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Thursday, August 4, 2016


MRFF RESPONDS TO MARINE CORPS BASE CAMP HANSEN's BLATANT VIOLATION OF THE CONSTITUTION

Today, Thursday, August 4, 2016

Click to read full letter


CAMP HANSEN's RESPONSE TO MRFF ON DECISION TO CONTINUE VIOLATING THE CONSTITUTION

Received by MRFF on Wednesday, August 3, 2016

Click to enlarge Camp Hansen's response to MRFF


Demand Email from MRFF Legal Affairs Coordinator Tobanna Barker to Colonel Brian M. Howlett
Camp Commander, Camp Hansen

Sent Monday, July 11, 2016

From: Tobanna Barker, MRFF Legal Affairs Coordinator
Subject: Religious Display at Camp Hansen
Date: July 11, 2016 at 9:02:34 AM MDT
To: Col. Brian M. Howlett
Cc: Mikey Weinstein <[email protected]>

Dear Colonel Howlett:

It has come to our attention that a blatant religious display is prominently placed in the 3rd Battalion, 12th Marine Regiment dining facility of Camp Hansen. Although part of the display appears to be a POW/MIA memorial table, when viewed in its entirety, it is a purely religious exhibit. On behalf of military personnel directly under your command who fear reprisal if they come forward, please consider this correspondence as an official demand by the Military Religious Freedom Foundation (MRFF) to remove the display immediately. In the alternative, the display should be moved to the chapel area, which is the appropriate location for such a demonstration of religious devotion.

The display consists of a purported POW/MIA memorial table which prominently includes a New International Version (NIV) sectarian Christian bible, a large posting of "The Marine Prayer," and a nearby photo display of the chain of command. Displaying this exhibit in a dining hall is a clear violation of the Establishment Clause of the First Amendment. An act of a government entity violates the Establishment Clause if any one of the following is shown: (1) its purpose is not secular; (2) its principal/primary effect either advances or inhibits religion; or (3) it fosters an excessive entanglement with religion. Lemon v. Kurtzman, 403 U.S. 602 (1971). There is no secular purpose for displaying a prayer in a dining hall, the primary purpose of the display clearly advances religion, and the display fosters an excessive entanglement with religion – particularly when the display is in such close proximity to a photo display of the Camp Hansen chain of command.
The subject display sends a clear message that the Camp Hansen chain of command promotes Christianity and expects those who take meals in the 3rd Battalion, 12th Marine Regiment dining facility to at least accept (if not actually practice) the Christian faith.

When the government associates one set of religious beliefs with the state and identifies nonadherents as outsiders, it encroaches upon the individual’s decision about whether and how to worship. In the marketplace of ideas, the government has vast resources and special status. Government religious expression therefore risks crowding out private observance and distorting the natural interplay between competing religious beliefs. Allowing government to be a potential mouthpiece for competing religious ideas risks the sort of division that might easily spill over into suppression of rival beliefs.

McCreary County v. ACLU, 125 S.Ct. 2722, 2746-47 (2005) (O'Connor, J., concurring). By expressing the preference for Christianity over other religions, the chain of command of Camp Hansen is wrongfully endorsing religion and, therefore, in violation of the Establishment Clause of the First Amendment.

We hereby demand that the subject display be removed immediately or, in the alternative, that it be moved to the chapel area. Please note that we are acting at the specific request of military personnel directly under your command who fear reprisal and retribution if they come forward. Please let us know your decision no later than Friday, July 15, 2016. If we do not receive a response by that date, we will be forced to take appropriate action.


Sincerely,

Tobanna Barker
MRFF Legal Affairs Coordinator
Military Religious Freedom Foundation

(The above updated version of this email was sent to Col. Howlett at 3:26pm MDT, Monday July 11 from Mikey Weinstein)


MRFF's RECENT VICTORIES

Unconstitutional Military Religious Displays Removed Due to MRFF's Demands:

Bible Removed from Akron, OH VA POW/MIA Table

Bible Removed from Youngstown, OH VA POW/MIA Table

Bible Removed from Wright Patterson, OH POW/MIA Table

Bible Removed from Houston, TX VA POW/MIA Table

Bible Removed from Tobyhanna, PA VA POW/MIA Table


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