MRFF Founder and President
Mikey Weinstein honors
U.S. House Representative
Friday, January 11, 2013
Representative Kyrsten Sinema (AZ-9)
1237 Longworth House Office Bldg.
Washington, DC 20515
Dear Representative Sinema,
Please allow me to personally congratulate you on becoming the 1st ever representative of the newly-minted 9th Congressional District in Arizona; a truly historic accomplishment. As President and Founder of the Military Religious Freedom Foundation (MRFF), I cannot adequately express the amount of gratitude that I and everyone associated with MRFF feel towards your truly patriotic action in swearing your Oath of Office on the U.S. Constitution rather than on any religious text. This straightforward and powerful act is extremely uplifting for anyone who believes in the source and strength of the freedoms embodied in our unique form of representative democracy. Your honor and integrity in taking such a strong principled stand is truly inspiring.
MRFF’s creation began with personal and family experiences at my alma mater, the United States Air Force Academy, along with my ongoing desire to carry forward the ideals and expectations of the oath I swore as an officer within the U.S. Military. What I saw occurring at USAFA, and within the entire U.S. Military, was a rapidly expanding and unconstitutional influence of religion over military operations and affairs that must (for both national security and service member civil and human rights) remain strictly and forever secular. As a result of my experiences, I founded MRFF with the mission that all members of the United States Armed Forces fully receive the Constitutional guarantees of religious freedom to which they and all Americans are entitled by virtue of the Establishment Clause of the First Amendment. This mission also includes protecting the careers of members of the U.S. Military from being subjected to unconstitutional religious tests in training, assignment, advancement, and retention. I often express MRFF’s mission in the following statement:
When one proudly dons a U.S. Military uniform, there is only one religious symbol: the American flag. There is only one religious scripture: the American Constitution. Finally, there is only one religious faith: American patriotism.
Since its founding in 2005 as a 501(c)(3) private non-profit charity, MRFF has served over 30,500 clients. Based on the hard work and accomplishments achieved by MRFF’s staff and volunteers on behalf of its clients, MRFF has earned 5 nominations for the Nobel Peace Prize (2010, 2011, 2012, and 2013). Further recognition for MRFF and its clients came when I was recently named one of the Top 100 Most Influential People in U.S. Defense by Defense News (a Gannett publication). As one individual on the list explained, inclusion in the Top 100 is an indicator of "…making change, it’s not just celebrity." My tremendous pride on behalf of MRFF and our clients in being named to this list comes out of necessity, not narcissism. In this case the necessity is that of defending those same Constitutional values that you so graciously honored.
We recently saw the deadly effect of religious animosity on our national security in the tragic deaths at the U.S. Consulate in Benghazi, Libya. MRFF along with the entire nation suffered a tremendous loss when our Advisory Board member and former Navy SEAL Glen Doherty was killed at the Benghazi Consulate. Glen was a close friend and advisor who regularly discussed with me the importance of MRFF’s work and success in exposing, within the U.S. Military training and command structure, the same type of religious animosity that ultimately led to his death. It’s difficult to think of a more significant action than your Congressional swearing in ceremony in reducing religious animosity.
Thank you once again for your extremely honorable act.
Michael L. "Mikey" Weinstein, Esq.
Founder & President
Military Religious Freedom Foundation