VICTORY ALERT: Under Pressure from MRFF and other Civil Rights Allies, Islamophobic Retired Lt. Gen. Boykin Withdraws from National Prayer Breakfast at West Point

UPDATE: Under Pressure from MRFF and other Civil Rights Allies, Islamophobic Retired Lt. Gen. Boykin Withdraws from National Prayer Breakfast at West Point

Monday, January 30, 2012

MRFF Friends and Allies,

This is a monumentally-clear indication that when organizations such as the Military Religious Freedom Foundation and VoteVets work toward a common goal, with the strength of our dedicated supporters behind us, concrete positive change can be achieved.

We are deeply saddened that it took a public outcry of this magnitude to cause Boykin to pull out from this event, likely under pressure from within the Pentagon. Our outcry must not stop – all individuals within the command structure responsible for inviting this vile Islamophobe must be held accountable via courts martial.

On behalf of every single serviceman and servicewoman that we represent, and especially our 101 clients at West Point, we thank you so much for your continued support. Please read the powerful email below that we just received from one of our anonymous West Point Faculty clients.

This is truly a momentous victory for the Constitution, and you’re responsible for it.

Michael L. “Mikey” Weinstein, Esq.
Founder & President
Military Religious Freedom Foundation


January 27, 2012

John McHugh
Secretary of the Army
101 Army Pentagon
Washington, DC 20310-0101

The Military Religious Freedom Foundation (MRFF) unequivocally condemns the outrageous and scandalous decision to invite the rabidly Islamophobic retired Lieutenant General William Boykin to speak before the National Prayer Breakfast at the United States Military Academy at West Point. The event, which is scheduled to occur on February 8, 2012, must not be used as a forum for the backwards and disgusting hate speech of virulent anti-Muslim extremists such as retired Lt. Gen. Boykin. Our civil rights foundation demands that the Pentagon rescind its invitation to this notorious and noxious fundamentalist Christian supremacist immediately and without delay.

The Military Religious Freedom Foundation represents over 26,000 aggrieved soldiers, sailors, marines, airmen, cadets, midshipmen, and armed forces veteran clients, 96% of whom are Christian. This outrageous invitation to Boykin stands as a shameful testament to the fact that the ranks of the U.S. military have been possessed and inundated by the dangerous national security threat of evangelical fundamentalist fanaticism which Boykin represents, with grave consequences for servicemembers’ morale. In 2010, this travesty was made abundantly clear by the fact that another infamous, unapologetic Islamophobe, Franklin Graham, was invited to be the keynote speaker at the Pentagon’s National Day of Prayer event. Then, as now, we at MRFF immediately cited the heinously illicit and inappropriate nature of such an endorsement by military officials and effusively called for the Department of Defense to distance itself from its affiliation with bigots and bullies such as Graham, or face the immediacy of pending, aggressive Federal Court litigation.

At West Point alone, MRFF represents 27 faculty members and 74 cadets on this very matter of Boykin’s invitation; all but 7 of these West Point MRFF clients are either Protestant or Roman Catholic. The scandalous invitation to Boykin is but one symptom of a much broader affliction which has struck the once-prestigious institutes of higher learning within the U.S. Armed Forces – and indeed, the entirety of our once-secular American military. Today’s military is regrettably being transformed into a stomping ground for fundamentalist, Bible-thumping charlatans who have created an intolerable and wholly unconstitutional climate of religious oppression and tyranny for fellow members.

First and foremost, the invitation to Boykin represents a cruel insult to the thousands of honorable Muslim-Americans serving in the U.S. military and a desecration of the memory of those pristinely loyal and patriotic American soldiers of the Muslim faith who have fallen in battle or who have suffered injury in their service to this country. The galling and disingenuous claims that Boykin is being invited in the interests of “Pluralism” and “broadening intellectual horizons” simply don’t merit even the most cursory consideration. Instead, it is obvious that his views fan the flames of vulgar and pernicious religious discrimination and profound ignorance. Boykin himself is an outspoken and unabashed representative of the lunatic fringe of anti-Muslim hysteria. Additionally, Boykin’s feverish brand of fundamentalist Christian militarism is ingrained with a virulent theological hostility towards the cherished blessings of democracy and religious freedom, as embodied and guaranteed by the U.S. Constitution, which generations of service members have shed precious blood to protect.

According to a West Point faculty member and MRFF client who wishes to remain anonymous, “though it violates our United States Constitution and the sworn oaths we all took to support and defend it, West Point has an ‘official religion’ and it’s evangelical/fundamentalist Christianity. And THAT is precisely why this prejudiced racist Boykin has been invited to disgrace our Academy with his Islamophobic filth at this religious event.”

The faculty member continued: “Suffice it to say that the horrible consequences of the prejudiced message sent ’round-the-world by this official West Point invitation to Boykin is all but incalculable. The true price to be exacted, by granting this high profile speaking engagement to the bigot Boykin, will shamefully be paid in blood, and the blood of innocents. The President of the United States, the Secretary of Defense, and the most senior U.S. Army leadership have made it absolutely imperative to win the hearts and minds of our Islamic allies, and potential allies, by making it clear that Americans are NOT Christian crusaders who hate Muslims.”

Click here for the full text of the letter from this anonymous West Point faculty member

Indeed, the invitation to Boykin comes mere days after President Barack Obama, Commander-in-Chief of the United States Armed Forces, issued his State of the Union Address where it was noted that the guiding principle of American policy both foreign and domestic would be to “stand for the rights and dignity of all human beings – men and women; Christians, Muslims and Jews. ” The brazenly counter-intuitive extension of this invitation to Boykin can only be viewed as a seditious attempt to undermine the stated policy of the present administration as well as the critical ongoing efforts to “reset” relations with the Muslim world.

It is absolutely no exaggeration to say that the militant evangelical/fundamentalist Christian fanaticism that Boykin represents mirrors the militant Wahhabi-jihadist extremism of those whom the U.S. military is fighting in Africa, Asia, and the Middle East. The Military Religious Freedom Foundation stands alongside the constituencies of our 101 clients at West Point, the patient and honorable community of Muslim-American armed forces members, and all democratically-minded military service personnel in demanding that the West Point National Prayer Breakfast be an event which is welcoming and inclusive to all members of the Academy’s faculty, staff, and Corps of Cadets. In this spirit, we repeat our demand that Boykin’s invitation immediately be revoked. Boykin and his fellow evangelists of putrescent fundamentalist religious bigotry must not use the United States Military Academy at West Point as a venue for ignorant, racist displays of sectarian hatred and disgusting religious supremacy and exceptionalism.

Michael L. “Mikey” Weinstein, Esq.
Founder & President
Military Religious Freedom Foundation

CC:
President Barack Obama
Leon E. Panetta – Secretary, Department of Defense
General Raymond T. Odierno – Army Chief of Staff
General Martin E. Dempsey – Chairman of the Joint Chiefs of Staff
General James A. Winnefeld, Jr. – Vice Chairman of the Joint Chiefs of Staff
Lieutenant General David H. Huntoon, Jr. – Superintendent, U.S. Military Academy, West Point

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    2 Comments

    1. R. Gillett

      This action is little less than an assault on Free Speech, hidden by the usual left-wing shrouds of make-believe bigotry and religious intolerance. Boykin had expressed that he did not mean to insult Muslims beforehand, was not expected to spout Islamophobia at the West Point event, and has an enviable military career. If the tables had been reversed and the speaker would have been a Muslim or atheist speaking about the perils of right-wing Christian militias in the USA, no doubt that MRFF would have pee’ed their panties in joy! All in all, a loss for the First Amendment.

    2. Heathen in NC

      R. Gillett, you could not be more wrong if you tried. But then, you Christofascists only think that the First Amendment applies to Christians forcing their abusive relationship onto others–so your comment doesn’t surprise me in the least.

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