August 2012          

Message From MRFF President and Founder Mikey Weinstein

Mikey WeinsteinGreetings, valued supporters!

It came as no surprise to us that this summer proved to be a blazingly hot one... and I'm not talking about the scorching weather here in Albuquerque. We've heard an incessant whining from Washington D.C. emanating from so-called "conservative" lawmakers about some fictitious "war on religion" ostensibly being spearheaded by MRFF in conjunction with the current presidential administration. As if! We've also witnessed former U.S. Air Force (USAF) Chief of Staff, Norton A. Schwartz, belatedly underscore the regulations meant to safeguard religious freedom within the USAF. Make no mistake, MRFF advocacy played THE decisive role in ensuring the inclusion of the critical religious neutrality component in these mandatory new Air Force Instructions (AFI 1-1). Importantly, these new regulations have teeth -- failure to abide by AFI 1-1 is considered a dereliction of duty offense under Article 92 of the Uniform Code of Military Justice, and is punishable through trial by courts-martial.

Additionally, the lid has cleanly been blown off the patent falsity of the infamous Christian nationalist pseudo-historian David Barton's mythologized, fabricated history of our founding fathers. It has truly been a month like no other in terms of advancing our fight to guarantee the Constitutional rights of servicemembers to be rid of a constant encircling by the vultures of evangelical Christian fundamentalism within our armed forces. Much of the research used to bring on David Barton's "fall from grace" came from the work of our talented MRFF Senior Research Director, the inestimable Ms. Chris Rodda, who has now been called a "terrorist" and compared to Hitler by Barton's second in command, Rick Green. Barton, a grade-A charlatan and professional fraudster of the highest order, has been forced to suffer the humiliation of having his own publisher, Thomas Nelson (a Christian publishing house), unceremoniously drop him like a toilet seat and pull the books from the shelves. Adding to this humiliation, can you guess who's picking this "toilet seat" up? None other than Glenn Beck, who has signaled that he'll be publishing the ironically titled Jefferson Lies through his own gutter press conveyor-belt, Mercury Ink.

The latest big MRFF win was the exposure of a disgusting abuse of rank by the 2-Star Adjutant General of Indiana's National Guard, Gen. R. Martin Umbarger. In what can only be described as a treacherous act of open defiance towards his oath to support and defend the United States Constitution against all enemies, foreign and domestic, Umbarger flouted all conventions of military professionalism and appeared IN UNIFORM (!) in a promotional video for Centurion's Watch, a clearly sectarian and evangelical fundamentalist organization. Umbarger's uniformed endorsement is a clear violation of not only our Constitution, but also the crystal-clear directives, instructions, and regulations laid out by the Department of Defense. We have forthrightly called on the highest echelons of civil-military leadership to not only force Umbarger to cease and desist, but also to try this rogue General via court-martial, and punish him under the auspices of the Uniform Code of Military Justice.

We at MRFF are also extremely proud to announce that the wonderful Sheila Musaji, editor of The American Muslim, is joining our esteemed and prestigious Advisory Board. Ms. Musaji has a great track record and is a firm believer in interfaith dialogue and understanding, having served on the Missouri U.S. Attorneys’ Hate Crimes Task Force and participated in the Parliament for the World’s Religions. Ms. Musaji also brings to MRFF the highest-caliber level of awareness regarding American Muslim issues, offering important assets to our foundation's unflagging fight on behalf of the persecuted practitioners of the Islamic faith within our U.S. Military. As you can imagine, and as we have assiduously documented, Muslims suffer some of the worst torment within our armed services. Indeed, some of the most flagrant and glaring incidents of religious torment have fallen on the shoulders of these brave men and women whose only goal is to serve their American homeland. Sheila Musaji's wisdom will surely guide us as we continue to traverse the stormy waters of securing civil rights for all of our servicemen and servicewomen.

Our continued push for accountability and constitutional compliance is reliant not only on the efforts of myself and our foundation's staff and volunteers, but also your assistance as stalwarts of religious liberty, active supporters, and generous donors. As high as our morale is and will forever remain, MRFF requires "fuel in our tank" so that we can continue covering our significant operational costs, which include providing pro bono legal assistance and activating loud "sirens" through all available media platforms. We exist to ward off the dire threat of our enemies laying their hands, and itchy trigger fingers, on our military's implements of death. This nightmare must not be allowed to occur; your support is required now more than ever.

Your Eternal Ally,

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

MRFF Featured News
August 2012

Connect with MRFF:

 

MRFF FEATURED BY
NBC NEWS

Air Force rules limit size of tattoos, role of gospel

Wednesday, August 22, 2012

Selected Article Excerpts:

  • Just days before retiring as Chief of Staff of the Air Force, Gen. Norton Schwartz issued a document designed to dictate the conduct of U.S. airmen worldwide — all violations enforceable by military law. For the first time, amid regulations on tattoo size and flag handling etiquette, it laid down the law on religious proselytizing by leaders: Don’t do it.

    Section 2.11 of the 27-page Air Force Instruction AFI 1-1 Standards of Conduct is the latest salvo in a battle over religious bias and Christian proselytizing in the military branch. It calls on officers and supervisors to "avoid the actual or apparent use of their position to promote their personal religious beliefs to their subordinates or to extend preferential treatment for any religion."

    The document's section on religion echoes a memo Schwartz sent out to all Air Force leadership on religion last September, but adds the threat of penalty for violations.

    "COMPLIANCE WITH THIS PUBLICATION IS MANDATORY," the memo says in bold, adding that "failure to adhere to the standards set out in this instruction can form the basis for adverse action under the Uniform Code of Military Justice (UCMJ)."
  • In 2006, after complaints by non-Christians that they were being pressured by evangelicals to convert, the Air Force issued guidelines cautioning superiors from pressing their personal religious views on subordinates. But months later they eased the guidelines after Christian conservatives argued that the guidelines restricted freedom of religion.

  • Shortly after this revelation, Schwartz issued a memo using language almost identical to that used in AFI 1-1 calling on all Air Force leaders to "avoid the actual or apparent use of their position to promote their personal religious beliefs to their subordinates or to extend preferential treatment for any religion."

    He went on to say that opportunities for worship, religious studies and prayer meetings can be promoted by chaplains, but not by commanders. And he instructed those who felt they were facing unfair bias on the basis of religion to contact a military attorney.
  • For those who advocate a "complete separation" of church and state, the Schwartz memo would have been a victory, except that some commanders refused to disseminate the memo, according to Mikey Weinstein, founder of the nonprofit Military Religious Freedom Foundation.

    That omission prompted MRFF to receive "a literal torrent of complaints" from military members who Weinstein says are afraid to directly confront the pervasive Christian culture in the Air Force.

    The organization invested in a large billboard down the street from the academy containing the text of the entire memo.
  • For Weinstein, it remains to be seen if AFI 1-1 marks a move in the right direction — and it depends on distribution and enforcement.

    "It looks very nice," he said. "The problem is if you create a mandate that is complied with more frequently in the breech than in the conformance you create a problem 100 times worse than if you had not created the mandate in the first place ... It is looked at with scorn and derision."
    Weinstein, who has been involved in dozens of battles to extricate religious materials from military settings, recently lambasted Schwartz for his "scandalously non-confrontational approach to the Christian extremist predators" in the Air Force.

    "It was a transparent and likely guilt-ridden concession by Schwartz, yet it was both too little and too late," Weinstein wrote in an op-ed article. "With Schwartz’s butt-covering, last second, 'midnight drive-by' delivery of AFI 1-1, we have no alternative left but to look to the new USAF Chief of Staff, Gen. Mark A. Welsh III, to show the all-too-rare backbone once required of all top leaders within the U.S. Military."

Click to read more

 

MAJOR MRFF VICTORY

Gen. Umbarger, what you did was...um...ILLEGAL!
(And MRFF won't let you hide it!)

Tuesday, August 21, 2012

Adjutant General (Head) of Indiana's National Guard, Gen. R. Martin Umbarger, appeared in uniform in a video endorsing a religious organization - in clear violation of the United States Constitution and Department of Defense regulations, directives, and instructions.

MRFF brought immediate national media attention on Umbarger's egregiously illegal actions, and he responded by immediately asking the organization to remove the video in which he appeared.

  • MRFF FOUNDER AND PRESIDENT MIKEY WEINSTEIN DEMANDS IMMEDIATE CONCRETE CORRECTIVE ACTION: "...in the likely event that you find DoD and/or UCMJ regulatory violations committed pursuant to your investigations, MRFF demands that Maj. General Umbarger, Chaplain (Major) Hedrick and any and all other complicit individuals be severely punished accordingly."
  • AIR FORCE TIMES: Group: Indiana Guard chief promoted religion
  • RTV6 ABC THE INDY CHANNEL: Ind. Guard Head Under Fire Over Religious Video - Military Watchdog Group Wants Maj. Gen. Martin Umbarger To Resign
  • MRFF FEATURED BY THE HUFFINGTON POST: R. Martin Umbarger, Indiana Guard Leader, Probed By Army Inspector General For Christian Video
  • MRFF FEATURED BY THE INDIANAPOLIS STAR: Foundation alleges ethics violation of Indiana National Guard leader

Click to read more and watch video

 

LAWMAKERS LAUNCH ATTACK ON U.S. CONSTITUTION

23 Members of Congress submit complaint to Panetta re: MRFF Influence

Wednesday, July 25, 2012

 

Click to read text of letter

 

WHY ARE THEY AFRAID TO MENTION MRFF?

MRFF Senior Research Director Chris Rodda vs.
notorious fundamentalist fraudster, David Barton

Tuesday, August 14, 2012

Following the humiliating exposure of the notorious faux historian David Barton, his personal defender, mouthpiece, and puppet, Rick Green, published a rambling diatribe in which he attempted to discredit MRFF Sr. Research Director Chris Rodda for her association with MRFF – while clearly avoiding mentioning MRFF by name.

Click to read more

 

MRFF FEATURED BY
THE AMERICAN CONSERVATIVE

'God's Warrior' Jerry Boykin to Join Family Research Council

Thursday, July 19, 2012

Selected Article Excerpts:

  • Some are voicing alarm at the Family Research Council's recent announcement that it has hired controversial retired Lt. Gen. William "Jerry" Boykin as its Executive Vice President–but why should they be? For Boykin, joining a Christian evangelical organization that serves as a political ramrod for far-right social conservatism, this is like coming home.
  • Today, Boykin believes that Satan is gathering his forces through Islam, and in particular through Sharia law which, via Muslim agents of deception, is slowly infiltrating the United States seeking to "destroy the Constitution." This is not hyperbole. [...] It started when he was working as the Pentagon's senior intelligence official during the first days of the Iraq War. He wasn't too busy in this capacity to make the rounds selling the war to Christian evangelical groups, where he reportedly suggested that as a Judeo-Christian nation, the United States was waging Holy War with Islam. He did this while in uniform.
  • He is an ordained minister who believes "the 36 years I spent in uniform was nothing but preparation for the real battle we are in today and I believe my role today is to raise up an army, a spiritual army ... of godly men and women who understand the concept of spiritual warfare and are willing to get into battle." [...] His "spiritual war" is wrapped up in his crusade against Islam, which is carefully couched as opposition to Sharia law. [...] He repeatedly says that Muslims represent a faith bent on "destroying the U.S Constitution."
  • Talk like this from Boykin has been rattling American Muslims and civil rights and antiwar groups for years. The Military Religious Freedom Foundation, run by dogged retired judge advocate general Mikey Weinstein, recently helped push Boykin out of an invitation to speak at a West Point prayer breakfast. As far as MRFF is concerned, Boykin is the poster child for the evangelical hold on the military's officer corps, and the transformation of the Global War on Terror into a Christian crusade. One that is not only unconstitutional, but putting our troops in danger overseas.
  • FRC is still considered a mainstream player in U.S Republican politics. How does it affect the party's nominee in the general election when he is compelled to kiss the ring of a homophobic policy think tank that just hired an Islamophobic ex-Army officer who has dedicated his life to a holy war against Islam? Not in a very positive way, one would think.

Click to read more

 

MIKEY WEINSTEIN COLUMN FEATURED BY ALTERNET & TRUTHOUT

Without Concrete Action, New USAF Regulations on Church-State Separation Will be as Useful as a "Football Bat"

Friday, August 17, 2012

by Mikey Weinstein, MRFF Founder and President

Selected Article Excerpt:

  • Our criticism of Schwartz's track record as Chief of Staff hasn't fallen on entirely deaf ears. As regular readers of this column well know, one of my favorite maxims is a quote from Frederick Douglass: "Power concedes nothing without a demand. It never did and it never will." Once again this approach has been universally validated. How? In the form of a new official USAF document. This mandatory USAF directive was issued mere days after my Op-Ed condemnation of Schwartz's term as CSAF was published. Entitled " Air Force Instruction 1-1, Air Force Standards ," this document establishes a uniform standard of conduct within the USAF and serves to underscore the fatally obscure and confusing series of instructional guidelines that had previously been haphazardly spewed across the entirety of the USAF chain of command...

Click to read article at Truthout

Click to read article at Alternet

 

MIKEY WEINSTEIN COLUMN FEATURED BY ALTERNET & TRUTHOUT

Good Riddance to the Air Force's Religious Intolerance Enabler in Chief

Wednesday, August 1, 2012

by Mikey Weinstein, MRFF Founder and President

Selected Article Excerpt:

  • In his last agonizing days, the now-disgraced former Penn State football coach Joe Paterno lamented publicly, "I wish I had done more." Indeed, we all wish he had... Paterno's concealment of [Jerry] Sandusky's vile misdeeds ruined his own legacy as coach and forever stained the reputation of Penn State's athletics program.
  • A similar drama has played out within the ranks of the United States Air Force (USAF). Rather than the odious offense of covering up sexual abuse, we have seen the vast coverup of an unlawful epidemic whereby many thousands of men and women within the ranks of the USAF have been subject to serial religious abuse and molestation. The national security repercussions of this ongoing crisis are all too dire, and as was the case at Penn State, the responsibility for this scandal ultimately lies with the most senior leadership.
  • On August 10, 2012, the current chief of staff (the commander) of the USAF, General Norton A. "Norty" Schwartz, will saunter off into a plush and comfortable retirement. Schwartz has spent 39 years on active duty, with the last four of these years being spent as the singular leader in charge of the USAF. I know this man well, and he knows me well too – all too well. We first met in his lavish Pentagon office nearly three and a half years ago. The purpose of this meeting was to discuss the civil rights activism of the Military Religious Freedom Foundation (MRFF), the organization that I founded in 2005... The most important advice he gave me was to never lose my "vitriol" lest the Pentagon stop listening to MRFF's constitutional civil rights battle Well, Norty, this op-ed is a testament to how seriously I took your counsel. In careful retrospect, it is likely the only truth you have ever spoken to me.
  • As months passed and turned into years, Norty and I spoke frequently. Sometimes we spoke numerous times each month, and occasionally we spoke numerous times per week. Indeed, I still have a plethora of voice mails left by him from when I was unable to answer his calls. When we did speak, he was always superficially courteous and disingenuously engaging.
  • When I described the real-world consequences wrought upon the USAF by this maelstrom of fundamentalist Christian tyranny and provided him incontrovertible proof of same, including eyewitnesses, he would tell me that he "could not be everyone's Wing Commander." After years of continuously promising me the opportunity to address his most senior subordinate commanders, he lamented that the "white hairs" (read: senior USAF four-star generals underneath him) were "too far gone" to change. He suggested that I instead speak to those junior officers who would be in a position to affect institutional change in, say, just a decade or two. Seriously? Right, Norty. (continued, see link below)

Click to read article at Truthout

Click to read article at Alternet

 

VIDEO - Why We Fight:
Defending Our Troops From
Christian Fundamentalist Predators

An interview with Mikey and Bonnie Weinstein of the Military Religious Freedom Foundation (MRFF) on the struggle to defend service members' civil rights by protecting the constitutional separation of church and state within the U.S. Military.

Click to watch this video

 

MARINE CORPS' DISTURBING RELATIONSHIP
WITH CONTROVERSIAL DOOMSDAY SECT

Camp Pendleton Shows Costa Mesa Extreme Favoritism
Despite History of Sex Crimes and Scandals

Monday, August 6, 2012

Selected Article Excerpts:

  • SAN DIEGO, CA – Over the past decade, the local Calvary Chapel Costa Mesa has had unprecedented access to Marines at Camp Pendleton. Despite their controversial end-times message and history of sex scandals, the group has co-sponsored several high-profile concerts and other events with the approval of local Navy and Marine Corps commanders.

    Comprised of hundreds of congregations, Calvary Chapel is a large organization in crisis. Their founder, Chuck Smith, famously predicted the end of the world to be 1981, and still expects the end any day now. Smith also presides over the San Diego area congregation, the Calvary Chapel Costa Mesa. His former colleagues have described cover-ups of sex scandals, including those involving minors as young as 12 years old. Smith had famously re-hired John Flores, a twice-fired pastor who was finally arrested and convicted of having sex with the 15-year-old daughter of another Costa Mesa pastor.

    None of these incidents affected Costa Mesa's influence at Pendleton. No other religious group has a presence on this scale. In fact, other groups are beginning to cry foul at unfair treatment, citing the special privilege that Costa Mesa has enjoyed for a decade... (continued, click to read more)

Click to read more

 

MRFF FEATURED BY
COLORADO SPRINGS INDEPENDENT

AFA's Gould refers to Sikhs as going to 'mosque'

Monday, August 6, 2012

Selected Article Excerpts:

  • Gen. Mike Gould, superintendent of the Air Force Academy, is again stirring the religious waters by referring to Sikhs as Muslims. During a briefing of faculty, staff and cadets today, Gould mentioned the shooting in Oak Creek, Wisc., where six people were killed as having taken place at "a Sikh Mosque."
  • Sikhs are not Muslims, Mikey Weinstein says most emphatically. Weinstein, founder of the Military Religious Freedom Foundation, says he has been contacted by 19 faculty, staff and cadets at the academy about Gould's gaff. "They're pretty horrified," he says.
  • He says he contacted the academy's public affairs department so someone could point out Gould's error to him before further briefings were held and was asked by a public information officer, referring to Sikhs, "They're Hindus, right?"
  • "This is just unbelievable," Weinstein says. "It shows the lack of intelligence, lack of broad cultural diversity, the lack of understanding when you have this idiot leading the academy."

Click to read more

 

MIKEY WEINSTEIN COLUMN FEATURED BY TRUTHOUT

Consequences of Not Seeing the Chains That Oppress

Monday, July 23, 2012

by Mikey Weinstein, MRFF Founder and President

Selected Article Excerpt:

  • Oh, what a strange and complex world we live in. The good guys and bad guys sometimes appear to say the same thing – that they only want the best for us all. How do we distinguish between what's genuinely "good" and what's genuinely "bad"? A cold, hard look at the facts is always most helpful. Let's take a perfect example to briefly analyze this dichotomy.

    Proponents of Christian evangelical fundamentalism, or Dominionism, are keen to disingenuously drape their putrid extremism in the false flags of "defending religious liberty" and "upholding family values." Astute observers can easily discern these "all-American" buzzwords as dog-whistles meant to incite those multitudes of cretins who reside both inside and outside the closet of violent bigotry. However, the recent appointment of retired Army Lt. Gen. William "Jerry" Boykin as the new Executive Vice President of the putrescent Family Research Council (FRC) should leave no shadow of a doubt regarding the fundamentalists' open embrace of a most dangerous and wholly anti-constitutional brand of religious militancy...

    While the morbid spectacle of Fred Phelps and his Westboro Baptist Church carrying "God Hates Fags" placards may be one of the most recognizable memes conveying the face of modern Christian fundamentalism, the well-funded and influential Family Research Council are the "A-Team" of the malignant and malodorous Christian extremist lobby. The Southern Poverty Law Center's Hatewatch blog aptly characterized FRC as an "anti-gay hate group." FRC's slogan? "Advancing freedom, family, and faith." (continued, click to read more...)

Click to read article at Truthout

 

8/13/12 MARINE CORPS TIMES – Atheists contest treatment from Camp Pendleton

8/10/12 WASHINGTON POST – U.S. Military, Open Your Door to Sikhs

8/6/12 ASSOCIATED PRESS – Seen at a Same-Sex Military Wedding, Air Force Chaplain Leaves Southern Baptists

8/6/12 BOX TURTLE BULLETIN: Repeal of DADT actually HAS resulted in restrictions on a chaplain’s religious freedom

7/25/12 Oklahoma Senator, citing MRFF achievements, attacks Obama admin. for “hostility to religion” and “gay agenda”

 

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

Dear Military Religious Freedom Foundation,

Since Mikey is too much of a coward to list his email address I will send this to you. You can forward if you want.

Your motto says it all about your beliefs and your lack of historical knowledge. Mikey's argument against Christianity in the military is ridiculous. Your argument pushes your religion and your god on people while excluding all others. As your motto says, your god is the constitution. You do this while attempting to exclude all other religions. That certainly smacks of intolerance. Your blindness and lack of historical knowledge is heartbreaking. However, your arrogance is disgusting.

I hope that your religion brings you peace. However, I do not see how it ever can. Maybe your ignorance will.

(name withheld), military veteran

Click here to read responses from MRFF supporters

No Snowflake - Thank You for Your Sacrifices, Mikey & co.

R. Martin Umbarger

jew mudperson traitor

Thank You MRFF

MRFF Featured by CSIndy – AFA's Gould refers to Sikhs as going to 'mosque'

FEATURED INBOX POST – Questions and Answers About Holman Military Bibles

Active Duty Air Force Member Needs Advice

re: Norty Schwartz at Truthout.org

Mikey Weinstein, Jesus-basher

Eagle Scout who supports your mission

Vile neo-nazi blog: "Walk it off, lampshade."

Latest Highlights from the MRFF Inbox

Truth vs. "Big Lie" Distortions

Profound Admiration

Warning To Stop, Mr. Weinstein

Re: Warning To Stop, Mr. Weinstein

 

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


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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