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2016 Thomas Jefferson Awards for the Preservation of Religious Freedom

Major William E. Barker, USMC (Ret.)

Major William E. Barker, USMC (Ret.)Having been in philosophical lockstep since before its inception, it is a privilege to work with MRFF as a board member.  Additionally, please know that Thomas Jefferson has been a personal hero for decades and I am thrilled to be recognized by MRFF as a recipient of the Thomas Jefferson Award.

As a Junior ROTC instructor for 19 years, I had the opportunity to help militarily inclined students gain the skills needed for successful military careers.  Whether they enlisted or were accepted to the military academy of their choice, I considered it my mission to ensure that they left high school with the tools they needed to not only succeed, but to become military leaders.  It would be antithetical to this mission to allow them to enter an environment in which their advancement could be hindered as a result of their chosen religious faith or non-faith without regard for their skills and leadership training.

Contrary to the claims of many opponents of MRFF, religious proselytization and/or discrimination is a very real problem within the military.  This is not an issue of being "politically correct."  Without the work of MRFF, our military could suffer immeasurable loss of morale, effectiveness, and leadership by giving favor to those practicing a particular religion instead of to those who have demonstrated intelligence, skill, and integrity.

Thank you for this award.  I look forward to continue working with MRFF to advocate for talented service members of all religious faiths or non-faith.

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