February 2010          

Special Edition Newsletter

Message From MRFF President and Founder Mikey Weinstein

Mikey WeinsteinGreetings MRFF Supporters!

With Trijicon in our sights, MRFF fired a shot heard around the world! After MRFF discovered the abhorrent usage of Bible verses on U.S. Military rifles, we immediately selected ABC News "Nightline" program as the vehicle through which to break this astonishing story. Once this story went on to make international mainstream news, military forces in the United States, Canada, New Zealand, Australia, United Kingdom, and Israel all have expressed clear intentions to remove the scriptural references on their weaponry. Even General David Petraeus, Commander of US Central Command, as well as Sen. Carl Levin, Chairman of the the Senate Armed Services Committee, made clear statements of their concern over the "Jesus Rifles" travesty.

The so-called "Jesus Rifles" are being eliminated from military use solely due to the full-force of MRFF's legal and media resources. This outstanding start for MRFF in the new decade is a true example of the measurable impact our fight in the courts and in the media is able to have, thanks to your generous ongoing financial support. This story was covered so widely that it was picked up by the BBC, Russian press outlets, and many others. The New York Times even decided to include the term "Jesus Rifles" in their official lexicographer's blog!

The MRFF media machine barely had a moment to rest when yet another blazing religious incursion was uncovered by MRFF: the desecration of the officially-designated worship circle for Earth-centered religions at the United States Air Force Academy by Christian supremacists. This hate crime is yet another unequivocal sign of the ubiquity, brazenness, and pure narrow-minded hatred exhibited by the Dominionist Evangelical Christians determined to effectuate a United States Christian Military.

Without supporters like you backing our fight in the courts and in the media, they'll have, tragically, an excellent chance of accomplishing their goals. Please continue your generous support, and we'll continue this most-important fight.


usafa

As you read the articles below, please remember these Pagan U.S. soldiers who sacrificed their lives for our country:

SGT Jason A. Schumann
Killed May 19, 2007 when a bomb
exploded near his vehicle in Iraq
PFC Stephen P. Snowberger III
Killed May 11, 2006 when a bomb
exploded near his vehicle in Iraq
SGT Patrick Dana Stewart
Killed September 25, 2005 when his
helicopter was shot down in Afghanistan

MRFF Covered in
FoxNews.com Article

Friday, February 5, 2010

Click the link below to read this article, which
features MRFF and relates to our most vital cause.

FoxNews.com - Cross Placed at
Air Force Pagan Circle Prompts Probe



logo

Tolerance gone wild

Tuesday, February 9, 2010

By Al Maurer

You may have heard about the controversy surrounding the construction of a pagan worship site on top of the hill behind the Cadet Chapel at the Air Force Academy.

Of course, the stone circle constructed by the civil engineers goes by the more politically correct name of Earth-Centered Worship. The superintendent, Lieutenant General Michael C. Gould, defends the decision as supporting religious rights outlined in the U.S. Constitution.

The general is mistaken. The portion of the First Amendment of the Constitution regarding freedom of religion states:

Congress shall make no law respecting an establishment of religion, or prohibiting the free exercise thereof;

Which phrase supports the erection of the stone circle? Establishment of religion means exactly that: establishing a religion or a denomination of a religion as the official state religion like Islam in Iran or the Church of England in the United Kingdom. Building someone their own worship circle does not “establish” religion; it does lend government support to that religion—in effect, legitimizing it. That has been ruled unconstitutional and so this act the general claims is constitutional may well be the exact opposite.

The second phrase is clear enough. If the Academy had not erected this special worship place, would they have been prohibiting the free exercise of religion? Since 1970, when mandatory chapel attendance was ruled unconstitutional, cadets have been free to worship or not as they choose.

I’m afraid the general is on the wrong side of the Constitution. But it does not matter: the issue is really all about a misplaced sense of toleration. It’s not really about the Constitution at all.

According to Lt Gen Gould, it’s about toleration of and respect for all beliefs. Cadets are taught that to be a leader of integrity they must have complete toleration for all beliefs. To act otherwise would not be fair. In other words—ironically—in order to lead they must give up their own beliefs and impartially support all belief systems.

That’s asking too much. It is a position that is the result of fuzzy thinking and a lack of historical knowledge. Edmund Burke wrote regarding the leaders of Revolutionary France:

We hear these new teachers continually boasting of their spirit of toleration. That those persons should tolerate all opinions, who think none to be of estimation, is a matter of small merit.
                Edmund Burke, Reflections on the revolution in France, 1790

A proper spirit of toleration may allow us to tolerate activities and beliefs we don’t approve of, but we still have a right to our opinions about those beliefs. We should not be forced to approve or support those beliefs, as the general and the Academy seem to think.

This misplaced spirit of toleration is indeed toleration gone wild. As classmate Robert Marsh wrote to me:

There’s a battle for ideas, and those without intellectual rigor are winning. I don’t care that this silly circle exists, but let’s use it as a springboard to emphasize how important the big ideas really are – those ideas that form the foundation of the constitutional republic we all enjoy. The foundational belief behind western culture is a belief in the primacy of reason over authority and superstition. The religions behind the circle, at their core, do not really celebrate reason.

By building a stone circle the Academy is not merely acceding to the demands if a fringe group; they are not just being tolerant. They are actively approving and promoting pagan worship.

logo

OUR VIEW: Jesus, hate crimes and the Air Force Academy cross

If you left the cross, have the
courage to come forth

Thursday, February 4, 2010

By Wayne Laugesen
Editorial page editor, for the editorial board

A poll regarding this issue is available at the original article page. Click here to visit the original article.

From the comments section on Gazette.com:

phoenixblue wrote: Traveler -- I *was* in the Middle East. I deployed to Iraq a year and a half ago and served honorably. Incidentally, the chaplains there accommodated a Pagan group of about 20-30, of which I was a part.

I was lucky. I made it home alive. Army Staff Sgt. Patrick Stewart, a Pagan, was killed in action in Afghanistan. So when you insinuate that Pagans are somehow not as patriotic as you, you do Sergeant Stewart's memory and my service a grave misservice ...

... one that compels me to ask, when will *you* go to Iraq or Afghanistan? When will *you* sacrifice in the name of your country to defend the rights of people who call you evil and demand that you repent from your religion?

A hate crime has two components: 1. Hatred, which is not a crime, and 2. A crime.

Examples abound. Marty Marshall and his white family walked from a fireworks display in Ohio in June. A group of black teens attacked them, yelling “this is a black world.” Marty suffered severe head trauma. It seems like a hate crime.

Three white racists chained a black man, James Byrd Jr., behind a pickup in 1998 and dragged him to his death. It seems like a hate crime.

Some hate crimes are not violent. In 2004, the state-subsidized Washburn University, in Kansas, commissioned a Boulder County bigot to craft a sculpture for the campus. He sculpted a Catholic bishop with a penis on his head. It was state-sanctioned denunciation of one religion, in violation of the First Amendment. It seems like a hate crime.

This brings us to the large cross leaned against a sacred rock in a new pagan worship area at the United States Air Force Academy. Mikey Weinstein, the oft-maligned and misunderstood director of the Military Religious Freedom Foundation, said someone left the cross as a “fundamentalist Christian gang marker,” and a “giant turd” in a sacred place. He said the act was absolutely a hate crime. If necessary, he will try convincing the FBI to investigate.

Whoever left the cross exploited the most sacred object of Christianity for an act of confrontation.

Unfortunately for Weinstein, it may not be considered a crime to leave a religious object on federal land. Unless it was a religious statement sanctioned by authority, it is unlikely a First Amendment offense.

To those who feel abused by a handful of self-righteous and obnoxious academy dominionist Christians — people who have complicated life for the majority of Christians who are kind, compassionate and respectful — the large cross was hurtful.

Lots of Christians agree. Rachel, an evangelical and close friend of Weinstein, interprets the Bible literally. She’s “to the right of Rush Limbaugh,” opposes abortion and believes the only way to heaven is through Jesus. The 60-year-old law firm CPA has discussed with Weinstein her concern for his soul (he isn’t Christian). Yet she believes the cross was left as a disgusting insult to non-Christians.

Rachel told The Gazette she supports Weinstein’s work because it protects her right to hold religious beliefs that some consider extreme. She can’t stand seeing the cross used as a weapon of intimidation.

Weinstein insists he isn’t against the cross or Christians. He views anti-Christian art, such as Washburn’s penis-topped bishop, as offensive and sad. Weinstein said he would vigorously fight any such expression on military property.

Air Force Superintendent Lt. Gen. Mike Gould has made great strides toward religious respect at the academy. He ordered Air Force chaplains, engineers, and heavy equipment operators to help build the pagan worship site.

Still, Weinstein perceives a lackadaisical response by Gould, whom he has counted as a friend, and a general lack of outrage regarding the unwelcome cross. Gould disputes that, saying he ordered the Air Force Office of Special Investigations to get on it immediately. Gould said he and his staff have worked hard to create an atmosphere in which cadets and staff feel safe to report religious hostility.

“It was a very hateful symbolic act, and I will not tolerate it,” Gould said. “If I find out who placed the cross there, that person will pay the price. We are working on this as hard as we can, and we aren’t slow-rolling anything.”

If you placed the cross, please come forward. Only the weakest Christians fear avowing their own actions. Christ, refusing to disavow his teachings, carried the cross to his death. Yet some coward or cowards carried the cross, abandoned it on a rock, and ran away. It’s a weak and petty disgrace to Jesus, and it’s disrupting our military.

Air Force cadets train to defend freedom, most importantly the freedoms of religion and speech. If cadets of any religion are intimidated about matters of faith, they cannot fully value the freedoms they have sworn to uphold. For that reason, Weinstein and Gould must quickly resolve their dispute, working to develop a campus that values the free, unimpeded practice of constructive religious beliefs.

Each man must ignore supporters who want them in conflict — the type who might just as well attend a dog fight. The core values of the Air Force are integrity, service and excellence. They are values that bolster religious freedom for all, and values Weinstein and Gould each hold sacred.


fox

Wiccan Worship Area
Vandalized with Cross

Wednesday, February 10, 2010

By Ed Brayton

The Air Force Academy has had a long history of problems with Christian proselytizing and religious coercion and they've made a good deal of progress in dealing with it, thanks to the efforts of Academy graduate Mikey Weinstein and the Military Religious Freedom Foundation. They recently established a place for Wiccans to hold their worship services on campus -- and some moron decided to put a cross there.

The Air Force Academy, stung several years ago by accusations of Christian bias, has built a new outdoor worship area for pagans and other practitioners of Earth-based religions.
But its opening, heralded as a sign of a more tolerant religious climate at the academy in Colorado Springs, Colo., was marred by the discovery two weeks ago of a large wooden cross placed there.

I don't like the concept of desecration, but let's go ahead and call it that because that is certainly what the Christians would call it if someone put a star and crescent or a pentagram in a chapel. Mikey is criticizing the school for not making it public when it happened, but it does look like the school is taking this fairly seriously:

Although he credits the academy's superintendent, Air Force Lt. Gen. Michael Gould, with an improved climate of religious tolerance, Weinstein criticized other academy officials as trivializing the incident, which he said was not revealed to cadets.
Rhetorically addressing academy officials, Weinstein said Tuesday, "It's been two weeks -- were you going to get around to telling them about this horrible thing that happened, and why haven't you?"

Academy spokesman John Van Winkle said officials reported the situation to those on base and issued a message reiterating the school's policy of religious tolerance and respect.

In a statement, Gould said, "We absolutely will not stand for this type of destructive behavior. I consider this no different than someone writing graffiti on the Cadet Chapel."

I do hope they find out who did it (though that's not likely) and punish them as severely as they would someone who would do the same thing to any other religious space.

fox

Christians Desecrate Wiccan Religious Site at Air Force Academy

Wednesday, February 3, 2010

In response to DeeDee Correll's article: "Cross found at Air Force Academy's Wicca Center" from the New York Times.

By Michael Leon

Evangelical Christians are at it again. The proselytizing only-through-Christ bunch have now taken up desecration of non-Christian religious sites: Not Jews this time but Wiccans. What the hell goes through the minds of these evangelicals who think they can tell other religions—at a military academy no less—what to believe? At their core, evangelicals who despise pluralism are infantile.

Read More...


MRFF's INBOX
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MRFF has received regarding this issue



Monumental MRFF Victory

Trijicon to Remove Bible Codes
from Military Rifle Sights

Decision Made in Response to Major International
News Story Brought to Light by MRFF

Click to watch video

Weinstein/MRFF to Trijicon:
“It’s About Time!”

Thursday, January 21, 2010

Albuquerque Mikey Weinstein, the President and Founder of the Military Religious Freedom Foundation (MRFF), the first organization to bring the now infamous “Jesus Rifles” to light publically, made the following statement after learning gun manufacturer Trijicon will stop imprinting bible verse citations on the sides of rifle scopes intended for the U.S. military:

“Its about time!  Trijicon’s outrageous practice of placing bible verse citations on military-issued gunsights for weapons was an unconstitutional disgrace of the highest magnitude to our military and an action that clearly gave additional incentive and emboldenment to recruiters for our nation’s enemies.  It is nothing short of a vile national security threat that, despite our nation’s efforts to convince the Muslim world we are not pursuing a holy war against them, our military and its contractors time again resort to unlawful fundamentalist evangelical Christian practices, even on the battlefield.  It has been said that ‘civilization is a race between education and catastrophe.’ We can now only hope that the United States Congress and The Pentagon will comprehensively investigate how this catastrophe and countless other examples of military religious extremism infiltrates every branch of our honorable armed services.  But for now, at least we can take solace in Trijicon's affirmation that it will expeditiously remove the bible verse citations from its scopes.  We only hope that the damage from their actions is not yet beyond repair.


The Huffington Post Logo

Good Riddance to 'Jesus Rifles'

Sunday, January 24, 2010

By Chris Rodda

In the wake of the revelation by ABC News that U.S. troops in Iraq and Afghanistan were being supplied with rifle sights adorned with references to New Testament Bible verses, Trijicon, the Michigan based contractor that manufactures the sights, has agreed to stop putting the references on products supplied to the military.

(See the initial report from ABCNews.com and the Nightline segment from Monday night.)

In a press release issued by Trijicon on January 21, the company stated that it will do the following to remedy what many view as an egregious mixing of religion and the military, as well as an offense to the Christian religion:

- Remove the inscription reference on all U.S. military products that are in the company's factory that have already been produced, but have yet to be shipped.

- Provide 100 modification kits to forces in the field to remove the reference on the already forward deployed optical sights.

- Ensure all future procurements from the Department of Defense are produced without scripture references.

Read More...


New York Times Logo

Hold The Hallelujah: The Perils Of Rifles And Religion

By BENJAMIN BUSCH

Monday, January 25, 2010

Audio for this story from All Things Considered
will be available at approx. 7:00 p.m. ET, on January 25th.
Please click here for audio after that time.

Soldiers with Rifles
AFP/Getty Images

Marines of the 1st Battalion, 8th Marines battle insurgents in the streets of the devastated city of Fallujah, Iraq in 2004. (Click image to enlarge)

Benjamin Busch was an infantry officer in the United States Marine Corps. He served two tours of duty in Iraq.

As a Marine invading Iraq in 2003, I thought we actively separated church and state from our motives.

I know that Scripture embedded in the obscure numbers on rifle scopes may seem like a small detail, and that manufacturer Trijicon likely intended no particular malice by placing biblical references on its equipment. Like, 2COR4:6 represents 2 Corinthians 4:6, "For God, who commanded the light to shine out of darkness, hath shined in our hearts, to give the light of the knowledge of the glory of God in the face of Jesus Christ." There seems to have been neither marketing nor secrecy associated with the presence of these inscriptions.

Read More...


The Huffington Post Logo

No More Jesus Rifles

After ABC News Report, Trijicon Announces
Plan to Remove Bible Codes from Gun Sights
Provided to U.S. Military

By LUIS MARTINEZ, JOSEPH RHEE and MARK SCHONE

Thursday, January 21, 2010

From the article below:

Earlier today, Gen. David Petraeus, who commands CentCom,
which oversees U.S. forces in Iraq and Afghanistan, told a
D.C. thinktank that the company's practice was "disturbing...
and a serious concern for me" and field commanders.
He said there had been considerable discussions within the
Department of Defense about how to deal with Trijicon's practice.

This disgrace has been going on since the mid-1990's.
MRFF wants to know: Where have they been?

Trijicon, the gunsight maker that has imprinted Bible verse numbers on its scopes, has announced that it will no longer imprint the verses on the sides of scopes intended for the U.S. military, and will also provide clients with the kits to remove the Bible verse numbers from existing scopes.

An ABC News report earlier this week revealed that the Michigan-based company, which has a contract to provide up to 800,000 scopes to the U.S. military, prints references to New Testament chapters and verses in code next to the model numbers of its scopes. The scopes are used by the U.S. Marine Corps and Army in Iraq and Afghanistan, and by U.S. allies in those countries, and for the training of Afghan and Iraqi troops.

Read More...


New York Times Logo

Firm to Remove Bible References From Gun Sights

By ERIK ECKHOLM

Thursday, January 21, 2010

A Michigan arms company said Thursday that it would immediately stop embossing references to New Testament scriptures on rifle sights it sells the military after news accounts caused an international outcry.

The company, Trijicon Inc., has multimillion-dollar contracts with the Pentagon for advanced sights that are widely used in Iraq and Afghanistan. Trijicon also said it would provide the Pentagon, free of charge, 100 kits to use for removing the lettering on existing weapons.

Read More...


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Our fight is against those with passion. We need yours.

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MRFF on Maddow

MRFF's Efforts Cause DoD Contractor Trijicon to Remove Engraved Christian
Codes from Military Weaponry

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Click the above image to watch this
2 minute, 32 second video

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For background information on this disgraceful issue, please watch this comprehensive video report from ABC's Nightline


Making Light of the
Jesus Rifle's Sight

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2 minute 5 second video


To see more recent articles on this topic, CLICK HERE.



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Read the letter sent to TRIJICON by the
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