FOR IMMEDIATE RELEASE
October 13, 2010
Contact: Bekki Miller
MILITARY RELIGIOUS FREEDOM FOUNDATION
NOMINATED FOR 2011 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 unconstitutional religious discrimination and oppression in the United States armed forces, has been nominated for the 2011 Nobel Peace Prize, the second consecutive year that MRFF has received a nomination.
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 approximately 20,000 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.
The nomination letter states, “Without MRFF’s dedication to the religious freedom of both U.S. military troops and those of our allies, the U.S. Armed Forces would rapidly be transformed into a proselytizing Christian military levying a pernicious religious crusade throughout Muslim nations.”
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.
“Words truly can’t express how honored I am that the Military Religious Freedom Foundation has been nominated for the Nobel Peace Prize for a second consecutive year; it is clear evidence that our work is making an unmistakeable impact on both a national and international level,” said Michael L. “Mikey” Weinstein, MRFF’s Founder and President. Weinstein is a former Reagan 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 six 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, “The past accomplishments and ongoing critical work of the Military Religious Freedom Foundation have earned this acclaimed civil rights organization and its cause the profound respect and attention of officers and officials in the highest ranks of the United States military as well as similarly situated military and civilian leaders from the governments of other nations.”
Weinstein has been described as the “constitutional conscience of the U.S. military” by Harper’s magazine and the newly-released book C Street: The Fundamentalist Threat to American Democracy (Published by Little, Brown and Company, New York, Sept. 27, 2010). In C Street, from New York Times bestselling author and Dartmouth faculty member Jeff Sharlet, Weinstein’s and MRFF’s fight for the constitutional rights of United States Servicemen and Servicewomen are extensively chronicled.
Weinstein 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. This family legacy of military service spans a plethora of U.S. combat theaters and situations throughout most of the last and current centuries, including present combat operations ongoing in Afghanistan.
In 2005, in response to clearly systemic 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 MRFF Board Member and Ambassador (retired) Joseph C. Wilson IV. The book is an expose on the systemic problem of religious intolerance throughout the U.S. armed forces.
The redacted letter nominating MRFF is linked below.
The winner of the 2011 Nobel Peace Prize will be announced in October of next year by the Nobel Peace Prize Committee in Oslo, Norway.