As we all know, there are some people out there who are just so completely obsessed with promoting their “Christian” message that nothing is off limits for them. There are, of course, a lot of these anything-but-Christlike-Christians out there, but one of the worst examples I’ve ever encountered is Air Force Major Jonathan C. Dowty (a.k.a. the “Christian Fighter Pilot”). Although calling his Christian Fighter Pilot blog his “ministry,” Maj. Dowty doesn’t actually write much about his religion there. His “ministry” is primarily a forum for his obsessive ranting about certain issues and certain people, and the person he is the most obsessed with by far is Mikey Weinstein, the founder and president of the Military Religious Freedom Foundation (MRFF).
Since starting his “ministry” in 2006, Maj. Dowty has written an astounding number of posts about Mikey and MRFF, and the frequency of these posts has been escalating in the past few years. A staggering 432 of the posts on Maj. Dowty’s blog are tagged “Mikey Weinstein” and/or “MRFF.” In the past year alone, he has written 172 posts tagged with Mikey’s name. And these aren’t short posts. Many are in excess of a thousand words with numerous links (usually to his own previous posts), and obviously take him considerable time to write. Many of these posts attack Mikey personally; others are about things that MRFF has done; and some are about things that really have nothing to do with Mikey or MRFF, but Maj. Dowty finds ways to somehow work Mikey into them anyway. But, even given his disturbing obsession with all things Mikey Weinstein, I really didn’t think even the disturbingly obsessed Maj. Dowty would sink as low as he did last week.
As I posted two weeks ago, former Navy SEAL Glen Doherty, one of the four Americans killed in the attack in Libya, was a long time member of MRFF’s Advisory Board. When the names of those killed in the attack were released, the media naturally took to the web in search of biographical information on them for their reports. This led scores of reporters to the Advisory Board page on the MRFF website, where they found a more detailed bio of Glen than could be found elsewhere on the web. Finding MRFF’s bio of Glen of course led to countless requests from the media for statements from Mikey, both as the head of MRFF and a close friend of Glen. One of these media requests was for Mikey to appear on the Justice with Judge Jeanine show on FOX News. Mikey appeared on the show on Sunday, September 16.
Two days later, on Tuesday, September 18, Maj. Dowty, whose obsession with Mikey knows no bounds whatsoever, came out with a post on his “ministry” blog titled “Weinstein Uses Friend’s Death to Shill for Foundation.”
Apparently not being able to grasp that Glen Doherty was a dedicated member and advocate of MRFF (and also apparently needing to look up the word shill), Maj. Dowty proceeded to write a lengthy rant bashing Mikey for talking about MRFF during his appearance on FOX. Of course Mikey talked about MRFF and the fight against religious extremism during this interview! This fight was the reason that he met and became friends with Glen! When Mikey recounted the last time he talked to Glen, which was a few weeks before he left for Libya, he said they talked about the new Air Force regulation prohibiting commanders from proselytizing. This new regulation would of course have been a big topic during their last conversation. This was a very important victory that Glen was extremely excited about.
What would Glen have said to Maj. Dowty about Mikey talking about MRFF in that FOX interview? Exactly what he always said to Mikey: “You’re not going to change anything by whispering. You have to yell and yell loudly.” Seriously, Glen thought that Mikey needed to be even more assertive.
Maj. Dowty also has a problem with the fact that when MRFF posted the video of Mikey’s FOX News appearance on our YouTube channel, the usual paragraph about MRFF that’s at the end of the description of all of our videos was there, and that paragraph does contain a fundraising pitch. Would Glen have wanted us to remove that paragraph for this video? Absolutely not. Glen was a person who would go to any lengths to raise money to support the mission of MRFF. On one occasion, he actually climbed 1,200 feet up the shear vertical face of a mountain with a potential donor when he thought that would be the best way to get that person in a good position to talk to them about MRFF. Does that sound like someone who would have wanted MRFF to remove the usual paragraph about MRFF at the end of the description of a video about him? And, by the way, Glen succeeded with his somewhat unorthodox fundraising tactic. That guy he spent a day and a half climbing that mountain with has been an invaluable MRFF supporter and donor ever since. He even became one of Glen’s fellow MRFF Advisory Board members. That’s all because of Glen – a man who was not only thoroughly committed to the work of MRFF but, being a former Navy SEAL, didn’t think it was any big deal to climb a freakin’ 1,200 foot rock to do a bit of MRFF fundraising. To the rest of us at MRFF, however, it was a very big deal, as were the many other things that Glen selflessly did for the foundation over the years.
As I read Maj. Dowty’s revolting post, I had to wonder if he would have had the same reaction if Glen had been a board member of some Christian missionary organization and the head of that organization had made the work of their organization and Glen’s dedication to spreading their message a part of talking about who he was. Yeah, probably not. That would have been different.
But Maj. Dowty’s detestable behavior didn’t end with his post. When I first saw his post, I decided to ignore it and not even dignify it with a response. Rick Baker, on the other hand, could not ignore it. Rick is a long-time MRFF supporter who has served in several volunteer positions with the foundation over the years. Rick is also a highly decorated former combat chopper rescue pilot whose body still contains so much shrapnel from Vietnam that he sets off metal detectors at airports, earning him the nickname Captain Shrapnel. Well, Captain Shrapnel was not about to let Major Carpal Tunnel Syndrome get away with his disgraceful blog post, and attempted to post the following comment on it:
Well JD. You have finally hit bottom. Even I, as a fellow Air Force officer who has attempted to maintain a modicum of communications with you must now realize that you have crossed the line of acceptable debate and have brought great shame and utter disgust upon yourself.
Your blind and obsessive disdain for Mikey Weinstein of the Military Religious Freedom Foundation has caused you not only to sully the good name of Mikey Weinstein but that of Glen Doherty by cheapening his association with MRFF. Glen died a hero, carrying with him his great pride in serving as a Navy SEAL and his great pride in assisting, through MRFF, many thousands of young men and women in the Armed Forces to elude the grasp of command centered and coercive fundamentalist Christian based proselytizing.
Your actions are beneath contempt. By not even giving Mr. Weinstein a brief respite in your consistent diatribe of hate against him, his family and MRFF in order to allow him to mourn his dear friend, you have identified yourself as uncaring and ruthless.
Yes, Mr. Weinstein talks about MRFF. So did Glen, a man who would literally climb mountains to raise money for MRFF. Yes, Glen actually spent a day and a half climbing a mountain with someone (a former USMC and USAF highly decorated fighter pilot) to get a chance to talk to them about funding and supporting MRFF. Because of Glen and Glen alone, that person is to this day a tremendous donor and ally of MRFF.
It becomes easier, now, to understand your vitriolic and vituperative attacks on Weinstein, his family and supporters and MRFF. You have succumbed totally to the misguided doctrines of Dominion Christianity and are deeply immersed in its un-American objectives.
All that you are and all that you have been are now cloaked in dishonor and you have cut yourself off from rational thought. You have slipped into the abyss of religious hegemony and have abrogated your sworn oath to uphold and support the Constitution of the United States.
As have so many before you, you have worn the mantel of sectarian religious bigotry and furthered the cause of religious bias and supremacy in the military, thereby divorcing yourself from all that is good and rendering your service to America moot.
You have chosen to thrust the dark side of Dominion Christianity into the heart of the military, betraying our troops and forever disqualifying yourself from honorable service. You are exactly the kind of person who Glen was dedicated to fighting.
In addition, your casting aspersions on Mr. Weinstein, his family and MRFF whose only goal is to provide relief to our young military members from incessant and unconstitutional religious pressures from Dominionist operatives is terribly misplaced and should be redirected at the real perpetrators of such sedition.
You need to buy a mirror, JD, and look long and deep into the eyes of someone who has lost his way.
Glen Doherty is irreplaceable in this fight. Nevertheless, Mr. Weinstein, his family and MRFF will continue, through the good offices of caring individuals nationwide, indeed worldwide, to keep safe our troops and their families from the scourge of Dominionism’s institutionalized discrimination and bigotry that is the foundation of Dominion Christianity towards all other faiths and non-belief systems.
You, on the other hand, will detract from that honorable goal and allow your distorted beliefs to counter their efforts to the detriment of our armed forces.
The distinction is clear. Your shame is palpable and I never thought I’d see the day when even a fundamentalist Christian of your sad ilk would stoop as low as you just have done. “JD.” Just Disgraceful.
Maj. Dowty, of course “moderated” Rick’s comment out of existence, as is his cowardly habit with comments that he doesn’t want anyone to see.
But, Maj. Dowty didn’t stop there. He then emailed Rick, Mikey, and myself, apparently saying that he didn’t post Rick’s comment because it mentioned his attacks on Mikey’s family. Now, I need to stop here to note that a few years back Maj. Dowty used to pester Mikey, myself, and others at MRFF with constant emails, and then quote things from our replies to his emails out of context and twist them on his blog. We put a stop to that by ceasing to respond to his emails, and he stopped emailing us. That was several years ago, which is why it is quite notable that he emailed us about Rick’s comment. (The Richard who Maj. Dowty quotes in his email is, of course, Rick Baker, and the lines he quotes are from the comment that Rick tried to post.)
This was Maj. Dowty’s email:
From: “JD” <[email protected]>
Subject: Family Attacks
Date: September 18, 2012 8:27:49 PM MDT
To: <——[email protected]>
Cc: <——[email protected]>, <—–@militaryreligiousfreedom.org>, <[email protected]>
“…your consistent diatribe of hate against him, his family…”
“It becomes easier, now, to understand your vitriolic and vituperative attacks on Weinstein, his family…”
“your casting aspersions on Mr. Weinstein, his family …”
How dare you. I have never once done any such thing with respect to Weinstein’s family. By contrast, the MRFF has put down my family. The MRFF demanded to know my home address and sent me threatening messages. The MRFF threatened to publicize private information about my children.
You are known to make asinine or foolish comments with regularity, and they are tolerated. Don’t presume to accuse me of going after someone’s family when I not only haven’t, but the group you represent has – and they’ve gone after mine.
OK, as we’ll see in a minute, Maj. Dowty’s claim that he has “never once” gone after Mikey’s family is total bull. He constantly goes after members of Mikey’s family on his blog. But first, Let’s take a look at his accusations of what MRFF has done.
He claims that MRFF put down his family and threatened to publicize private information about his children. I have absolutely no idea what he means by MRFF putting down his family, but I guess he’s referring to a comment I posted on his blog back in February, the only time anyone from MRFF has ever mentioned his children. My comment was on a post for which Maj. Dowty dug up Mikey’s entire work history, and then in his usual fashion attempted to make it look like Mikey had some sort of suspicious past.
This was my original comment on that post, which briefly appeared but was then deleted:
Wow, JD, you’re so obsessed with Mikey that you’re digging into his entire work history? Between your job as an Air Force plane flying assistant and your disturbing obsession with MRFF, you can’t have much time left to spend with your wife and those three little kids of yours, can you?
When I saw that he had deleted my comment, I posted this comment about him deleting my comment:
Gee, JD, why are you now moderating my first comment after it was already posted? Don’t want people to know how many kids you have? Guess I’ll have to post that in other places where you can’t delete it, not because it’s important, but just because it apparently bothers you. ;-)
Yes, that was MRFF threatening to “publicize private information about his children.” I jokingly said I was going to post that he has kids – not post any information about his kids – just post that he has kids. And I wasn’t even being serious about doing that (hence the little winky face). It was just a jab at Maj. Dowty’s obsession with digging up and posting anything he can find about Mikey and his family.
I actually know lots of stuff about Maj. Dowty that I’ve never made public, but I’m just not feeling as ethical as usual right now about what’s off limits given his latest post.
How did I even know that Maj. Dowty had three kids? From an email that turned up in a massive FOIA request to the Air Force Academy. It seems that Maj. Dowty wanted a job as an instructor at the Academy a while back, and in an email to someone there mentioned how his three kids had never known any other home besides Edwards AFB in California. Maj. Dowty didn’t get a position at the Academy, and, as he lamented in his email, his only other option was Eglin AFB in Florida, which is where he ended up. “Dowty Jonathan C Maj USAF AIR ARMAMENT CE/SEF” is now at the Eglin AFB Safety Office, Flight Safety Element Section, where he apparently still has unlimited time to obsessively write about Mikey and MRFF just like he did while in his previous job at Edwards.
And what about Maj. Dowty’s other accusation: “The MRFF demanded to know my home address and sent me threatening messages”?
Well, the “threatening” messages were legal documents from MRFF’s attorneys “threatening” to sue Maj. Dowty for the constant potentially libelous statements on his blog about Mikey, such as his accusations that Mikey is personally pocketing MRFF donations and getting rich off the foundation. And that demand to know what Maj. Dowty’s home address was? Well, MRFF’s attorneys needed his address to send those legal documents to, so they “demanded” his address. Sounds a bit different when you know what it was really about, huh? And that makes it odd that Maj. Dowty would make these accusations in an email to Mikey, myself, and Rick Baker – three people who obviously would know what this “demand” was really about. Either Maj. Dowty has become completely delusional, or, more likely, he was blind copying someone else on that email.
But the threat of legal action hasn’t slowed Maj. Dowty down one bit. Being directed to stop his cyber bullying of junior enlisted members of the military didn’t faze him. As I’ve written about before, Maj. Dowty likes to lie about junior enlisted service members who he knows can’t respond to defend themselves because he’s a “superior” officer. And, when one of his enlisted targets did get out of the army last year and was finally free to respond to Maj. Dowty’s lies about him – after three years of having to remain silent – Maj. Dowty “moderated” his comment. So, I posted it here on FTB.
Maj. Dowty has also been unfazed by the threat of legal action from MRFFs attorneys, and continues to repeat his lies about Mikey on a regular basis.
But it’s not just Mikey who Maj. Dowty goes after; it is also his family. Maj. Dowty’s claim in his email that he has “never once done any such thing with respect to Weinstein’s family” is a crock of shit. Maj. Dowty has regularly included Mikey wife, his daughter, his son, and his daughter-in-law in his attacks Mikey.
A frequent target is Mikey’s wife, Bonnie. Despite knowing that Bonnie suffers from MS and that stress exacerbates her condition, Maj. Dowty has no reservations whatsoever about going after her. Apparently when he asks “What would Jesus do,” the answer he gets is to add more stress to the life of a woman with MS.
On a number of occasions, Maj. Dowty has made use of a particular quote from Bonnie in a 2010 newspaper article, using her words about Mikey, which were meant in a positive way, to attack Mikey by implying that even his own wife objects to his tactics. For example, this is what he wrote in an August 28, 2012 post:
Even Weinstein’s wife Bonnie (also his employee as the MRFF “development director”) has publicly said he’s gone “overboard,” but she excuses it by saying “quiet and nice doesn’t work.” Loud and obnoxious doesn’t “work,” either, as Weinstein’s history has shown — unless by “work” one means bringing donations in to the charity that’s single largest expense is Weinstein’s paycheck.
Bonnie was, of course, saying in her words exactly the same thing Glen Doherty said to Mikey: “You’re not going to change anything by whispering. You have to yell and yell loudly.”
Another person who understands this is Robert Dorr, who, in addition to being a prolific author, served in the Air Force in Korea and spent twenty-four years as a Foreign Service Officer with the U.S. State Department. Mr. Dorr gets that while Mikey’s approach might not make him Mr. Popularity, it clearly works. In a recent Air Force Times column about that same important new Air Force regulation that Glen Doherty was so happy to see and that Mikey mentioned in his FOX appearance, Mr. Dorr wrote of Mikey:
He’s right. But it’s not easy to be in agreement with him. Weinstein has a relentlessness that can be off-putting, even to people who share his opposition to proselytizing in the military. He told me he receives death threats. He told me he is “the most reviled graduate of the Air Force Academy.” He was in the Class of 1977.
Still — as officials confirmed for me — it was mostly because of Weinstein’s in-your-face activism that Air Force Instruction 1-1, Section 2.11, came into existence Aug. 7.
But Maj. Dowty won’t write about Mr. Dorr’s August 2012 Air Force Times article. That would obviously contradict his claim that “Loud and obnoxious doesn’t ‘work,’ either, as Weinstein’s history has shown.” Maj. Dowty will just continue to spin, over and over, the same 2010 quote from Bonnie Weinstein in an attempt to make it sound like even Mikey’s own wife objects to what he’s doing.
But his twisting of what Bonnie meant by that 2010 quote is only one example of how Maj. Dowty goes after this particular Weinstein family member. He also uses her in his posts accusing Mikey of only being in this fight for the money and getting rich off of the foundation. In a post on May 4, 2012, he wrote:
Michael Weinstein, the sole paid officer of the “charity” he founded and runs, revels in having people perceive him as a martyr for his cause. He recently said this about what his fight against religious freedom has cost him:
Someone asked my wife how much do you owe? What did you have to give up, probably a lot huh? She was crying when she made the statement, “No, we didn’t have to give up a lot, we had to give up everything.” There is no retirement fund. There is no retirement home. There is no sense of security…
There are two possibilities. First, that Weinstein is grossly exaggerating. He and his organization play “fun with numbers” often, so this might be just another example.
And then there are the posts about Bonnie’s deposition in a particular court case, like this one from April 4, 2012:
The deposition of Michael Weinstein’s wife, Bonnie, may have done the most damage to the Weinsteins’ case. For example, Mrs. Weinstein was asked if “threats of the acts of vandalism” occurred after Weinstein filed his second lawsuit against the US military in 2008. She gave an emotional reply:
I received email death threats…and then we got the swastikas put on our house. I wasn’t there. My husband and my daughter was there, and then I had to deal with her hysteria, because she was just so traumatized that this would happen. So, yes, it escalated. A lot of things escalated…
She went on to describe the toll the threats were taking on her physically and emotionally in passionate testimony. The personal impact to Mrs. Weinstein was both clear and tragic.
The problem, though, is she just established the fact her husband’s own conduct – his notoriety – was responsible for the threats and vandalism …
But Maj. Dowty’s writings about the Weinstein family are certainly not limited to what he writes about Bonnie. At times he goes after the entire Weinstein family, including Mikey’s daughter, who, among other things, has been terrorized by some nice “Christians” who climbed up on the roof of their house.
Here’s what Maj. Dowty wrote on April 16, 2010, in a section of a post that he headed “The Situation Exposed”:
Like the previous example, this criticism also came from Weinstein of the Military Religious Freedom Foundation…but not that Weinstein. This Facebook post was attributed to Casey Weinstein, son of MRFF creator Michael Weinstein. (The MRFF appears to be a family affair, with Casey’s wife Amanda also writing on behalf of the MRFF, Michael Weinstein’s wife Bonnie fulfilling the role of “Development Director,” and Weinstein’s college student daughter Amber listed as an “admin” for the MRFF Facebook page. Only one Weinstein remains publicly unaffiliated with the MRFF’s efforts.)
Maj. Dowty also likes to write about Mikey’s son Casey and his wife Amanda, as he did in this post from July 17, 2008:
Casey Weinstein, son of MRFF founder Michael Weinstein, was stationed at Wright-Patterson AFB with his wife while they were both on active duty. He remains in the area looking for a job as a reservist. Now, a local Jewish paper is carrying an article in which Michael Weinstein has said
Wright-Patterson Air Force base is a “hotbed” of “unconstitutional religious intolerance.”
The younger Weinstein reportedly complained about a “prayer in Jesus’ name” that was a “violation of Air Force regulations” (a conclusion which is actually incorrect). He also “got in [the] face” of his superior over an email about John Gibson’s The War on Christmas. [Casey Weinstein, a 2004 Air Force Academy graduate, was a fairly vocal supporter of his father's accusations against the military even while the younger Weinstein was on active duty. (He also posted an interestingly accusatory comment here.)]
Maj. Dowty has written about Casey and Amanda on a number of other occasions since that 2008 post, but the reason I’m singling that one out is because of what happened after it was posted. See those parentheses inside the brackets where Maj. Dowty wrote “He also posted an interestingly accusatory comment here.” The word “here” was a link Maj. Dowty added that went to a the comments section on that same blog post, where Casey Weinstein had posted a comment. Maj. Dowty subsequently deleted Casey’s comment and closed the post to comments (but neglected to remove his own link to Casey’s comment). He also began to harass Casey via email, warning him not to publicly support MRFF and threatening to report him to his Air Force superiors if he continued advocating for MRFF. Casey, who was an inactive reservist at the time, had done absolutely nothing inappropriate. The harassing emails were just typical bullying from Maj. Dowty.
Ironically, Maj. Dowty’s own penchant for bullying doesn’t stop him from accusing others of being bullies, as he did in this June 23, 2010 post, another one in which he included Mikey’s son Casey:
Casey Weinstein has called the Gazette‘s summation of his father’s method a “great” excerpt. It is interesting he would be proud of having his father publicly described in terms most often used for pre-adolescent bullies, albeit a bully with access to the courts.
I could post dozens of other examples of Maj. Dowty going after Mikey’s family members, but I think that’s enough to show that this habitual liar is completely full of crap when he claims he has “never once done any such thing with respect to Weinstein’s family.”
Maj. Jonathan C. Dowty, the “Christian Fighter Pilot,” is in every way the embodiment of what Glen Doherty was working so hard to rid the United States military of. As Mikey Weinstein put it:
“I was privileged to know and work with and love Glen Doherty as a MRFF brother-in-arms for years. It is my strongest opinion that Glen would have utterly loathed this fundamentalist ‘christian fighter pansy’ Dowty. Indeed, after reviewing, even cursorily, the blatant cowardice, astonishing ignorance, universal betrayal, vicious bigotry, and pathological lying which constitutes the true essence of this piece of filth Dowty, Glen would have no doubt considered this revolting Christian supremacist bully as the absolute EPITOME of the scum that he and MRFF were fighting so hard against.”