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BREAKING:

MRFF's OFFICIAL POSITION SUPPORTED BY SCOTUS!

Monday, June 5, 2017


U.S. SUPREME COURT DENIES REVIEW OF FORMER
MARINE CORPS LCpl
MONIFA STERLING's CASE!

MRFF FILED A "FRIEND OF THE COURT" BRIEF TO OPPOSE THE SCOTUS REVIEW REQUESTED BY STERLING

Former Marine Corps LCpl Sterling was court-martialed over six violations of Military Law in 2014, one of which included an incident where she had three signs in her workplace area that paraphrased a verse from the Bible:
"No weapon formed against me shall prosper."

Mikey Weinstein's Statement on the SCOTUS Decision to Deny Review of Sterling's Case:

(Click to read MRFF's Amicus Curiae Brief "Friend of the Court")

Today's magnificent decision by the United States Supreme Court to refuse to review the Monifa Sterling case is one of the most monumental watershed victories for military religious freedom against the base, evil, and vile tyranny of fundamentalist Christian oppression in the history of the United States Armed Forces. The specious arguments of amicus briefs filed by fundamentalist Christian hate organizations as well as their fellow travelers — including thirteen fundamentalist Christian retired military generals, thirty-six Christian supremacist members of Congress, and even the attorneys general of fourteen conservative/red states — were no match for the clear, unadulterated justice that needed to be done here. The Military Religious Freedom Foundation is extremely proud to have been on the right side of history in filing our amicus brief in this critical case for the cause of constitutional freedom. Lady Liberty is smiling today, and the forces of fundamentalist Christian exceptionalism and dominance have been beaten back in a landmark manner.

Donald Rehkopf, Jr., Esq.'s Statement on the SCOTUS Decision to Deny Review of Sterling's Case:

The U.S. Supreme Court today denied certiorari – or in lay terms, denied the request of Monifa Sterling to hear her appeal from her court-martial convictions, to include a conviction for disobeying orders from her USMC NCO supervisor. The Military Religious Freedom Foundation [MRFF] had opposed her request for Supreme Court review because Sterling along with her numerous "friends of the court" briefs, had claimed that prosecuting her for violating her supervisor's orders was akin to prosecuting her for exercising her religious beliefs in violation of the federal Religious Freedom Restoration Act [RFRA], and the First Amendment.

MRFF's objections were two-fold. First, that the order to remove 3 "signs" Sterling had posted around her desk in a common area of her Company at Camp Lejeune, NC, where other Marines worked and still others would come for assistance, did not interfere with her personal exercise of her religious beliefs and thus, did not violate the RFRA. Second, MRFF argued that historically, the Supreme Court has recognized the uniqueness of our Armed Forces as a specialized segment of society where, for the sake of good order and discipline, First Amendment principles must be applied in a more restrictive manner than in the civilian context. MRFF cited historical Supreme Court precedents as well as the specific Legislative History of the RFRA, which noted the differentiation between military First Amendment rights and those of civilians.

According to MRFF's appellate counsel, Donald G. Rehkopf, Jr., of Brenna Boyce, PLLC, in Rochester, NY, "this case had the potential to fundamentally change how the First Amendment applies to active-duty, members of our military in the context of a disgruntled Marine belatedly claiming that prosecuting her for violating lawful orders, violated her religious rights." Rehkopf further stated that "MRFF saw the potential impact that Sterling's arguments could have on military discipline and the implication that by allowing her claims, that her religious beliefs would be given the imprimatur of government endorsement, and so as an amicus curiae (friend of the Court) opposed her request for the Supreme Court to review her case."

"The signs at issue" Rehkopf continued "were not 'Bible verses' as Sterling claimed during her appeals. Rather they were her words that could have been, and were construed as disrespectful to her supervisor." Rehkopf also noted that both the Department of Defense and the military Services have specific regulations in place for servicemembers seeking religious accommodations, but that Sterling had never requested any religious accommodations from anyone in her change of command at any time.


Click Here for Official Supreme Court
of the United States Court Order re:
Sterling Case (See Top of Page 3)

 

Click Here for Official List of Proceedings
& Orders re: Sterling Case


FOX NEWS COVERS U.S. SUPREME COURT's DENIAL OF STERLING's REVIEW

Supreme Court rejects appeal from Marine over religious liberty

Monday, June 5, 2017

The Supreme Court on Monday rejected an appeal from a former Marine who was court-martialed in part for expressing her Christian faith in the workplace.

Lower courts had concluded orders from her military superiors did not constitute a "substantial burden" on her First Amendment rights. The justices on Monday upheld her court-martial without comment.

At issue was the extent a federal law on religious freedom protects members of the armed forces like Monifa Sterling, who continued posting biblical verses at her desk, despite orders from a superior that she remove them.

The intersection of free speech on government property, especially within a military context, made this appeal closely watched by a number of advocates on both sides of the debate. 

The First Liberty Institute, which represented Sterling, lamented the Supreme Court's call on Monday. [...]

Click to read more

 


PATHEOS BLOGGER FRIENDLY ATHEIST COVERS MRFF & U.S. SUPREME COURT's DENIAL OF STERLING's REVIEW

Supreme Court Won't Hear Case of Marine Supposedly Punished Over Bible Verses on Her Desk

Monday, June 5, 2017

The Supreme Court said today it would not hear the case of Marine Lance Corporal Monifa Sterling who claimed she was the victim of religious discrimination. The denial of cert is a quiet victory for everyone who actually looked at the facts of the story and recognized that Sterling's religion had little, if anything, to do with her situation.

If you want to know the background of this story, it really depends on which source you're reading.

Here's a Christian version of the story, as summarized by The Becket Fund for Religious Liberty:

In 2014, Marine Lance Corporal Monifa Sterling was ordered to remove from her workstation three pieces of paper with a paraphrase from the Book of Isaiah, "No weapon formed against me shall prosper," even though co-workers were permitted to keep nonreligious messages on their desks. She declined and was court-martialed. A lower court upheld Sterling's court martial, rejecting her argument that her faith was protected by the Religious Freedom Restoration Act.

Sounds harsh, right? Why would the military flip out over some strips of paper with paraphrased Bible verses on them?

Simple: That's not what happened. Or, at least, that's not the whole story.

As Chris Rodda documented so thoroughly, Sterling had a habit of not following orders. The Bible verse debacle was merely the last straw.

For instance, there was the time she refused go to her appointed place of duty:

Sterling was assigned the duty of giving out passes to family members visiting Marines who had just returned from a deployment. This duty was to be for a few hours on a Sunday afternoon. Sterling claimed that she couldn't perform this duty because she was on medication for migraines that made her drowsy, but, as the court-martial found, there was no reason that this medication would have interfered with Sterling performing this duty if she took it at night as prescribed. But, as Sterling admitted, she was not planning to take her medication as prescribed on that Sunday. She was planning to take it earlier. Her reason? She was going to church and the loud choir at the church service might bring on a migraine. Seriously, that was her excuse — that she planned to take her medication not as prescribed. Needless to say, this excuse didn't work.

[...]

Click to read more


CHARISMA NEWS IN DENIAL OVER U.S. SUPREME COURT's DENIAL OF STERLING's REVIEW

SCOTUS: Members of the Military Have No Religious Liberties

Monday, June 5, 2017

The Supreme Court on Monday effectively announced that those who put on the uniform of the U.S. military and swear an oath to support and defend the Constitution of the United States themselves have no support or defense from one of the document's greatest protections against government overreach.

Former Marine Lance Cpl. Monifa Sterling and her attorneys at the First Liberty Institute were hoping the high court would take up her case after the U.S. Court of Appeals for the Armed Forces returned a decision that upheld her court-martial for refusing to take down a Bible verse from her workspace. By refusing to take the case, the lower court decision remains in place for all members of the military. [...]

Click to read more

 


FIRST LIBERTY's
"TRAVESTY" OF A
PRESS RELEASE re: U.S. SUPREME COURT'S DENIAL
OF STERLING's REVIEW

"Because the Supreme Court did not decide to review the case, the travesty below by the Court of Appeals for the Armed Forces
will now stand," said Kelly Shackelford, President,
CEO & Chief Counsel for First Liberty.

Supreme Court Declines to Review Case of Marine Court-Martialed Over Bible Verse

Monday, June 5, 2017

WASHINGTON, DC—June 5, 2017— Today, the Supreme Court of the United States declined to review First Liberty Institute's appeal in the case of Lance Corporal Monifa Sterling, a U.S. Marine convicted at court-martial for refusing an order to remove an inspirational Bible verse from her workstation.

"Because the Supreme Court did not decide to review the case, the travesty below by the Court of Appeals for the Armed Forces will now stand," said Kelly Shackelford, President, CEO & Chief Counsel for First Liberty. "The military court's outrageous decision means federal judges and military officials can strip our service members of their constitutional rights just because they don't think someone's religious beliefs are important enough to be protected. Our service members deserve better."

Lance Corporal Sterling was convicted at a court-martial after she refused an order to remove a paraphrase of an inspirational Bible verse ("No weapon formed against me shall prosper" from Isaiah 54:17). Sterling had posted the verse in her workspace and reposted it after her supervisor removed and threw it in the trash. Trial evidence revealed that other Marines were permitted to display personal items in their workspaces. [...]

Click to read more

 


BACKGROUND ON
MRFF vs. STERLING

2/15/17 – MRFF Files "Friend of the Court" Brief at U.S. Supreme Court Opposing Review of Monifa Sterling's Conviction

 

8/11/16 - Washington Times - Military court upholds Marine's bad conduct discharge over Bible verses

 

8/11/16 - Friendly Atheist - Right-Wing Media Wrongly Says a Marine Was Punished for the Bible Verses on Her Desk

 

8/10/16 - MRFF Applauds the Monumental U.S. Court of Appeals for the Armed Forces Sterling Decision – MRFF Included on
Page 2 of Decision

 

2/3/16 - MRFF Petition to File Amicus Curiae Brief in Monifa Sterling Case

 

1/20/16 - MRFF Senior Research Director on HuffPost - The Case of Monifa Sterling: How to Turn a Bad Marine into a Persecuted Christian

 

12/30/15 - MRFF Demands Aggressive
Formal DoD Investigation


Inbox logo

We receive an enormous amount of emails at the Military Religious Freedom Foundation, both from our supporters and detractors.
Through "MRFF's Inbox", we share some of these emails with you.

Click to view MRFF's Inbox

"Christians Bless our military"

From: (name withheld)
Subject: Christians Bless our military
Date: May 27, 2017 at 9:39:55 PM MDT
To: Mikey Weinstein

Dear to the MFFR,

My husband and me and many of our fellow Christian couples have seen the Newsweek article about what you said about Bible believing Christians being some national threat to security cause of Pres. Trump. Christians in the military are no threat we are the only Saviors of the military.
But you know what the real threat is to it?

PUSHY JEWS LIKE MICKEY WHINESTEEN WITH YOUR BIG NOSES STICKING WHERE THEY SHOULD’NT.

Memorial Day means jews need to think about all of the Christians who have died in battle. To let them stay in America to cheat there way to wealth and control. Just look at how jew Hollywood mind controls everyone to say, oh poor little jews.

Go back to your jew churches and be happy we Christians even let you stay here.
For now.

You wore out your welcome in Germany and you are doing it here to.

(name withheld)

 



Response from MRFF Advisory Board Member Mike Farrell

Dear (name withheld),

You poor, pathetic, pretend Christian. How sad it is to read this kind of stupid nonsense coming from someone (probably at a fake address) who seems to think she is a representative of Jesus. You and the so-called “Bible believing Christians” you claim to speak for are nothing but crude, ignorant, antisemitic fools who have been deluded, or have deluded yourselves, into thinking that your bigotry can be tolerated by the practice of genuine Christianity. If you fail to comprehend the fact that bigotry and Christianity are mutually exclusive you have missed Jesus’ boat. I urge you to take another look at the Sermon on the Mount, fall on your knees, beg forgiveness and then start thinking about a letter of apology to Mr. Weinstein.

Mike Farrell

(MRFF Board of Advisors)

Click to read more


"Your never ending battles."

From: xxxxxxxohl
Subject: Your never ending battles.
Date: May 25, 2017 at 8:31:35 PM MDT
To: Mikey Weinstein

Hello Mikey!

I just wanted to send you a note of thanks for all that you and MRFF do to ensure that there is a level religious playing field for all members of the US military. I cannot imagine how difficult your burden is, but if the emails that I receive from you on a regular basis are any indication, you must have your hands full 24/7/365.

This latest attempt to try and designate Protestantism (“Strong Bonds”) as the default religion of the ANG was really beyond the pale. I couldn’t believe that someone who wears the uniform of the United States military would put down on paper such a discriminatory policy/program.

When I was a servicemember, I can’t ever remember this being such a big deal. Actually, I can’t remember religion being such a big deal. Maybe that’s because I was stationed overseas in the late ’80s at a small AF base in Italy. Maybe it was because at the time I belonged to a minority faith. But I can’t imagine any of the chaplains that I knew then would create a discriminatory policy/program like this. It smacks of dominionism, not of openness and brotherhood. Those are the values that we should be instilling in our brothers in arms.

I wholeheartedly support what you do, you hold a unique and essential position of watchdog outside of the Air Force and the DOD structures in general. What a shame it is that the chaplains who wrote to you would fear going up their own chains of command or to the Inspector General to seek redress. It is even more troubling that they cannot sign their own name to their emails without fearing recrimination/retaliation. This is new to me, and it doesn’t bode well for the future of a military that is welcoming to all faiths or those who follow no faith.

Again, thank you for all that you do and please pay no attention to those who write such juvenile messages as those I’ve seen in your MRFF Inbox. Take comfort in the knowledge that their insults speak more about the authors than they do about you. Be well.

Respectfully yours,

XXXXXXOHL, M.Sc., XXNE, CCIE

Click to read more


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