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Tuesday, October 17, 2017



Photo by: (Sgt. Ken Scar/Army)


(Click here to watch 2:33
interview on Georgia FOX's

Monday, October 16, 2017

"Religious freedom group claims Ft. Gordon soldiers were forced to attend Christian event"

By: J. Bryan Randall, Georgia FOX's affiliate WFXG
Date: October 16, 2017


...Fort Gordon denies that attendance to the cookout was mandatory, releasing this statement Monday afternoon: "We are aware of the inquiry from Mr. Weinstein, Founder and President of the Military Religious Freedom Foundation.  The Saturday, Fall Spiritual Fitness Cookout in question was attended by approximately 500 Soldiers on Fort Gordon.  While the event in question was clearly advertised as a voluntary activity only, we are conducting an inquiry to ensure there was no undue command influence to attend."


Click to read and watch
interview on Georgia
FOX's affiliate


Monday, October 16, 2017

"Fort Gordon soldiers say they were forced to attend a Christian spiritual fitness event"

By: Kent Miller, Army Times
Date: October 16, 2017


"The soldiers, at the post for Advanced Individual Training, said they were required to listen as a Christian chaplain prayed over them and urged them to turn their lives over to Jesus Christ. A Christian rock band also played during the three-and-a-half-hour "Spiritual Fitness Barbecue."

After being contacted by 43 soldiers and Army civilians at Fort Gordon immediately following the event, "Mikey" Weinstein, founder and president of the Military Religious Freedom Foundation, wrote a letter of complaint to Maj. Gen. John Morrison Jr., the installation commander, late Saturday evening.


The soldiers, Weinstein wrote, "quite justly feel as though they have been brutally subjected to fundamentalist Christian predators and bullies, superior to them in the Fort Gordon chain of command under your control."

In a statement Monday afternoon, U.S. Army Training and Doctrine Command, which oversees soldiers' initial training, said attendance at the event was not compulsory.

"The event you inquired about was the Spiritual Fitness Barbeque, which is part of a voluntary program helping to develop soldier resiliency," according to the statement.


It is not clear how many soldiers attended the event without accepting the invitation.

"The command will look further into the incident to ensure there was no miscommunication about the voluntary nature of this event," the TRADOC statement read.


Click to read on Army Times


Monday, October 16, 2017

"Religious freedom group
reports Christian proselytizing
forced on some soldiers at
Fort Gordon barbecue"

By: Susan McCord, The Augusta Chronicle
Date: October 16, 2017


"A religious freedom organization is calling on post leadership at Fort Gordon to take action after some soldiers reported they were forced to undergo fundamentalist Christian proselytizing by an Army chaplain during a Saturday "spiritual" barbecue. A post official said attendance was voluntary.


At the chapel, loud Christian rock music played and an Army chaplain tried "his level best to get them to accept and surrender to his version of the gospel of Jesus Christ," Weinstein said.


Fort Gordon Acting Public Affairs Officer Geralyn Smith Noah said the post is aware of Weinstein’s concern and will investigate whether there was "undue command influence" resulting in attendance by approximately 500 soldiers at an event called the Fall Spiritual Fitness Cookout.

"While the event was clearly advertised as a voluntary activity only, we will conduct an inquiry to ensure there was no undue command influence to attend," she said."

Click to read on Augusta Chronicle

One of MRFF's Clients, a Soldier at Ft. Gordon, Reaches Out to Mikey
After Army Chain of Command Demands his Attendance

Statement from Fort Gordon Soldier emailed to MRFF/Mikey Weinstein

Date: October 16, 2017

To clarify what happened, the night before during our recall formation, we were told that the next day there would be a "Spiritual Bar B Que" being held at one of the chapels. They also made it very clear attendance would be mandatory. One of the Sergeants took the time to make a jab about people hiding in their barracks "being introverted" and getting in trouble for it. Automatically I was dismayed. I am non religious, and grew up in rural areas [identifiable info withheld] so my lack of faith wasn't exactly welcomed by most. I was mistreated before coming into the Army, often being treated like some kind of idiot at best, being told that I would burn in hell at worst. The word "Spiritual" alone was enough to make it clear that I would not be having anything that even resembled a good time. I was forced by my Army chain of command to go to this event regardless of what I wanted or believed. When we got there I watched as other companies were marched to this event, and tried to keep the anger from showing on my face. I didn't want to be there. I did my best to ignore the Christian rock that seemed to be played unreasonably loud. The Chaplain led everybody in a prayer that seemed to go on forever. The whole ordeal grated on my nerves incessantly.

At this point I was infuriated. These same NCOs had fed us all this shit about getting us to socialize had prevented me from going to events where there were people I would want to socialize with and forced me to go to an event where if my lack of faith become known, I would have been anything but welcome and those NCOs, who were more than happy to spend hours at a time lecturing us about EO and treating others with respect, just spat in the face of those notions to do it.

I figured that the NCOs and my battle buddies would probably say that I'm over reacting, that this sort of thing isn't that big of deal, and then the more aggressive of my religious "battle buddies" would likely start coming after me for it, but at the same time I knew that I couldn't be the only person in this situation, and I knew that if I let this slide it wouldn't stop. My father taught me to never back down when I was right, and I am sick and tired of being pushed around by these sorts of people, who think that they can shove their Christian faith down other peoples throats. So I decided to make a stand. After a bit of digging I found the MRFF. Who I promptly contacted.


Re: Today's Mandatory "Spiritual Bar B Que" at Fort Gordon

Monday, October 16, 2017

Major General John B. Morrison, Jr.
Commanding General, Fort Gordon, Georgia
Cyber Center of Excellence

Re: Today's Mandatory "Spiritual Bar B Que" at Fort Gordon

Major General Morrison,

Sir, my name is Mikey Weinstein and I am the Founder and President of the Military Religious Freedom Foundation (MRFF). MRFF is a large civil rights advocacy organization with the main mission objective of protecting the Constitutionally-mandated wall separating church and state in the United States armed forces...


General, let me please get directly to the reason I am so earnestly writing you at this late hour on a Saturday night in the middle of an autumn weekend.

I am extremely disappointed to inform you that, earlier today, Saturday, October 14, 2017 (at or about approximately 10:00 am, EDT) at the storied, 100 year-old military installation you command, Fort Gordon, large numbers of very junior enlisted soldiers-presently undergoing the rigors of Advanced Individual Training (AIT) at your installation-were ORDERED by their Army superiors to form up from their barracks and MANDATORILY marched over, in formation, to one of the Fort Gordon chapels and FORCED to participate in an elaborate, Fort Gordon-sponsored and produced Christian proselytizing program which went by the telling name of a "Spiritual Bar B Que".


General, MRFF is now representing over 40 U.S. Army personnel under your direct command at Fort Gordon, sir, who quite justly feel as though they have been brutally subjected to fundamentalist Christian predators and bullies superior to them in the Fort Gordon chain of command under YOUR control. Indeed, sir, their Army superiors have trampled all over their Constitutionally-guaranteed civil rights NOT to have the United States Army violate the No Establishment Clause of the First Amendment of the Bill of Rights of our United States Constitution. Needless to say, other precious Constitutional civil rights (see Clause 3, Article VI re: No Religious Test) as well as a vast sea of well-settled U.S. Supreme Court and related Federal caselaw and bedrock DoD and U.S. Army Directives, Instructions and Regulations were also egregiously violated by ORDERING these young and otherwise defenseless soldier subordinates to participate in this "Spiritual Bar B Que".

The majority of MRFF's clients in this atrocious matter happen to be practicing Christians themselves who clearly understand that, irrespective of the fact that they happen to belong to the majority religious faith group under your command at Fort Gordon, sir, FORCING soldiers AGAINST their will to likewise accept that particular Christian majoritarian faith is BLATANTLY and wretchedly WRONG from a moral, ethical and especially legal perspective! Other MRFF clients in this tragic matter include Army soldiers and Army personnel who follow the religious convictions of Islam, Judaism, Hinduism, Buddhism as well as a number of those who self-describe as agnostic, atheist, humanist and secularist.


You see, sir, it's all about the time, place and manner of how military members decide to deploy their religious faiths, or even lack thereof. Had this event been purely voluntary, and thus NOT been subject to the obvious duress of "Command-inducement", there would NOT have been ANY problem at all. Unfortunately the EXACT opposite transpired as those U.S. Army soldiers under your command who outrank MRFF’s clients, ORDERED and FORCED them to the exclusivist trough of this fundamentalist Christian "Spiritual Bar B Que".


Major General Morrison, sir, on behalf of its numerous U.S. Army clients under your command at Fort Gordon who have been the innocent victims of this MANDATORY Christian proselytizing and conversion event travesty, MRFF hereby demands that you immediately investigate and aggressively punish all of those individuals who are either directly or indirectly responsible for the ignominious shame of this "Spiritual Bar B Que".

Sadly, the only thing "Bar B Qued" at Fort Gordon today, sir, were the Constitutionally-guaranteed church/state separation civil rights...


Sir, can you imagine, even for one instant, what unmitigated hell would have been unleashed had your soldiers been FORCED to likewise march in formation and involuntarily participate in the proselytizing and conversion event of another religious faith such as, for just one example, Islam? Why, there would have been oceans of blood in the streets, sir, and you KNOW it!


General, what happened to MRFF"s Army clients at Fort Gordon today, on your watch, MUST be immediately and expeditiously fixed, sir.


Please advise me soonest as to the swift and formidable remedial actions you will take to exhaustively review this matter, punish those responsible and ensure that such a horrific desecration of Constitutially-guaranteed civil rights NEVER again occurs under your command.

Standing by to hear from you, General.

Respectfully submitted,

Michael L. "Mikey" Weinstein, Esq.
Founder and President, Military Religious Freedom Foundation

Click to read more


From: Anderson, Samuel G III COL USARMY CYBER COE (US)
To: [email protected]
Subject: RE: [Non-DoD Source] URGENT for Major General Morrison: Egregious Constitutional Civil Rights Violations Under Your Command (UNCLASSIFIED)
Date: October 16, 2017

Mr. Weinstein,

Thank you for your email concerning Fort Gordon's Spiritual Fitness BBQ. We strive to make clear to all our Soldiers, to include trainees, that this is a Voluntary religious event. However, with prudence and caution in mind, we will inquire into all the facts and circumstances of the event and ensure there was no improper guidance, instruction or misunderstanding by leadership, Cadre or Trainees. Please let me know, if I can assist further.

Samuel G. Anderson


Chief of Staff

From: Mikey Weinstein
Subject: Re: Response from Cyber Center of Excellence re "Spiritual Bar B Que"
Date: October 16, 2017
To: "Anderson, Samuel G III COL USARMY CYBER COE (US)

...thx Colonel Anderson...thanks for your reply.....sir, please kindly allow me to be blunt in the interests of saving time......there is ABSOLUTELY NO DOUBT that many of your AIT soldier trainees were ORDERED by their Army superiors to form up, march over and MANDATORILY attend this CHRISTIAN ONLY "Spiritual Fitness" proselytizing event......just ask your Company commanders ...I even have additional information clearly confirming the mandatory nature of this event.....which would be EXTREMELY helpful in your "inquiry" .....but do not want to put that over the internet.......thus, please call me soonest so I can relay it to you, sir.....gratefully, Mikey Weinstein, Founder and President, MRFF....standing by for your call please, Colonel....(please do not send by an Adobe attachment when next you communicate via e-mail...just a regular e-mail would be appreciated!)

From: "Anderson, Samuel G III COL USARMY CYBER COE (US)"
Subject: RE: [Non-DoD Source] Re: Response from Cyber Center of Excellence re "Spiritual Bar B Que"
Date: October 16, 2017
To: Mikey Weinstein <[email protected]>

Sir, thanks again for your reply. We are obviously interested in determining the facts and your insight to that end will be greatly appreciated. At your convenience I would like to schedule a time that works for you tomorrow (17 OCT) where we could discuss this further. Thank you again Sir, I look forward to talking to you.



Samuel G. Anderson
Chief of Staff



Monday, October 16, 2017

Date: October 16, 2017

I am one of the soldiers who called MRFF over the events that have transpired. I just wanted to thank the MRFF for their hard work. With a chaplain leading prayer in every event I've been to in the Army, it often feels like people like me who aren't belonging to any particular faith, or a faith that isn't Christian aren't very welcome in the Army. When I didn't have anyone that I could trust to turn to over this, they were there.

They not only confronted the issue, but they got results faster than I thought was possible in the Army. I got a reply within thirty minutes of my email to them, on a Saturday no less and they went out of their way to make sure that what happened to me won't be happening to other soldiers in the future.

(MRFF client/Army soldier's name and rank withheld)

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