Military Religious Freedom Foundation Protecting the Constitutional Guarantee of Separation of Church and State in the United States Military Fri, 09 Oct 2015 21:27:59 +0000 en-US hourly 1 AMERICANS UNITED – This Is What Real Religious Persecution Looks Like: Hindu Air Force Dentist Fired For Being A ‘Witch’ Fri, 09 Oct 2015 21:27:59 +0000 Click to read on Americans United ]]> 1 10/9/15 HINDU AMERICAN FOUNDATION – Hindu Americans Call for Inquiry into Firing of Hindu Woman Accused of Witchcraft Fri, 09 Oct 2015 19:21:03 +0000 Click to read on Hindu American Foundation ]]> 0 NEW YORK DAILY NEWS – Air Force dental technician claims she was called a ‘witch’ by colleagues for being Hindu and practicing yoga Fri, 09 Oct 2015 16:25:06 +0000 Click to read on New York Daily News ]]> 2 INTERNATIONAL BUSINESS TIMES – Hindu woman sacked from Maryland military dentists for ‘satanic yoga’ Thu, 08 Oct 2015 18:44:50 +0000 Click to read at IB Times ]]> 0 JEZEBEL – Air Force Dental Tech Fired After Being Accused of Witchcraft Thu, 08 Oct 2015 18:14:35 +0000 Click to read at Jezebel ]]> 0 RT – ‘Devil’ Hindu woman fired from Air Force dental clinic, accused of ‘witchcraft’ Thu, 08 Oct 2015 18:10:18 +0000 Click to read at RT ]]> 3 Hawaii Marine Reserve Sigh Wed, 07 Oct 2015 23:58:32 +0000 Seems you are suing Hawaii Marine reservist to remove a sign that could be applicable to Christians, Jews and by another name (Allah) Muslims.  Guess this is offensive to Buddhist, Hindus,Sheiks, Atheist  Wickens, etc.. The constitution states in essence everyone is free to practice religion,  The US does not restrict a religious belief therefore, if one is not Christian, Jewish, or Muslim, then they should just ignore the sign.

I’m sure most Marines going into combat pray to some God, so why remove the sigh?

My military service was Texas National Guard at the time of the Cuban Missile crisis – when units were being activated and I was praying our unit was not chosen and it wasn’t – so guess my prayers were answered.

The fight against any religion being stated anywhere on government property has gotten to the ridiculous stage.  I believe most of it is just to get one’s name in the paper – not really being upset that someone has a religious view different from yours or your lack of religious beliefs.

The US was founded primarily by Christians, so it is normal that we give thanks to God, which by the way is the Jewish and probably the Muslim God – the difference is what one believes about sons of God and prophets.
(name withheld)


Dear (name withheld),

I’m sure you love your god.  There’s nothing wrong with that.  There is a problem when government resources are used to endorse your god.  If our government wants to use it’s time and resources to bolster religions, it can’t pick favorites.  Simple as that.  If you want theocracy, look at what it’s done to the middle east.  Look at what it did to Europe in the dark ages.  That sign is small, but represents a culture that puts religion out front and leads to all manner of atrocities.  We won’t give an inch to theocrats.  Not one damned inch.  Because we know beyond that is a marathon of abuse.

Google Deborah Schoenfeld for me and tell me Christianity in government is just peachy.

Be well,

Blake A. Page
Military Religious Freedom Foundation
Special Assistant to the President
Director of US Army Affairs

Hi (name withheld),

You see, it’s not about Christian, Jewish, Muslim, Buddhist, Hindu, Sikh, atheist, Wiccan or any other religion or belief system. It’s about our constitution. Ours was formed as a secular nation dedicated to promoting
no belief system over any other. That’s what provides actual religious freedom; it keeps the government out of it.

That’s why the MRFF urged the base commander to move the sign to the chapel grounds. There, it would be no problem. But the military, as part of the government, cannot be in the business of promoting God or no God.

And, if you’ll look it up, some of the founders of the nation were Christians, many were Deists. But they agreed that church and state should be separated.

Mike Farrell
(MRFF Board of Advisors)

Dear (name withheld),


We are NOT SUING anybody and the only court this message seems to be tried in is the circus Media Court, which is full of lies, omissions and distortions.


We are ASKING that the sign be removed to chapel grounds (where it belongs), take it down or allow other religions to place a sign next to it. That’s it.


We are not an atheist organization nor are we anti-Christian. Mikey is Jewish (and prays to the same Father we do 3 times a day) and 80% of the Board, Advisory Board, volunteers and supporters (244 in total) of the Military Religious Freedom Foundation (MRFF) are Christians. In fact, 96% of our 42, 711 soldier clients are Christians. We fight for the rights of Christians more than any other religion.


Out of the 65 Marines that contacted us, 21 are Christians who know our laws against putting that sign up outside of chapel grounds.


If you researched our website you would see what our stand on religious neutrality in the military is.


The Military Religious Freedom Foundation (MRFF) does NOT act on its own but at the request of our soldiers’ and their complaints of the blatant disregard and trampling of the Constitution and the Military Code of Justice; blurring the lines between the separation of church and state. Every complaint is vetted by Mikey who was a JAG lawyer at the Air Force Academy for 10 years; worked in the West Wing under Ronald Reagan; and held positions in private practice.


Our military is secular – which includes those of other faiths or no belief system – and it must not advance one religion over another according to the Constitution, Supreme Court rulings and the Unified Code of Military Justice. Religious activities must be in the hands of the Chaplains on Chapel grounds, not in the hands of the Commander on base-wide grounds.


As defenders of the Constitution we fight for the separation of church and state.


“…but no religious Test shall ever be required as a Qualification to any Office or public Trust under the United States.” (Article I, III)


This means that from the President to Congress to the military – no one’s job is based on their religion.


“Congress shall make no law respecting an establishment of religion (Establishment Clause), or prohibiting the free exercise thereof (Free Exercise Clause).”(First Amendment)


The Establishment Clause means that you cannot favor one religion over another even though it is in the majority. This clause respects the RIGHTS of all religions. Our military is SECULAR and there are people of other faiths that don the uniform that love this country.


The Free Exercise Clause means that our soldiers are free to exercise any religion they want or no religion at all but cannot elevate one God above others.


“Because religious belief, or non-belief, is such an important part of every person’s life, freedom of religion affects every individual. Religious institutions that use government power in support of themselves and force their views on persons of other faiths, or of no faith, undermine all our civil rights. Moreover, state support of an established religion tends to make the clergy unresponsive to their own people, and leads to corruption within religion itself. Erecting the “wall of separation between church and state,” therefore, is absolutely essential in a free society.” Thomas Jefferson, to the Virginia Baptists (1808) ME 16:320.


This is his second known use of the term “wall of separation,” here quoting his own use in the Danbury Baptist letter.


This wording of the original was several times upheld by the Supreme Court as an accurate description of the Establishment Clause.


Jefferson’s concept of “separation of church and state” first became a part of Establishment Clause jurisprudence in Reynolds v. U.S.98 U.S. 145 (1878). In that case, the court examined the history of religious liberty in the US, determining that while the constitution guarantees religious freedom, “The word ‘religion’ is not defined in the Constitution. We must go elsewhere, therefore, to ascertain its meaning and nowhere more appropriately, we think, than to the history of the times in the midst of which the provision was adopted.” The court found that the leaders in advocating and formulating the constitutional guarantee of religious liberty were James Madison and Thomas Jefferson. Quoting the “separation” paragraph from Jefferson’s letter to the Danbury Baptists, the court concluded that, “coming as this does from an acknowledged leader of the advocates of the measure, it may be accepted almost as an authoritative declaration of the scope and effect of the amendment thus secured.


In 1878 “separation of church and state” became part of the Establishment Clause BY LAW.


The Supreme Court heard the Lemon v. Kurtzman case in 1971 and ruled in favor of the Establishment Clause.


Subsequent to this decision, the Supreme Court has applied a three-pronged test to determine whether government action comports with the Establishment Clause, known as the Lemon Test.


Government action violates the Establishment Clause unless it:
1. Has a significant secular (i.e., non-religious) purpose,
2. Does not have the primary effect of advancing or inhibiting religion, and
3. Does not foster excessive entanglement between government and religion.


The sign fits into all 3 and therefore it is a violation of the Establishment Clause.


Parker v. Levy: 


“This Court has long recognized that the military is, by necessity, a specialized society separate from civilian society… While the members of the military are not excluded from the protection granted by the First Amendment, the different character of the military community and of the military mission requires a different application of those protections. … The fundamental necessity for obedience, and the consequent necessity for imposition of discipline, may render permissible within the military that which would be constitutionally impermissible outside it… Speech [to include religious speech] that is protected in the civil population may nonetheless undermine the effectiveness of response to command.  If it does, it is constitutionally unprotected. (Emphasis added) Parker v. Levy, 417 U.S. 733, 1974


The sign broke both the Lemon Test and Parker v. Levy and is constitutionally unprotected.


The Treaty of Tripoli was signed at Tripoli on November 4, 1796.It was submitted to the Senate by President John Adams, receiving ratification unanimously from the U.S. Senate on June 7, 1797, and signed by Adams, taking effect as the law of the land on June 10, 1797; a mere 8 years since our Constitution went into effect. If what was written was wrong in anyway, there would have been uproar. But, it passed unanimously and confirmed that America was not founded on Christianity.

Treaty of Tripoli:

As the Government of the United States of America is not, in any sense, founded on the Christian religion,—as it has in itself no character of enmity against the laws, religion, or tranquility, of Mussulmen [Muslims],—and as the said States never entered into any war or act of hostility against any Mahometan [Mohammedan] nation, it is declared by the parties that no pretext arising from religious opinions shall ever produce an interruption of the harmony existing between the two countries.

.The Constitution reflects our founder’s views of a secular government protecting the freedom of any belief or unbelief.


The historian, Robert Middlekauff, observed, “The idea that the Constitution expressed a moral view seems absurd. There were no genuine evangelicals in the Convention, and there were no heated declarations of Christian piety.”


“The Salem witchcraft was the rock on which the theocracy shattered”. George Lincoln Burr (1857 – 1938), Professor of History and Librarian at Cornell University


Question with boldness even the existence of a God; because, if there be one, he must more approve of the homage of reason, then that of blindfolded fear.
Thomas Jefferson, letter to Peter Carr, August 10, 1787


History, I believe, furnishes no example of a priest-ridden people maintaining a free civil government. This marks the lowest grade of ignorance of which their civil as well as religious leaders will always avail themselves for their own purposes.

Thomas Jefferson: in letter to Alexander von Humboldt, December 6, 1813

The United States of America have exhibited, perhaps, the first example of governments erected on the simple principles of nature; and if men are now sufficiently enlightened to disabuse themselves of artifice, imposture, hypocrisy, and superstition, they will consider this event as an era in their history. Although the detail of the formation of the American governments is at present little known or regarded either in Europe or in America, it may hereafter become an object of curiosity. It will never be pretended that any persons employed in that service had interviews with the gods, or were in any degree under the influence of Heaven, more than those at work upon ships or houses, or laboring in merchandise or agriculture; it will forever be acknowledged that these governments were contrived merely by the use of reason and the senses.”
John Adams, “A Defence of the Constitutions of Government of the United States of America” 1787-1788

If I could conceive that the general government might ever be so administered as to render the liberty of conscience insecure, I beg you will be persuaded, that no one would be more zealous than myself to establish effectual barriers against the horrors of spiritual tyranny, and every species of religious persecution.
George Washington, letter to the United Baptist Chamber of Virginia, May 1789

Christianity neither is, nor ever was a part of the common law.
Thomas Jefferson, letter to Dr. Thomas Cooper, February 10, 1814

“The civil government functions with complete success by the total separation of the Church from the State.”
James Madison, 1819, Writings, 8:432, quoted from Gene Garman, “Essays In Addition to America’s Real Religion”

Strongly guarded as is the separation between Religion and Government in the Constitution of the United States, the danger of encroachment by Ecclesiastical Bodies, may be illustrated by precedents already furnished in their short history. 

James Madison; Monopolies, Perpetuities, Corporations, Ecclesiastical Endowments


“God has appointed two kinds of government in the world, which are distinct in their nature, and ought never to be confounded together; one of which is called civil, the other ecclesiastical government.”
Isaac Backus, An Appeal to the Public for Religious Liberty, 1773


During almost fifteen centuries has the legal establishment of Christianity been on trial. What have been its fruits? More or less in all places, pride and indolence in the Clergy, ignorance and servility in the laity; in both, superstition, bigotry and persecution.


What influence, in fact, have ecclesiastical establishments had on society? In some instances they have been seen to erect a spiritual tyranny on the ruins of the civil authority; on many instances they have been seen upholding the thrones of political tyranny; in no instance have they been the guardians of the liberties of the people. Rulers who wish to subvert the public liberty may have found an established clergy convenient auxiliaries. A just government, instituted to secure and perpetuate it, needs them not.

James Madison 1785 Memorial and Remonstrance against Religious Assessments


Where the preamble declares, that coercion is a departure from the plan of the holy author of our religion, an amendment was proposed by inserting “Jesus Christ,” so that it would read “A departure from the plan of Jesus Christ, the holy author of our religion;” the insertion was rejected by the great majority, in proof that they meant to comprehend, within the mantle of its protection, the Jew and the Gentile, the Christian and Mohammedan, the Hindoo and Infidel of every denomination.

As Thomas Jefferson wrote in his Autobiography, in reference to the Virginia Act for Religious Freedom


According to our Founding Fathers the Constitution is not based on Christianity or biblical law.


The Constitution and subsequent Supreme Court rulings uphold the separation of church and state and prohibits any government entity – which includes our military – from supporting or advancing any religion.


Pastor Joan

MRFF Advisory Board Member


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MRFF’s INBOX – Letter from ex-USAF contractor accused of being a witch Wed, 07 Oct 2015 21:24:42 +0000 From: Deborah Schoenfeld 

To: Mikey Weinstein

Sent: Wednesday, October 7, 2015 4:16 PM

Dear Mikey,

I just wanted to thank MRFF for the help you are giving me.  This whole ordeal has made me physically ill, causing my ulcers to flare.

This was my first government contracting job on a military base, and now I am truly not sure if I want to work in a position like this again.  I thought I could just do my job the best I could, and maybe qualify for a GS position in the future.  I worked as hard as I could, but it seems it was not enough.

My wish is that these people learn from their mistakes and realize that even though a person is of another religion, that person’s beliefs are deserving of respect.   Religion is truly a personal choice.   I never tried to convert anyone to my religion.   I believe that everyone comes to the spiritual path that is right for them on their own, without proselytizing.   My interest in Wicca had no bearing on my job performance, which should have been the only thing that mattered to the office.

I’ve never in my life had a problem in any other dental office I worked in.  No one cared about my religion,.  Let us hope that some good will come out of all this, and that others will also be judged not on their religious values, but on the quality of their work.

Also for those that need help like I did, MRFF is there for you.  They will work hard for you around the clock.  If you are scared, they can help you confidentially and are free of cost. Thank you Mikey.


Deborah Schoenfeld

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WONKETTE (SATIRE) – Hindu Witch Lady Terrorizes Innocent Christians At Air Force Dental Clinic Wed, 07 Oct 2015 20:34:42 +0000 Click to read at Wonkette ]]> 0 10/7/15 MIKEY’s OP-ED – From the Halls of Oklahoma to the Shores of Oahu Wed, 07 Oct 2015 18:30:50 +0000 MCB_Oahu_Coast

Church-state separation win in Oklahoma – Immediate Implications for “God Bless” Sign at Marine Corps Base Hawaii

In the battle against the diehard fundamentalist Christian enemies of the U.S. Constitution, clear, public victories are rare but very sweet. And “sweet” is certainly one way to describe this past Monday night’s unceremonious removal of the granite “Ten Commandments” monument from the Capitol grounds in Oklahoma City, Oklahoma.

This unconstitutional eyesore was erected in 2012 amidst the ceaseless efforts by those seeking to preserve the so-called “Judeo-Christian” (read: fundamentalist Christian supremacist) character of our secular democracy. Since then, predictably, the statue has been the focus in a long-running game of political football which finally concluded when the 4,800-pound slab of granite was hauled off in the dead of night to private grounds, where it belonged in the first place and where it will be wholly (holy?) in accord with the time, place and manner requirements of the United States Constitution.

One can be forgiven for thinking that the Oklahoma statue removal would be a convincing demonstration, for all to witness, of the sustaining inviolability of the Establishment Clause of the First Amendment and the protection it offers against medieval-style religious zeal and triumphalism in the halls of power.

Sadly, it remains doubtful as to whether this clarion message came through loud and clear at Marine Corps Base Hawaii (MCB Hawaii) on Oahu. In what one can only assume was a fit of post-9/11 jingo-religiosity, in 2001 a sign reading “God Bless the Military, Their Families, and the Civilians Who Work With Them” was erected and has since enjoyed a particularly conspicuous placement at the base – imagine a tarantula sitting atop a wedding cake.

Of course, the organization of which I am the Founder and President – the Military Religious Freedom Foundation (MRFF) – knows that this seemingly altruistic message or “good news,” as some might call it, is anything but. In fact, the sign is deliberately divisive and sends an exclusionary message of unbridled supremacy and dominance to the growing community of non-religious service members at MCB Hawaii, not to mention those service members of faith whose chosen object of religious worship and piety may not be referred to as “God”… not to mention those who don’t like to see their cherished Christian faith used as a crude proselytizing cudgel against their comrades-in-arms! Indeed, for servicemembers who may happen to be Jewish, Muslim, Wiccan, Hindu, Norse/Ásatrú, or atheist/agnostic/humanist/secular, these “blessings” instead resemble a veritable gut-punch to unit cohesion, good order, morale and discipline at a time when the U.S. Marines continue to contend with a long-standing crisis affecting its esprit de corps.

When MRFF justifiably intervened on behalf of 65 Marine complainants/clients, the all-too-predictable “(non)response response” from the base was an absolutely ridiculous assurance of exercising “due diligence to ensure compliance with existing regulations and law” and, of course, a cowardly refusal to remove the offending sign.

This latest example of military proselytizing on Uncle Sam’s time and dime certainly, government-paid missionary work as it were, wouldn’t be the first time that military officials in commanding positions threw mission accomplishment, military readiness, good order, unit cohesion, morale, and discipline overboard. For fundamentalist Christian chauvinists steeped in a twisted culture of Constitutional dereliction, nothing matters more than their untrammelled ability to wave the symbols of their chosen faith tradition in the faces of all the troops , particularly their otherwise helpless armed forces subordinates. They commit these unconstitutional crimes with eager reckless abandon; Department of Defense policies, directives, instructions, and long-standing regulations be damned.

However, with the latest news of Oklahoma’s removal of the illicit “Ten Commandments” slab from the grounds of the State Capitol, one can be forgiven for reacting with sentiments of renewed hope in the durability of the U.S. Constitution’s nonpareil religious (and non-religious) protections. The writing is on the wall: the separation of church and state is here to stay.

Are you listening, MCB Hawaii commander, Col. Sean C. Killeen?

Click to read at Daily Kos

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