January 2012          

Message From MRFF President and Founder Mikey Weinstein

Mikey WeinsteinValued MRFF supporters,

The Military Religious Freedom Foundation is fortunate to enter our 7th year devoted to those who honorably and faithfully serve in the U.S. military to defend and uphold the U.S. Constitution and the cherished freedoms which it embodies. In 2005 our foundation was well aware of the scourge which was eroding both the morale of the U.S. military and the wall separating church and state; namely, the problems of aggressive proselytization, apocalyptic Dominionism, and coercive religious extremism. Looking back, we can confidently say that we did not anticipate that the true size, scope, and scale of the sick-minded brand of militant religious zeal that exists within the armed forces would be as colossal and monolithic as it has grown to become. However, the victories which we have accumulated (due in no small part to your support) have continued to galvanize support for the vital cause of safeguarding religious freedom in the U.S. military. It is in this spirit that I am proud to present No Snowflake in an Avalanche: The Military Religious Freedom Foundation, Its Battle to Defend the Constitution, and One Family's Courageous War Against Religious Extremism in High Places (Vireo, 2012), written by myself and Davin Seay.

Davin Seay is an absolutely stellar author and friend who I collaborated with on With God On Our Side: One Man's War Against An Evangelical Coup in America's Military (St. Martin's Press, 2006). Davin has worked alongside such dynamic personalities as fellow former-JAG and U.S. Attorney of New Mexico David Iglesias, U.S. Army Staff Sgt. Eric Maddox (the man responsible for capturing Saddam Hussein), Snoop Dogg, and soul music luminary Al Green. Click here to read more about the master wordsmith Davin Seay. We're happy to guarantee that despite the grave nature of the subject matter in the book, you'll have as exciting a time reading No Snowflake as we did writing it!

Click here for an exclusive preview of No Snowflake, which will be released across the country on January 31 wherever good books are sold. You can also preorder No Snowflake at the MRFF store.

This book is dedicated to those exceptional and heroic human beings—those brilliant lions of virtue and moral and ethical strength—who abjectly refuse to be "snowflakes in an avalanche," thus possessing the uncommon courage to speak truth to power. Chiefly among them are my wonderful wife Bonnie and my beautiful children, Casey, Amanda, Curtis, and Amber. Ah, but there are more lions still. This book is likewise dedicated to all Military Religious Freedom Foundation staff, advisory board and board members, supporters, donors, and especially our thousands of soldier, sailor, marine, airman, cadet, midshipman, and armed forces veteran clients around the world. They show us all that we CAN and MUST stand up and fight boldly against the unconstitutional wretchedness of bigotry and prejudice and religious predators. Indeed, One Day as a Lion is all that may ever be needed to summon the fortitude to fight back against this brutal intolerance. But one never knows when that day will beckon.

Your Eternal Ally,

Michael L. "Mikey" Weinstein
Founder & President
Military Religious Freedom Foundation

MRFF Featured News
January 2012


 

No Snowflake in an Avalanche (Vireo, 2012) details the
foundation's prominent case studies and struggles, as well as the
violent impediments that continue to be imposed against MRFF
by those in opposition.

"Martin Luther King, Jr., was that rare 'snowflake' who provided the avalanche of civil rights in the 1960s. Today, Mikey Weinstein duplicates his act to fight for freedom of and from religion in the armed services."

-- ED ASNER, Emmy Award-winning Actor and former President of the Screen Actors Guild

"Often one mans experience can highlight a crisis. Rarely, however, does that same man intervene to right the wrong. Mikey Weinstein and his family challenge the pervasive ultra-conservative Christian domination of our armed services and the harm it has done to service personnel... Whether one is Christian, Jewish, Muslim, other believer or non-believer, this family's courageous and compelling story is a 'must read' for everyone who loves the Constitution and cherishes freedom of faith and conscience."

--ELIZABETH SHOLES, Director of Public Policy, California Council of Churches - IMPACT

"Mikey Weinstein is a true American Patriot, doing the hard things and doing them well! No Snowflake is a tremendous read, a real page-turner. It expertly chronicles Mikey's tireless civil rights fight against fundamentalist religious predators in our nation's armed forces. This powerful book shows the incredible time, the painful costs, and the exceptional energy he, his family, and the Military Religious Freedom Foundation have expended to protect our vulnerable service members who face discrimination because of their religious beliefs (or lack thereof). His efforts support a critical Constitutional guarantee for all Americans. Keep it up, Mikey!"

-- JACK RIVES, Lt. Gen., USAF (Retired) and The Judge Advocate General of the
United States Air Force, 2006-2010

"No Snowflake in an Avalanche is an anthem for those of us who believe that the armed services personnel who so nobly defend our nation and our people deserve our protection from evangelical, fundamentalist predators... People who love our country and our Constitution will be appalled at what these subversives are attempting to do in the name of Jesus Christ."

-- JOSEPH C. WILSON IV, retired U.S. Ambassador and author of The Politics of Truth: Inside the Lies that Led to War and Betrayed My Wife's CIA Identity

"Fearless and bombastic, Mikey Weinstein is one of the country's fiercest champions of religious pluralism. He is defending us all from fundamentalists who seek to turn the U.S. armed forces into their own sectarian Christian army, a project conflagration ever more likely. It's heroic, invaluable work."

-- MICHELLE GOLDBERG, Senior Contributing Writer for The Daily Beast/Newsweek, author of the New York Times bestseller Kingdom Coming: The Rise of Christian Nationalism

CLICK TO READ MORE CRITICAL PRAISE FROM
A PRESTIGIOUS ROSTER OF ADVOCATES

This latest book is Weinstein's follow-up to the controversial work on religious fundamentalist agendas in the U.S. Military, With God On Our Side: One Man's War
Against An Evangelical Coup in America's Military
(St. Martin's Press, 2006). Mikey Weinstein continues with a rivetingly revelatory probe of the shocking, systemic and
blatantly unconstitutional efforts of fundamentalist indoctrination and agitation within
the U.S. Military, while also giving voice to the personal sacrifices and violence that
the Weinstein family has suffered in their steadfast defense of the continued separation
of church and state, including:

  • Swastika vandalism

  • Jesus Rifles, revealing Trijicon's government contract of up to 800,000 rifle scopes engraved with Bible verses

  • Fort Hood

  • Post-9/11 Bigotry vs. Muslim Americans

  • Vandenberg Air Force Base's "Jesus Loves Nukes" speech scandal, a grotesque "Christian Just War" indoctrination campaign aimed at Nuclear Missile Launch Officers

Click here to read an exclusive excerpt from No Snowflake

As the founder and president of the four-time Nobel Peace Prize-nominated Military Religious Freedom Foundation (MRFF), Mikey Weinstein has been at the forefront of the battle within the U.S. military to protect the Constitution from Christian fundamentalist extremists. The religious extremist threat is tantamount to a civil rights crisis, centering on the rights of marines, sailors, soldiers, airmen, cadets and midshipmen, reservists, National Guard personnel and veterans (of which approximately 96 percent are Christians and/or Catholics) to be free to practice any or no religion, as specified by the First Amendment of the U.S. Constitution. By attempting to convert the War On Terror into a Christian crusade, the fundamentalists' holy war not only undermines U.S. efforts but also represents a powerfully dangerous threat to national security.

Ships on Jan. 31, 2012: Pre-Order Today!

 

MRFF LAW FIRM SENDS WARNING LETTER TO HIGHEST ECHELONS OF
U.S. MILITARY: DEPARTMENT OF DEFENSE COMMAND STRUCTURE MUST REFRAIN FROM ENDORSING "NATIONAL PRAYER" EVENTS

MRFF letter intended to reinforce constitutional compliance and abidance to the spirit and letter of U.S. Air Force Chief of Staff's Norton A. Schwartz's 9/13/11 Memorandum on Religious Neutrality

Friday, January 20, 2012

Content of Killmer, Lane & Newman letter: (emphasis added)

TO: Lieutenant General Michael C. Gould
Superintendent
2304 Cadet Drive, Suite 3300
U.S. Air Force Academy, CO 80840-5001
RE: National Prayer Luncheon

Dear General Gould:

As you may recall, the law firm of KILLMER, LANE & NEWMAN, LLP represents Mr. Mikey Weinstein and his civil rights organization, the Military Religious Freedom Foundation. With the United States Air Force ("USAF") Academy's annual "National Prayer Luncheon" fast approaching, this letter is intended to serve as a very serious reminder of United States Air Force Chief of Staff Gen. Norton Schwartz's September 13, 2011 Memorandum on Religious Neutrality and its edict that all religious events be run exclusively under the auspices of the Chaplain Corps. Indeed, neither the Chaplain's Corps, nor any other USAF Academy entity, may engage the Academy's command structure to promote attendance at this clearly sectarian religious event as it was done last year, which led to our challenge in the United States District Court for the District of Colorado on First Amendment grounds. Thus, we trust that the USAF Academy, specifically, as with all of the USAF and the Department of Defense installations which are planning similar "National Prayer" events, more generally, will take great care to uphold the Constitution's foundational mandate of church-state separation by assiduously assuring that there will not be a repeat of the unconstitutional circumstances surrounding last year's "National Prayer Luncheon," which caused the Military Religious Freedom Foundation to see no option but to pursue aggressive injunctive legal action in Federal Court on behalf of its USAF Academy clients.

Thank you for your attention to this matter.

Sincerely,

KILLMER, LANE & NEWMAN, LLP

Darold W. Killmer

cc:
Leon E. Panetta, Secretary, United States Department of Defense
John McHugh, Secretary of the Army
Ray Mabus, Secretary of the Navy
Michael B. Donley, Secretary of the Air Force
Gen. Martin E. Dempsey, Chairman of the Joint Chiefs of Staff
Gen. James A, Winnefeld Jr., Vice Chairman of the Joint Chiefs of Staff
Gen. Raymond T. Odierno, Army Chief of Staff
Adm. Jonathan Greenert, Chief of Naval Operations
Gen. Norton A. Schwartz, Air Force Chief of Staff
Gen. James F. Amos, Commandant of the Marine Corps
Michael L. "Mikey" Weinstein, Esq.

Click here to read original letter

 

INTERNATIONAL LAW FIRM JONES DAY RESPONDS TO USAF STALLING TACTICS VS. MRFF WITH ULTIMATUM REITERATING MRFF WILINGNESS TO ARRIVE AT SOLUTION WITH COMMANDING OFFICERS

Jones Day letter forcefully makes clear national civil rights organization's refusal to waste time: Mikey Weinstein and the Military Religious Freedom Foundation insist that joint efforts with commanding officers are the only means towardsresolving constitutional crisis at Travis AFB

Friday, January 20, 2012

Content of Jones Day Letter: (emphasis added)

TO: Lieutenant General Michael C. Gould
Superintendent
2304 Cadet Drive, Suite 3300
U.S. Air Force Academy, CO 80840-5001
RE: National Prayer Luncheon

Dear General Gould:

[TO:]
Mr. Conrad M. Von Wald
HQ USAF/JAA
1420 Air Force Pentagon Rm 5D116
Washington DC 20330-1420
Mr. Gregory Girard
HQ USAF/JAA
1420 Air Force Pentagon Rm 5D116
Washington DC 20330-1420

Dear Gentlemen:

We received your letter dated January 12, 2012. In your letter, you suggest that Brigadier General Larry Martin, 18AF/CV, is a “staff officer without command authority” and that any meeting with Brigadier General Martin would be focused on hearing “Mr. Weinstein’s concerns and nothing more.”

As we stated in our January 5th letter, although we appreciate the offer to meet with several of your “staff” members, including 18AF/CV, to make this trip worthwhile, we need to ensure that someone with command authority is present, e.g., AMC/CC or 18AF/CC. We have already fully outlined our position as to why the Travis AFB display violates the First Amendment in our prior letters to counsel. Unfortunately, in these past two months, we have received no meaningful response to our concerns. We are not interested in flying across the country to relay, once again, “Mr. Weinstein’s concerns” to the Air Force if there is no possibility the issue will be resolved. We seek a dialogue in order to explore alternatives that are mutually satisfactory to both parties. Your refusal to engage in such a dialogue, or even to explain your position in anything other than conclusory assertions, suggests that Travis AFB’s decision to place a religious display sponsored by the Chaplain at the center of the base rather than at the chapel cannot withstand scrutiny.

Please inform as to whether you can make available AMC/CC or 18AF/CC, or any individual who is empowered and authorized to explain the position of the Air Force and to make decisions on behalf of the Air Force. If you will not make such a person available, we decline your invitation to meet with Air Force staff at Scott AFB.

Very truly yours,

Katherine S. Ritchey

Click here to read original letter

 

MRFF ON THE RADIO

Rare Bird Radio with Jason Leopold - Interview with Mikey Weinstein

Sunday, January 15, 2012

An important discussion between Truthout's Jason Leopold and
MRFF founder and President Michael L. "Mikey" Weinstein
.

Click here to listen to audio

 

MRFF FEATURED BY THE AMERICAN MUSLIM (TAM)

Does the most recent military scandal reflect a deeper problem?

Friday, January 13, 2012

Selected Article Excerpts:

The release of a video showing U.S. troops urinating on the dead bodies of Afghans is only the most recent scandal [:]

  • Previously, we had the "Kill Team" War Crimes in Afghanistan. Photos show U.S. troops posing for trophy pictures with bloody, naked murdered Afghan civilians. They had hunted these civilians for sport and murdered them in cold blood. 12 soldiers were ultimately charged with war crimes.
  • There was the Abu Ghraib torture and prisoner abuse scandal after photographs came out.
  • There was the rape scandal in which four U.S. soldiers in Iraq were charged with participation in the "rape and murder of a young Iraqi woman, and the murder of three members of her family to cover it up. A fifth soldier was accused of dereliction of duty for failing to report the offenses.
  • We had the "Jesus rifles" scandal in which rifles with bible verses on their scopes were issued to troops fighting in Afghanistan and Iraq.
  • There was the video showing U.S. military personnel in uniform with Bibles in Pashto and Darri planning on evangelizing Muslims in Afghanistan. The Al Jazeera report on this incident also shows a military preacher, Lieutenant-Colonel Gary Hensley, the chief of the US military chaplains in Afghanistan, urging army parishioners to "hunt people for Jesus."
    "The Special Forces guys, they hunt men. Basically, we do the same things as Christians. We hunt people for Jesus. We do, we hunt them down. Get the hound of heaven after them, so we get them into the Kingdom. That's what we do, that's our business,"
    he says.
  • There was the "freedom packages" scandal in which Bibles, proselytizing material in English and Arabic and the apocalyptic computer game "Left Behind: Eternal Forces" were to be included in packages put together by a fundamentalist Christian ministry called Operation Straight Up who had also planned a troop entertainment tour called "military crusade". The Pentagon cancelled this plan after its inappropriate nature was brought to their attention.

Click to read full article

 

RH REALITY CHECK EXPOSES ROOTS OF SEXUAL
ASSAULT SCOURGE IN THE U.S. MILITARY

Stoking Fire: Ultra-Conservative Doctrine May Be the Reason for Unreported Sexual Crimes in the Military

Wednesday, January 11, 2012

Selected Article Excerpts:

  • The cliché tells us that war is hell, but for female enlistees, the war on the domestic front—within their units--trumps that of the battlefield. In fact, a recent Veteran's Administration survey revealed statistics that should have turned the military on its warmongering head: 30 percent of female vets told the interviewers that they had been assaulted by a male colleague and/or supervisor. Worse, 14 percent reported having been gang raped and 20 percent reported having been raped more than once.Shockingly, these figures may be low since under-reporting of sexual crimes is known to be endemic. Part of the blame for the reluctance to report rests with an unsympathetic military chaplaincy, one of the few places soldiers, sailors, reservists, national guardians, and marines can turn for counseling. According to the St. Louis Post-Dispatch, 20 percent of today's 3000 military chaplains were trained at the ultraconservative Liberty Baptist Theological Seminary in Lynchburg, Virginia.
  • "Some super evangelicals see the military as their own government-paid mission field," [Rev. John] Gundlach begins. "They are there to proselytize; that's their mandate. Even though proselytizing is prohibited, it takes place all the time." In addition, Gundlach says that many Liberty-trained pastors are incompetent. "They take courses online and don't get the practical training and hands-on experience they need," he says.Then there's the issue of ideology. "Some male pastors lord over women. Some talk about 'the gay lifestyle,' which they see as a sin to be condemned. Even though they say they love the sinner and hate the sin, this viewpoint doesn't help the individual who needs pastoral care and counseling," Gundlach continues. "They claim it violates their religious freedom to have to provide care for lesbian or gay people, or to offer rites and sacraments to them."
  • As for rape, groping, or sexually offensive comments, the MCA has been appallingly silent."Liberty-trained chaplains are just one piece of a larger problem," Rev. Gundlach concludes. "The evangelical Christian piece is huge. Their influence in the Pentagon and the military academies is enormous and will not be easy to overcome. It's not just chaplains but senior officials and admirals who have been influenced by these conservative groups."

Click to read full article

 

MRFF FEATURED BY "THE REAL DEAL"

Mikey Weinstein on PressTV's "The Real Deal" with George Galloway

Monday, January 9, 2012

Mikey Weinstein discusses the ongoing threat represented by the Christian fundamentalist assault on the Constitutional rights of servicemen and servicewomen in the U.S. armed forces and the growing trend of religious fervor in the top ranks of the military.

Click to watch interview

 

1/13/12 MILITARY.COM – Group Targets Military's 'Religious Preference'

1/9/12 RIGHT WING WATCH – Jeffress Warns that First Amendment Protections will "Kindle the Anger of God Against Us"

1/9/12 KEAN XCHANGE – Be the Change and MRFF Sends Toys to Oil Spill Victims

1/3/12 FOUNDATION VOICE (Mike Farrell) – Re: Dispute spotlights fallen Marines (LA Times letter to the editor)

1/3/12 USAF requests meeting with Mikey Weinstein, then reneges — MRFF breaks silence, requests immediate response

12/28/11 HUFFINGTON POST – Mikey Weinstein, a Traitor in the War on Christmas

12/20/11 SAN FRANCISCO CHRONICLE – Travis AFB nativity scene, menorah can stay

12/20/11 THE REPORTER (VACAVILLE, CA) – Despite 'demand,' nativity and menorah at Travis Air Force Base to stay

12/20/11 FOX40 SACRAMENTO – Travis AFB: Nativity Scene and Menorah will Stay

12/20/11 WORLDNETDAILY – U.S. Dept. of Defense's war on religion, Part 1

12/19/11 KFSN TV ABC – Religious display at CA Air Force base causes controversy

12/19/11 ASSOCIATED BAPTIST PRESS – Group says Southern Baptists oppose religious equality in the military

12/18/11 KCRA SACRAMENTO – Religious Displays Can Stay On Travis Air Force Base

12/18/11 ABC NEWS 10 – Travis Air Force Base will not move nativity scene

 

You can see the above stories, as well as much more, at MilitaryReligiousFreedom.org


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MRFF's Inbox

We at MRFF receive an enormous amount of email both from our supporters and our detractors. "MRFF's Inbox" allows us to share these emails with you. The following is a small sampling of the sometimes vibrant, sometimes vile correspondence which we've received within the past month:

 

Mikey and MRFF are Worst Air Force Academy Rapists

Travis AFB

Re: Facade of Religious Tolerance (CS Gazette)

Re: One Day Left (A Response to Abraham Foxman of the Anti Defamation League)

Unhappy New Year jew

Note of Encouragement and Thanks....

"Be careful when you fight monsters..."

Go F-k yourself!

Man in the Mirror

Response Letter to "The Vacaville Reporter"

Soldier commits suicide after being bullied — and the soldiers who bullied him face criminal charges

Religious offenses

Acknowledgement & Gratitude (re: Year End Appeal)

Be Afraid

 

Click here to read the many more emails which MRFF has received in the MRFF Inbox!


MRFF Needs Your Constant Vigilance to Uncover Unconstitutional Religious Incursions in the Military

The constitutional violations occurring in our military are so numerous and widespread
that we can't possibly find all of them ourselves. MRFF counts on its supporters and volunteers --
the indispensable "eyes and ears" who alert us to everything from the most egregious of constitutional
violations to articles we might be interested in.

So, keep the emails coming, and never think that anything is too insignificant or assume
that we might already know about it. You never know -- you might have stumbled into the
next bombshell of a story and not even realize it.

Please report anything that may be of concern to: info@militaryreligiousfreedom.org


SUPPORT MRFF!

Without your dedicated assistance we won't make it.

Make a Donation

Join MRFF's Constitution Society (Recurring Donation)

Help Build the Wall: Donate a "Brick"!


The media outlets referenced in the links above have no affiliation with the Military Religious Freedom Foundation, nor have expressed endorsement thereof. While we make every effort to ensure that news articles pertaining to our Foundation remain available for you to access, we are unable to guarantee that the articles linked above will remain online and unchanged indefinitely