FOR IMMEDIATE RELEASE
October 20, 2009
Contact: Bekki Miller
MILITARY RELIGIOUS FREEDOM FOUNDATION
NOMINATED FOR 2010 NOBEL PEACE PRIZE
Albuquerque-based Military Religious Freedom Foundation (MRFF; www.militaryreligiousfreedom.org), the civil rights charitable organization that has worked both fearlessly and tirelessly to stop religious discrimination and oppression in the United States armed forces, has been nominated for the 2010 Nobel Peace Prize.
Since its founding in 2005, the MRFF has become the undisputed national and international leader in the civil rights movement to restore the severely fractured wall between church and state in the United States military and to stop the ill effects of noxious religious discrimination both domestically and abroad. The growing organization currently has over 15,000 constituent clients from today’s American active duty military, amazingly most of them practicing Christians. MRFF has also fought aggressively for the Constitutional rights of United States service members who are Jews, Muslims, Buddhists, Hindus, Sikhs, atheists, agnostics and other religious minorities, and to stop the unbridled proselytizing of Afghans, Iraqis, Pakistanis and other foreign nationals by the U.S. military.
While the Nobel committee does not officially release the names of nominees for 50 years, the letter nominating the MRFF was authorized for release by the Foundation, though redacted so as not to reveal the identity of the nominating source at his request. The nominator of MRFF for the 2010 Nobel Peace Prize is identified as a Senator from a foreign nation, which is an ally of the United States, and the only Christian legislator in the upper chamber of that country’s national parliament.
The nomination letter states, “The past accomplishments and ongoing critical work of the MRFF have gained this civil rights organization the profound respect of officers and officials in the highest ranks of the United States military…”.
The MRFF has tenaciously taken on the U.S. military with a bold, brave approach to stopping the systemic and embedded discrimination against those who are not fundamentalist Christians in today’s armed forces, as well as against the citizens of the Islamic countries where our military is presently engaged in combat operations. Such egregious acts of bigotry and prejudice include violence and threats against U.S. sailors, soldiers, marines, airmen, cadets and midshipmen who will no longer accept the unconstitutional abuse of forced religious oppression from their military chains of command.
“I am deeply and profoundly honored for the Foundation to be nominated; especially by such a respected and influential member of a foreign Parliament allied with America,” said Michael L. “Mikey” Weinstein, MRFF’s Founder and President. Weinstein is a former White House lawyer and also former General Counsel to Texas billionaire and two-time Presidential candidate H.Ross Perot and Perot Systems Corporation. Mr. Weinstein is a 1977 U.S. Air Force Academy honor graduate who has taken on and leads this civil rights mission for religious non-discrimination. Over the past five years, Weinstein, his family and MRFF have endured a steady diet of serious threats and offensive acts of reprisal and retribution.
The nominating letter goes on to say that, “Mr. Weinstein and his family have been the target of grotesque retaliatory death threats and actions from the American religious fundamentalists MRFF fights; such harassment has included the repeated shooting out of the windows of their home, the burning of a church where he was to speak; the placement of slaughtered animals at his front doorstep…and the crude markings of swastikas and crucifixes on his family’s dwelling.”
Weinstein has been described by Harper’s magazine as the “constitutional conscience of the U.S. military.” He is the father of three children including two sons (and a daughter-in-law) who also graduated from the U.S. Air Force Academy. His family includes three consecutive generations of military academy graduates and over 130 years of combined active duty military service in a plethora of U.S. combat theaters and situations spanning most of the last century.
In 2005, in response to overt religious discrimination at the U.S. Air Force Academy, Weinstein started MRFF. His specific mission at the time was to stop the ubiquitous religious discrimination from fundamentalist Christians at the Academy bent on converting mainline Protestants, Roman Catholics and non-Christians to their beliefs utilizing the draconian spectre of military command influence. That civil rights mission has now massively expanded over the last four years to include all of the approximately 1,000 American military installations scattered around the globe in over 130 host countries.
Weinstein is the author of “With God On Our Side: One Man’s War Against an Evangelical Coup in America’s Military,” published in 2006 from St. Martins Press. The paperback edition, published in 2008, has a forward by Ambassador (retired) Joe Wilson. The book is an expose on the systemic problem of religious intolerance throughout the U.S. armed forces.
The redacted letter nominating MRFF is attached.
The winner of the 2010 Nobel Peace Prize will be announced in October of next year by the Nobel Peace Prize Committee in Oslo, Norway. The Committee reported that it had received the largest number of official nominees ever for the 2009 Peace Prize competition recently won by President Barack Obama; 172 individuals and 33 organizations were nominated worldwide.