Military Religious Freedom Foundation http://www.militaryreligiousfreedom.org Protecting the Constitutional Guarantee of Separation of Church and State in the United States Military Thu, 30 Oct 2014 21:44:15 +0000 en-US hourly 1 RADIO – THE RICK SMITH SHOW – Rick Smith w/ Chris Rodda http://www.militaryreligiousfreedom.org/2014/10/radio-the-rick-smith-show-rick-smith-w-chris-rodda/ http://www.militaryreligiousfreedom.org/2014/10/radio-the-rick-smith-show-rick-smith-w-chris-rodda/#comments Thu, 30 Oct 2014 21:44:15 +0000 http://www.militaryreligiousfreedom.org/?p=20503 Audio Recording of Chris Rodda on The Rick Smith Show

Click above to listen to this 25 minute, 48 second recording.

Chris Rodda, Senior Research Director for the Military Religious Freedom Foundation talks about her Huffington Post article on religion and the ROTC at Wheaton College. Listen to Chris’s interview HERE  

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10/29/14 MIKEY INVITED TO TESTIFY BEFORE CONGRESS, HOUSE ARMED SERVICES COMMITTE: “Religious Accommodations in the Armed Services” hearing scheduled for November 19, 2014 http://www.militaryreligiousfreedom.org/2014/10/102914-mikey-invited-to-testify-before-congress-house-armed-services-committe-religious-accommodations-in-the-armed-services-hearing-scheduled-for-november-19-2014/ http://www.militaryreligiousfreedom.org/2014/10/102914-mikey-invited-to-testify-before-congress-house-armed-services-committe-religious-accommodations-in-the-armed-services-hearing-scheduled-for-november-19-2014/#comments Thu, 30 Oct 2014 11:00:19 +0000 http://www.militaryreligiousfreedom.org/?p=20477 http://www.militaryreligiousfreedom.org/2014/10/102914-mikey-invited-to-testify-before-congress-house-armed-services-committe-religious-accommodations-in-the-armed-services-hearing-scheduled-for-november-19-2014/feed/ 0 ONE NEWS NOW: One call, that’s all: Atheist (sic) picks up phone, Air Force surrenders again http://www.militaryreligiousfreedom.org/2014/10/one-news-now-one-call-thats-all-atheist-sic-picks-up-phone-air-force-surrenders-again/ http://www.militaryreligiousfreedom.org/2014/10/one-news-now-one-call-thats-all-atheist-sic-picks-up-phone-air-force-surrenders-again/#comments Wed, 29 Oct 2014 22:15:38 +0000 http://www.militaryreligiousfreedom.org/?p=20471 Note: the following article makes the deliberately false claim of referring to Mikey Weinstein as an ‘atheist,’ when he is in fact a Jewish Agnostic.

Selected Article Excerpt:

  • An atheist known for attacking expressions of faith in the U.S. Armed Forces has convinced the Air Force to remove a newsletter contribution from a colonel because he mentioned his faith.

    Mikey Weinstein, who leads the so-called Military Religious Freedom Foundation, complained after an Air Force colonel wrote about his faith in a newsletter called “The Stinger.”

    The colonel is Florencio Marquinez, a medical group commander in the 180th Fighter Wing of the Ohio Air National Guard. Among other observations, the colonel wrote in the newsletter that his faith has sustained him throughout his military career.

    Ron Crews, executive director of The Chaplain Alliance for Religious Liberty, says the Ohio Air National Guard cannot censor the protected speech of one of its members based on the content of that speech.

    “When we found out about this,” says Crews, “we drafted a letter to the commander to give him the constitutional reasons why this good colonel has every right to say that faith is what has sustained him in his military career.”

  • Weinstein has congratulated himself in the past for how quickly military leaders respond to his complaints – even counting the minutes – and this time was no different.

    “After merely speaking with me once over the phone,” Weinstein wrote, the “amazing and caring” Col. Baker “immediately recognized the seriousness of this egregious Constitutional and Air Force regulation violation.”

    Crews, however, calls the colonel’s decision “just one more egregious example” of the Air Force denying officers and airmen the right to exercise their faith.

Click to read more

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VANGUARD DAHLONEGA: MRFF Seeking to Sue UNG for Violating First Amendment http://www.militaryreligiousfreedom.org/2014/10/vanguard-dahlonega-mrff-seeking-to-sue-ung-for-violating-first-amendment/ http://www.militaryreligiousfreedom.org/2014/10/vanguard-dahlonega-mrff-seeking-to-sue-ung-for-violating-first-amendment/#comments Wed, 29 Oct 2014 19:47:19 +0000 http://www.militaryreligiousfreedom.org/?p=20466 Selected Article Excerpt:

Recently, The Military Religious Freedom Foundation has brought accusations against the University of North Georgia in a letter found here. Allegations state that UNG has violated the Constitution and now the MRFF plans to take litigious measures against the university.

The MRFF seeks to protect religious equality and ensure freedom of worship under the Establishment Clause of the Constitution, found in the first amendment of the Bill of Rights. Key components of their work are guarding the religious and non-religious from oppression concerning religion as well as ensuring that no one religion dominates or suffocates the expression of worship to all religions.

The MRFF bases their case off of recent meetings held with university officials, services and events. In particular, the 2014 9/11 Memorial Service, in which a Christian prayer was led by the Corps Chaplain.

In order to make the University aware of its’ “illegal actions” the MMRF sent a letter to President Jacobs on October 1, 2014. This is a notification of the plan of action that the MRFF seeks to take in order to maintain and cultivate religious equality. The letter outlines grievances against the university as well as a timeline of events.

In the timeline, the most recent event listed is the 9/11 memorial service. According to the MRFF the service was mandatory and “not an optional religious formation”; prayers and invocations were made to the Christian God under leadership of the Catholic Campus Ministry.

Just as well, according to a UNG student, who has asked to remain anonymous, who brought forth information and has shed light on the fact that the Corps has only allowed Baptist chaplains in the Corps of Cadets participate in spiritual leadership.

According to school regulations, enacting this practice has broken rules and standards, as well as completely ignored the custom of military desegregation.

Click to read more

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VALERIE TARICO – Islamic College Quietly Trains Jihadis—or Does It? http://www.militaryreligiousfreedom.org/2014/10/valerie-tarico-islamic-college-quietly-trains-jihadis-or-does-it/ http://www.militaryreligiousfreedom.org/2014/10/valerie-tarico-islamic-college-quietly-trains-jihadis-or-does-it/#comments Wed, 29 Oct 2014 00:21:48 +0000 http://www.militaryreligiousfreedom.org/?p=20460 Selected article excerpt

Chris Rodda, author of Liars for Jesus, has published a detailed expose of the Wheaton College ROTC program, documenting how it boldly and clearly breaches the wall of separation of church and state, including the constitutional edict, “no religious Test shall ever be required as a Qualification to any Office or public Trust under the United States.” (Article VI).

Wheaton proudly advertises the only Christian ROTC program in the country: “There’s Army ROTC. Then There’s Wheaton Army ROTC.” So it would seem.

Rodda first learned of Wheaton’s unique blend of Evangelical fundamentalism and officer training when an officer in the armed forces sent a complaint to the Military Religious Freedom Foundation (MRFF). He enclosed an internal list of military job openings that included a ROTC assignment stipulating, “must be of the Christian faith.”

Click here to read more

 

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10/28/14 MRFF’s Response to: Chaplain Alliance For Religious Liberty http://www.militaryreligiousfreedom.org/2014/10/102814-mrffs-response-to-chaplain-alliance-for-religious-liberty/ http://www.militaryreligiousfreedom.org/2014/10/102814-mrffs-response-to-chaplain-alliance-for-religious-liberty/#comments Wed, 29 Oct 2014 00:10:38 +0000 http://www.militaryreligiousfreedom.org/?p=20455 http://www.militaryreligiousfreedom.org/2014/10/102814-mrffs-response-to-chaplain-alliance-for-religious-liberty/feed/ 0 Unforgivable ignorance of U.S. Constitution and history http://www.militaryreligiousfreedom.org/2014/10/unforgvable-ignorance-of-u-s-constitution-and-history/ http://www.militaryreligiousfreedom.org/2014/10/unforgvable-ignorance-of-u-s-constitution-and-history/#comments Tue, 28 Oct 2014 17:22:06 +0000 http://www.militaryreligiousfreedom.org/?p=20452 Today, for the first time I encountered your Facebook page and your website. I am a devout and practicing Roman Catholic, baptized when I was two months old. My father was a World War II. veteran, and although Catholic, he and my mother raised the family to understand and respect (and defend) the secular intentions of the Founding Fathers and the meaning of our only federal governing document, the U.S. Constitution. The United States is not a Christian country, and the Constitution never mentions God or Jesus Christ. Most of our Founding Fathers were Deists and/or Freemasons. They had a legitimate beef against several flavors of Christianity and were running FROM a theocracy.

This being said, have I been asleep? Tests of religious belief have been uniformly illegal in the political sphere for most of my life. That should be more than guaranteed in the military. If we don’t or can’t defend our defenders from bigotry, I forsee a quick voluntary reduction in force.

I read a good deal of your hate mail. I was personally sickened by the pathetic anti-Semitic slurs and the convoluting of anti-Semitism and paranoid homophobia. Mr. Weinstein, as a practicing Catholic, I apologize to you on behalf of all educated Christlans who are strict interpreters of the Constitution and know something about history.

Respectfully,
(name withheld)


Hi (name withheld) -

Mikey Weinstein shared your email with me, and since you and I have a common background I thought it would be good to send you a note. I’m a volunteer at MRFF, a USAFA graduate (Class of ’85), AF veteran, and like you a life-long Catholic (baptized at 6 days old, in my own case).

And like you, I felt like I’d been asleep at the wheel when I’d first began to learn more about the battles in which MRFF finds itself, especially since much of it has been fought at my own Alma Mater. But unlike you, my initial approach to MRFF was more from the direction of a potential critic. In fairness, though, my perspective at the time was informed by anti-MRFF sources, so it’s no surprise that my opinion was already skewed in that direction. But I undertook an effort to become better educated about the issue of religious freedom in our military, and also to become better informed about the mission of MRFF. By the end of that learning process, I was entirely convinced of two things — (1) the threat which MRFF opposes is very real; and (2) the mission of MRFF is absolutely necessary.

Actually, I became convinced of a third thing, too — Mikey Weinstein, despite being quite publicly reviled by some of my (and Mikey’s) fellow Academy graduates/classmates and also by a number of conservative commentators, is a man of great personal character and integrity, and he deserves my public support.

So your email really resonates with me. I’ve gotten quite an education in my time supporting MRFF. It’s sad, as you noted, that the worst of the vitriol and hate spewed at MRFF comes from supposed Christians; it’s just disgusting.

Even among those who are less awful (and more articulate), there remains a very strong belief that ANY limit on religious expression is tantamount to a restriction on religious belief. But the fact is that, in the military, there are restrictions on expression in a number of things. Where religious expression is the case, there are very appropriate limits on the time, place and manner in which a military member, particularly someone in a leadership role or with seniority over others, expresses a sectarian belief. As I’m sure you can imagine, a subordinate is placed in a very difficult situation when a superior proselytizes; the rigid hierarchy of the military does not allow a subordinate to disobey, dispute, or even simply disagree with a superior.

As Catholics, I think that you and I have an easier time understanding that there are many other ways in which we can ‘express’ our faith. Mikey Weinstein has shared in some of his talks the difference between Christians who emphasize the Great Commandment versus those who emphasize the Great Commission. I think it is fair to say that Catholic tradition, generally speaking, is founded more on the former — a focus on love and service — while the conservative Evangelical tradition is more the latter — to explicitly “preach the gospel to every creature.” For many Evangelicals, this can only be done by proselytizing. So when these people perceive even the most reasonable limit on the time, place and manner of expressing a personal religious belief, they see red.

But those folks are not even the biggest threat to Constitutional protections. There exists within Evangelical Christianity a subset that is exceedingly dangerous because they believe that the United States must be infused with [their version of] Christianity. While I am a Christian myself, I can easily see the problem with that, and from your note I know that you do, too. These Dominionist Christians want nothing less than for [their version of] Christianity to have dominion over all aspects of American life, including the government, the military, and the public education system.

People often ask — why is it that MRFF only seems to go after Christians? The simple answer is that it is invariably Dominionist Christians who are committing the most egregious violations of the Constitution. If/When it happens that any other group does similar things, MRFF stands opposed to them, too. As you noted in your email, the oft-repeated assertion that America was founded as a Christian nation is simply not true. Rather, your observation about “the secular intentions of the Founding Fathers” is right on the money.

The presence of Dominionists in positions of power and authority in the military, where they can (and do) take direct action to advance their goals, is not the only risk they pose. They also work hard to get more moderate Christians to support their efforts. They’ve done a pretty doggone good job of convincing many people that groups like MRFF pose a threat to free religious belief and practice by all Christians. That is what I once thought, but it is a myth. The reality is that Dominionists believe strongly that there is only one ‘correct’ version of Christianity — their own — and anyone who resides outside of that narrow frame of reference will find no friends among the Dominionists, not even other professed Christians (and certainly not any non-Christians or non-believers).

I share all of this as prelude to a simple request — it would be great if you would join the effort to oppose religious extremists who threaten the Constitutional protections of Americans who don’t share their beliefs. For me, it would be wonderful if you became involved with MRFF in some way. If you are interested in learning more, I’d be happy to continue this dialogue, or there are many other good people who could answer your questions and offer their own perspective.

Thanks again for taking the time to write to MRFF.

Peace,

Mike Challman
Christian, Veteran, MRFF Supporter

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10/27/14 Wanted: ROTC Military Science Professor (No Non-Christians Need Apply) http://www.militaryreligiousfreedom.org/2014/10/102714-wanted-rotc-military-science-professor-no-non-christians-need-apply/ http://www.militaryreligiousfreedom.org/2014/10/102714-wanted-rotc-military-science-professor-no-non-christians-need-apply/#comments Mon, 27 Oct 2014 22:34:01 +0000 http://www.militaryreligiousfreedom.org/?p=20447 http://www.militaryreligiousfreedom.org/2014/10/102714-wanted-rotc-military-science-professor-no-non-christians-need-apply/feed/ 0 10/24/14 MRFF Condemns Cowardly Hate Crime vs. Muslim Community of Albuquerque http://www.militaryreligiousfreedom.org/2014/10/102414-mrff-condemns-cowardly-hate-crime-vs-muslim-community-of-albuquerque/ http://www.militaryreligiousfreedom.org/2014/10/102414-mrff-condemns-cowardly-hate-crime-vs-muslim-community-of-albuquerque/#comments Fri, 24 Oct 2014 23:39:09 +0000 http://www.militaryreligiousfreedom.org/?p=20445 http://www.militaryreligiousfreedom.org/2014/10/102414-mrff-condemns-cowardly-hate-crime-vs-muslim-community-of-albuquerque/feed/ 0 ORDER NOW! To The Far Right Christian Hater… You Can Be a Good Speller or a Hater, But You Can’t Be Both! http://www.militaryreligiousfreedom.org/2014/10/to-the-far-right-christian-hater-you-can-be-a-good-speller-or-a-hater-but-you-cant-be-both/ http://www.militaryreligiousfreedom.org/2014/10/to-the-far-right-christian-hater-you-can-be-a-good-speller-or-a-hater-but-you-cant-be-both/#comments Thu, 23 Oct 2014 22:44:08 +0000 http://www.militaryreligiousfreedom.org/?p=20401 http://www.militaryreligiousfreedom.org/2014/10/to-the-far-right-christian-hater-you-can-be-a-good-speller-or-a-hater-but-you-cant-be-both/feed/ 0