insignia for centuries — unsurprisingly, since this country was founded by Christians from Europe and is an integral part of Western, Christian civilization. The 164th Aviation Group even has a quote from Isaiah 6:8 (“Here am I, send me”) on its unit crest! (One wonders if Mr. Weinstein will file suit against that unit for imposing Judaism on its members!)
Also, and perhaps more importantly, Weinstein’s allegations that such unit symbolism is especially offensive to Muslims smacks of disingenousness at best and ignorance at worst. While Bin Laden, al-Zawahiri, and a whole legion of jihadist clerics speak and write often about their war against the “Crusaders,” none has ever, to the best of my knowledge, adduced American unit insignia as evidence thereof.
Bin Laden’s argument is, rather, a perverted historical one, in which American toppling of dictators like Saddam and intolerant, fundamentalist Muslim regimes like the Taliban equates to the Frankish Catholic attempts between 1099 and 1291 to take back the Holy Land following Muslim conquest and 400 years of rule (and not all of it, contra conventional wisdom and media spin, tolerant of Christians).
Weinstein, whether willfully or ignorantly, agrees with Bin Laden and al-Zawahiri, actually supporting their jihad propaganda. U.S. forces are in Iraq and Afghanistan trying to build pro-Western democracies, not to convert the Muslim hoi polloi to Christianity or to kill them in the name of Jesus Christ.
Weinstein would have it that any cross representing the majority religion of both the United States and of its armed forces is, ipso facto, both a violation of the First Amendment and motivation for Islamic jihadists. This “blame Christianity first” attitude would be laughable if the Obama administration were not so apparently sympathetic to it.
Weinstein might want to study some Crusade history, notably the Third Crusade and the relationship between the Kurdish Muslim leader Salah al-Din (who retook Jerusalem in 1187 after 88 years of Crusader rule) and English King Richard the Lionheart. These men fought like, well, lions, yet respected and even liked one another. It seems that the prominent Crusader crosses on Richard’s armor and flags failed to inflame Salah al-Din’s Muslim sensibilities any more than did the sword Richard carried.
Speaking of which, numerous military unit insignias also sport swords, fleurs-de-lis, rampant griffins and lions, and other such barbaric, medieval Christian state imagery. Should our military unit crests be denuded of such alleged incitants aimed at the perpetually offended Islamic world? Or should we, on the contrary, take some pride in the willingness of our civilization and nation to to stand up to foreign threats — most notably Islamic ones, from Abd al-Rahman to the Ottoman Empire and Barbary corsairs up to al-Qaeda?
Weinstein’s fulminations against Trijicon for putting New Testament verses on Marine Corps and Army gunsights follows much the same line of “reasoning” as does his anti-cross crusade: that the words of Jesus Christ on rifle sights “allows the Muhahedeen [sic], the Taliban, al-Qaeda and the … jihadists to claim they’re being shot by Jesus rifles.” As a Christian, I must confess that putting the words of the Prince of Peace on gunsights does give me pause; but as a firm proponent of the view that Jesus’ words of peace (“turn the other cheek”) were meant for individuals, not states, I really am not all that worried — as Mr Weinstein purports to be — whether jihadists are “being shot by Jesus rifles.”
Are they less dead or injured if shot by Marx, Rand, Moses, Joseph Smith, or Krishna rifles?