Message From MRFF President and Founder Mikey Weinstein
Greetings valued supporters,
This past month the Military Religious Freedom Foundation (MRFF) enjoyed the distinct honor of on-boarding three new members to our Foundation Voices. This body, comprising the MRFF Board and Advisory Board, forms the operational "brain" of our foundation and the crucial sail in our ship that, along with your support, ensures that we maintain continual forward-motion in our Constitutional fight. Offering an active range of talents, abilities, and skills to MRFF, and providing strategic guidance to our staff and volunteers, they ensure that we remain sufficiently able to tackle the challenges of representing and defending our over 32,000 active duty servicemembers and armed forces veteran clients.
Major William E. Barker, a close friend
and local hero here in Albuquerque, is one of our additions. Major Barker enlisted in the Marine Corps in 1965 and, after six years of service, was promoted to Second Lieutenant in 1971. He retired in 1990 as a Major, but he remains ever-active. Major Barker now works with the local public school district (the 28th largest in the nation, I might add) to oversee the district's 14 high school Junior ROTC programs and new leadership programs in 11 of our junior high schools. In addition to serving on the MRFF Board, Major Barker serves as Chairman of New Mexico's 1st District Democrat U.S. Congresswoman Michelle Lujan-Grisham's Military Academy Selection Team and was recently appointed to the Albuquerque Police Oversight Commission representing City Council District 9, a role that allows him to play an active role representing local resident's civil rights.
Lawrence Wilkerson is another one of our prestigious enlistees on our Advisory Board. A
Distinguished Visiting Professor of Government and Public Policy at the College of William & Mary in Williamsburg, VA and former
Professor in the University Honors Program at the George Washington University in Washington, DC, Col. Wilkerson is best
known as having served as Secretary of State Colin Powell's Chief of Staff from 2002 to 2005. In recent years, Col. Wilkerson has become well-known as a television pundit and esteemed editorialist whose penetrating wit and analytical approach have earned him respect in homes across the nation and the world. His salient words underscore the importance of the MRFF fight.
Last but not least, retired U.S. Army Chaplain (Lt. Col.) and Reverend Dr. Jonathan J. Etterbeek has joined our valued Advisory Board. As a long-time Minister with a record of service in our nation's armed forces spanning nearly 20 years, the Rev. Dr. Etterbeek knows all-too-well the dangerous toxicity and volatility of mixing church and state into some unholy elixir. Etterbeek's decorations gained during his time in Iraq, where he was wounded, include
the Legion of Merit, the Bronze Star, the Purple Heart, the Meritorious Service Medal, the Army Commendation Medal, the Army Achievement Medal, the Army Reserve Component Achievement Medal, the National Defense Medal, the Armed Forces Expeditionary Medal, the Southwest Asia Service Medal, the Iraq Campaign Medal, the Global War on Terrorism Service Medal, and the Outstanding Volunteer Service Medal.
I can hardly say it better than Dr. Etterbeek himself (you can read his full statement here):
My friend Mikey Weinstein and his Military Religious Freedom Foundation have set the example of those who embody the integrity and personal courage in leading this fight. We as Americans must stand up for the religious liberty of an all too vulnerable armed forces population which is required or unduly pressured to attend Command-sponsored religious events specifically designed and engineered to convert them. If we do not, then this unconstitutional cancer will only continue to persist and strengthen as it systemically permeates the Armed Forces as it is currently doing. This battle is of vital and strategic importance to our nation's national security. If we do not win this fight, the two options are both toxic; either involuntary spiritual servitude or manipulated religious serfdom.
A United States military infused by either odious alternative is of critical danger to not only America but the entire world as well.
If we're going to continue holding the U.S. military accountable in the courts and in the media, we need your generous assistance. Our ability to effectively mobilize the resources drawn from your support is precisely what keeps the fundamentalist extremists in check. Please make your fully tax-deductible donation today.
Your Eternal Ally,
Michael L. "Mikey" Weinstein
Founder & President
Military Religious Freedom Foundation
MRFF FEATURED BY HUFFPOST LIVE
Bombing For Jesus
Tuesday, March 5, 2013
- A report by a national security expert reveals military leaders are overtly promoting evangelical Christianity. Is fundamentalist religion in the military on the rise?
Hosted by: Josh Zepps
- Blake Page (Colorado Springs, CO) Former United States Military Cadet; Director of West Point Affairs at Military Religious Freedom Foundation
- Jim Parco (Colorado Springs, CO) Assoc. Prof. of Economics and Business at Colorado College; Retired Air Force Lieutenant Colonel; Member of the National Security Council Under Clinton
- Mikey Weinstein (Albuquerque, NM) President and Founder of Military Religious Freedom Foundation
MRFF FEATURED BY AL JAZEERA
The defence of freedom begins in the military
Monday, March 18, 2013
Selected Article Excerpts:
- The first protest rally since the Vietnam era took take place on Friday, March 8 outside the United States Air Force Academy (USAFA). This time the focus was not on the subject of war but on the pervasive Christian Dominionist indoctrination within the Academy in particular, and the military in general. Over the decades, Colorado Springs – the home of the USAFA – has become ground zero for Dominionist Christianity. Perhaps there's something in the water. If not, it's most certainly in the air, for this is where Dominionist leaders the likes of James Dobson and the now-not-gay Ted Haggard cut their evangelising teeth with likely intent to Christianise our military.
Those who follow the increasing religious indoctrination within the armed forces wonder why the rest of the country isn't alarmed. That a nation so intent upon monitoring worldwide nuclear capabilities so willingly looks away from its own brand of religious extremists who are rooting for the end of the world – extremists who will one day potentially carry nuclear payloads on the planes – is tantamount to watching Nero fiddle while arsons set Rome on fire. If not for uber-watchdog Mikey Weinstein and his Military Religious Freedom Foundation (MRFF), the Dominionist Christian takeover of the military would be much further along.
- At its simplest, it is clear that the USAFA and other branches of our military have permitted and continue to permit – if not encourage – high-level End Times believing leaders who abuse their positions of influence and power by imposing their very specific top-down religious dictates. It is well past time to hold the military to the standards of the offices they are sworn to uphold as well as to the Constitution.
I say, thank whatever Lord you pray to that Weinstein and the Military Religious Freedom Foundation continue to act as sentries on the watchtower.
MIKEY'S COLUMN FEATURED BY HUFFPOST, TRUTHOUT
Newspaper's Editorial Bias Reveals Love for
Air Force Academy's 'Incompetent Malice'
By Mikey Weinstein, MRFF President and Founder
Tuesday, March 12, 2013
Selected Article Excerpts:
- On March 8, 2013, the Military Religious Freedom Foundation (MRFF) aggressively mobilized to very publicly protest only the latest incident in a long, checkered history of heinous unconstitutional insults to the cadets, faculty members, and staff at the United States Air Force Academy (USAFA) in Colorado Springs, CO. Our protest attracted a plethora of electronic (TV, radio, and internet) and print media attention, including that of the editorial page of the uber-conservative Colorado Springs Gazette newspaper. The degrading insult in question this particular time was the circulation of a link to a fundamentalist, homophobic Jewish Orthodox website known as "Judaism 101." The link was contained in a "Notice to Airmen" (NOTAM) of Religious Accommodations circulated by the Academy's nefarious Chaplain's Office which is, itself, a serial abuser of the Constitutional guarantee of separation of church and state. The link was used as an accompaniment to explanations on the origins and meaning of the major Jewish holidays. This public protest by MRFF came shortly after our civil rights foundation erected a billboard in Colorado Springs lambasting the Academy's disgraceful and inappropriate usage of that web link.
MRFF FEATURED BY HUFFINGTON POST
Applause for the Moral Paupers?
By Blake Page, Special Assistant to the President
and Director of MRFF Affairs at West Point
Tuesday, March 19, 2013
Selected Article Excerpts:
- On Friday March 8, the Military Religious Freedom Foundation (MRFF) successfully executed its first public protest of actions taken by the U.S. military. Following the protest, I was interviewed by a reporter who had a question to ask which I do not believe has been given the public response it deserves. Her question was simple: "Why do you think members of the military are able to get away with violating the Constitution so often?" Good question.
- I have met and heard from hundreds of military members who describe the unlawful abuses of authority of those above them in rank who have genuine fear of coming forward with their complaints. I have heard stories of soldiers being told they could not self-identify as "Atheist" and professing themselves to be "Jewish" could be worse, only to give in to the pressure and go with something socially palatable (if you guessed non-denominational Christian, you're a winner!). I have had soldiers describe to me how their children have been chastised in on-post public schools for not wanting to participate in religious (Christian) holiday celebrations. I have had Christian cadets lament their frustrations with peers and superiors providing unlawful pressure to participate in off duty religious services under the popular guise of "unit cohesion" or "esprit de Corps!" The question moves on now to: why are so many so afraid to be vocal?
- The answer is community coercion. No socially acclimated person (with the rare exception of true idealists) would willfully sacrifice their position in their peer group for something that they have no reason to believe will change quickly enough to preserve their social safety. In this case, that means rank, promotions, duty assignments, accolades or lack thereof. In this case, it means the good ol' boy system is in full swing in the military, twirling like a club and ready to bash anyone who gets in the way.
MRFF FEATURED BY HUFFINGTON POST
Religion in the Military: It's 'Tradition'
By Chris Rodda, MRFF Senior Research Director
Wednesday, March 13, 2013
Selected Article Excerpt:
A few years back, Congressman Randy Forbes (R-VA) and his Congressional Prayer Caucus made it one of their big issues to protect a "traditional" flag folding ceremony at military funerals. In this ceremony, each of the thirteen folds to fold the flag into a triangle is accompanied by a recitation of a meaning assigned to that fold, several of which are religious — "The second fold is a symbol of our belief in the eternal life," "The eleventh fold, in the eyes of a Hebrew citizen, represents the lower portion of the seal of King David and King Solomon, and glorifies, in their eyes, the God of Abraham, Isaac, and Jacob," and "The twelfth fold, in the eyes of a Christian citizen, represents an emblem of eternity and glorifies, in their eyes, God the Father, the Son, and Holy Ghost."
In a letter to the Acting Secretary of Veterans Affairs, former blue dog congressman and Prayer Caucus member Heath Shuler referred to this religious flag folding ceremony as traditional three times — referring to the scripts for each fold as "the traditional flag-folding recitations," saying that this "flag-folding recitation is a long-standing tradition," and asking, "You take a tradition that's been going on for so long, and because one person doesn't want to hear 'God,' it stops?"
That always seems to be the justification for any government promotion of a religious practice, both in the military and elsewhere: It's "tradition" — and tradition trumps constitutionality.
3/22/13 - JEWISH DAILY FORWARD – The Movement To Rebrand Discrimination as 'Religious Freedom'
3/4/13 - ORLANDO SENTINEL – Army's top chaplain-school officer questions training simulations for chaplains
You can see the above stories, as well as
much more, at MilitaryReligiousFreedom.org
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
Hi, I have read about your attacks on Christian Chaplains and Christianity in general, and would just like to ask if this is how Mikey Weinstein celebrates Good Friday (The Crucifixion of Christ)? Just like in the old days about 33 AD. Let's Not Just Email One Another The Latest News, Let's Act On It And Contact Friend And Foe With Our Support And Criticisms – Always In Prayer (name withheld)
A response from MRFF Advisory Board member Mike Farrell
What is it about some supposed Christians that makes them unable to understand the simple difference between a wish to honor the U.S. Constitution's commitment to a separation of church and state and an "attack on Christians and Christianity in general"? The defensiveness exhibited by you and others seems to suggest not only a lack of understanding, but in an odd way a lack of faith.
Always in prayer.
The two following responses are from family friends of Mr. Mikey Weinstein
Your email to Mikey reminded me of a very special Good Friday he spent with my family a few years ago. Every year, our family makes our annual Good Friday pilgrimage in northern NM to pray and acknowledge the death of Jesus Christ and the role he plays in our faith. That year, Mikey walked with us, wearing a baseball cap that read "Shalom"
As Catholics, we are accustomed to non-Catholic Christians setting up tables along the way and passing out materials. Some are very respectful and offer food, drinks and bathrooms to the pilgrims. On their tables outside they will have literature that talks about their Christian faith and invite folks to their church. Others stand and pass out materials to the people that are walking, sometimes being respectful when we are walking in silence and prayer, other times trying to hand us pamphlets. My response has always been to kindly smile and say "no thank you" and go on my way... (continued, click below to read more)
3/26/13 Sharing a Story
3/22/13 Commie f***** jewboy F***
3/18/13 To Michael L. "Mikey" Weinstein
3/11/13 Way off Base
3/16/13 USAFA's excuse is ridiculous
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
of a story and not even realize it.
Please report anything that may be of concern to: email@example.com
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
Your Generous Support Allows us to Continue our Fight in the Courts and in the Media
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