UPDATES Wednesday, June 13, 2012
Associated Press Radio:
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Tuesday, June 12, 2012:
EXCERPT: Ron Crews, executive director of the Chaplain Alliance for Religious Liberty, told Fox News he was extremely disappointed in the decision to remove the military edition Bibles from exchange stores — and called the move “cowardly.”… “Why should these Bibles be removed because of the demands of a small activist group,” he asked. “The MFRR [sic] must cease and desist their reckless assault on religious liberty.”
He also called on Congress to investigate what he called “this frivolous threat and cowardly response by the DoD.”
EXCERPT: “Over the past few years, the Military Religious Freedom Foundation (MRFF) has probably received more complaints about these Bibles, which are displayed and sold in all the base exchanges and other stores on military bases, than any other single issue.”
FOR IMMEDIATE RELEASE
Monday, June 11, 2012
MRFF Contact: Mikey Weinstein
MRFF Pressure Halts
“Military Bible” Authorization
by All Four Military Branches
In clear violation of the U.S. Constitution,
USMC, Air Force, Army, Navy insignia were used to
promote Southern Baptist Convention Bible
ALBUQUERQUE, NM – Following efforts by the Military Religious Freedom Foundation (MRFF: www.MilitaryReligiousFreedom.org), all four branches of the U.S. Military have revoked their approval of the Military series of Holman Christian Standard Bibles (HCSB). The Holman Bible is a modern English, Baptist translation that was completed in 2004 and is published by LifeWay Christian Resources’ Holman Bible Publishers, a subsidiary of the Evangelical fundamentalist Southern Baptist Bible Convention. These editions were prominently emblazoned with exact replicas of the trademarked emblems of the Army, Navy, Marine Corps, and Air Force.
MRFF is a civil rights organization representing over 28,000 members of the armed services and veterans (96% of whom are Christian). As of June, 2011, MRFF had been contacted by nearly 2,000 servicemembers who witnessed the Bibles being conspicuously featured on military Exchange shelves and storefronts across the globe. This raised fears among military personnel that, in the words of an anonymous U.S. Air Force Judge Advocate, it was “a big step towards establishing the Holman Christian Standard Bible as the official religious text of the military services of the United States.”
The dangerous nature of an official endorsement of Bibles by the U.S. Military is made clear by the fact that the Holman translation does not include those texts purged from the Bible during the Protestant Reformation which are still included in Roman Catholic and Eastern Orthodox editions of the Holy Bible.
Entitled “The Soldier’s Bible,” “Sailor’s Bible,” “Marine’s Bible,” and “Airman’s Bible,” respectively, the HSBC Bibles contained material merging Evangelical symbolism and theology with national and military iconography and anthems. Each HCSB Military Bible also contained “quotations, prayers, and inspiration” from figures ranging from George Washington and President George W. Bush to various historical figures from each of the respective branches of the U.S. Armed Services.
Following a request filed by MRFF’s outside legal counsel under the Freedom of Information Act, the foundation discovered that the U.S. Military had given authorization to LifeWay allowing for reproduction of the emblems, an action that stood in direct violation of the Establishment Clause of the First Amendment of the United States Constitution. Upon investigation, each branch of the military responded in succession with the notification that permission to use each branch’s imagery had been revoked.
“Once again our foundation has decisively beaten back those who would see the wall separating church and state reduced to rubble,” said Mikey Weinstein, President and Founder of MRFF. “The very fact that the Pentagon — or ‘Pentacostal-gon’ — had allowed for the insignias of the Navy, Army, Marine Corps, and Air Force to be used for such a clearly Evangelical fundamentalist agenda should sicken anyone with any inkling of respect for the ‘sacred’ principle of religious freedom as enshrined by the foundational documents of our nation, namely the U.S. Constitution.”
The Military Religious Freedom Foundation is up against well-funded extremist religious organizations. Your donations allow us to continue our fight in the courts and in the media to fight for separation of church and state in the U.S. military. Please make a fully tax-deductible donation today at helpbuildthewall.org.