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MSNBC – U.S. Marine Fighter Squadron Switches to Same “Crusader” Logo Used by Norwegian Terrorist Anders Breivik – Int’l Law Firm/Outside Counsel Sends Removal Demand on MRFF’s Behalf

Published On: April 17, 2012|Categories: News|19 Comments|


Group blasts Marine Corps
for reviving ‘Crusaders’
name and symbols

Wednesday, April 18, 2012

Selected Article Excerpts:

  • A recent decision by the Marine Corps to reinstate “Crusaders” as the name of its Fighter Attack Squadron 122 — replacing “Werewolves” — and adopting the red cross of the medieval Knights Templar was blasted as unconstitutional and willfully ignorant by a civil rights group Wednesday.
  • “I don’t know that the Marine Corps could do anything more to fuel the cause of jihad,” said Mikey Weinstein, founder of the Military Religious Freedom Foundation, a nonprofit organization that advocates church-state separation. “It will directly end up taking lives and maiming members of our military.”
  • Weinstein says that members of the military who contacted his group — mostly moderate Protestants and Catholics — felt that the decision was blatantly religious. “They’re being told, ‘the enemy gets to have Allah in their fight. We need to get our Lord and Savior back into our fight’,” said Weinstein.”
  • … the Military Religious Freedom Foundation on Wednesday sent a letter calling on top Navy and Marine Corps brass to reverse the decision, arguing that the use of Crusaders and the accompanying symbolism violate the Constitution’s separation of church and state, and threatening legal action if it is not changed.
  • The name change comes just as world media focuses on the trial of Anders Breivik, a Norwegian who admits to killing 77 people in a holy crusade against Islam and multiculturalism. Breivik brandished the Knights Templar symbols in his “manifesto” and YouTube video posted shortly before his bloody rampage.

Click here to read this article at MSNBC

MRFF’s Sends Removal Demand Letter via Outside Counsel

Click to read demand letter


U.S. Marine Fighter Squadron Switches to Same  “Crusader” Logo
Used by Norwegian Terrorist Anders Breivik

“Crusader” Mentality Shared by U.S. Military, Norwegian Extremist

Wednesday, April 18, 2012

ALBUQUERQUE, NEW MEXICO – Does the U.S. Military think it’s engaged in a holy war? The constitutionalist watchdogs at the Military Religious Freedom Foundation (MRFF) are asking this question following the recent decision to rename Marine Fighter Attack Squadron 122 (VMFA-122) the “Crusaders” and adopt the red cross of the medieval Knights Templar.

As the dust in Afghanistan settles following weeks of violence resulting from the burning of the Qu’ran at Bagram Air Base, resulting in 30 dead and the death of six Americans, the decision to rechristen the jet fighter squadron as Crusaders threatens to reignite passions across the Muslim world. Meanwhile, the same red cross was heavily utilized in the video “manifesto” of Norwegian terrorist Anders Behring Breivik, who claims to have carried out his gruesome attacks for the sake of advancing a “crusade” against multiculturalism and European Muslims. Breivik, who is currently standing trial for his gruesome attacks that claimed the lives of 77 people, claims allegiance to a network called the “Knights Templar” and has stated that he aspires to a “crusader” mentality. The Knights Templar was a Christian military order that participated in bloody campaigns across the Middle East, wearing white uniforms emblazoned with a red cross.

This same red cross has now been re-adopted as the logo for Marine Fighter Attack Squadron 122. Confidential MRFF sources have confirmed that VMFA-122 F/A-18 Hornet jets have been repainted to reflect last month’s name change. Base commanders have confirmed that the new artwork is identical to that shown in images from 2004 which have been uncovered online, which depict designs on the tails of the Hornets displaying a white teardrop-shaped medieval “kite shield” bearing the red Knights Templar cross against an Old Glory Blue backdrop.

In 2008, VMFA-122, based out of Beaufort, South Carolina, was renamed the “Werewolves” after having borne the “Crusaders” label since 1958. With United States service personnel based across the Arab and Islamic world, the “Crusaders” name was dropped due to its clearly incendiary and offensive nature. At the time, Lt. Col. William Lieblein stated “The notion of being a crusader in that part of the world doesn’t float.”

“Crusader” is an epithet that is routinely used to describe U.S. service personnel throughout the Arab and Islamic world. A phrase with deeply resonant connotations in the region, “Crusader” recalls a history of colonization and a campaign of conquest and plunder spearheaded by European Christian military orders that claimed the lives of millions of inhabitants throughout the Middle East. In March 2012, Al-Qaeda chief Ayman al-Zawahiri referred to International Security Assistance Force troops stationed in Afghanistan as “Crusader Swine”. During last year’s NATO intervention in Libya, then-leader Muammar Gaddafi referred to Western forces as a “crusader alliance.” Likewise, insurgent forces in Iraq have regularly called U.S. personnel “crusaders.”

However, on the occasion of the squadron’s 70th anniversary in March, present commander Lt. Col. Wade Wiegel stated that the “Crusader” label was “not politically incorrect”, according to a story broken by the Beaufort Gazette. According to Wiegel, “It’s a way for our Marines to draw on the service of the Marines before them, and to make their own history under the same name… the name change is a reflection of our heritage.”

Michael L. “Mikey” Weinstein, president and founder of the four-time Nobel Peace Prize nominated MRFF, blasted the decision to rename the Werewolves, stating that “It will absolutely serve as a priceless propaganda bonanza of jovian magnitude for our nation’s fundamentalist Islamic foes and, thus, represents a veritable national security threat to the United States of America. Likewise, it will incontrovertibly, directly and indirectly hasten the maiming and deaths of our armed forces members.”

Just under one hundred U.S. Marines, the vast majority of whom are Christians who wish to remain anonymous for fear of reprisal, contacted Weinstein after the renaming was brought to light. One “Crusader”, a member of VMFA-122, expressed his disgust and confided that he expected MRFF, an organization that represents over 27,000 clients within the U.S. armed forces (approximately 96% of whom are Christian), “to do something about this”.

Many Christian fundamentalist extremists endorse the idea of a new crusade,  believing that it fulfills biblical prophecies. In August 2001, Protestant prophecy magazine The Philadelphia Trumpet published an article opening with the lines “Most people think the crusades for Jerusalem are a thing of the past—over forever. They are wrong. Preparations are being made for a final crusade, and it will be the bloodiest of all!” Immediately following the attacks on September 11, 2001, George W. Bush raised the hackles of European allies after referring to “This crusade, this war on terrorism”.

MRFF holds that much of U.S. Military doctrine has been tainted by supernatural theological concepts and a “Clash of Civilizations”, “us vs. them” ideology which warps order, discipline, and servicemember morale. The latest news of the “Crusader” renaming comes hot on the heels of recent controversies in Afghanistan involving brazen religious and cultural insensitivities by U.S. forces which have dramatically enflamed tensions in the region. These incidents have included the display of a Nazi Waffen-SS banner by U.S. Marine Corps Scout Snipers, a video of Marines urinating on dead irregular fighters, the widespread phenomenon of “Pork-Eating Infidel” patches worn by U.S. service personnel (which feature uniformed Templar knight crusaders),  and the mass-burning of Qu’rans by U.S. forces at Bagram Air Base.

For more information, please see the below article from MRFF Senior Research Director Chris Rodda



Mikey Weinstein is the Founder and President of the four-time Nobel Peace Prize nominated civil rights organization known as the Military Religious Freedom Foundation (MRFF) and author of the recently released book, NO SNOWFLAKE IN AN AVALANCHE: The Military Religious Freedom Foundation, It’s Battle to Defend the Constitution and One Family’s Courageous War Against Religious Extremism in High Places (2012, Vireo). He is an honor graduate of the USAF Academy, a former White House Counsel in the Reagan Administration and former General Counsel to Texas billionaire and two-time Presidential candidate H. Ross Perot and Perot Systems Corporation. He lives in Albuquerque, New Mexico. He is also the author of WITH GOD ON OUR SIDE: One Man’s War Against an Evangelical Coup in America’s Military (St. Martin’s Press, 2006).


Marines Return to Being “Crusaders”

By Chris Rodda, MRFF Senior Research Director

Tuesday, April 17, 2012

Selected Article Excerpts:

  • In 2008, when Marine Fighter Attack Squadron 122 was preparing to deploy to Iraq, the unit’s commander, Lt. Col. William Lieblein, did something very wise and sensible — he changed the nickname of the unit from “Crusaders” back to its former name, the “Werewolves.” Stating the obvious, Lt. Col. Lieblein said, “The notion of being a crusader in that part of the world doesn’t float.”But now, under new leadership, the unit is going back to being the “Crusaders,” complete with an insignia of a crusader shield with a big red cross on it and a crusader knight as its mascot.
  • According to the Beaufort Gazette, the squadron’s new commander, Lt. Col. Wade Wiegel, just doesn’t see calling a U.S. military unit the “Crusaders” as being “politically incorrect.” The paper quoted Wiegel saying of the name change: “It’s a way for our Marines to draw on the service of the Marines before them, and to make their own history under the same name. As the squadron prepared to celebrate its (70th anniversary), my intent was to return the squadron to the Crusader name since 50 of the squadron’s 70 years were under that name. The name change is a reflection of our heritage.”

Click here to read this article on
The Huffington Post

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  1. Bret Massey April 18, 2012 at 7:56 pm

    Generally love what you’re doing Mikey, but disagree with you on this one.
    It’s a logo that most Marines know the squadron by. It’s a logo we like. Glad to see it brought back.

  2. Andy Hengelhaudt April 18, 2012 at 8:57 pm

    You guys are idiots for this article. get a life

  3. tomf59 April 19, 2012 at 1:23 am

    Political correctness at its best. We need to quit worrying about offending the enemy and those in the Islamic world…what a glowing sign of weakness we portray. If F-8’s were still flying in inventory would the Navy and Marine Corps be expected to change it’s name? It is already happening in U.S. society to worry what offends Islam. I am here in Afghanistan and have traveled extensively throughout the Middle East and there no country that is concerned about offending the West or those who practice Christianity if your allowed to practice Christianity at all!

  4. GB0009 April 19, 2012 at 3:10 am

    Look, Obama saying we are no longer at war with Islam, it is like being asked to meditate on the sound of one hand clapping. Who is trying to kid who and why, and what is your motivation? The preferred method for the Global Jihad Movement is now the softly softly approach. It aim is to take our countries just as it ever was. Those who do not oppose it are collaborators. These is no more to be said.

  5. delilah April 19, 2012 at 3:50 am

    i agree with tomf59 – no more pussyfooting around a religion and people that no matter WHAT we do they will find a way to justify their hatred of all things American and will bend all their might towards our extermination. Shame on you, Mikey, worried about offending them under the guise of protecting our military?! In case you haven’t noticed, they are always trying to kill Americans. I approve of the name and the return of using it. I want the Taliban to know USA is not afraid of them and will continue to defend Christians and other religions from their hatred. This is a wonderful country that does not need folks like you constantly tearing it down and filing frivolous lawsuits that do more harm than good.

  6. Travis O'Hanlon April 19, 2012 at 4:35 am

    Mikey you are such pussy, you are just one of those people who has to whine about something. How about instead of bitching and trying to spread your lame ideals you just shut the eff up and let the military do its god damn job. That was the units name, you are one of those people who has to appease everyone, go kiss the talibans ass you friggin hippy. I have to protest this, and stand up for blah blah blah. who cares, mikey the taliban cuts peoples effin heads off and stones people to death and you want to appease them. rubbish.

  7. Dave B April 19, 2012 at 7:26 am

    …as a former Marine and vet, I think it’s counterproductive. It was obviously changed before for good reason. To change it to that now, given the state of affairs between America and other nations AND our own internal struggle between the religious and non-believers, amounts to a virtual middle finger to anyone that might have other views.

    Believe it or not I’ve served with Jewish, Muslim and Atheists (such as I am). The military is NOT comprised of religious crusaders but it seems to be rapidly headed in that direction. Religion or religious symbols have NO place in ANY branch of the Government, according to our Constitution – which not only protects freedom of religion but also protects freedom FROM religion.

  8. dwight ashworth April 19, 2012 at 7:27 am

    I can’t believe that you have the word FREEDOM in your groups title and then want to take someone’s freedom of expression away!!!

  9. James April 19, 2012 at 7:40 am

    Ironic, religious freedom is the exact opposite of what this group is pushing for.

    “Separation between church and state” is probably the most misused phrase in our nation’s history. It is a phrase not taken from the constitution, but from a letter written by Thomas Jefferson in 1802 to a Baptist church in connecticut gauranteeing them that the state and federal governments will not interfere with their religious expression. That there should be a wall of separation put up between the curch and the state. However, the side of the wall Thomas Jefferson was concerned with was the side facing the government. Ironically this phrase continues to be used to supress religious expression as opposed to enabling it.

  10. R.M. Brannan April 19, 2012 at 7:57 am

    Idiotic to think that religion and a combat vet doesn’t go hand in hand. The first incoming round is met with a prayer 99% of the time. And, to think that a symbol adopted in 1958 has any bearing on the current Muslin war against the West is rediculous. Yes, I am a combat vet and retired Marine from Vietnam and Desert Storm.

  11. Patrick Ryce Jr. April 19, 2012 at 8:43 am

    radical islamists don’t just want to kill you if you practice Christianity. They want to kill you if you don’t think like they do. This is absurd. drop a bomb on the scumbag lawyer leading this ridiculous lawsuit. The troops, regardless of their religios affiliation have better things to worry about than hurting some a-hole’s feelings because of the nose, or tail-art on a damn jet. What’s next?

    why are lawyers burried 10 feet down instead of six?

    because deep down they are good people.

  12. Joe Stanton April 19, 2012 at 9:44 am

    I applaud Lt. Cmdr Wiegel for not being brow beaten and for trying to instill purpose in his men. How much longer are we to give up our basic rights to keep from offending others who obviously don’t care about us? We are not claiming “jihad” like they are, we are just saying that we are ready willing and able to protect our God given rights. We have helped most of the free world gain that freedom and now they are telling us we aren’t entitled to have it ourselves. Semper Fi and thank you Lt. Cmdr Wiegel!

  13. David April 19, 2012 at 10:55 am

    Let the Marines be the Marines, let the Church be the Church, Personally I think something must be wrong with the people at MRFF (get a life you guys). Our nation was founded with a belief in God.
    How many innocent people have to die in the world before people realize we should not worry about offending the Muslims and their faith.

  14. Marie April 19, 2012 at 12:03 pm

    I am a proud spouse of a VMFA-122 Marine and I am ashamed you would go so far as to criticize them for their choices. The name was changed to Werewolves when the Afghanistan and Iraq campaigns started so as to prevent the very backlash from extremist groups you mention. The squadron served one of the most successful tours yet in Afghanistan last year and have done their time. I don’t see you over there working 18 hour days away from your family and fighting for our freedom. They were the Werewolves and they wore the name proudly. Now it’s time for them to reclaim their history as VMFA-122. I guarantee you the last thing those men and women think about at the end of the day is that their logo might offend some extremist group. , I am offended by Al Qaeda’s website. Who will 122 offend, sitting on the flight line of Beaufort, South Carolina? The stupidest part about your blast is that you had to take time to look that up. It’s not like they were out promoting their new change in the media. GET A LIFE! And stay out of ours.

  15. James E Bivens April 19, 2012 at 4:16 pm

    As a Retired Marine and Veteran of VMFA 122 CRUSADERS I whole heartedly endorse the name and logo. Stop apologizing for America we do not need for you or any of your ilk to apologize for America or compare it to any more of your nonsensical examples. If you do not like what you see then leave and go live in IRAN that is where you will be welcome for being the American haters that you are. This country was built on Christian principles and just because your mommy did not raise you right do not blame the rest of America, just leave and use a oneway ticket, we do not want you or your ilk back. Take OBAMA and the rest of Obamanation with you while you are at it.

    James E Bivens
    MSGT USMC (ret)
    Post script; you don’t like what I have to say I ain’t hard to find because I won’t hide behind the internet, I’d just as soon tell you to your face.

  16. Jango April 20, 2012 at 9:24 am

    Apparently Mr. Bivens isn’t aware that Crusaders were considered murderous, blasphemous invaders for those in the Middle East.

  17. Paul_B April 20, 2012 at 12:12 pm

    As I’ve worked alongside them for the past 25 years in numerous joint environments, I know for a fact that not every Marine is a religiously brainwashed, jingoistic zealot. Still, we should honor the service and sacrifice, and pity the entrenched myopia, of those who could not escape that fate.

  18. Brett April 21, 2012 at 5:59 am

    I am quite disappointed with the MRFF on this one. The squadron had that name for 50 years before changing it to a name they had for less than half that time. Very disappointed with you guys.

  19. Wall Dodger April 21, 2012 at 7:46 am

    WTF!!…. So what if they had the name 50 years …. it was a bad idea then , it is a very bad idea now..The commander has his head up his you know what. ..oh wait … we are talking about marines , I could probably say it… cause ya all don’t care of being politically.. correct…What if they had been called..oh , say…”Jesus Nailers”.. since they are soldiers, that with a little imagination ,can trace their linage all the way back to Roman times…You still be okay ?? …. with the name “JESUS NAILERS”……..Think you all , that are defending this neanderthal of a commander, should be required to take some sensitivity training… wives included..

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