Greetings MRFF Supporters!
I hope that you, our stalwart and supportive allies, had a warm and appreciative Fourth of July holiday.
July 4 is an occasion in which we, the individuals who constitute the incredibly diverse population of the United States, reflect upon and celebrate the Declaration which marked the intent of our forebears to break the shackles of colonial despotism at the hands of the British Kingdom. There is no "Patriotism" worthy of the name besides that which cherishes and protects the blessings of democracy and religious respect which our forefathers bestowed upon us, and which countless soldiers, sailors, marines and airmen shed their precious blood to protect. However, 235 years after our Founding Fathers sounded the clarion call of our nation's founding, new would-be despots continue to threaten our fundamental principles in pursuit of the nightmarish goal of turning our Constitutional republic into a theocratic dictatorship.
The Military Religious Freedom Foundation's mission to defend the Constitutionally-guaranteed separation of church and state requires that we rebuff any and all attempts to hijack our military for the purpose of ushering in the "End of Days".
Thus, it was with grave concern that we witnessed a July 4 mobilization of misguided Christian fundamentalists at the Houston National Cemetery. Opportunistically seizing upon a run-of-the-mill restatement of the long-standing Department of Veterans Affairs position of "respecting every veteran and their family's right to a burial service that honors their faith tradition" (or lack thereof), an obnoxious coalition of religious extremists marked Independence Day by holding a big-tent revivalist circus upon the hallowed grounds of the cemetery, rallying around the specious claim that its VA-appointed director, Arleen Ocasio, attempted to censor religious speech.
Every American should be appalled by this transparently cynical attempt to co-opt this nation's banner and wield the headstones of those who fell to protect our freedom for their own dark purposes. A crucial component of this freedom is the freedom to serve the principles and people of the United States and to attend our loved ones' funerals unmolested by hectoring proselytization.
Faced with media coverage which utterly failed to note the falsehoods of these claims of "religious censorship" and the VA's "attack on religious freedoms", the Military Religious Freedom Foundation and our close ally, Veterans for Common Sense, sallied forth yet once again in defense of true religious freedom. We sent a joint letter to United States Secretary of Veterans Affairs, Erik Shinseki, appealing to his proven track-record in regards to seeking justice and ensuring the all-around well-being of our national treasure, the venerable veterans of our armed forces.
My very good friend Mike Farrell, a tireless, selfless and celebrated human- and civil-rights defender in addition to a trusted MRFF advisory board member, has done an absolutely exemplary job explaining what exactly is at stake in this vicious tug-of-war between the remaining forces of true patriotism and the Dominionist horde. Please read this excellent, inspirational piece which Mike Farrell penned for TruthDig, which sheds a revealing light on the dangers of homegrown religious extremism's attempt to incrementally turn our armed forces into a "hyper-Christian American military".
We all need to do our part in the daunting task of turning the tide of media apathy and stemming the unconstitutional, fundamentalist offensive against our honorable United States armed forces. Without the gracious donations given to us by you, our generous and patriotic supporters, MRFF is unable to continue aggressively fighting for the constitutional rights of our servicemen and servicewomen in the the media and in the courts. As the Roman statesman Cicero once stated, "Money forms the sinews of war" -- Please make a fully tax-deductible donation today.
Your Eternal Ally,
P.S. - You may have seen that within the last 48 hours CNN's Anderson Cooper has given prominent coverage to the sordid minstrel show of Walid Shoebat, the fraudulent "ex-PLO terrorist" puppet of fundamentalist evangelism. Shoebat and his cronies have for years now cashed in on this nation's justified anxiety regarding terrorism by peddling vulgar and disgusting Islamophobia as "expert advice". MRFF was the first to debunk and expose this story back in 2008 when our esteemed Senior Research Director Chris Rodda alerted the public to the fact that the US Air Force Academy's 50th Annual Academy Conference would feature this joker addressing cadets on the topic "Dismantling Terrorism: Developing Actionable Solution for Today's Plague of Violence". MRFF will always stand at the ready to bring breaking news to the attention of both national and international audiences in accordance with our sworn mission to protect our government from being brought under the spell of sectarian fundamentalist bigotry.