If you defend separation of church and state for a living, you’re going to hear from religious extremists – and chances are they’re going to be angry.
I’ve received my share of hateful email over the years, but my collection is dwarfed by the amount of invective that regularly floods the inbox of AU’s allies at the Military Religious Freedom Foundation (MRFF). Mikey Weinstein, who founded MRFF along with his wife Bonnie, shares some of this stuff with me on occasion, and it’s truly vile.
But you don’t have to take my word for it. You can read some of these emails yourself in a collection put together by Bonnie Weinstein. Her new book, When Christians Break Bad: Letters from the Insane, Inane and Profane, is just out. While disturbing, the book casts an illuminating light on the mindset of religious extremists who yearn to merge their narrow version of fundamentalist Christianity with the machinery of government – and what they’re willing to say to anyone who dares stand in their way.
Be warned, these emails are presented unfiltered, uncensored and raw. Many are littered with profanity, anti-Semitism, threats and just plain nastiness. You might want to read this book in small doses. (As you read, bear in mind that this is Bonnie’s second collection of hate emails to MRFF. Her first came out in 2014.)
But in the midst of all of this hate, some humor does occasionally shine through. Sometimes the MRFF replies to its hate mail, and those are included in the book as well. My favorite responses tend to be written by Mike Farrell, the actor known for his portrayal of B.J. Hunnicutt on “M*A*S*H.” Farrell, who serves as an MRFF board member, has a stinging wit, which he unleashes on several hapless MRFF bashers. After wading through so much hate, it’s good to see someone fight back.
You’ll frequently wince, but this book is worth a read. You can learn more about it here.