Things to remember in 2020: book clubs are (apparently) very bad.
Col. Moon H. Kim, a command chaplain stationed at Camp Humphreys in South Korea, passed along an e-book by theologian John Piper, “Coronavirus and Christ,” to his colleagues, and now he’s in a whole heap of trouble with Mikey Weinstein.
Weinstein, founder and president of the Military Religious Freedom Foundation, sent a letter to Defense Secretary Mark Esper last week, demanding Kim be “swiftly, aggressively, and visibly” punished for sending a benign email about the book.
This was Kim’s email to 35 of his fellow chaplains, per The Christian Post:
This book has helped me refocus my sacred calling to my savior Jesus Christ to finish strong. Hopefully this small booklet would help you and your soldiers, their families, and others who you serve.
But as the old saying goes: no good deed goes unpunished.
After hearing from 22 “mainline and progressive” Christian chaplains angry over Kim’s email, Weinstein described his two-sentence message as “shocking” and “an absolutely egregious and deplorable act” with an “obvious” motive to show his “full-fledged endorsement and validation of what the book espouses and proclaims.”
The handful of perturbed chaplains didn’t want to talk to their superior about their anger because they feared “reprisal, retribution, revenge, and retaliation,” Weinstein claimed. So they took it to MRFF instead.
Most of the group’s bitter attitude toward Kim’s entirely non-threatening and good-natured email seemed to be in response to Piper’s words about homosexuality.
“The book, pushing the belief that the coronavirus is God’s judgement, is written by fundamentalist Christian preacher and author John Piper,” Weinstein wrote, “and singles out, among other things, ‘the sin of homosexual intercourse’ as deserving ‘due penalty.’”
In “Coronavirus and Christ,” Piper used homosexuality as an example of the sins that go against God’s design for human beings. He never explicitly linked homosexuality with the spread of the novel coronavirus, as Weinstein seemed to suggest.
The MRFF leader was also miffed with the general assertion that the coronavirus — like all the issues that befall humanity — is being used by God to warn people about the coming judgement, when everyone will be held accountable for their actions.
Piper described the earth’s calamities as “God’s preview of what sin deserved and will one day receive in judgement a thousand times worse.” He described such events as “wake-up calls to see the moral horror and spiritual ugliness of sin against God.”
Weinstein told the Post he’d like to see Kim subjected to a court-martial for sharing the Christian book.
“The entire world is being ravaged by COVID-19, and he has endorsed a booklet claiming that this is the punishment of God for people who have sinned, which includes gay people,” he said. “This is not only in violation of the EEO provisions of the Department of Defense, but a ton of other DoD and U.S. Army provisions.”
This, of course, isn’t the first time Weinstein has targeted evangelical Christians in the military. Last month, he went after a pair of Army chaplains in Fort Drum, New York, for sharing encouraging, faith-based videos on the 10th Mountain Division Sustainment Brigade’s Facebook page.