July 2012          

Message From MRFF President and Founder Mikey Weinstein

Mikey WeinsteinGreetings, valued supporters!

Despite the July 4th holiday, this past month entailed two consecutive attacks by members of Congress on one of the bedrock guarantees of freedom which Americans have cherished since the drafting of the Constitution of the United States: the freedom of religion. First, 66 members of Congress demagogically complained to Defense Secretary Leon Panetta of "a stringent policy with regards to religion." This supposed "stringent policy"was ostensibly unleashed by U.S. Air Force Chief of Staff Gen. Norton Schwartz's watershed September, 2011 memo entitled "Maintaining Government Neutrality Regarding Religion." Additionally, these rogues pointed to recent gains won by the Military Religious Freedom Foundation as proof of their spurious claims.

In the sick minds of these constitutional derelicts, "freedom of religion" is tantamount to the freedom of Christian fundamentalist extremists to ride roughshod over the rights of a vast majority of Americans. Indeed, those who face some of the worst pressure are the devout Christian servicemembers who refuse to become crusading bigots, such as Professor David Mullin, formerly of the United States Air Force Academy (USAFA), a Christian in the Evangelical tradition. Yet, despite the fact that 96% of our clients are practicing Christians, our detractors still seek to mischaracterize us as "anti-Christian" & "anti-religious." This malicious defamation couldn't be further from the truth, not that the truth is of any worth to these professional "liars for Jesus."

Next, 22 members of Congress wrote to Secretary Panetta to complain of the revocation of permission for B&H publishing to use the official insignia of the four branches of the armed services to sell their "Holman Military Bibles." Our pressure, no doubt, played the decisive role in the matter. However, if these lawmakers did their due diligence they'd see that it's a crystal-clear matter of abiding by the law of the land, i.e. the U.S. Constitution. The Holman Bible endorsement was a clear violation of the Establishment Clause of the First Amendment to the Constitution, which states that "Congress shall make no law respecting an establishment of religion." We can't allow for precedents to be set that wear away, through an atrocious process of attrition, these important safeguards. Additionally, the endorsement was an open violation of Clause 3, Article 6 of the Constitution, which states that "no religious test shall ever be required as a qualification to any office or public trust under the United States."

Our detractors and opponents, like these lawmakers, tend to forget such "inconvenient" factors as our constitutional protections. This threat to our freedom is why MRFF exists. We're not grinding an axe against the religious, but we are grinding an axe for the sake of defending our remaining liberties from religious predators. We long for that moment when we at MRFF can finally retire, knowing that we've eliminated the national security threat of noxious hyper-fundamentalists who seek to abuse their rank and position within the armed forces to spiritually molest their helpless fellow servicemembers. However, mega-evidence confirms that what MRFF has revealed has merely been the proverbial tip of the iceberg. This tremendously vast, expansive threat's existence is corroborated by the correspondence and communication which we are in receipt of daily. This ongoing attack against our nation's non-sectarian and democratic character is why we need your support. Unlike our faux-patriotic opponents, our patriotism isn't some gaudy "Uncle Sam" hat used to hide duplicitous anti-Constitutional, Christian fundamentalist agendas. For us, it's a matter of fighting tenaciously to ensure that venerable promise spoken of by Thomas Jefferson as he laid out his vision for this country: "Equal and exact justice to all [people], of whatever state or persuasion."

Your Eternal Ally,

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

MRFF Featured News
July 2012

Connect with MRFF:
Mikey Weinstein Facebook Page Mikey Weinstein Twitter Mikey Weinstein Youtube Channel

 

MRFF FEATURED BY
RELIGION NEWS SERVICE, WASHINGTON POST

Debate reignites over religion at Air Force Academy

Monday, July 16, 2012

Selected Article Excerpts:

  • (RNS) The long-smoldering debate at the U.S. Air Force Academy over the role of religion in cadets' lives has reignited, just as a new class arrives on campus for basic training. Accusations of improper proselytizing on the Colorado Springs, Colo., campus have been challenged by those who argue that AFA guidelines curtail religious expression.The two sides recently clashed over a letter from 66 House Republicans urging Defense Secretary Leon Panetta to investigate the USAF's growing "hostility toward religious freedom" under guidelines set last September by USAF Chief of Staff Gen. Norton Schwartz.
  • The Chaplain Alliance for Religious Liberty, a conservative Christian organization representing evangelical chaplains, applauded the letter."There's nothing wrong with a commander attending, even publicizing and encouraging ... a good and positive event for the morale and the welfare of military personnel," said executive director and retired Col. Ron Crews, a former chaplain with 28 years of military experience.
  • But David Mullin, a former AFA economics professor, said military culture muddies the distinction between encouragement and orders, so only chaplains should speak on religious matters."When a military commander says 'you are encouraged to attend,' whether it is to military officers or civilians, that is an effective order," Mullin said. This constitutes improper proselytism, he added. A self-described evangelical, Mullin is one of the few to openly criticize what he calls an unhealthy religious climate in the AFA. He is represented in court by the Military Religious Freedom Foundation, a legal watchdog.
  • A 2010 survey found 41 percent of non-Christian cadets faced unwanted proselytizing, even as the religious majority felt that their freedom of speech was being infringed upon.This is bad for cadets and bad for the country, says Mikey Weinstein, a 1977 academy graduate and founder of MRFF..

Click to read more

 

MRFF FEATURED BY
MEMPHIS COMMERCIAL APPEAL

Congressmen question Pentagon’s removal of military insignia on Bibles

Monday, July 16, 2012

Selected Article Excerpts:

  • WASHINGTON – Twenty-two members of Congress, including Mississippi Republican Alan Nunnelee, are asking Secretary of Defense Leon E. Panetta to clarify the Pentagon’s decision to revoke permission for a religious publishing house to use U.S. military insignias on its Bibles.
  • "As you are aware, the Military Religious Freedom Foundation (MRFF) is claiming responsibility for the revocation of permission by B&H Publishing group to use official emblems on its military-themed Bibles," the letter says. B&H Publishing is a division of Nashville-based LifeWay Christian Resources associated with the Southern Baptist Convention.In a statement accompanying the letter, Nunnelee refers to the MRFF as an "atheist group" and writes "the military should not be succumbing to pressure from outside groups to alter longstanding policy."
  • The group’s founder, Michael L. "Mikey" Weinstein, a Jewish graduate of the U.S. Air Force Academy and a lawyer, calls the characterization "actionable." Weinstein, a former military lawyer, said Wednesday that the civil liberties group represents 28,414 members of the armed services, 96 percent of whom are "practicing Christians," who object to proselytizing by representatives of one fundamentalist Christian sect.He noted that the Bibles they object to are a Protestant version with scripture recognized by Roman Catholic and Orthodox Christians removed. The Bibles also contain advertising for the Officers’ Christian Fellowship, an organization that says it seeks "to glorify God by uniting Christian officers for biblical fellowship and outreach, equipping and encouraging them to minister effectively in the military society."
  • MRFF’s San Francisco-based lawyer, Katherine S. Ritchey, explained that in U.S. Supreme Court rulings dating to 1971, government action touching on religion must have a secular purpose."The prominent placement of the Army emblem on such a profound religious instrument reveals an intent to convey a message of endorsement of religion," Ritchey wrote. "That the emblem’s placement does not serve any logical secular purpose further underscores this point."

Click to read more

 

MIKEY WEINSTEIN COLUMN FEATURED BY ALTERNET & TRUTHOUT

Homophobic Chaplain Alliance's Feeble, Failed
Attempt to Rape Servicemembers' Civil Rights

Wednesday, July 11, 2012

by Mikey Weinstein, MRFF Founder and President

Selected Article Excerpts:

  • Throughout the course of the Cold War, an extremist alliance comprised of military personnel, private and public sector civilians, and clergy used the black brush of McCarthyism to relentlessly and unconstitutionally target anyone not already to the right of Attila the Hun. Indeed, this vicious tool of dehumanization proved to have a shelf life extending far beyond that of the "Red Menace" itself. Civil rights organizations representing ethnic, national, cultural, and religious minorities, organized labor, opponents of fundamentalist (also known as Dominionist) Christian supremacy, and advocates for the continued separation of church and state were each subject to vicious attacks by this modern day inquisition. The courageous advocates of equality who fought for the basic human rights of the lesbian, gay, bisexual, and transgender (LGBT) community were subject to some of the most egregious of these vituperative, unyielding attacks.
  • The repeal of Don't Ask, Don't Tell (DADT) and the recent judicial challenges to the Defense of Marriage Act (DOMA) have provided additional impetus to these bigots' continued crusade against these most basic rubrics of human equality. Shamefully, the significant lesbian, gay, and bisexual demographic within the armed forces is once again being subjected to a withering torrent of cowardly assaults launched by the fundamentalist Christian gutter-press. The weapons? Wildly off-base predictions of mass defections within the chaplaincy, foretellings of a shattered esprit de corps across the whole of the U.S. Military, and the usual uber-fundamentalist gay-bashing tropes.
  • Meanwhile, the Huxleyesque-named Chaplain Alliance for "Religious Liberty" (CARL) have endlessly fulminated about the fictitious damage to troop retention, morale, and discipline that was to be caused by the repeal of DADT. CARL is an activist organization of extremist former armed forces chaplains who claim to "speak on behalf [of] more than 2,000 chaplains." CARL tries mightily to pose as the polar opposite of the Military Religious Freedom Foundation (MRFF), the constitutionalist civil rights organization of which I am founder and President.

Click to read more

 

MRFF FEATURED BY HUFFINGTON POST

Evolution in the Chaplain Corps?

by Mike Farrell, MRFF Advisory Board Member

Tuesday, July 3, 2012

Selected Article Excerpts:

  • It's interesting how some things change. Evolution suggests a natural process of growth and development based on a somehow-perceived need for an entity to adapt to new or altered circumstances. The implication, since it is a natural process, is that the change, the new evolved state, will be an improvement over the old.But what does one call it when it's not?
  • The Chaplain Alliance for Religious Liberty, a conservative Christian organization representing evangelical chaplains, applauded the letter."There's nothing wrong with a commander attending, even publicizing and encouraging ... a good and positive event for the morale and the welfare of military personnel," said executive director and retired Col. Ron Crews, a former chaplain with 28 years of military experience. Today, a huge percentage of our military chaplains, according to thousands of aggrieved American servicemen and women, present themselves as fevered salesmen for a fundamentalist version of Christianity rather than as simple, caring souls with a willingness to listen and no attached quid pro quo. These religious hucksters see themselves as "government-paid missionaries" and the youth under their domain "as ripe as black bananas." (see video link below)
  • The Military Religious Freedom Foundation (MRFF), has been sounding the alarm about the brazen sectarian assault on our Constitutionally protected separation of church and state that this cultish group's tactics represent (See here for an example). While no one disputes the individual American's right to believe — or not believe — as he or she chooses, the degree to which the purveyors of this particular belief system — fundamentalist, Dominionist Christianity — have insinuated themselves, not only in the chaplaincy but in the military hierarchy as well, is unnerving.
  • ...The zealous pursuit of converts to this singular view, this One Way, reminds me in part of the dragooning by glassy-eyed Moonie recruiters or seductive Scientologists whose victims and whose heartbroken families we tried to help when I was associated with the original Cult Awareness Network.

Click to read more

 

VIDEO: MRFF Reveals U.S. Military Being Used as Government-Paid Missionaries

A collection of clips showing military chaplains, and some of the many fundamentalist parachurch ministries that operate freely within the military, clearly stating what their real mission is. This shocking video also shows the mission of these chaplains and parachurch ministries being put into practice in Afghanistan.

Click to watch this video

 

WHAT EVERY SERVICEMEMBER SHOULD KNOW

How to fight back against mandatory prayer and win

Monday, July 16, 2012

by Justin Griffith

Selected Article Excerpts:

  • Bookmark this one. This letter accidentally became the best walk-through on how to fight back against those mandatory ceremony prayers.:

    For 17 years, every military graduation ceremony I’ve been to has had an invocation and/or benediction. This includes schools like: Basic, AIT, PLDC, BNCOC... and BNCOC at Ft. Eustis specifically named Jesus. I’m an instructor and have attended ceremonies for WLC and an MOS reclassification course that have included prayer...until recently.
    ..

Click to read more

 

MRFF vs. MISLEADING JOURNALISM

Holman Military Bibles covered by KOAT ABC Channel 7, ABQ Journal, Stars & Stripes

Tuesday, July 3, 2012

  • MRFF MEDIA MOMENT: Mikey Weinstein Featured on KOAT ABC Channel 7 Albuquerque
  • MRFF'S FIGHT AGAINST MISLEADING JOURNALISM: MRFF Demands Immediate Correction of Major Misleading Errors in Albuquerque Journal Article
  • Albuquerque Journal Sticks Head in Sand, Denies Falsity of Recent Article in Response to MRFF Demand for Correction
  • MRFF FEATURED BY ALBUQUERQUE JOURNAL, STARS AND STRIPES: Credit for nixing military logos on bibles disputed

Click to read more

 

6/27/12 FOX NEWS – Lawmakers claim Air Force culture becoming 'hostile towards religion'

6/24/12 TRUTHOUT - A Biblical Threat to National Security

6/22/12 AIR FORCE TIMES – Lawmakers to Panetta: Stop AF attacks on faith

6/22/12 CHAPLAIN ALLIANCE FOR 'RELIGIOUS LIBERTY' VS. MRFF – "Bibles? Nah ... 'Gay pride'? Yep!"

 

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:

FEATURED INBOX ENTRY

Support

Mikey,

I just wanted to take a few moments of time to sincerely thank you and your entire MRFF organization for all that you do for our great nation and for what you do for the men and women of the United States Armed Forces. As a current member of the Air Force(21 yrs in service, and counting) I have watched our military descend into becoming a Fundamentalist Evangelical entity that disgraces the U.S. Constitution and the oath we all took to support and defend it. It wasn’t until I did some looking on the web and found the MRFF that I was utterly shocked to see how much worse the problem is. I have shared your works with my friends, family and co-workers about the incredibly positive impact you are making not only in our military, but in our nation as well. I no longer fear speaking out against Fundamentalist Christian religious bullies in the Air Force, just as with (officer’s name withheld) and his personal proselytizing web page and blog. Mikey, I know there are others out there that are afraid to talk about their negative experiences of being harmed and persecuted because of their personal religious convictions while proudly wearing the uniform. I hope that my efforts can show them that even the smallest steps taken can weaken evangelizing bullies like this as long as you and MRFF are here to help us stand up and fight.

V/R

(X)Sgt xxxx xxxxx xxxxxx
xxxxxxx xxxxxx Evaluator
xxxx xxxxxx xxxxx Squadron
xxxxxx AFB, xxxxxx

 

equality

Military Religious Freedom Foundation

Why I fight for MRFF

Can idiots be identified by a moron?

To whom it may concern

Asortment of Freaks

Your cowardice.

military bibles

You are hereby cancelled!

This president is a dork and this is disgusting

You're a disgrace to Judism and Christianit

 

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


NOW AVAILABLE

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)

By Michael L. "Mikey" Weinstein and Davin Seay

Click here to learn more


SUPPORT MRFF!

Your Generous Support Allows us to Continue our Fight in the Courts and in the Media

Make a Donation

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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