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Monday, April 23, 2018


MRFF Information/Contact: (505)-250-7727


Bibles don't belong on POW remembrance tables

Monday, April 23, 2018

By: Chris Rodda| Military Religious Freedom Foundation
Date: April 23, 2018

A surefire way to stir up outrage is to claim that something is a long-standing tradition and then say that this cherished tradition is being stolen away. And this is exactly what Hiram Sasser and Mike Berry of First Liberty Institute did in their April 17 op-ed titled, "Leave POW remembrance tables alone."

Regarding the "tradition" of a Bible being included among the items on prisoner-of-war and missing-in-action tables, they wrote:

Since the Vietnam War, the military has maintained the sacred tradition of setting a separate table in its dining facilities to honor POW/MIAs. The table is decorated with several items, each carrying symbolic meaning used to help remember those who were captured or declared missing. Traditionally, as a common symbol of faith, one of those items is a Bible.


The original POW/MIA table items did not include a Bible. And neither does the American Legion's version. The American Legion, which adopted a resolution in 1985 calling for a POW/MIA table at all of its official meetings, includes in its official Chaplain's Manual a list of the items to be included on the table and a script explaining the meaning of each item. The Bible is not included among the items.

Does this make the American Legion an anti-religious organization? Of course not. The American Legion is a very religious organization. It just didn't add a Bible to something that a Bible was never a part of.

But, in their op-ed, Sasser and Berry didn't mention the American Legion. They cited another organization as their sole authority, writing:

According to the National League of POW/MIA Families this symbol of all faiths is meant to represent "the strength gained through faith to sustain those lost from our country, founded as one nation under God."

But this so-called "tradition" of including a Bible didn't emerge until three decades after the original tradition of the POW/MIA table was begun.


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Leave POW remembrance
tables alone

Tuesday, April 17, 2018

By: Hiram Sasser and Mike Berry | First Liberty Institute
Date: April 17, 2018

Last week, our law firm, First Liberty Institute, filed a lawsuit on behalf U.S. Air Force veteran Oscar Rodriguez. He was assaulted and forcibly removed from a fellow airman's retirement ceremony by Air Force officials because his flag-folding speech contained the word "God."

In response, the Military Religious Freedom Foundation, a small, but vocal anti-religious liberty outfit, complained, "Allowing Rodriguez to yell like a fundamentalist Christian hurricane is the antithesis of good order and discipline."

But the foul wind blows from the MRFF's own cyclone. It recently complained to the U.S. Navy about a Bible and a "One Nation under God" placard placed on a POW/MIA table at the U.S. Naval Hospital in Okinawa, Japan.


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Pompeo Discussed Rapture at CIA

Monday, April 23, 2018

By: Ken Klippenstein | TYT Investigates
Date: April 23, 2018

As the Senate considers whether to confirm CIA Director Mike Pompeo as President Trump's secretary of state, new information is coming to light about his sparse record on foreign affairs, raising concerns about Pompeo's ability to serve as America's top diplomat.

The Senate Foreign Relations Committee was set to vote on Pompeo's confirmation Monday night.

Pompeo has come under fire for remarks about Muslims. Now, disclosure documents reviewed by TYT also show that Pompeo once met with an Israeli official who was later honored by a group so extreme it was labeled a hate group.


Pompeo has not publicly tied his belief in the Rapture to U.S. policy, but he allegedly has brought Rapture theology into the CIA. Michael Weinstein, founder of the Military Religious Freedom Foundation—a watchdog group on issues of religious freedom in the military and intelligence community—told TYT that Pompeo has talked about the Rapture at the CIA during his tenure as director there.

Weinstein told TYT his group has received complaints from CIA personnel about Pompeo's introduction of overtly religious behavior into the workplace, including Rapture references. "He is intolerant of anyone who isn't a fundamentalist Christian," Weinstein said. "The people that worked under him at the CIA that came to us were never confused—they never had time to be confused. They were shocked and then they were scared shitless."The CIA did not respond to a request for comment from Pompeo.


Click to read on

Click to read MRFF's statement on
Mike Pompeo as Secretary of State


San Diego-based admiral declines to probe Bible placement at Okinawa hospital

Friday, April 20, 2018

By: Carl Prine | San Diego Union Tribune
Date: April 20, 2018

Although the Navy vowed to probe complaints by the troops that Navy officials in Okinawa were trying to convert people to Christianity through a Vietnam War display, an admiral in San Diego nixed the investigation.

In a letter dated April 17 and mailed to New York attorney Donald G. Rehkopf Jr., San Diego-based Rear Adm. Paul D. Pearigen said that "neither further review nor an investigation of this matter is necessary."


Michael "Mikey" Weinstein, a former Air Force officer and the foundation's founder, said most of the petitioners were Christian and also included Jews, Buddhists, Shintoists, non-believers and a person who followed a Native American faith.

In his letter, Pearigen — Navy Medicine West commander — said the exhibit had been "part of the tradition and custom of the military and the nation for many years."

Pearigen reasoned that the Bible wasn't the focal point of the display but was one of nine ceremonial items. As for the placard, Pearigen said it didn't promote religion but instead recalled "the strength and resolve required of POWs and MIA personnel in the most difficult of times."

When asked for comment for this story, Pearigen's staff promised a statement next week.

Weinstein told the newspaper by telephone and email that his legal team has requested an investigation into Pearigen and his clinic by the Department of Defense's Inspector General.


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Navy Official Won't Remove Bible from Display; It Doesn't
"Promote Religion"

Saturday, April 21, 2018

By: Hemant Mehta | Patheos
Date: April 21, 2018

As we learned a couple of weeks ago, the U.S. Naval Hospital in Okinawa, Japan now has a "Missing Man" table dedicated to prisoners of war or those missing in action. That's perfectly fine, but this particular table included a Bible, suggesting that POW/MIAs were only Christian and that atheists and people of other faiths didn't make the same sacrifices as other soldiers.

The Military Religious Freedom Foundation's founder and president Mikey Weinstein (on behalf of more than two dozen mostly Christian clients) sent a letter to Rear Admiral Paul D. Pearigen saying this Bible had to go.

Pearigen has now responded, and he says the table and the Bible are staying put.


Click to read on

Background Information

U.S. Navy REFUSES MRFF's Demand
to Remove Christian Bible from 
POW/MIA Memorial Table at 
U.S. Naval Hospital on Okinawa

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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.

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Your organization

Saturday, April 21, 2018

You are a despicable group of people who bring shame on every true veteran of our United States Military. May your group wallow in failure and vanish quickly.
(name withheld)

Response by MRFF Advisory Board Member John Compere

Dear (name withheld),

Your diabolical diatribe demonstrates a lamentable lack of knowledge about the Military Religious Freedom Foundation, its advocates and the 55,000 military members, veterans & civilian employees (96% of whom are Christians) it represents who have requested their constitutional right to freedom of religion be respected, protected & freed from interference.


Response by MRFF Advisory Board Member Joan Slish

Dear (name withheld),

First, I'd like to thank you for your service and all of those that served during combat in foreign wars.

My father (Soldier's Medal) and several uncles (one went down with a Naval Ship in the Mediterranean Sea) served in World War II. My brother served in the Vietnam War. My ex-son-in-law (Balad) and my nephew (Baghdad) served in Iraq.


Click to read full responses in MRFF's Inbox

MRFF Information/Contact: (505)-250-7727

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