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With God on Our Side: One Man's War Against an Evangelical Coup in America's Military Hardcover – October 3, 2006

3.7 out of 5 stars 28 customer reviews

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The Black Presidency by Michael Eric Dyson
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Editorial Reviews


     "With God on Our Side is the story of one man's willingness to stand up for the Constitution of the United States. Arrayed against Mikey Weinstein are those who would transform the United States military, our most revered institution, into a force of evangelical crusaders, intolerant of the diversity of our society and willfully subversive of our national security interests. It is an important call to arms for all who love our country and the principles for which it stands."
     --Ambassador Joseph C. Wilson IV, author of The Politics of Truth 
     "The extremists and the militants of the Muslim world would like us to believe that the world is embroiled in a cosmic battle between Christianity and Islam. Yet instead of debunking this twisted ideology, there are those in the armed forces who are legitimizing it with their fundamentalist indoctrination of our nation's troops. If the war on terrorism is a war of ideology, then Weinstein deserves a medal because his battle to put an end to the rampant Christian evangelism in the United States military is making the whole country safer."
     --Reza Aslan, author of No god but God: The Origins, Evolution, and Future of Islam
     "U.S. Air Force Academy graduate Mikey Weinstein's struggle to keep his beloved school--and the U.S. military--a secular institution has meaning for all of us. Wherever you are on America's religious and political spectrums, you'll find With God on Our Side a challenging and provocative read."
     --Ray Suarez, author of The Holy Vote: The Politics of Faith in America, and senior correspondent, The NewsHour with Jim Lehrer
     "No one I know is more willing than Mikey Weinstein to take on such a tough, unpopular issue that goes to the very heart of one of our nation's most important and long cherished principles. Read this book to understand why we should all share Mikey's concern."
     --Robert T. Herres, General, USAF (Retired), former vice chairman of the Joint Chiefs of Staff

     "Mikey Weinstein's stand against intolerance, intimidation, and inappropriate evangelism in the armed forces is a courageous defense of the principles on which our country was founded. Read this book and be enlightened and motivated to protect the ideals of our Founding Fathers."
     --Richard T. Schlosberg III, publisher and CEO (retired), Los Angeles Times

From the Inside Flap

One of the most elite educational institutions in the world, the Air Force Academy has, from its inception, attracted the best and the brightest, producing leaders not only in the military but throughout American society.
     In recent years, however, the Academy has also been producing a cadre of zealous evangelical Christians intent on creating a fundamentalist power base at the highest levels of our country.
     With God on Our Side is shocking exposé of life inside the United States Air Force Academy and the systematic program of indoctrination sanctioned, coordinated, and carried out by fundamentalist Christians within the U.S. military.
     It is also the story of Michael L. Weinstein, a proud Academy graduate and the father of two graduates and a current cadet, who single-handedly brought to light the evangelicals’ utter disregard of the constitutional principle of separation of church and state that is so essential to the nation’s military mission. Weinstein’s war would pit him and his small band of fellow graduates, cadets, and concerned citizens against a program of Christian fundamentalist indoctrination that could transform our fighting men and women into “right-thinking” warriors more befitting a theocracy. In the process, he would come face to face with religious bigotry and at its most extreme and fight an unrelenting battle to save his beloved Academy, the ideals it stood for, and the very future of the country.
     An important book at a critical time in our nation’s history, With God on Our Side is the story of one man’s courageous struggle to thwart a creeping evangelism permeating America’s military and to prevent a taxpayer-funded theocracy in which only the true believers have power.
--This text refers to an out of print or unavailable edition of this title.

Product Details

  • Hardcover: 272 pages
  • Publisher: Thomas Dunne Books; 1st edition (October 3, 2006)
  • Language: English
  • ISBN-10: 0312361432
  • ISBN-13: 978-0312361433
  • Product Dimensions: 6.3 x 0.9 x 9.5 inches
  • Shipping Weight: 1.2 pounds
  • Average Customer Review: 3.7 out of 5 stars  See all reviews (28 customer reviews)
  • Amazon Best Sellers Rank: #2,435,586 in Books (See Top 100 in Books)

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Top Customer Reviews

Format: Hardcover
What would you do if you found that people espousing a brand of intolerant evangelical religion were turning an organization that was responsible to a large degree for shaping your life and career into a tool for coercive recruitment? No, I'm not talking about the White House; I'm referring to the U.S. Air Force Academy in Colorado Springs.

Mikey Weinstein, a self-described "militant Jew" took on the academy, the Air Force and the Department of Defense a couple of years back because of flagrant violations of the establishment clause of the U.S. Constitution by the officers and cadets of the Air Force Academy. Their officers, chaplains and classmates were subjecting cadets to a robust and pervasive proselytizing of fundamentalist Christian doctrine. And if you happened to be Jewish, it was likely that you would be treated like an outsider, subjected to humiliation and possibly called a "Christ killer" by classmates.

"With God on Our Side: One Man's War Against an Evangelical Coup in America's Military" chronicles Weinstein's crusade against the school from he himself graduated with honors in 1974 and followed it with a distinguished record of service in the judge advocate general corps and three years on staff in the Reagan White House. So he's no slouch. Instead Weinstein is the third generation of a four-generation military family, and both his sons graduated from the Air Force Academy.

While the narrative occasionally gets rather breathless -- especially the first couple of chapters where the author is desperately trying to hook the reader with the power of Weinstein's personality and the gravity of his crusade, the book is well-written.

For a look into the underpinnings of the race to theocracy and the rise of radical evangelicalism that we are witnessing in America today, read this book.
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Format: Hardcover
More than two years ago the author of this book started the Military Religious Freedom Foundation as a watchdog to make the military obey the laws of separation of Church and State. His concern started with a specific evil at his alma mater, the Air Force Academy, the chronic harassment and intimidation by evangelicals to pressure Catholics, liberal Christians, Jews, and others to assent to a right wing, primitive faith. Weinstein explains how the military has been taken over by a fundamentalist agenda. What these chaplains are doing is a blatant violation of the famous wall between Church and State.

Various chaplaincy codes flatly prohibit the "proselytizing of any religion, faith or practice."(p. 74) In the command structure of superior and inferior of the military this may put government in the person of an officer in the position of commanding a soldier or cadet to convert or else. This prohibition of evangelizing the fundies reject as curtailing their freedom of religion, claiming that making converts is enjoined as an integral part of their religion. Anything less, they claim, is anti-Christian bigotry, a bias against the majority, and discrimination against their belief. Remember, in most circumstances when fundies speak of Christianity it does not include Roman Catholics and liberal or mainline denominations.

Mikey Weinstein has qualification to take on this struggle few can match. A family tradition of father, son, and grandchildren graduating from the Air Force Academy, law degrees and experience of service in the White House, and a network of political allies. The book is a narrative of events at the Air Force Academy and the military in general which lead Weinstein to found the organization. The book is a quick and easy read. It seems part of a push back on the inroads made by "born again" religious fascists on the administration of the country. In the long run I do think the believers in fascist Christian authority will lose.
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Format: Hardcover Verified Purchase
Do you recall the bumper-sticker, "If you're not outraged, you aren't paying attention"? That IS this book. Anyone who cares about the future of the USA, the Bill of Rights, or our national identity, really must read this disturbing work. There is no bashing of Christianity; there IS a clear challenge to a self-righteous, inbred, belligerent and politicized subset of Evangelicals who've become deeply rooted in our military and government (Think "Alien").

This gets 5 stars because it is an extremely important book, but I'd only give it 4 stars for style. The initial chapters are self-consciously erudite, distractingly so. I suspect this was an effort to sound measured and restrained and to avoid seeming inflammatory, but both the subject matter and the protagonist, Mikey Weinstein, ARE explosive. As a result, for awhile I felt like I was riding a dressage-trained East Coast show horse when what was needed was a Western cutting horse that could turn on a dime.

Fortunately, the natural intensity of the story and the players took over after several chapters, and it became a compelling read as well as an essential one. I hope this is only an opening salvo in the war for our national conscience, and that someone will promptly take an equally careful look at the other major branches of the military and the defense hierarchy. If we lose this domestic war, we lose America's soul -- what a bitter irony.

If you pray, better pray Mikey Weinstein isn't too late.
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Format: Paperback
As a 2004 graduate of USAFA, I was curious to see what Mr. Weinstein had to say. I disagree with most of his assertions. USAFA has more than its fair share of problems, but I think he is grossly exaggerating his case. As a non christian, I never once felt pressured to find Jesus or felt discriminated against. I asked my senior roommate (who happens to be jewish) his opinion, and he didn't ever in four years feel threatened or mistreated by the christian cadets/teachers. Plenty of invites, but never the kind of hateful rhetoric he claims his sons experienced. He describes how non-christians were organized into "heathen flights" in basic cadet training, as if they were being given yellow stars. Well yes, we were, but then we were let alone to sleep and relax while the religious folks got church on Sundays (or temple, if you were jewish), which I did not find to be the sort of persecution he seems to think it was. There was also a "leper flight" for people going to sick call, I don't think anyone thought they had, in fact, contracted leprosy. Yes, evangelicals posted things on government walls for prayer retreats and got waivers to take students who wanted to go to these things, but so did: mountain bikers, skiers, white water rafters, parachutists, spelunkers, jewish groups (that one was ignored here), and star wars roleplaying fans, if I remember correctly.
In short, this isn't terribly written (though the ghost writer does seem to spend an awful lot of time slavishly implying Mr. Weinstein is some sort of weird composite of MLK Jr and Clarence Darrow), but my personal experiences tells me this is a bit exagerrated and histrionic. What's more, Mr. Weinstein heads up very vocal "military religous freedom foundations," that is constantly lobbying.... well pretty much everyone.
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