This afternoon a rebuttal issued by the Family Research Council (FRC) to the combined efforts of Cadet Blake Page (Director Of MRFF Affairs at West Point), the Military Religious Freedom Foundation (MRFF), and Americans United for the Separation of Church and State (AU) to put an end to the tradition of mandatory prayers at West Point was brought to my attention. A short reading of the rebuttal will clearly demonstrate the pitiable disillusionment of its source, Mr. Jerry Boykin, who was pressured by MRFF to decline to speak at a West Point Prayer Breakfast earlier this year due to his rampant Islamophobia and desire to see a Christian theocracy in America. The numerous factual inconsistencies and outright lies issued by Mr. Boykin and the FRC deserve immediate censure. Indeed, Boykin's patently untruthful screed deserves only public derision and revulsion.
Mr. Boykin's identification of AU and, presumptively, its close ally MRFF as an "anti-religious organization" would be quite nearly laughable if so many of his misguided associates didn't believe the statement. Approximately 96% of MRFF's over 30,600 armed forces clients are Protestant or Roman Catholic. At West Point alone, MRFF has 162 cadet, faculty and staff clients of whom 131 are avid, practicing Christians. Further, MRFF also happens to represent over 11% of active duty Muslim-American servicemen and servicewomen. So no, Mr. Boykin, we are not "anti-religious" in any way. Quite on the contrary, we actively and passionately defend the rights of our fellow countrymen who desire to serve our country without being told that "the heritage of Judeo-Christian faith in our military" is superior to their personally held beliefs.
Mr. Boykin goes on to make the claim that the prayers that AU and the MRFF are seeking to have removed from policy are "voluntary." That assertion is absolutely and perniciously false, and he well knows it. There is no way to misconstrue the policy of the military as it stands. Service members of all branches are presently under a command that is authorized to (and happily does) order them to pray regularly. In fact, in April of 2003 it was determined in the United States Court of Appeals for the Fourth Circuit (see Mellen v. Bunting) that the Virginia Military Institute's policy of requiring prayer before meals was unlawful. The Fourth Circuit Court of Appeals manifestly acknowledged and recognized that the adversarial, communal, ritualistic, coercive and tribal atmosphere of military academies clearly exacts an unconstitutional toll on religious objectors. The forgoing Federal Circuit Court decision held that, even if prayer was "secular" in nature, it was still unconstitutional. Thus, you lose again, Mr. Boykin. Perhaps had you graduated from West Point, the Air Force Academy, or Annapolis for that matter, you'd have a far better idea as to what constitutes the fallacy of "voluntary" prayer at our nation's federal military academies? I doubt it though.
If there is any credit at all to be given to Mr. Boykin it would be for his statement that – wait; well, actually I couldn't find anything even remotely ethically or intellectually salvageable in his pedestrian, pathetic, historically and constitutionally illiterate discourse. If anyone intends to take this ignorant, bigoted man's statements seriously, I would advise them to take a few moments to look into his extremely dubious background. Only then can one genuinely understand the racist message of hate and Christian supremacy that he and the FRC salivate in unbridled desire to see unlawfully imposed on our country. It won't be a difficult search. While you're at it you might also be interested in what you learn about why he retired from the military to begin with.
A final note to all Americans: Whenever you hear anything coming out of the mouths of either Jerry Boykin or his hate organization, the Family Research Council, it's always best to recall that wonderful statement by Albert Einstein: "Two things are infinite: the universe and human stupidity; and I'm not sure about the universe."
Michael L. "Mikey" Weinstein, Esq.
President and Founder
Military Religious Freedom Foundation