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Thursday, September 8, 2016

MRFF's CONCERNS ABOUT
U.S. ARMY FOOTBALL TEAM's
COACH-LED PRAYER...

GOES VIRAL VIA ASSOCIATED PRESS

ESPN, USA Today, Washington Times,
FOX Sports, Yahoo Sports

...And many more. See links below.


WEST POINT LAUNCHES
FOOTBALL INQUIRY

Click Here to View Edited Video of U.S. Army Football Team Locker Room Prayer Led by Coach Monken - 3:19


ESPN COVERS MRFF

Army pulls postgame video after prayer
complaints from third party

Thursday, September 8, 2016

WEST POINT, N.Y. -- The U.S. Military Academy removed a video clip of the football team's postgame locker-room celebration after its upset win over Temple and is investigating whether a team prayer violated the religious freedom of the players.

West Point spokesman Francis J. DeMaro Jr. said Thursday that a third party made allegations the video violated the First Amendment rights of some of the cadets. DeMaro said the video, which was posted on social media, was removed pending the inquiry, which was first reported by Army Times.

Military Religious Freedom Foundation president Mikey Weinstein said head coach Jeff Monken crossed the line after the game last Friday night in Philadelphia when he asked a staff assistant to conduct a prayer that ended with Jesus.

Click to read more


ARMY TIMES HOMEPAGE COVERS MRFF

West Point launches inquiry into
football team's postgame prayer

Thursday, September 8, 2016

Officials with the U.S. Military Academy pulled a video clip of the football team's postgame locker-room celebration offline Monday and have launched an inquiry into whether a team prayer violated players' rights to religious freedom. 

After Army West Point's 28-13 upset win over Temple on Friday in Philadelphia, athletics department staff posted a clip that, according to multiple people who saw the video, showed head coach Jeff Monken asking a staff member to lead the team in prayer. The video went up Saturday evening on the school's official athletics Facebook page and had about 180 comments and 1,600 shares by Sunday morning, according to an archived version of the post that does not include the video. 

After receiving multiple complaints regarding the video, Military Religious Freedom Foundation president Mikey Weinstein said he reached out to academy superintendent Lt. Gen. Robert Caslen on Monday to discuss the post. It was taken down shortly thereafter and replaced on some platforms by a shorter, edited video of the celebration. [...]

Click to read more


HUFFINGTON POST COVERS MRFF

West Point To Investigate Whether Prayer
After Football Game Violated Religious Freedom

Thursday, September 8, 2016

The U.S. Military Academy is investigating whether a prayer led by a football team staff member after a game last weekend violated players' religious freedom rights, the school said this week.

A video clip posted online briefly showed Army head football coach Jeff Monken telling a member of the coaching staff to lead the team in prayer after his players defeated Temple last Friday, according to an Army Times report.

West Point officials removed the video from the internet after the head of the Military Religious Freedom Foundation received "multiple complaints" and reached out to the academy's superintendent, according to the report. An abbreviated version of the team's locker room celebration was uploaded instead. It does not show a prayer.

Click to read more


ASSOCIATED PRESS COVERAGE:

USA Today - Army pulls postgame football video after prayer complaints

ESPN - Army Black Knights pull postgame football video after
prayer complaints

FOX Sports - Army pulls postgame football video after prayer complaints

Star Tribute - Army pulls postgame football video after prayer complaints

Yahoo Sports - Army pulls postgame football video after prayer complaints

Washington Times - Army pulls postgame football video after
prayer complaints

Washington's Top News - Army pulls postgame football video after
prayer complaints

The Olympian - Army pulls postgame football video after prayer complaints


Email to Mikey Weinstein From Disappointed Christian Mother of Army Football Team Player Expressing Her Dismay Over the Team's Forced Prayer being
led by Coach Monken

From: West Point Football Player’s Mother’s E-Mail Address Withheld
Subject: Request For Intervention by the MRFF
Date: September 6, 2016 at 4:03:01 PM MDT
To: Information Weinstein, [email protected]

Mr. Weinstein,

Thank you for speaking to my husband and me today regarding the matter of the forced praying in the Army football locker room after the victory over Temple Univ. We saw the video. Hard to believe it happened. Very surprised and hurting. Disappointed. We’re paying Head Coach Monken a million dollars a year for this?

Coach Monken had no business telling my son and his Army teammates to get on their knees and pray a prayer to Jesus! My son was very upset about this. His dad and I are too. This violates the Constitution and to think it happened at West Point?

Our family happens to be Christians. But we have faced others who claim to be Christian who confront us about whether we have had a born again experience etc. That is nobody’s business. No-one anywhere has the right to judge my son or his family as to faith. Especially the head football coach at West Point.

I know you said that you talked to Gen. Caslen and that you trust him to handle this matter. Nothing short of an apology by Coach M. will work here. This is what we ask for. We have met Coach and he seems a good man but he stumbled here bad. We don’t understand why he didn’t know? So bad to divide the team on religion.

Please let us know what ends up. Please do not give our names to anyone. We know what will happen and don’t want that.

We love Army and Army football but this was terrible of Coach M. to do.

Mr. Weinstein our son and our whole family thank you and the MRFF for standing up for our son our family and the Constitution. (Again, do not give anyone our names please.)

sincerely,

(name, address, location and phone number withheld)

Mother of Army football player (name, team position and class withheld) BEAT NAVY!


Email to Mikey Weinstein From MRFF Client and U.S. Army Active Duty Officer Condemning Army Football Team's Prayer led by Coach Monken

From: U.S. Army Active Duty Officer/MRFF Client’s E-Mail Address Withheld
Subject: Army Football - Coach must not direct Cadets to pray
Date: September 6, 2016 at 7:42:08 AM MDT
To: Mikey Weinstein, [email protected]

Dear Mikey,

I am contacting the Military Religious Freedom Foundation to report an egregious violation.

This Friday night I was thrilled to get together with classmates and watch the Army football team open its season with a win over Temple.

By Saturday I was enjoying seeing the many Army fans' social media comments about the game, but I saw one which caused me significant concern. I was disappointed to see a video of Coach Monken directing his Cadets to pray together in the locker room after the game. This concerns me not only as a citizen who values the First Amendment to the Constitution, but also as a graduate of West Point, a former TAC officer and current active duty officer.

It is important for an institution dedicated to developing military leaders that we develop leaders who are committed to supporting and defending the Constitution according to their oath of office. This includes of course defending the First Amendment rights of their subordinates.

My hope is that West Point Superintendent, Lieutenant General Caslen, will not only direct Coach Monken to immediately stop this practice, but also that he will release some sort of public statement indicating what was done in response to this incident. I believe that publicly addressing this matter is important, not to discredit Coach Monken, but to let all those who have seen the video or were present in the room know that this sort of action is unconstitutional and must not be repeated or tolerated. Most importantly we must use this incident as an opportunity to educate the Corps of Cadets and prepare them to serve as leaders in a military which respects the rights of its citizens to practice or not practice religion as they see fit.

Beat Navy!

(name, rank, MOS title and unit all withheld)



Initial Email to Mikey Weinstein From MRFF Client and Active Duty U.S. Army Soldier About Video of the Army Football Team's Locker Room Postgame Prayer led by Coach Monken

From: U.S. Army Active Duty MRFF Client
Subject: Video of Army Football Coach directing the Cadets to pray together
Date: September 5, 2016 at 12:56:20 PM MDT
To: Mikey Weinstein, [email protected]

Mikey,

Hello from XXXXXXX and one of MRFF's active duty clients.

I wanted to bring to your attention this video of the Army Football Coach directing the Cadets on his team to pray together.

https://www.facebook.com/GoArmyWestPoint/videos/10154473647394137/

(Editor's note: Video was taken down after MRFF exposed the issue, was replaced with an edited version not containing prayer sequence.)

You previously told me that LTG Caslen was a friend to MRFF. Perhaps LTG Caslen will direct Coach Monken to immediately stop this violation of these Cadets First Amendment rights.

I hope you are well.

Know that you and the MRFF are appreciated and very necessary.

XXXXXXX



Thomas Jefferson's 5th Generation Great-Grandson Who Waged Constitutional Fight Against West Point in 1968 Sends Mikey Weinstein Email Criticizing Army Football Team's Prayer led by Coach Monken

From: Lucian Truscott
Date: September 6, 2016 at 11:40:13 AM MDT
To: Mikey Weinstein, [email protected]
Subject: Coach compels prayer by West Point football team

I was one of four cadets in 1968 who launched the first challenge to mandatory attendance at chapel at West Point. We filed complaints with the Pentagon Inspector General and Article 138 complaints to the Secretary of the Army seeking to have that patently unconstitutional practice ended. It's a long story, but after a 5 month battle with the WP authorities -- during which time they attempted to kick us out of West Point -- our complaints were denied. But the following year when 6 midshipmen and one cadet filed a federal lawsuit against mandatory chapel at the Academies, our complaints were used by the plaintiffs to prove that administrative remedies had already been tried and denied, allowing the lawsuit to go forward and reach its conclusion a few years later when mandatory chapel was banned at all the Academies. Incidentally, my involvement in this effort basically ended my military career before it began. I entered the Army with a big fat black mark against me that could not be erased. Later I found stapled to my 201 file a "to whom it may concern" letter from Alexander M. Haig, who had beed Deputy Commandant at WP and was now on the White House staff, written on White House stationery, warning any commander that I was a known radical and probably a communist. Haig was the officer at West Point who tried to stop us from filing our complaints to the Pentagon. He filed four false honor charges against me in an attempt to get me and the others to withdraw our complaints, and attempted to institute an Aptitude Board against me. It was an ugly, ugly fight, but one that I am proud of to this day to have waged.

I had a connection to this issue which at the time I didn't tell either West Point or my classmates. My 5th great grandfather was Thomas Jefferson, who not only founded West Point in 1802 but was one of the authors of the First Amendment and was the author of the Virginia constitution's clause guaranteeing religious freedom, which formed the basis of the religion clause of the First Amendment. So I had a personal connection to the issue an a particularly strong sense of outrage that at West Point, the military academy founded by Thomas Jefferson, such a flagrant violation of the First Amendment had gone on for so long. I was also outraged at the time that the officers who swore to defend and uphold the Constitution were engaged in such a flagrant violation of not only the constitution, but their own oaths.

I feel the same way about the manner in which the West Point coach basically compelled the West Point football team to join in a mandatory prayer after the football game last Friday night. I have heard a bunch of hair-splitting arguments that this sort of prayer should be allowed because it's "voluntary" for the cadets. But when the coach of the football team stands up before the team and orders them to "take a knee" and "join" in prayer, it is involuntary on its face. He is the effective boss of those cadets. He is the individual who will decide if they get to play next week and every week thereafter. The prayer he organized last Friday was coercive in every way such a prayer could be.

It's time for West Point to stop trying to get around the supreme court case which ended compulsory religious practice not only at West Point but at all of the academies. Hair splitting about :"voluntary" prayer and I even heard from one grad who said the coach is paid by the AOG so technically he's not a federal employee -- as if that somehow excuses his behavior and legitimizes the prayer he compelled the team to take part in.

I urge the Superintendent to do the right thing and follow the constitution and bring this practice to an end.

Lucian K. Truscott IV
West Point, 1969



Email to Mikey Weinstein From Christian Parents of U.S. Army Football Team Player Expressing Potential Fear of Retribution to the Complaining "Rats" Due to West Point's Launching of Inquiry Into Team's Prayer

From: West Point Football Player’s Parent’s E-Mail Address Withheld
Subject: Worries
Date: September 8, 2016 at 8:02:23 AM MDT
To: Information Weinstein

OK, Mr. Weinstein, here's our worry: The "Christian" cadets and staff on the team that feel like nothing wrong was done will immediately start the internal witch-hunt for the "rats” (like our son) that complained to you, the media, their parents, etc about the prayer. They'll set up little "voluntary" tests like cadet-led team meetings (or group end-zone prayers like they do at USAFA), or they'll scan who is or isn't at their OCF or FCA meetings for likely candidates, then the torches and pitchforks will come out. They'll be indirectly supported by the Christian blogosphere and by parents, friends, and USMA supporters of "True Christian Patriots" on Facebook posts and shares. We've all seen this before. In the end, the Christian cadets will realize that raising their concern really wasn't worth the trouble it caused them personally and the team as a whole and they'll crawl back into their isolation. It'll be a "win" for the True Christian Patriots, but a loss for USMA and America.

(parents of West Point football player; Christian family)!


Double Standard:
Would religious endorsement at Military Academies be accepted
if it were non-Christian?

Air Force Academy Cadet Falcon Football Team Engages in Unconstitutional Pregame Prayer
Right Before Kick Off Against Abilene Christian University on Saturday, September 3, 2016

(Above Illustration and Photo by Military Religious Freedom Foundation)


Background of MRFF's Fight Against USAFA Football Team's Unconstitutional Praying


Inbox logo

Detractor's Email:

"If nobody was forced to pray, than I don't see an issue.
Stop knocking on Christianity."

MRFF Advisory Board Member, Actor/Activist Mike Farrell Responds to Above Detractor

Hi (name withheld),

Would you see an issue it they were "told" to pray, if they were "told" to get on their knees and pray to Jesus? Is that an appropriate thing for the person in charge to do? Nobody here is "knocking on Christianity." What we oppose is just exactly what you apparently don't recognize, which is the imposition of one belief system over others by those in authority. Try reading the First Amendment.

Mike Farrell (MRFF Board of Advisors)


The Bigoted Hate Mail Continues from Dectractors:

"buying mikey off"

"Hey Mikey leave our West Point football players alone to worship Jesus Christ whenever they feel the need to. We’re taking up a collection here at work to entice a "person of your special blood" to drop your persecution of these courage Army football players. So far we’ve got 30 'sheeny jew' silver coins and a big bag of bagels. Will that do the trick?
It usually does for your kind."

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