Buckle up for today's BradCast. It's a humdinger, from first to last. [Audio link to show follows below.]
First up: In written testimony this week to the U.S. Senate, Gen. Joseph Dunford, the Chairman of the U.S. Military's Joint Chiefs of Staff, agreed with Donald Trump's Sec. of State Rex Tillerson and European diplomats that Iran was in compliance with the 2015 anti-nuclear agreement between Iran, the U.S., Russia, China, France, Britain and Germany. He also argued that, in lieu of a breach of the treaty, pulling out of it, as Trump has continually threatened, would provide a disincentive for other nations, like North Korea, to enter any such agreements with the U.S. Also, Iran's Foreign Minister blasted the U.S. President today for tweeting fake news over the weekend charging they had test-launched an intercontinental missile.
Next: It was Special Election Day on Tuesday in several states and, once again, Democrats continued to pick up state legislative seats previously held by Republicans. They've now notched eight such wins (in FL, NY, NH and OK) since last November, while the GOP has failed to take over any Democratic held seats in 2017. At the same time, Alabama's far-right religious extremist Roy Moore --- who was twice removed as a Justice from the state's Supreme Court for violations of law, the Constitution and federal court orders (regarding the Ten Commandments and Marriage Equality) --- defeated Trump's endorsed candidate Sen. Luther Strange in Alabama's Republican Primary Runoff election to fill the U.S. Senate seat vacated by U.S. Attorney General Jeff Sessions. The win by an openly homophobic and Islamophobic candidate has led to shock-waves for establishment Republicans, deleted tweets by Trump, and questions for Dems as to whether their candidate, former U.S. Attorney Doug Jones, might have a shot at picking up the U.S. Senate seat in the deeply "red" state in this December's general election.
Finally: Speaking of radical religious extremists who place their personal religious beliefs above protecting and defending the U.S. Constitution, we're joined by the indefatigable founder of the Military Religious Freedom Foundation, MIKEY WEINSTEIN, to discuss a U.S. Air Force Reserve Chaplain who appears to be doing exactly that. Weinstein, a registered Republican and former White House legal counsel for Ronald Reagan, details his group's legal complaints against Capt. Sonny Hernandez (pictured above), whose recent writings declare that Christian service members who support the Constitutional rights of those who follow other religions are, in fact, tools of Satan. Yes, really.
In a recent article, for example, headlined "Christian Service Members: Avoid Supporting or Accommodating Evil!", Hernandez writes that "Christian service members who openly profess and support the rights of Muslims, Buddhists, and all other anti-Christian worldviews to practice their religions --- because the language in the Constitution permits --- are grossly in error, and deceived." He goes on to charge that "Counterfeit Christians in the Armed forces will appeal to the Constitution, and not Christ," which, he writes, "will lead them to hell."
Weinstein, whose group offers legal representation for thousands of clients in the military, predicts that, despite the Air Force Inspector General's current investigation of Hernandez, he will likely be promoted from Captain to Major, rather than being "administratively discharged and, if possible, court-martialed."
"When you write, on a Christian Nationalist blog, a column telling military people 'you better not be showing respect to people that don't follow my particular version of Christianity...because of this silly thing called the Constitution, you are not only erroneous but you are stirring the dark evil of Mephistopheles --- Satan,' and you're writing it to the military community, it's beyond unconscionable. From our perspective it's actionable under the Uniform Code of Military Justice."
As Weinstein details during our conversation today about Hernandez, who he describes as an "anti-Semitic, homophobic, misogynistic, Constitution-hating individual," the military has attempted to come to his defense, which Weinstein characterizes as "a kill-shot to the head with regard to stupidity by the Air Force, or willful ignorance." Nonetheless, he explains that Hernandez is hardly the only one in the U.S. military violating their sworn oath to protect the Constitution in such a way. Weinstein charges that the problem of theocratic "Dominionism" --- "which is an attempt to try to replace our democracy with this weaponized version of Christianity" --- has exploded in the U.S. Armed Forces following Trump's inauguration, and already far outpaces the same concerns that led to the formation of MRFF during the George W. Bush Administration.
I can't possibly do full justice to the impassioned case that the extremely colorful Weinstein offers on today's show here, (he also rings in on Trump's national anthem "controversy" and much more), so please tune in for this one, if you can...
(Snail mail support to "Brad Friedman, 7095 Hollywood Blvd., #594 Los Angeles, CA 90028" always welcome too!)