Dear Mr. Weinstein,
What offends you about God? This really has nothing to do with taking “Biblical verses” out of the Military does it. God has been an intricate part of the warrior since time began. He has not only authorized wars for the kings of ancient times since the beginning (read the Bible), but he has been a reason many men decide to go to war. There is a simple Bible verse you may or may not be familiar with it is “Romans 8:31”, (What shall we then say to these things? If God be for us, who can be against us?) and it has been used on more than one occasion before our nations warriors have gone to battle.
So why do you have such a disdain for having God as a comforter, a strength, and a reason to choose right from wrong? Someday, you and every other human being will be face to face with you’re Creator, and you will answer for you’re fight to remove God from others lives. You can say you don’t believe in God, you can come up with any excuse you want, but on your death bed…you will be wondering if you’re decision to “take God away from our Military men and women” was such a wise choice.
It’s unconscionable to me that someone who espouses to want our Military to follow the constitution has no mention of what our Forefathers intended in truth, which was not to remove God from our beliefs. It is a man or woman’s right to “choose” to either believe or not believe just as it is yours. Taking God out of Moral and Ethical decisions would be the last thing I would want any of our Military leaders to do, and in fact it may be the only opportunity for our men and women who have been raised without God in their lives to ever get an opportunity to know that we have a good and loving God. We are creating a nation of men and women today that have no knowledge of God because our Schools, our Government, and now our Military want to destroy Him. Well if you look at the history of the world, those who turned from God were either destroyed in one form or another or turned into slave nations to others…and becoming a Godless Nation is the last thing I would like the United States of America to become. We are becoming weaker as a Nation along with our Allies who have lost their first love; God.
Do you think the world did not pray and beseech Almighty God when Hitler was in power? How about when the Japanese attacked Pearl Harbor, and more recently how about when we were attacked right here in America on 9/11? Do you think America was clamoring to remove God from our teaching then? But yet today we are in one of the worst financial and moral decays in the History of the United States because God is not in the lives of so many in this country…so many have removed Him from their day to day lives.
I am praying that you’re eyes will be opened before its too late…it worked for Saul the Pharisee who hunted the Christians in the early Church days. Christ stopped him on a trip to Damascus to hunt and kill more Christians, and he was completely changed in an instant in his belief. He became Paul the Apostle, who devoted the remaining years of his life for Christ and was responsible for writing the majority of the New Testament books in our Bible. I pray that God will open your eyes before it is too late for you and the many men and women in our military you will affect.
(name and location withheld)
MRFF- response to (name withheld) on taking God out of the military.
Hi (name withheld),
Thank you for contacting the Military Religious Freedom Foundation (MRFF) with your concern over taking God out of the military. Nothing could be further from the truth!
I am responding to your email. Whenever anyone sends an email to info@ it goes to everyone on the Board, the Advisory Board and volunteers with the MRFF.
Mikey Weinstein, the founder of the MRFF, is an honor graduate of the Air Force Academy, held the position of Judge Advocate for 10 years at the Air Force Academy and was a Presidential Counsel to President Reagan for 3 years. Many of the people involved with MRFF are military veterans. Some of them, including Mikey, have been the object of beatings, verbal abuse, withholding of advancements, drummed out of the military on false charges and subject to the harshest religious proselytizing ever imaginable.
First and foremost, we are not anti-Christian. In fact, there are many mainline Christians that volunteer with the MRFF. I am one of them and am also an ordained minister in the Assemblies of God. What we are against is the forced, in your face, proselytizing by the Dominionist Christians who believe our soldiers should be “Warriors for Christ” and every war a “crusade.” Painted on the side of a Bradley tank in Iraq was “Jesus killed Mohammed” in Arabic. Mosques in Samarra were spray painted with crosses. Bibles are given out in Iraq and Afghanistan against military law. No wonder they hate us even more because we are signaling that we are fighting a religious war.
As a Christian I am in agreement with you that God is a very important part of my life. I would have it no other way. I live by Jesus’ teachings and they have framed who I am.
The MRFF believes that any person who wants to don the uniform of the US military to fight for our freedoms under the Constitution, has that right no matter what religion they practice or if they practice no religion at all.
Currently the MRFF is helping over 22,000 soldiers who have reached out to us to help them with the unwanted religious proselytizing they are being forced to endure. They have tried the chain-of-command to no avail because those in command, all the way up to the Pentagon, are of the same belief. There is no one else to turn to but the MRFF.
We receive many letters from soldiers that would break your heart if you could read them. The Catholics, Protestants, Methodists, etc. are being told that they are not the “right kind” of Christian and will ‘burn in the lake of fire for all eternity” unless they are “born again” and join their fundamentalist/evangelical/dominionist church. Those soldiers that do not want to attend events put on by Chaplains or attend church are confined to their barracks, can’t use their cell phones, watch TV or use the internet, instead of free time. They must do menial jobs such as cleaning the bathrooms. They are being unfairly punished because they would not repent of their own personal belief system for a more extreme one. One letter we received was from a soldier whose buddy was contemplating suicide because he couldn’t take the proselytizing anymore. When I hear on the news that another soldier committed suicide I wonder if this could be the reason.
Dominionists want to destroy our government and place it under the Mosaic Laws of the Old Testament. They want to destroy every department in our government starting with the Department of Education. The most egregious act of this dominionist sect has been playing out on our news for months…the default debate. NEVER in the history of raising our debt ceiling were there EVER any strings attached. Reagan did it 18 times and Bush 7 times. Who are responsible for this? Those elected by the Tea Party. Boehner even said that there were those who WANTED us to default on our obligations. The Tea Party politicians are part of and were elected by these right wing/dominionist Republicans. This is just the beginning of what is in store for us. How do I know? I was part of this group for 30 years and walked away from it 8 years ago. I know their end game and I now expose it.
We have no problem with diverse Chaplains in the military. We understand the spiritual need of those that practice their faith. But those Chaplains of different faiths have been overrun and pushed aside in favor of “the right kind” of Christianity. Even some Chaplains have contacted us because they have been unable to perform their duties within their chosen church affiliation. Again, this is what we fight for…religious freedom for ALL religions.
In the Old Testament God was establishing the Jewish race as His “chosen” people. There were many battles won and territories taken. It soon became apparent that the God of the Jews was a mighty God and blessed His people. Modern day fundamental/evangelical/dominionist Christians have taken on the mantle of the “chosen.” They believe God has cast aside His people in favor of this type of Christianity which is unbiblical.
The New Testament is about Jesus and the birth of Christianity. There is a dramatic change in how God wants his people to behave. There is not one sentence where Jesus says to make war and kill. There is no longer to be an eye for an eye but the turning of the cheek (Matthew 5:38-39), to love your enemies and pray for them (Matthew 5:44) and to be peace makers.
As an ordained minister I fight against the distortion of scripture that has been taken out of context to fit an agenda by these dominionists. They don’t tell the whole story only bits and pieces. The perfect example is David. “David is a warrior and also a man after God’s own heart.” This is stringing two separate ideas together to form one. Yes, David was a warrior but the “after God’s own heart” means that David loved to read the OT scriptures, he repented of his sins and asked forgiveness, he constantly prayed and always praised God jubilantly. This is what God enjoys in His heart. When David wanted to build a temple to God to place the Ark of the Covenant in it, God said a profound “no.” ” But God said unto me, Thou shalt not build an house for my name, because thou hast been a man of war, and hast shed blood.” (I Chronicles 28:3) Another is “John the Baptist doesn’t tell the Roman soldiers to leave the army before being baptized.” John also doesn’t tell the poor to get a job first because there are no conditions attached.
Every soldier joining the military must take an oath of enlistment.
The Oath of Enlistment
“I, _____, do solemnly swear (or affirm) that I will support and defend the Constitution of the United States against all enemies, foreign and domestic; that I will bear true faith and allegiance to the same; and that I will obey the orders of the President of the United States and the orders of the officers appointed over me, according to regulations and the Uniform Code of Military Justice. So help me God.”
This oath is to support and defend the Constitution not the bible.
The Constitution was created on September 17, 1787 and ratified by all states on June 21, 1788. (Wikipedia)
The first amendment in the Constitution states;
“Congress shall make no law respecting an establishment of religion (establishment clause), or prohibiting the free exercise thereof (free exercise clause).”
Because Congress authorizes and funds our military, these clauses are in effect.
Article VI of the Constitution states;
The Senators and Representatives before mentioned, and the Members of the several State Legislatures, and all executive and judicial Officers, both of the United States and of the several States, shall be bound by Oath or Affirmation, to support this Constitution; but no religious Test.
Roger Williams (near 1603 – between January and February 1683) was an English Protestant theologian who was an early proponent of religious freedom and the separation of church and state. In 1636, he began the colony of Providence Plantation, which provided a refuge for religious minorities. Williams started the first Baptist church, the First Baptist Church of Providence, before leaving to become a Seeker. He was a student of Native American languages and an advocate for fair dealings with Native Americans. (Wikipedia)
In 1664 Roger Williams wrote “A hedge or wall of separation between the garden of the church and the wilderness of the world.”
Thomas Jefferson wrote a letter on January 1, 1802 to the Danbury, Connecticut, Baptist Association that was published in a Massachusetts newspaper;
“I contemplate with sovereign reverence that act of the whole American people which declared that their legislature should ‘make no law respecting an establishment of religion, or prohibiting the free exercise thereof,’ thus building a wall of separation between Church & State”.
The US Supreme Court has upheld the writing of Thomas Jefferson.
Jefferson’s metaphor of a wall of separation has been cited repeatedly by the U.S. Supreme Court. In its 1879 Reynolds v. United States decision, the court allowed that Jefferson’s comments “may be accepted almost as an authoritative declaration of the scope and effect of the First Amendment.” In the 1947 Everson v. Board of Education decision, Justice Hugo Black wrote, “In the words of Thomas Jefferson, the clause against establishment of religion by law was intended to erect a wall of separation between church and state.
The Treaty of Tripoli
This is the first treaty between the USA and Tripoli signed in 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,less than 10 years from the ratification of the Constitution.
Part of the Treaty states;
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 Musselman,—and as the said States never entered into any war or act of hostility against any Mahometan 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.
As you can see, America was not founded on Christian laws and the separation of church and state has a long history upheld by the Supreme Court.
We at the MRFF fight for the “establishment clause” and the “free exercise clause.” We are the most ardent defenders of the Constitution. The Air Force Academy has, by its teaching of Augustine’s “Christian Just War Theory” (and remember…it’s a theory…but not Christian), has trashed the 1stAmendment of the Constitution.
The MRFF is not keeping God out of every part of your lives. We do not hate God because if we did we wouldn’t be fighting for the religious freedom of all people. We are putting God back where it belongs as a personal expression of your own faith, in whatever type of religion you believe in, whether it is Protestant, Methodist, Lutheran, etc. or no religion.
Romans 8:31 that you quote is taken out of context and is not justification for going to war and should never be used as such. Let’s take a good look at what it says-
“What shall we then say to these things? If God be for us, who can be against us?
What does this verse refer to as these things? It refers to our salvation by Jesus, our walk with the Spirit, praying by the help of the Spirit, our predestination (God’s foreknowledge of who will accept Jesus as Savior…Romans 8:29), and called, justified and glorified. “These things” refers to the whole chapter of Romans 8.
Our military and a lot of Christians have to live in the Old Testament in order to justify their wars. Their use of Augustine’s “Just War Theory”…and remember it is just a THEORY…is anti-New Testament. By teaching this theory they are throwing out and disregarding the Book of Revelations in favor of their dominionist agenda.
The last I heard was that Jesus was the head of the church, not Augustine. Jesus never uttered one word on warfare. In fact, he spoke against it. Here are His words.
Matthew 5:9 – “Blessed are the peacemakers: for they shall be called the children of God.”
Mathew 5:38 – “Ye have heard that it hath been said, an eye for an eye, and a tooth for a tooth:
Matthew 5:39 – “But I say unto you, that ye resist not evil: but whosoever shall smite thee on thy right cheek, turn to him the other also.”
Matthew 5:43 – “Ye have heard that it hath been said, Thou shalt love thy neighbour, and hate thine enemy.”
Matthew 5:44 – “But I say unto you, Love your enemies, bless them that curse you, do good to them that hate you, and pray for them which despitefully use you, and persecute you; despitefully use you, and persecute you;
Matthew 5:45 – “That ye may be the children of your Father which is in heaven: for He maketh his sun to rise on the evil and on the good, and sendeth rain on the just and on the unjust.”
Augustine’s wording leaves plenty of room for “pre-emptive strikes”.
Just Cause – “To avenge or AVERT evil; to protect the innocent and restore moral social order.”
We ARE allowed to DEFEND ourselves as Jesus told His disciples to do.
We are allowed to DEFEND ourselves as Jesus told His disciples to do.
Luke 22:35 – “And he said unto them, When I sent you without purse (a money bag), and scrip (a leather sack to carry provisions), and shoes, lacked ye anything? And they said nothing.”
Luke 22:36 – “Then said he unto them, but now, he that hath a purse, let him take it, and likewise his scrip: and he that hath no sword let him sell his garment, and buy one.”
Luke 22:38 – “And they said, Lord, behold, here are two swords. And he said unto them, it is enough.”
While Jesus was on earth his disciples were under His protection and care. They wanted for nothing. Now that He was going away they had to fend for themselves. The two swords were for their protection against robbers…self-defense.
The United States is not a Godless nation and never will be. Everyone has the freedom to worship or not under the Constitution.
We are not out to destroy Christianity but to put it in its proper place in the military…up to the individual. It is not to be used to justify wars. It is not to be used as a mandate from God to go nuke a country and kill many innocent people. It is not to be used to brainwash our soldiers into thinking they are doing God’s will. It is not to be used as a slogan as the keys on the nuclear warheads are being turned to “Praise you Jesus” the same way the extreme Muslims use “Praise be to Allah.” We fight for our freedoms under the Constitution not the bible. This is what we fight for.
I hope this clarifies what we actually stand for.
We Christians at the MRFF will be praying for you as well.
May God bless your socks off!
Your opening sentence reveals how well you misunderstand MRFF and Mikey Weinstein. To defend each individual’s right to accept, believe, and appreciate God as only he or she personally can do, in a very personal rerlationship such as that between the individual and God, government must, must stay out of it. This is what the Constitution stands for.
That said, removing the Constitution, so officers and NCO can tell enlisted and other officers and NCOs exactly who their god is, and that everyone must pray to their god, and only their god, and not even think about considering the thought of any other version of who God may be, is illegal, unconstitutional, treasonous, and, since subordtinates cannot walk away from such mind-bending pressure, a form of psychological torture.
Mikey and MRFF support the chaplains, chapels, and accomodations made for each military service member, each veteran, and each civilian employee of the DoD to believe as each one wishes, with respect to a god or gods or The God. In order to make sure they have this freedom, as required by The Constitution of the United States of America, the non-chaplain chain of command has to stop ordering — overtly or covertly — the practice of religion or belief standards they personally wish to impose.
I hope this clarifies our stance for you.
In case it doesn’t, consider if you were a sergeant and your commander made clear that your promotion, salary increase, and safe working conditions required that you attend his church, come to his office for bible study, and send your children to be indoctrinated in his belief system. The vast number of churches in small towns alone attest to the fact that Christianity, itself, is splintered into different beliefs, when it comes down to particulars. So, if you’re Episcopalian and your commander sends you to the front lines, makes you take point (and be the first target of attack) day after day, because you didn’t send your kids to his Church of Christ Sunday School, wouldn’t you want MRFF on your side?
This is what it’s all about. This is why 96% of the more than 25,000 individuals and families have reached out to Mikey for help. Mikey does all he can to defend rights to religion. He approaches the chains of command who arm twist others into a narrow religious view they don’t want. He takes the matter to court, if need be. And while he is busy with that, I help explain to folks like you. You see, if any one sect of Christianity were to take over our military, it would be in position to take over the USA, and that means civilians, too, would be forced to follow a religion, even a branch of Christianity, which is not of their personal choosing.
If you think it doesn’t matter, I suggest you do what I did: Go to a different church every Sunday. Learn the differences between each philosophically, the characters of the congregations, be open minded, and find out how different each really is. You might find you prefer another. But then, imagine if the one that fit you least well was the very one you were forced to attend and follow and force your family to follow, because the government said so. As a civilian, this is difficult to imagine, but as a soldier, obeying one’s commander, it’s not difficult at all.
Please consider helping us protect God and Christianity and religion for our service members and others, by keeping it between individuals and their God(s), chaplains, and church leaders, and not in the hands of their military chains of command.
You misunderstand. No one at MRFF wants to take God out of anything. We simply don’t believe it proper to have one religious view forced on those who don’t share it, especially in a government-affiliated organization like the U.S. Armed Forces.
You see, In the USA people are free to believe in God, in Yaweh, in Allah, in Jesus, in Buddha, in The Force, or in no God at all. That’s fundamental to the American way of life.
You have your view and you’re welcome to it. But apparently you are confused, not only about the position of the MRFF, but also in the belief that your perception of God is the only correct one. You mention Hitler and the Japanese and those who attacked us in your message. Hitler was a Christian who believed that he was doing “God’s work” in exterminating the Jews. The Japanese believed in a God, and the extremists who attacked the twin towers also had a belief in God. You see, you’re comfortable in quoting the Bible, though selectively, while others are just as selective in interpreting their own form of Gospel.
So please open your eyes when reading your scripture and practicing your faith and understand that what is true for you may not be true for others, and no one should be pressured or forced to accept your view of what is the proper faith any more than you should be pressured or forced to accept someone else’s.
I wish you clarity.