November 2012          

Message From MRFF President and Founder Mikey Weinstein

Mikey WeinsteinGreetings valued supporters,

As we celebrate Thanksgiving and enter the holiday season, we at MRFF would like to truly thank each and every one of you. You've all helped to make 2012 a watershed year in our most vital cause of defending our servicemembers from religious bigotry, coercive proselytization, and unconstitutional tyranny of the most egregious sort. Without your gracious, generous donations and moral support, MRFF simply wouldn't exist. However, not only do we exist, but we have continuously proven that those who attempt to violate, abuse, or denigrate our cherished Constitutional freedoms will be given no quarter as we relentlessly target, challenge, and expose their seditious and theocratic agendas.

One such case was our 2008 exposure of the anointed supposed "Counterinsurgency (COIN) Czar" General David Petraeus. In retrospect, this was a man whose military and civilian "achievements" were largely fabricated by a fawning "embedded" press corps that has dealt more in pathetic PR boosterism than in objective journalism. Yet his outright hypocrisy was a matter of public record long before the details of his affair with hagiographer Paula Broadwell were aired to the celebrity scandal-obsessed public. As you will learn in the below articles both by myself and MRFF Senior Research Director Chris Rodda, respectively, Petraeus' unfitness to serve was highlighted and underscored years ago by his infidelity towards the U.S. Constitution, as was made clear by his endorsement of "Spiritual Fitness" (fundamentalist Christian indoctrination) programs. As I stated in my column, "Petraeus should have resigned in shame the moment MRFF raised alarm bells regarding his unconstitutional treachery. Perhaps then we would have been saved from four additional years of his 'extremely poor judgment'!"

As always, MRFF will continue to move mountains and effectively muster every resource at our disposal to counter the now creeping, now dashing advance of the fanatical Christian evangelical fundamentalist horde within the U.S. Armed Forces. It must be repeated that we are always in dire need of your assistance in this fight, as are the countless afflicted servicemembers who continually plead for our direct intercession to aggressively abate the unconstitutional abuses that routinely occur within their ranks. From social media to the conventional press, our advocacy has rattled our foes and given hope to our supporters. From the Senate Chamber on Capitol Hill to open courts on the federal and state levels, our legal activism has delivered firm rebuffs to our anti-Constitutional foes. MRFF is the port of safe harbor for servicemembers seeking redress for their grievances, and MRFF will remain the perennial thorn in the side of the homegrown "Christian Taliban" extant across the whole of the U.S. Military. Indeed, every tax-deductible donation to our foundation is a proverbial "brick" in the wall that we're rebuilding - that wall being the long-destroyed barrier separating church and state within the United States armed forces.

Your Eternal Ally,

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

MRFF Featured News
November 2012

Connect with MRFF:

 

MIKEY'S COLUMN FEATURED BY
TRUTHOUT & ALTERNET

Petraeus, Supporter of Military's "Spiritual Fitness"
Program, Should Have Been Fired Years Ago

Tuesday, November 20, 2012

By MRFF Founder and President Mikey Weinstein 

Selected Article Excerpts:

  • "How the mighty have fallen," the headlines blared in a mournful tone. Far from falling in a blaze of glory on the battlefield, this time the storied General fell on his own sword . The proverbial "sword" in this pathetic spectacle was the hypocrisy of retired General and CIA Director David Petraeus, the "warrior scholar" and avatar of asymmetric warfare himself, and an intoxicated ambition dangerously fed (and ultimately, doomed) by the personality cult built up around him.
  • "Extremely poor judgment," assesses the General. Really? Well, let's see. "Poor judgment" is leaving your credit card back at the restaurant where you just finished eating. "Extremely poor judgment" is failing to go back to retrieve it. What Petraeus did here went far beyond "extremely poor judgment."
  • As far back as 2007, the Military Religious Freedom Foundation ( MRFF), the civil rights foundation that I head, was shining the floodlight on matters of infidelity far graver than the General's prurient peccadilloes.
  • Ironically enough, Petraeus was a vocal advocate of military "Spiritual Fitness." Spiritual Fitness is little more than a disingenuous and transparent Trojan horse for Evangelical Christian Fundamentalism within the U.S. Armed Forces. Indeed, it is a sinister Star Chamber, an unlawful means by which nationalism and militarism are merged with sectarian Christian zeal.
  • Spiritual Fitness is a markedly destructive and corrosive agent that has the practical consequence of rampant demoralization, disorientation, and disorder within the armed forces. By endorsing Spiritual Fitness repeatedly, Petraeus revealed a total disregard for both the "No Establishment Clause" of the First Amendment to the Constitution and the "No Religious Test" prohibition of Clause 3, Article VI of the same. It's no exaggeration - it's a bare-knuckled fact - that Petraeus was complicit in a de facto mutiny against America's most cherished and beloved governing document.

Click here to read this article at Truthout

Click here to read this article at Alternet

 

MRFF FEATURED BY
THE HUFFINGTON POST

Hey General Petraeus, How's That
‘Spiritual Fitness' Stuff Working For You?

Tuesday, November 13, 2012

By Chris Rodda, MRFF Senior Research Director 

Selected Article Excerpts:

  • I hate hypocrites. And the first word that came to mind when I heard about David Petraeus's extramarital affair was "hypocrite."
  • One of the big issues we've been dealing with for several years at the Military Religious Freedom Foundation (MRFF) is the military's push to make our troops "spiritually fit." There's the mandatory Army-wide "Spiritual Fitness" test, spiritual fitness concerts, spiritual fitness centers, and lots of other spiritual fitness events and programs to keep our military "spiritual." But while the military insists that "spiritual fitness" does not mean religion, it does. All of this spiritual fitness stuff, which the military spares no expense on, is just a cover to push religion, and particularly evangelical Christianity. The spiritual fitness concerts always have evangelical Christian performers and most of the Army's Strong Bonds events are really just evangelical Christian retreats.
  • And what's one of the big goals of all this "spiritual fitness" stuff? Strong marriages, of course! And who was a big proponent of this "spiritual fitness" stuff? Yeah, you got it - General David Petraeus.
  • Gen. Petraeus first came on MRFF's radar back in 2007, when we were looking into the completely unconstitutional practice of soldiers being forced to attend mandatory Christian concerts during basic training at several of the Army's largest training installations. That's when we found Petraeus's photo and endorsement of these concerts on the Eric Horner Ministries website, praising Horner's military base concerts.
  • Then, in August 2008, Mikey Weinstein, the founder and president of MRFF, noticed a half-page ad in the Air Force Times for a book by Army chaplain Lt. Col. William McCoy. Chaplain McCoy's book, Under Orders: A Spiritual Handbook for Military Personnel, a manual promoting Christianity and asserting that non-religious service members had no defense against sin and could therefore cause the failure of their units, was endorsed by none other than Gen. Petraeus, whose blurb on the book's cover read: "Under Orders should be in every rucksack for those moments when Soldiers need spiritual energy." This completely inappropriate endorsement of a book that denigrated the 21% of our military who don't happen to be religious led Keith Olbermann to name Petraeus one of his "Worst Persons."

Click here to read this article at Huffington Post

 

MRFF FEATURED BY TRUTHOUT

A Civil Rights Battle Royale: Contending for the Soul of the Military

Sunday, November 18, 2012

Selected Interview Excerpts:

  • Truthout Advisory Board Member and Military Religious Freedom Foundation's (MRFF) founder and president Michael L. "Mikey" Weinstein recently released a new book, No Snowflake in an Avalanche, co-authored with Davin Seay, which recounts the history of MRFF's creation and achievements. Weinstein recently responded to some email questions from Truthout's Leslie Thatcher about the book and about the Foundation's current work.
  • "Dominionism" is to the Christian faith what "Wahhabism" is to the Islamic faith. Think "Christian Taliban," and you're right on the mark. I'm sorry to have to report that fundamentalist Christianity or "Dominionism" is inextricably intertwined into the very DNA of our United States armed forces today. Its unlawful and un-American tentacles of noxious unconstitutionality are systemically found in every unit of every branch of the US military.
  • Well, as a result of the swiftly metastasizing theocratic, democracy-poisoning grip of unbridled dominionism extant in today's American Department of Defense (DoD), we at MRFF are compelled to fight absolutely nothing less than a "fundamentalist Christian, para-church, military, corporate, congressional proselytizing complex" of literally Jovian proportion. Dominionism has become an intractable alloy with the technologically most lethal organization ever created by humankind: the United States military.
  • We have had tens of thousands of success stories. Many of them have gone viral in the national and international media like the "Jesus Rifles" and Jesus Nukes successes and getting the Air Force to issue the first-ever regulation criminalizing unconstitutional proselytizing via Air Force Instruction 1-1, Aug. 7, 2012.
  • As to the second question, I am still very disappointed in the fact that, to date, not a single member of the Department of Defense has EVER been prosecuted via trial by courts martial for the brazen religious civil rights violations that occur every day and night within DoD. The only way to change this noxious bigotry is punish it very visibly. The Romans had it right; if you lop off some heads and stick them high on poles for all to see, it DOES change behavior swiftly. Well, we don't chop off heads anymore, but we do court martial criminals every hour of every day in the US armed forces. It's way more than merely "about time" that unconstitutional fundamentalist religious predators face that degree of institutional Pentagon rigor.

Click here to read this article at Truthout

 

MIKEY'S COLUMN FEATURED BY
TRUTHOUT & ALTERNET

Air Force Academy's Orwellian "Religious Respect Conference"
Indicates Clear Bias Against the Non-Religious

Saturday, November 10, 2012

By MRFF Founder and President Mikey Weinstein 

Selected Article Excerpts:

  • Thus, it was with great skepticism and no small amount of disgust that we greeted the latest "Religious Respect Conference" at USAFA. Clearly this event was to be a proverbial "dog-and-pony show" foolishly meant to assuage those of us who have been blowing the whistle on the ongoing religious civil rights abuses at USAFA for many years now. Sadly, our expectations of the dubious nature of the "Conference" were fully realized even before it began.
  • The idea of USAFA blaring its triumphant horns at having "reformed" itself in the field of "Religious Respect" is an odd and uber-ignominious one - folly, indeed. The overtly theistic flavor of the "conference" was belied by the fact that the ever-expanding demographic of agnostic, atheist, humanist, and secular cadets on campus (collectively self-identified as "Freethinkers") was initially and comprehensively written out of the proceedings of this "respect" conference. It was only through a combination of chance and MRFF's loud advocacy in the local press that a literal 11th-hour invitation was callously extended to a cadet representative of the academy's Freethinkers. This "invitation" was classic ass-covering by USAFA and nothing more.
  • I, along with many of MRFF's clients at USAFA, were literally thunderstruck when we read that Retired Col. Frank Clawson, representing the Church of Jesus Christ of Latter-day Saints (commonly called the Mormon Church), actually noted his concern that USAFA would "become a secular university with no opportunities for religious respect, and those who wanted to exercise their faith would be so looked down on that there would be no religious discussion at all." Huh? Come again, Colonel? Secular is now synonymous with "bad?" Exactly which Constitution and its construing case law have you been reading lately?
  • Anti-secular simpleton Clawson would do well to remember that the recently released Air Force Instruction 1-1 (AFI 1-1) firmly establishes complete religious neutrality throughout the U.S. Air Force (USAF). Violation of AFI 1-1 runs the grave risk of invoking the panoply of punitive measures available under the Uniform Code of Military Justice (UCMJ), including criminal trial by courts martial. USAFA is supposed to be an elite federal military academy devoted to training, among many armed forces specialties, America's airborne war fighters, pilots, and commanders. USAFA is most certainly not an exception to the ironclad rules set forth in these brand new USAF instructions. USAFA isn't a sectarian monastery and it's not a divinity college.

Click here to read this article at Truthout

Click here to read this article at Alternet


NONBELIEVERS NONEXISTENT AT US AIR FORCE
ACADEMY RELIGIOUS RESPECT CONFERENCE

AFA explores religious respect

Monday, October 29, 2012

Secularists are the most disrespected and proselytized-to group,
yet they are not even represented at this so-called "Religious Respect" conference

Click here to read this article at CSIndy.com

 

MRFF SUPPORTER EARNS HIGH HONORS

Dr. Barry Fagin, USAFA Faculty Member and Strong MRFF Supporter, named 2012's Colorado Professor of the Year

Thursday, November 15, 2012

US Air Force Academy faculty member and MRFF Thomas Jefferson Award winner Barry Fagin has been named Colorado's Professor of the Year for 2012 by the
Council for the Advancement and
Support for Education.

Speaking with MRFF via cell phone from
the National Press Club in Washington DC,
Dr. Fagin said:

"I'm proud and honored to have been thought worthy of MRFF's Thomas Jefferson Award. No other organization so clearly shares my belief that no group has an exclusive claim to the distinguishing values of the military, and that the only faith any military academy should be promoting is public service."

 

Click here to view Dr. Fagin speaking out on the collapsed wall separating Church & State within the U.S. Military, and the importance of MRFF's tireless efforts

Dr. Fagin's Writings:

11/21/11 - OP-ED - The relationship among religion,
government and charity

02/02/11 - COLORADO SPRINGS GAZETTE - Crossing the border between church and state

8/7/08 - COLORADO SPRINGS GAZETTE -
Fundamentalists Might Be Wrong

1/8/08 - ARMED FORCES JOURNAL - A question of faith

FALL 2007 - THE HUMANIST - The One True Religion in the Military

 

11/14/12 - USA TODAY - For Petraeus, echoes of other warrior David

11/8/12 - CSINDY - Academy dean of faculty to retire

 

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


Nightline logo
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

Questions and Answers re: Reenlistment Oath, "So Help Me God"

 

ALCON,

I just signed the papers today to get reenlisted, and noticed a funny thing. On the written oath I'm required to sign, all oaths end in "so help me God." When I pointed this out to the Retention NCO he said it was tradition and he couldn't remove it from the official paperwork, but I didn't have to say it for the ceremony. Even so, it seems to me that requiring a Soldier to sign such a document may be unconstitutional. Is there anything that can be done about this?
V/R
(name, rank, and service branch withheld)

(Name withheld),

In my own enlistment and reenlistment documents, I crossed out that line and initialed the change. This is a legal modification that you can do if you wish. No one should object, but if they do simply inform them that it is your legal right. If they persist, then we can escalate the matter.

He's right: you don't have to say "So help me god" for the ceremony. It's up to you, but the regulation also states that if you leave out the god part, you should say "affirm" instead of "swear." (Swearing is defined as a religious term (swearing "to god") and affirming is secular in meaning.)

I agree that having the religious oath ought to be ruled unconstitutional, but as long as they're leaving a non-religious option we're very unlikely to win a legal challenge.

v/r,

Dustin Chalker

MRFF Non-Religious Affairs Advisor

Army Regulation 601-210, paragraph 6-18 A commissioned officer of any Service will administer the Oath of Enlistment in DD Form 4 orally, in English, to each applicant. Make a suitable arrangement to ensure that the oath is administered in a dignified manner and in proper surroundings. Display the U.S. flag prominently near the officer giving the oath. The words "So help me God" may be omitted for persons who desire to affirm rather than to swear to the oath.

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


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


Mission to Berlin: The American Airmen Who Struck the Heart of Hitler's Reich

By esteemed author Robert F. Dorr 

AIR FORCE TIMES: "Told largely in the vivid words of the veterans themselves, the story puts you in the freezing-cold cockpit for a white-knuckle mission over heavily fortified enemy territory."

To order this exciting book contact
Robert F. Dorr, tel. (703) 264-8950
E-mail robert.f.dorr@cox.net


SUPPORT MRFF!

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

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